Book Review Hope for the Southern World: Impacting Societal Problems in the Non-Western World

Hope for the Southern World: Impacting Societal Problems in the Non-Western World by Timothy M. Monsma, PhD. Published by CCW Books, Loveland CO. Reviewed by Thomas C. Vanden Heuvel.

Dr. Timothy Monsma makes a very helpful contribution to the vexing problems in the Southern World of Africa,Asia, and LatinAmerica. The five common threads that are woven through the SouthernWorld ofAfrica, Asia and Latin America are: first, a history of European colonialism; second, poverty; third, democracy as a relatively new system of government; fourth, an absence of religious freedom; and fifth, the lack of government stability. These five common experiences produce some great societal problems.

The question Dr. Monsma wants to answer is why the Christians in the nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America are not a great influence for good in these nations, and how they can become a greater influence for good.

The author sees the problem as arising from a one-sided view of the church’s mandate received from our Lord Jesus Christ in the Great Commission. Christian missionaries generally have been effective in proclaiming the gospel, but have not been as effective in teaching the converts to observe all that Christ has commanded. There has been a failure to integrate the gospel with all of life. The Gospel of Christ is the Hope for the Southern World, but that Gospel of Christ must penetrate all the areas of life.

There are six crucial problems that have to be addressed in the Southern World of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. They are the persecution of Christians, poverty, poor health, ethnic and tribal hatred, civil strife, and dictators. In dealing with these problems, Christians face a daunting task. They cannot resort to violence which denies the very essence of the Gospel. Christ sends His people out like sheep among wolves; therefore, they must be as clever as snakes and innocent as doves (Matthew 10:26). This book deals with how Christians can be clever and innocent at the same time in addressing and dealing with these vexing problems in the Southern World.

The author and his wife have lived, worked, and traveled in many of the countries in the Southern World and are able to give firsthand observations on many of the issues which plague these countries. They have seen the persecution and the terrible results of poverty, the horrible conditions surrounding poor health care, and the results of ethnic and tribal hatred, civil strife and dictators. This book is a very helpful and useful tool to help Christians in the SouthernWorld cope with these serious problems that they face.

The author is a Calvinist Christian who sees God as sovereign, and Christ as King over all areas of life, Whose kingdom will prevail and never end. He sees the church as having the answer to the enormous problems that exist. The answer is the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. But the goal is not simply to deal with one’s personal relationship with Christ. This is basic and absolutely necessary, but that relationship with Jesus Christ must be worked out in all areas of life.

A major theme in this book is the crucial necessity of believers to work together in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is broader than the church. The Kingdom of God is Christ’s rule over all of life. The Christian is a citizen of the Kingdom and has a vital role to play in applying the great principles of the Word of God to all areas of life. The author is very practical in his suggestions of how Christians can address specific social problems like corruption, civil strife, inferior medical care, poverty, and poor schools in both democratic and non-democratic societies.

This book will be of great value to Christians struggling in developing countries. It is written with passion born out of personal experience, and it demonstrates how to work in hostile environments with the power of the Gospel.

Hope for the Southern World is a book that needs wide distribution throughout the Southern World. Readers who wish to buy the book are encouraged to send a check for $12.95 to CCW Books, 2474 Boise Ave., Loveland, CO 80538. A substantial discount is given to agents and bookstores that order ten or more books.

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