By Ken Wytsma
Review By: Eric Wood
As Ken Wytsma unwraps his argument for Pursuing Justice, one sees that he speaks from a place of deep personal conviction and passion. Beginning with a story for background and context, Wytsma recounts how his grandfather had immigrated, with his family, to the United States following World War II. His father, just 8-years-old at the time, “never forgot where he came from” (xvii). He told the ways his father and mother reached out to the needy and downtrodden with a heart to help the hurting. Wytsma himself, however, confessed he grew up with a western sense of entitlement. He viewed life as being about him and for his pleasure and he lived accordingly. Upon God grabbing hold of his life, Wystma began studying the Word and drawing nearer to God. Through this time, he became more and more convinced that all of Scripture points toward the pursuit of justice – noting the continual concepts of caring for widows, orphans, and foreigners.
Personally, I find myself leery anytime someone tries to explain the entire Bible through one key motif which they hold dear. Certainly one reads a heavy emphasis on justice for the downtrodden throughout the Bible – the law of Moses, the work of kings and the teaching and miracles of Jesus all bear this element. But to say it is the one thing that holds all Scripture together may be a little too strong. That said, Wytsma does a nice job of walking the reader through different theological and exegetical principles in Scripture. He points out the many instances where social justice seems to factor into the situation in a sometimes quite profound way.
With a caution against casting all of Scripture into one light that may be too focused, I would encourage reading this book. With many excursus which bring light from other authors and Wytsma’s own very readable and passionate style, this book can challenge the reader to further embrace care for the downtrodden which may slip by unnoticed.