Of course, all Christians know about the importance of evangelism, and many books have been written to discuss the need for more evangelism and how to go about the work. The Human Right: To Know Jesus Christ and to Make Him Known takes it up a notch.
Author Rice Broocks describes preaching the gospel as the greatest justice issue. Failure to bring the good news to the lost constitutes the greatest injustice. Hearing the gospel as a basic human right gives it the preeminence and urgency it deserves, according to the author.
Broocks is an up and coming apologist and evangelist who is best known for his breakthrough book, God’s Not Dead. His newest book, The Human Right, speaks about the need “to know Jesus Christ and to Make Him Known.” It speaks about the importance of evangelism and why all Christians need to do it.
It’s no secret that there is a conflict in modern evangelicalism between social justice and evangelism as the missionary focus of a church. Some are inclined to fixing the brokenness and injustices of the culture while others are inclined to only preaching a message of redemption within the culture. While not discounting the effectiveness and merit of doing charitable deeds for hurting societies, Broocks underscores the centrality of the gospel as the priority of Christian outreach.
Why? Because the gospel is the message that God uses to transform the human heart – which is the seat of all evil and injustice. Using the word, the Lord regenerates a believer, granting him a new heart with new desires. Once this happens, the born again person has the appetite and will to live for the Lord, which leads to a life of righteousness. In other words, the root of the problem is the most important issue to address, which only the gospel can fix.
The author contends that since the gospel is verifiable through philosophical and historical confirmation, it is considered “public truth,” and not just some private opinion or suggestion. Since it is a universal truth, every person on the planet needs to hear about it. They have a right to hear it. Since all people are made in God’s image and are treated with certain graces from God Himself, Christians are called to be the bearer of God’s message of eternal life to the world. The right to hear true testimony should not be denied as much as we cannot deny someone the right to bear property and to worship freely.
That is why preaching the gospel is the greatest social justice endeavor.
The book makes a compelling case that highlights the importance of preaching the gospel to unbelievers. Much of Broocks argument depends on whether the gospel is true, which the author does in convincing fashion by contrasting Christianity with secularism, postmodernism, and other world religions. Chapter 5’s discussion of “The Reality of the Soul” is also helpful discussion that describes the reality of life after death and why we are different from other created beings. This bolsters the author’s claims about our capacity, as image bearers, to understand God’s will and to seek for truth. This is why the saving message of the gospel matters to the world.
Of course, one of the disconnects that Christians see in the gospel is its relevance for today, since the gospel deals with afterlife matters. This is one area that Dr. Broocks alludes to at times, but doesn’t quite develop as much. For much of the book, we understand the gospel as the instrument that the Holy Spirit uses to revive dead sinners into God worshippers. But yet, what happens to someone who rejects the gospel in this life? An underdeveloped discussion about postmortem judgment and the eternality of hell somewhat enervates the urgency of Jesus’ salvation message. The urgency of evangelism is made all the more clear if a discussion on hell is there.
Nevertheless, Dr. Broocks makes a compelling case for the transformative effects of the gospel on the human heart that plays out in this life. Addressing source of all injustice is the key to producing a renewed culture where people can love God and love others, which is why the gospel must be the focus of the church’s missionary endeavors. For an apologetics book that establishes God’s word as truth and can inspire a generation of believers to start evangelizing, The Human Right is an admirable book that all Christians should take to heart. It is a great addition to add to your collection of Great Commission books and a great tool to hand out to Christians who need to hear its message.
Steve Cha is the teaching pastor of Grace City LA.