Still, I decided that if something was right, I would do it as a command from God and not be scared out because some non-Christians also thought it was right (p. 107).
They started with child evangelism, moved into adult teaching, started health care facilities and a church, a cooperative, and a voter registration drive.
We rode in fear. We registered in fear. And we voted in fear. Those black voting lists were carved out in fear (p. 192).
During the tumultuous sixties and seventies, Perkins tried to reach out to the white community to encourage it to embrace justice for all. Though he found a few concerned and willing, he found the majority hostile. His efforts earned him a severe beating by the sheriff and highway patrol and a sentence to prison. As he fought the unjust legal system, he experienced bitterness, injustice, and God's hand of love opening to him in a new way.
I wouldn't have expected most good Americans of that day to believe that such things--like what happened to us at Brandon--still happened in this country. I wouldn't expect them to believe how the police and the Highway Patrol had that thing planned (Perkins' ambush and beating nearly to death) and how those people acted. Whites would probably have said, "It's almost too much to believe. Who would be so stupid as to beat someone like that in a jail?"
Let Justice Roll Down is well-written and fascinating. If it had not been re-released by Regal, many of us would have missed this call for justice. Perkins not only tells an absorbing story, he describes a moment in history that many of us are not familiar with. One of the greatest values in the book is his analysis of the sin of racism, its causes, cures, and of our absence in the fight.
But there were, and always will be, human emotions. Such as sadness at seeing those that I knew as brothers in Christ insist on a Sunday religion that didn't sharpen their sense of justice during those years of turmoil. It wasn't a question of what "team" to join. In terms of social justice, evangelicals just didn't have a team on the field (p. 107).
Perkins teaches his heartfelt message of justice through his gift as a storyteller. His résumé includes accomplishments enough for any six other men as a founder of Mendenhall Ministries, Voice of Calvary Ministries, and the Harambee Christian Family Center and Preparatory School, publisher, author, counselor of at least one president, and member or numerous other boards. He has applied his abundant energy and zeal to teaching on racial reconciliation and preaching the Word of God.
His analysis includes a recognition of racism as sin that anyone may be guilty of. His explanations promote understanding of what those fighting for social justice want and of what those most opposed to social justice fear. His understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the movement, of the society, and of human nature bridges the gap for those at various points on the circumference of the issue. It also shows how by avoiding the hard truths of scripture, the Church gave up its potential influence to radicals-- a lesson for us on many other issues. And how by loving one another as the Lord commands, we can bring healing.
May this new release of this must-read book bridge the gap between races and continue John Perkins' ministry to all people for the Kingdom of God.
This review was originally published at ChristianBookPreviews.com
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