Nils Von Kalm. Coventry Press, 2019, (p140)
ISBN 9780648497745.

I found the book Bending Towards Justice a breath of fresh air. The short essay-like chapters, each focusing on a topic or issue related to justice, made for an easy read that is both illuminating and challenging at the same time.

While Nils might not be a familiar name to Christians in New Zealand, the Australian theologian has a wealth of experience from working with international aid organisations and writing for mainstream newspapers like Melbourne’s The Sunday Age.

What I found particularly interesting was the call to break away from the perspective that Jesus Christ’s message is just about personal salvation so we can go to a nicer place in the sky when we die. This view of salvation was generally what was taught in the mainstream churches I attended growing up and when I listen to sermons around the country, it seems many preachers haven’t evolved too far from this position.

Instead, Nils makes the argument for a richer, deeper understanding of the gospel which is relevant to our whole lives and invite us to participate in bringing about God’s coming Kingdom.

Nils approaches this overarching subject in a variety of ways through a series of short standalone reflections based on his teachings, experiences, current events, Scripture, as well as some of the hot social justice topics of our times, like environmentalism and global poverty.

The recurring message that I found particularly encouraging was that God has a new world order that he is bringing about to transform every aspect of our society, from our politics through to our environment and even the way we approach finances and sexuality. This transformation will happen here on Earth, not in some alternate universe – and we can participate in this renewing Kingdom work now.

This perspective is certainly not new and was taught in Bible colleges I’ve attended, but the way Nils breaks it down, in such a concise, digestible way makes this a great read.

I would highly recommend Bending Towards Justice for those with a passion for social justice, but who are unclear how it relates to their faith. It could also appeal to those wanting a fresh perspective on their place within God’s mission. This book would also be particularly good for those leading Bible studies and youth groups wanting to give their members some easy-to-digest content that can generate lots of great discussion.

Review: Justin Latif

Check out an interview Nils did on 14 July 2019 about his book.