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Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Repair

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Christians are awakening to the legacy of racism in America like never before. While public conversations regarding the realities of racial division and inequalities have surged in recent years, so has the public outcry to work toward the long-awaited healing of these wounds. But American Christianity, with its tendency to view the ministry of reconciliation as its sole re Christians are awakening to the legacy of racism in America like never before. While public conversations regarding the realities of racial division and inequalities have surged in recent years, so has the public outcry to work toward the long-awaited healing of these wounds. But American Christianity, with its tendency to view the ministry of reconciliation as its sole response to racial injustice, and its isolation from those who labor most diligently to address these things, is under-equipped to offer solutions. Because of this, the church needs a new perspective on its responsibility for the deep racial brokenness at the heart of American culture and on what it can do to repair that brokenness. This book makes a compelling historical and theological case for the church's obligation to provide reparations for the oppression of African Americans. Duke Kwon and Gregory Thompson articulate the church's responsibility for its promotion and preservation of white supremacy throughout history, investigate the Bible's call to repair our racial brokenness, and offer a vision for the work of reparation at the local level. They lead readers toward a moral imagination that views reparations as a long-overdue and necessary step in our collective journey toward healing and wholeness.


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Christians are awakening to the legacy of racism in America like never before. While public conversations regarding the realities of racial division and inequalities have surged in recent years, so has the public outcry to work toward the long-awaited healing of these wounds. But American Christianity, with its tendency to view the ministry of reconciliation as its sole re Christians are awakening to the legacy of racism in America like never before. While public conversations regarding the realities of racial division and inequalities have surged in recent years, so has the public outcry to work toward the long-awaited healing of these wounds. But American Christianity, with its tendency to view the ministry of reconciliation as its sole response to racial injustice, and its isolation from those who labor most diligently to address these things, is under-equipped to offer solutions. Because of this, the church needs a new perspective on its responsibility for the deep racial brokenness at the heart of American culture and on what it can do to repair that brokenness. This book makes a compelling historical and theological case for the church's obligation to provide reparations for the oppression of African Americans. Duke Kwon and Gregory Thompson articulate the church's responsibility for its promotion and preservation of white supremacy throughout history, investigate the Bible's call to repair our racial brokenness, and offer a vision for the work of reparation at the local level. They lead readers toward a moral imagination that views reparations as a long-overdue and necessary step in our collective journey toward healing and wholeness.

30 review for Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Repair

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    A great book to read once you've become somewhat familiar with the problem of white supremacy, particularly in the church. An accessible and theologically-rooted discussion through the principles that ought to guide next steps. (9/10) When I have mentioned this book to a few people who aren't familiar with the authors, they immediately start firing off questions: Who will get reparations? Who will pay for them? How much? For how long? etc. Then they begin engaging with an argument that they think A great book to read once you've become somewhat familiar with the problem of white supremacy, particularly in the church. An accessible and theologically-rooted discussion through the principles that ought to guide next steps. (9/10) When I have mentioned this book to a few people who aren't familiar with the authors, they immediately start firing off questions: Who will get reparations? Who will pay for them? How much? For how long? etc. Then they begin engaging with an argument that they think a book entitled Reparations is surely making. But, honestly, this book is different than they would expect. Yes, this book makes a Biblical case for reparations, but it isn't a specific plan for Christian individuals or churches. Instead, the authors explain the theft of white supremacy, it's effect, and the Christian responsibility to own the effects through restitution, restoration and repair. A strong biblical case is made through many chapters that helps readers to rethink a framework around reparations. I expect that many will be surprised and even disappointed that this is not a how-to guide and it's short on practical application. However, this fits with the intent of the authors to explain the harm done and to leave the leadership of the repair to local bodies, to allow those who have been harmed to lead, and to allow communities of vulnerability and trust to be built. I believe this book will cause churches to rethink their missions and their relationships with other churches and non-profits serving the poor and marginalized. Overall, a very worthwhile read, especially if you have been thinking about the church's role in racial reconciliation for more than a moment. It would be on my 201 required reading list (as opposed to a basic, 101 level.)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jonah Hill

    After finishing this, I noticed that TGC just put out a review by Kevin DeYoung. I find myself agreeing with what is written in that article. Look there for the best summation of my thoughts on the book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Adam Shields

    Summary: A call for reparations in the context of US slavery, largely making a case for an American Christian audience.  There are few things less popular than the concept of reparations. According to two general polls, 26% of the US supports reparations. It is much less popular among White Evangelicals, around 4%, according to sociologist Samuel Perry. I do not think that Kwon and Thompson believe that this is going to be an easy case to make. And I want to commend Brazos Press for publishing th Summary: A call for reparations in the context of US slavery, largely making a case for an American Christian audience.  There are few things less popular than the concept of reparations. According to two general polls, 26% of the US supports reparations. It is much less popular among White Evangelicals, around 4%, according to sociologist Samuel Perry. I do not think that Kwon and Thompson believe that this is going to be an easy case to make. And I want to commend Brazos Press for publishing the book because I can't imagine that an explicitly Christian case for reparations, something that is only supported by 4% of White Evangelicals, is going to become a best seller. The center point of the claim for Reparations is that "White supremacy's most enduring effect, indeed its very essence is theft." They use white supremacy here and throughout the book in the sense of a racial hierarchy with a cultural belief in white racial superiority. The sense of theft here is also broad but nuanced, "...theft is best understood not merely in terms of wealth but also in the more comprehensive terms of truth and power." One of the complaints about the book that I predict is that Kwon and Thompson frequently use language that is associated in the minds of many with Critical Race Theory and Social Justice. The complaints will be about the method of argument more than the content of the argument and the reality of the harm done, or the need theologically for repair because of that harm. One of the book's strengths is that Kwon and Thompson attempt to define what they mean all through the book clearly. It is hard for me to adequately evaluate how well they accomplish this for readers that are new to these concepts since I am not new to this discussion. But the concept of whiteness and the social construction of race do matter significantly to the case that Kwon and Thompson are trying to make. The process of this expanded meaning of Whiteness mirrored the expanding of Blackness; as Blackness took on new meaning, Whiteness took on its opposite. Where Blackness signified inferior personal capacity, Whiteness signified superior personal capacity. Where Blackness signified inferior moral deficiency, Whiteness signified superior moral virtue. Where Blackness signified the margins of society, Whiteness signified a rightful claim to the center. To be White came to mean not only having lighter skin, but also possessing elevated personal capacity, inherent moral virtue, and an assumed place at the center of the social order. And, as with Blackness, by the middle of the nineteenth century, the presence of this newly invented notion of Whiteness was clearly visible in American cultural life." Reparations are not a new concept, even if there has been renewed interested. John Hepburn, in 1715, wrote a pamphlet, The American Defence of the Christian Golden Rule, which called explicitly for reparation using Christian theology before the US was founded as a country. "I am of Opinion, that such Sins cannot be repented of without Restitution made to them that they have wronged; for until the Cause be removed, I know not how the Effect should cease. But they that live and dye without making Restitution to them that they have wronged, how they can expect the Forgiveness of God..." Reparations were also clearly known about and understood during and after the Civil War. Union slave owners and some confederate slave owners were given reparations for the loss of their 'property.' But the 40 acres and mule that General Sherman ordered in Field Order 15 were not given to most slaves. Those few who initially got 40 acres and a mule had the rule overturned and their land and property confiscated. (Note that in 1862 with the Homestead Act, the federal government gave land to any citizen that claimed it, but Freedmen before the end of slavery and former slaves after the Civil War were not eligible because they were not legally citizens until the 14th Amendment.) In 1969, James Forman interrupted the 11 AM service at Riverside Church to read the Black Manifesto, a 2500 word statement calling for reparations. (Riverside Church was the same church Martin Luther King, Jr. announced his opposition to the Vietnam war less than two years earlier). The statement was specifically calling for Christian white churches and Jewish synagogues to give $500,000,000 in reparations, $15 per Black citizen at the time. Most notably today, HR 40 is a bill to create a study commission to investigate the feasibility of reparations. HR40 has been introduced every year since 1989. The center of Kwon and Thompson's book explores the concepts of reparations in the bible, a broader look at justice, and an in-depth look at Zacchaeus and the parable of the Good Samaritan about reparations as biblical principles. It is here that there is real value to this book. Other books like From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century explore the economic impact and potential methods of reparations. While the last chapter explores some practical steps for reparations, the book's main point is the biblical basis for the concept and the need that gives rise to the discussion.  Reparations in a secular sense are about justice, rightness, or economics. But for Kwon and Thompson, reparations are primarily about the repair. "Reparations as an actuarial calculations simply will not do. The work of restoration demands, in the end, the giving not of a check but of one's soul--the giving of one's very self." And again, "...the call of reparations is not merely for a check to be written or for a debt to be repaid but for a world to be repaired." And even clearer, "The parable of the good Samaritan, set againsts the backdrop of multigenerational cultural theft of White supremacy, make a crucial contribution to a Christian account of reparations. It reminds us that the work of restoring all that was unjustly taken from our neighbors is the calling not only of the culpable but of all who seek to live a life of love in the world. Because of this, the church in America, a community whose very purpose is love, must own the ethic of restoration and give itself to this work of healing. Indeed, it is the church's vocation both to dress wounds and to redress wrongs." Reparations are the first book that I read with my Supernote A5X and its digest feature. It allows me to highlight text and take digital notes and export them. I made 91 notes or highlights, and you can see a PDF of them here.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Sheth

    Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Repair offers some critical insight into the history of racism and white supremacy while offering solutions rooted in Scripture and the Christian tradition. However, the author's theological paradigms of the Church's mission are fundamentally flawed and weaken the Church and its spirituality. The authors fail to implicate the Christian in public policy based on their civil citizenship and resort to turning the Church into a civil institution with Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Repair offers some critical insight into the history of racism and white supremacy while offering solutions rooted in Scripture and the Christian tradition. However, the author's theological paradigms of the Church's mission are fundamentally flawed and weaken the Church and its spirituality. The authors fail to implicate the Christian in public policy based on their civil citizenship and resort to turning the Church into a civil institution with the responsibility of fixing the world (p. 17). The authors spend almost half of the book walking through a historical account of racism and white supremacy in the United States. While this is important, it does not strengthen the book's thesis as a historical and theological call for reparations. Other Christian and secular authors have already provided this history and in more detail. Some might object that the historical account strengthens the thesis that racism and white supremacy are "a cultural order" within which we live, but without a clear definition of a cultural order or even culture at all, a historical account does nothing to strengthen the main ideas (p. 4). The book also seems to ignore precisely how this persists as a cultural order today. Statistics centered around the number of black Americans in jail are not enough to argue that this is a pervasive and enduring cultural order today (p. 26). Within this arbitrarily defined cultural order of white supremacy, the Church lives and moves and has its being. And according to the authors, it's the Church's responsibility to "engage culture, transform cities, and bring the kingdom of God" (p. 6). It's easy to gloss over that line, but it is pregnant with a view of the Church that is foreign to Scripture and damaging to the Church's mission. One can see the heart of this paradigm when the authors go so far as to call the Church a "civil organization" differing from the federal government only in size and resources (p. 11). We should be clear, the end of a civil institution is civil, and the end of a spiritual institution is spiritual. God does not design means that lead to different ends. The end of the Church is eschatological glory. The end of civil institutions is preserving the world until the Judgment. The bright spot of this book is the chapter on restitution in the Christian tradition. Removed from redefining the Church as a political arm and a cultural order of white supremacy that somehow permeates all of society, this chapter made a clear case for restitution, not only at the individual level but in circumstances where the individuals are deceased, or the heirs are unidentifiable (p. 127). The authors attempt to broadly apply the Mosaic law under the phrase "If you steal something, give it back" (p. 122). Still, it would've been more helpful to see the Mosaic law as a culturally specific natural law appropriation. On that basis, the authors could've easily claimed that these are broader moral ideas that are merely codified in the Mosaic economy. Concerning restitution and restoration examples in the New Testament, the authors curiously give two examples from Scripture: Zacchaeus and the Good Samaritan. The authors do not show examples of the Church in the Old Testament or the New Testament giving restitution or some restorative act, as in the Good Samaritan case. Zacchaeus did this purely in response to receiving God's grace and mercy in the Gospel (p. 121). Nevertheless, this was an individual, not an institution. In the case of the Good Samaritan, this is even more complex. Did the Good Samaritan do this from a Christ-redeemed mind, or is the Good Samaritan a model of perfect obedience to the law? Since Christ uses this parable to illustrate that He is the true Good Samaritan, the latter seems more likely. This is only to say that this example does not make sense in the context of calling a spiritual institution to restitution. It's important to note that the authors mention Kuyper's Church Institution/Organism paradigm and acknowledge that Christians are responsible as citizens of a common kingdom with unbelievers (p. 87). But they see this as an addition to calling the Church as a spiritual institution to the task. That leaves us with the following question: If Christians should advocate for restitution and reparations as common citizens, why does the Church as an institution need to be involved? The Church ought to seek after a better country, whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:14, 10). That's not to say that the Church doesn't engage with sin, even corporate sin. It may even be the case that Church's that have held slaves or participated in slavery should engage in the work of restitution and restoration. But to draw this out to engaging every church in social work and public policy is distracting and weakens the spiritual mission of the Church. The most helpful and theologically informed chapters of this book were on restitution and restoration in the Christian tradition. It would've been more valuable and conducive to expand the latter half of the book and drop the initial chapters. While it's understandable that these initial chapters illustrate that racism and white supremacy are a cultural order, without defining what a cultural order is and how it works, historical accounts are not enough to prove this claim. To that end, reparations may be the answer. But this book does not verify or bolster the thesis in the civil sphere for Christians.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Mindemann

    I agree with Kevin DeYoung when he says: “If readers have only viewed American history with rose-colored glasses, they will be helped to see the uncomfortable truth that racism in America has been far too pervasive and that the White church—with some noble exceptions mentioned in the book—has far too often been part of the problem instead of the solution. The authors have plenty of criticism for White Americans and for the White church in America, but they want to persuade not merely scold. To th I agree with Kevin DeYoung when he says: “If readers have only viewed American history with rose-colored glasses, they will be helped to see the uncomfortable truth that racism in America has been far too pervasive and that the White church—with some noble exceptions mentioned in the book—has far too often been part of the problem instead of the solution. The authors have plenty of criticism for White Americans and for the White church in America, but they want to persuade not merely scold. To that end, they have put forward the most compact and most learned Christian defense of reparations to date. Well written and thoughtfully presented, this is an important book that deserves to be taken seriously.” It is a worthwhile read and long overdue.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Charlton II

    What an incredible book. Super interesting argument for reparations for those who have been oppressed. They take the perspective that believes that systemic racism rather than is an injustice it is an imbalance that we need to recalibrate. I especially found it interesting that they used the story of Zacchaeus to argue this. Also love the last chapter that is more practical on how to participate in reparations.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Steve LaMotte

    This book was a challenging read as I continue to address the individualistic and systemic racism that exist in America- and that I’ve benefited from. Reading other books on the history of racism in America “Marked from the Beginning” (Kandi) or “The Color of Complicity” (Tisby) before reading this book. Keon and Thompson do an excellent job of laying out a Biblical foundation and call for reparations, including but not limited to the story of Zacheus and The Good Samaritan. Also the emphasis on This book was a challenging read as I continue to address the individualistic and systemic racism that exist in America- and that I’ve benefited from. Reading other books on the history of racism in America “Marked from the Beginning” (Kandi) or “The Color of Complicity” (Tisby) before reading this book. Keon and Thompson do an excellent job of laying out a Biblical foundation and call for reparations, including but not limited to the story of Zacheus and The Good Samaritan. Also the emphasis on justice and reconciliation throughout the scriptures. The authors do not offer a system or plan of reparations but help the reader think through some of the issues and some possible ways to begin working towards reparations. Highly recommended

  8. 4 out of 5

    Barry

    This book forcefully compels the church to recognize the painful truths regarding its participation and complicity with the harmful ideology of white supremacy, but overall this wasn’t as helpful as I hoped it would be. The authors make a solid moral case that restitution for theft is proper and biblically mandated, and that slavery was a massive theft on many levels. I also appreciate that the authors make their arguments (mostly) using scripture itself, rather than through the tedious power pl This book forcefully compels the church to recognize the painful truths regarding its participation and complicity with the harmful ideology of white supremacy, but overall this wasn’t as helpful as I hoped it would be. The authors make a solid moral case that restitution for theft is proper and biblically mandated, and that slavery was a massive theft on many levels. I also appreciate that the authors make their arguments (mostly) using scripture itself, rather than through the tedious power plays of Critical Race Theory. When it comes to figuring out how to actually do reparations it is probably the details of wealth transfer that will always be the sticking point. But here their recommendations get a bit squishy. I’m not sure where this movement will end up. I’ve already been persuaded that reparations are necessary and appropriate for the more recent offenses of Jim Crow laws, segregated schools and redlining. Reparations for slavery itself is more tricky for a host of reasons. Nevertheless, the movement toward reparations will almost certainly create a snowball effect. As more people become convinced that reparations are necessary to heal the racial strife in our country, the more necessary they actually become. Kevin DeYoung wrote a thoughtful critique of this book that is well worth reading: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/bl... Thabiti Anyabwile also wrote a good (and more positive) review: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/bl...

  9. 5 out of 5

    David

    Best and most important book I've read all year. Thoroughly convincing, clear, and imaginative. They consistently center the voices of Black thinkers/writers - essential for a book on this topic - and offer a compelling vision for an alternative social engagement for the church in America. This is a tour-de-force I will be returning to it soon. Their main thesis: white supremacy has participated in the theft of truth, power, and wealth of Black Americans. And American Christians are responsible f Best and most important book I've read all year. Thoroughly convincing, clear, and imaginative. They consistently center the voices of Black thinkers/writers - essential for a book on this topic - and offer a compelling vision for an alternative social engagement for the church in America. This is a tour-de-force I will be returning to it soon. Their main thesis: white supremacy has participated in the theft of truth, power, and wealth of Black Americans. And American Christians are responsible for, accomplice to, and silent bystanders of this theft. As such, they are required to work for its repair. They start by walking through the history of white supremacy in the US (good but I'd supplement with works like "Stamped from the Beginning" and "Color of Compromise"), then move to Biblical exegesis of the requirement of repair in the life of the Christian. This is where they shine. They close with building a framework for what this repair might look like—largely theoretical over prescriptive. I'd recommend this to every American Christian, but especially those grappling with what it means to bear responsibility for and repair the harms of racism, even when you may feel as though you haven't "participated" in them personally. If this book were read by even 10% of American Christians, it would fundamentally reshape this nation. May it be so.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jackson Ford

    Kwon and Thompson lean into the depth of Reconciliation and restoration that most Christians have a hard time comprehending, yet is biblically necessary. With grace and precision, the journey these shepherds guide the readers on is historical, logical, biblical, theological, sensitive, and communal. They illumine the profound imperatives of thinking beyond a merely “individualistic-relational” paradigm into the long lasting legal and economic dimensions of race in America. This is a great book f Kwon and Thompson lean into the depth of Reconciliation and restoration that most Christians have a hard time comprehending, yet is biblically necessary. With grace and precision, the journey these shepherds guide the readers on is historical, logical, biblical, theological, sensitive, and communal. They illumine the profound imperatives of thinking beyond a merely “individualistic-relational” paradigm into the long lasting legal and economic dimensions of race in America. This is a great book for people who are not brand new to the conversation of “Race and Christianity” to metabolize on their own, but could also be used as a study facilitated by companions for those who are new. IMO, for every copy of “Fault Lines” by V.B. that was purchased by rich white people and distributed to the masses for free out of fear, there should be a copy of this book lovingly placed in the hands of pastors, friends, and family, by people who desire to walk on a journey of restoration with their brothers and sisters in Christ.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Accessible, scripturally rooted. Will be a helpful resource to start needed convos.

  12. 4 out of 5

    David

    Reparations is something that I have never really known what to do with. I've heard the concept and largely found it uncomfortable. Seeing this book fueled my curiosity. Is their a Christian argument in favor of reparations? The authors not only say yes. But they believe that the church should be at the forefront of repairing the racial issues in our country. The chapters that explained the biblical and christian roots of reparations are worth the price of the book. This is impeccably written an Reparations is something that I have never really known what to do with. I've heard the concept and largely found it uncomfortable. Seeing this book fueled my curiosity. Is their a Christian argument in favor of reparations? The authors not only say yes. But they believe that the church should be at the forefront of repairing the racial issues in our country. The chapters that explained the biblical and christian roots of reparations are worth the price of the book. This is impeccably written and very timely. Plenty will get angry and disagree from the title alone, but their work will not be easily dismissed. This is an important work that any Christian writing about reparations will be forced to acknowledge and wrestle with.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Howard Davis

    A Call for Christians to Actually Live Out the Story of the Good Samaritan in Following Our Savior This is one of the most difficult, most important, and most helpful books that I have read all year. I commend Duke Kwon and Greg Thompson for courageously talking about some of the most difficult, controversial, and important issues in our culture today by looking at the issues of racism, white supremacy, and restorative justice, considering what role has the church played in the issues throughout A Call for Christians to Actually Live Out the Story of the Good Samaritan in Following Our Savior This is one of the most difficult, most important, and most helpful books that I have read all year. I commend Duke Kwon and Greg Thompson for courageously talking about some of the most difficult, controversial, and important issues in our culture today by looking at the issues of racism, white supremacy, and restorative justice, considering what role has the church played in the issues throughout the history of our country, and reflecting on how the Scriptures call us as believers to respond to these issues. The authors have done a phenomenal job of researching to present a moving, accurate, and well-documented history of and theological response to these issues. Whether or not you end up agreeing with their final conclusion, this is a book that all Christians who have a heart for living for Christ need to read if they are to healthily respond to the racial divide and inequities that exist today. The book starts out with a revealing and compelling letter from a former slave writing in 1865 to his former slaveowner who is wanting him to come back to work for him, laying out the harm that has taken place and what sort of actions would genuinely speak of a desire for reconciliation (to really be inviting him back). Ch 1 calls us as readers, and especially as believers, to see the problems of racism throughout the history of our country. Ch 2 & 3 unpack this problem and lay out one of the clearest pictures of what White Supremacy and one of the most compelling cases of why White Supremacy is truly a problem for the American church both in the past with continuing effects for the present day. Ch 4 offers a call for believers to own and to address the effects of these problems in response both to what the Bible teaches in the Old and New Testaments and to the model that Jesus gave us in redeeming us through His life and death. Ch 5 looks at the Ethics of Restitution, especially from Luke 19 and the story of Zaccheaus. This chapter lacked the connections needed to create a compelling case for reparations as a function of restitution involving those not directly committing the offense. Ch 6 looks at the Ethics of Restoration through the story of the Good Samaritan. This chapter is one of the strongest, as it presents a compelling case that we need to own the care of those who have been plundered and beaten up by racism and white supremacy if we are to own the mission of our Savior and to truly live as His people. If we do not, we are the very ones that Jesus was seeking to rebuke, as “Jesus’s purpose was to expose how bigotry treats certain plundered neighbors as unworthy of restorative love.” Finally the authors in Ch 7 issue a call to repair, calling for reparations and looking at what African Americans have said regarding the need for reparations and its importance if reconciliation and healthy race relations are going to be able to move forward. In the end, I’m not sure that this book makes the sort of persuasive, compelling case in order to move skeptics towards embracing reparations. But I believe that this book does something more important...it calls for the Church and Christians to see that racism and white supremacy exists and that they are a HUGE problem, it calls us to see our African American brothers and sisters and to be moved to genuine compassion and love towards them in light of the injustices that they have and continue to live under, and it calls us to care and to act to help these brothers and sisters to be restored in light of a Savior who has come to make right what is wrong and even to reconcile us to the Father by paying a price He didn’t even owe that we might be restored and healed and to create a people with that same heart for those who are needy and who have been wronged. Reading this book made me care more about my black brothers and sisters, see and feel more clearly the great racial injustices that have taken place in our country and often by the church, and to reflect on and moved to act to address the inequities that I see in my local community as a function of representing the Good Samaritan (Jesus) better through my life. (I received a free digital copy of this work in exchange for this my honest review of the book.)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Zach Lockhart

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I grew up in the Charlottesville congregation led by coauthor Greg Thompson. The content within this book is striking, but not surprising to anyone who is familiar with Greg’s Critical Race Theory (CRT) worldview. I would not discourage anyone from reading this book; however, read it with caution. Kwon and Thompson will attempt to stir your feelings in the hope that you adopt their theology. Instead, I urge you to appeal to the authority and sufficiency of the Holy Bible. My major concerns with I grew up in the Charlottesville congregation led by coauthor Greg Thompson. The content within this book is striking, but not surprising to anyone who is familiar with Greg’s Critical Race Theory (CRT) worldview. I would not discourage anyone from reading this book; however, read it with caution. Kwon and Thompson will attempt to stir your feelings in the hope that you adopt their theology. Instead, I urge you to appeal to the authority and sufficiency of the Holy Bible. My major concerns with Reparations are detailed as follows: The book begins with the authors commending a passive-aggressive letter written by a former slave to his former master. The former slave is correct in rebuking his former master for his mistreatment. However, his demands for repayment during the time in which he worked as a slave hold zero biblical merit. The former slave appeals to reparations as a means of forgiveness (once the master pays the debts, the slave can forgive him). Herein lies the presuppositional flaw of the entire book: “You can’t make sin go away by making people pay something other than the blood of Jesus” –Douglas Wilson. Of course Christians should pursue justice, but ultimate justice is found in the love of Jesus Christ. An attitude of anger, bitterness, and vengeance—not love—lays the foundations of the entire reparations thesis. Regardless of one’s view on the matter of the former slave and former master, the reality is that this conflict only exists between those two, not you and I. The simple truth is that we cannot repent of our fathers’ sins. Made clear by Ezekiel 18, “The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” A man is not guilty of his fathers’ sins if he does not continue in them. Does America have a sinful past? Yes. Are Americans sinful now? Yes. The American history foretold in this book is one-sided, but it’s not entirely wrong. What is wrong is the cultural analysis and normative statements about where we, as a country and as Christians, go from here. To start, the authors state, “The best way to understand the cultural order of racism is through the lenses of white supremacy.” By their own words, they overlook and undermine the sufficiency of God’s Word. The first chapter continues to state, “...personal repentance, relational reconciliation, and institutional reform, though important, are not enough and indeed can never be enough to overcome its [racism’s] power. Because racism is a comprehensively broken culture, what is needed if we are to truly heal is comprehensive cultural repair.” Quite simply, the authors do not look to the fullness of Christ’s atonement. To them, the propitiating sacrifice of Jesus is not a sufficient solution to man’s problems. In chapter 5, the authors attempt to draw biblical conclusions about restitution, however their argument for repentance and restitution is based on supposed institutional sins and sins of forefathers. They identify that heirs are to receive restitution if the wronged party has deceased and that descendants of the guilty are to make restitution if the transgressor has passed. They quote Baxter to defend this, however, where is this biblically? How do we reconcile it with Ezekiel 18, especially when considering sins that occurred four, five, or six generations in the past? Additionally, they misrepresent Baxter’s view on the matter, who was not implying that descendants must repay the debts of their great-great-great-great-grandfathers’ (with each of us having 64 fourth-great-grandparents, how can we possibly begin to determine who owes who and how much?) As part of analyzing the aim of reparations, the book devotes a good amount of time towards the equality of outcomes which undermines The Parable of the Talents. In order to justify this, the authors generalize, broaden, extend, and complicate the definition of “theft.” The idea is that I (a white man) have somehow innately stolen from my neighbor (a black man); however, what it is that I have personally taken is unidentifiable. And who knows, maybe his father stole directly from mine. Now who owes who, what, and how much? The entire concept is merely speculative. The “theft” that white Americans are guilty of is, nevertheless, broadly defined by Kwon and Thompson. Primarily, it is the establishment of slavery—which ceased 159 years ago. This highlights another significant point where the authors differ from the biblical narrative. In chapter 4, Kwon and Thompson discuss the ownership of slaves, particularly by American Christians and ministers. They quote abolitionist John Fee to make the point that 1.) Christians are forbidden from slave ownership and 2.) unrepentant slaveholders are forbidden from church membership. How does one reconcile this with Paul’s letter to Philemon? Paul does not rebuke Philemon for his ownership of the slave, Onesimus. In fact, Paul not only affirms Philemon’s ownership of Onesimus, but Paul actually returns Onesimus to his master. Paul encourages Philemon to recognize Onesimus’s freedom—but primarily his freedom in Christ (v. 16). When harmonized with passages such as Ephesians 6:5-9 or Colossians 3:22-4:1, an interpretive challenge arises when trying to determine exactly what Paul asks of Philemon. Paul is likely asking for, but not necessarily commanding, the release of Onesimus. At the very least, Paul requires Philemon to recognize Onesimus as a brother in Christ in the event he remains a slave. One thing is clear, though. Philemon is not admonished for slaveholding. To bolster the point that Philemon is guilty of no sin for owning Onesimus, Paul states that he will repay any debts to Philemon if Onesimus has wronged him in any way (v. 18). Yes, in this case restitution is credited to the master... The truth is, the Bible never condemns slaveholding. Surely the slave trade itself is condemned (Ex. 21:16, Deut. 24:27), however it is possible for a righteous man of God to own slaves if he lives in a society that allows it. This is not an advocation for slavery as a positive good, rather an accommodation for it (see Nettles’ chapter in By What Standard). This notion can be challenging for the 21st century American, but that is okay. The Bible has never been a politically correct book and, “Christians who apologize for what the Bible teaches on slavery will soon be apologizing for what it teaches on marriage” (Wilson, Black & Tan, 14). So the question needs to be answered: are Kwon and Thompson asking white Christians to pay restitution for “transgressions” of the distant past that are not even sinful according to the Bible? The book’s epilogue restates, “We believe that the racial healing so desperately needed in our nation, in white and black communities, will not be found merely in personal repentance, relational reconciliation, or institutional reform, but in the work of reparations.” The real shame of the book is not its theological weakness for theology’s sake alone. Rather, the disheartening fact is that it turns readers’ eyes away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It does not pursue the peace already bought by the blood of Christ and it does not contribute towards advancing the kingdom of God through the saving of souls. Instead, it seeks the follies of man for solutions that mankind cannot provide. I want to be clear; we can all loudly proclaim that racism is the evil sin of partiality, but reparations is not the answer to racism of the past nor will it fix the socioeconomic disparities and social tensions that exist today. In fact, such a solution undermines the person and work of Jesus Christ. It says, “the blood of Christ can pay for this, but not that.” It qualifies partiality as some sort of unique sin not covered by the cross. Moreover, the effect of embracing CRT by the church inhibits the church itself from fulfilling its Great Commission duty. Because CRT implies an everlasting struggle for power, the majority (assuming they hold power by establishing hegemony) will always be the oppressors. It removes the eschatological hope of “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” A physical kingdom of Christ on earth will always be oppressive through the lenses of CRT. For these reasons, the message of this book stands in clear opposition to the Bible and Christians must reject its theology which is already plaguing churches and seminaries. The only biblical solution to racial tensions is far simpler and much greater than this book suggests. It is the Good News of the crucified and risen Christ Jesus alone. Go ahead and read the book. However, I would also recommend the following related works which, unlike Reparations, use the Holy Bible as a foundation: By What Standard (Founders Ministries), Black & Tan (Wilson), and Fault Lines (Baucham).

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mike E.

    Emphasis & debate on the topic of reparations according to Scripture is needed and more than super-worthy of a widely-read book. I highly recommend reading this article: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/bl... Emphasis & debate on the topic of reparations according to Scripture is needed and more than super-worthy of a widely-read book. I highly recommend reading this article: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/bl...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Song

    Theologically robust, historically researched, and a book that takes great care to both define the sin and offer a philosophy of a pathway forward. There are those who are quick to try and dismiss the arguments made by stating that the book lacks a Gospel-based teleological end, or presume the book is merely about promoting unqualified ubiquitous "white guilt" to its readers. To do so is gravely missing the point the book is trying to make. The book isn't promoting an earthly Kingdom in replaceme Theologically robust, historically researched, and a book that takes great care to both define the sin and offer a philosophy of a pathway forward. There are those who are quick to try and dismiss the arguments made by stating that the book lacks a Gospel-based teleological end, or presume the book is merely about promoting unqualified ubiquitous "white guilt" to its readers. To do so is gravely missing the point the book is trying to make. The book isn't promoting an earthly Kingdom in replacement of a heavenly one, and to cast that assumption would be to read something that Kwon and Thompson did not say. Rather, the book is applying a theological truth to the current context surrounding the conversation of restitution and repair, and asking for its readers, congregations, and churches to consider the implications of what this could look like in the place where God has rooted them. It is asking for an honest reflection towards the communities and cities that have been and continue to be ravaged by the sins of America's past and the church's willingness to come alongside those injustices. Particularly for Reformed Christians, the book's emphasis on repentance should remind us of First and Second Adam language rather than for Christians to try and deflect these issues to mere individual responsibility. If we accept corporate sin(first Adam) and corporate redemption(Second Adam) as a narrative of anthropology, then surely this cannot mean that there are no societal implications for today in these concepts in the conversation surrounding race. Theology and Doxology are all intertwined into the everyday. If Christians are asking for Kwon and Thompson to define the end of sanctification in the discussion of racial reconciliation (ie "when is enough enough"), then I fear they are placing an expectation that they do not consistently apply when it comes to the mortification of sin in other areas of their life. But if the Christian is to read this as a challenge to progressive sanctification to consider how we can love God and neighbor better, then this book is worth your time to challenge your assumptions and dive deeper into the good work of the Good Samaritan that we are all called to participate in.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Luke

    This is a comprehensive yet brief introduction to the idea of what it means for Christ-followers and the Church at large to engage in restorative redress of past wrongs, specifically in the context of American anti-black racism. This includes the ideas of repairing truth, wealth, and power in what they describe as the cultural theft of white supremacy. I was struck by its overall brevity and its depth. I have also read the subsequent review by Kevin DeYoung and the response from the authors (Kwo This is a comprehensive yet brief introduction to the idea of what it means for Christ-followers and the Church at large to engage in restorative redress of past wrongs, specifically in the context of American anti-black racism. This includes the ideas of repairing truth, wealth, and power in what they describe as the cultural theft of white supremacy. I was struck by its overall brevity and its depth. I have also read the subsequent review by Kevin DeYoung and the response from the authors (Kwon and Thompson). I am intrigued by both the review and the response, which is why I want to reflect on it more here. After completing the book, I see aspects of DeYoung's criticism and am open to discuss ways the authors could have framed their solutions, particularly at the end of the book, in light of the larger metanarrative of the Bible. I think this would be helpful to readers who hold a particularly high view of scripture. Moreover, doing so would have added to an already good and thorough examination of the theological foundation of reparations while also drawing from helpful insights from Church history and tradition. Kwon and Thompson's examination of reparations in light of the Christian tradition (including Scripture) is the key strength of this book. However, Kwon and Thompson's response has significant merit. It is worth examining DeYoung's theological critique in light of the very institutions, systems, and history by which it shaped and formed his own thinking. To DeYoung's credit, this is something we all need to do as we critically examine a work like this. We need to have healthy skepticism of our own view of reality, which points us toward the necessary humility to engage in any work or relationship. However, examining the ways in which we are shaped by the culture around us (especially in Christian communities) is worth noting for the sake of advancing toward a robust and complex theology of reparations that I would agree (with Kwon and Thompson) is something Christ followers should recall as part of their core mission. I agree with Kwon and Thompson that the Church is uniquely positioned to honestly and robustly engage reparations. If Christ-followers embraced this collectively, I think it would bear powerful witness to a culture who generally distrusts us, often for good reason.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelton Zacharias

    I started this book thinking it would be primarily about the "how" of reparations - but I am thankful that instead, it spent so much more time on "why" Christians should be involved in the work of reparations. The meat of the book is devoted to showing that we should understand the history of African Americans in terms of theft - the theft of persons, wealth, and truth. The authors then show how the Bible calls Christians to the loving acts of restitution and repair in the wake of theft, even wh I started this book thinking it would be primarily about the "how" of reparations - but I am thankful that instead, it spent so much more time on "why" Christians should be involved in the work of reparations. The meat of the book is devoted to showing that we should understand the history of African Americans in terms of theft - the theft of persons, wealth, and truth. The authors then show how the Bible calls Christians to the loving acts of restitution and repair in the wake of theft, even when we are not personally culpable. One of the great strengths of the book is how often the authors recognize how complex this topic is - they even begin with a survey of objections they've heard! In a world that too often engages in overstatement, I appreciated the irenic and balanced tone of the book. Christians will disagree about how to repair the damage of racism, but Duke and Gregory have written an articulate defense of why we must repair. Overall, this book is a helpful primer to the Biblical and historical Christian position on more than just repentance, reconciliation, and reform - but repair.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dara (Dara Reads OK)

    ARC/NetGalley If you can get through the text of the catechism that some enslaved people were required to memorize and not immediately understand the need for Christian accountability for our sins against Black Americans then I really don’t know how to convince you. Fortunately Duke Kwon and Gregory L. Thompson have written an entire book on the subject. Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Repair is accessible and convicting. I encourage every Christian to read it with an open mind. ARC/NetGalley If you can get through the text of the catechism that some enslaved people were required to memorize and not immediately understand the need for Christian accountability for our sins against Black Americans then I really don’t know how to convince you. Fortunately Duke Kwon and Gregory L. Thompson have written an entire book on the subject. Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Repair is accessible and convicting. I encourage every Christian to read it with an open mind. While we should advocate for movement from our national government we also don’t have to wait to do what’s right.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Erin Byrne

    Definitely oriented towards a more conservative audience, which makes it impressive that they make the jump from "racism exists" to "reparations are necessary." Very well researched and cited though. Definitely oriented towards a more conservative audience, which makes it impressive that they make the jump from "racism exists" to "reparations are necessary." Very well researched and cited though.

  21. 5 out of 5

    HCC

    Have been listening to Kwon and Thompson for years now. Glad their voices are now in print on this subject. Book is through in many ways, especially in its historical theology.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mike Salvatierra

    This book. Absolutely necessary reading. A thorough and heartfelt argument for why the church is uniquely called and equipped to love our neighbors, by repairing what has been stolen from the African American community throughout our country's history. It's a straightforward idea, really, with biblical and historical precedent. I can't think of a more important book for the church right now. Also very helpful to read Kevin DeYoung's critique, and then Duke and Greg's response. This book. Absolutely necessary reading. A thorough and heartfelt argument for why the church is uniquely called and equipped to love our neighbors, by repairing what has been stolen from the African American community throughout our country's history. It's a straightforward idea, really, with biblical and historical precedent. I can't think of a more important book for the church right now. Also very helpful to read Kevin DeYoung's critique, and then Duke and Greg's response.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Evan Kerr

    Solid. Scholastically rigorous and particularly worshipful. God, the ultimate benefactor of reparations: our own eternal lives lived with him at the cost of the Son's suffering. Solid. Scholastically rigorous and particularly worshipful. God, the ultimate benefactor of reparations: our own eternal lives lived with him at the cost of the Son's suffering.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    This book provides an unassailable argument for why American Christians (especially White Christians) need to be involved in the work of reparations. Going point-by-point through each argument, using biblical examples and writings from 500 years of Christian teaching on the subject, Kwon and Thompson emphasize that reparations is not for “woke” Christians or only for those who have direct connections to slavery; rather, it is VITAL to our worship that if we have robbed others, inherited robbed w This book provides an unassailable argument for why American Christians (especially White Christians) need to be involved in the work of reparations. Going point-by-point through each argument, using biblical examples and writings from 500 years of Christian teaching on the subject, Kwon and Thompson emphasize that reparations is not for “woke” Christians or only for those who have direct connections to slavery; rather, it is VITAL to our worship that if we have robbed others, inherited robbed wealth, or even pass someone who was robbed (the man rescued by the Good Samaritan), we must restore that wealth and make it right. The sanctity and witness of the White evangelical church rests on how we respond to this call.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Miller

    After reading the review by Kevin DeYoung as well as the authors' responses, I thought I should read the book in order to have a more well-formed opinion on the subject/debate. In hindsight, I wish I had reversed the order and read the book first as it's impossible not to be influence by another's opinion. That being true, I will still attempt to offer my opinion. It's not without bias, but nothing is. First, what I liked about the book: the modern church needs a history lesson. I'll speak for my After reading the review by Kevin DeYoung as well as the authors' responses, I thought I should read the book in order to have a more well-formed opinion on the subject/debate. In hindsight, I wish I had reversed the order and read the book first as it's impossible not to be influence by another's opinion. That being true, I will still attempt to offer my opinion. It's not without bias, but nothing is. First, what I liked about the book: the modern church needs a history lesson. I'll speak for myself and say I do not know enough of the history of racial oppression and suppression. These horrific stories are a call to both lament and learn, and this is precisely where the "white church" needs to listen and learn from the "black church". I use quotes because I realize we are all part of the one true Church and, yet, also recognize that Sunday mornings are one of the most racially segregated encounters of our week. Now, on to the meat of the argument of the book, and one with which I have disagreement. It is true that Christians cannot only be concerned with individual and personal sin and repentance - we can and do sin corporately, and the past sins of the church are numerous regarding race relations. The authors are trying to make the case that these past sins require present day restitution (i.e. Zacchaeus). How they get from A, historical racial injustices, to B, present day reparations are owed is my biggest issue with the book. I emphasize owed because the claim is not just that the church is called to engage in ministries of love and mercy to the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized, but, rather, actual monetary payments (and, yes, more than money) are owed from the church to the black community as a restitution for past sins. The book claims this is required to remain faithful to biblical teaching. The authors use, as a central text, the story of Zacchaeus. However, the dissimilarities between his sin, salvation, and restitution and the history of the church regarding racial issues are significant. I do not believe their direct application of this text to be an appropriate exegesis. Zacchaeus stole from individuals to whom he owed personal monetary recompense, and exactly how that applies to the present day church is not demonstrated. The authors failed to detail which sins precisely should be paid for and in what manner that debt should be paid. This is left to individual communities. Precisely what is being paid for and by whom and in what manner are no trivial matters. They are central to the argument. Communities are incredibly fluid across time. My community today is not the same as it was in 1860 or 1930 or 1965. The churches aren't the same, the families aren't the same, the governmental structures aren't the same. It is not merely the passage of time and generations that complicate the idea of reparations, but, also, the ever changing structure of the very communities Kwon and Thompson are trying to hold accountable. Additionally, the they employ the story of the Good Samaritan. If the argument would have been to call the church to show love and mercy, then I'm all on board. But, the passage does not call for reparations. It's simply not there. The Samaritan in no way had sinned against the robbed and beaten man. Neighborly love and mercy were called for and given, but reparations could have only come from those individuals who engaged in robbing and beating. If reparations is taken to mean something beyond a repayment for past sin (i.e. love and mercy in general) then the authors are engaging in confounding word games and are in no way advancing the cause of racial reconciliation. Another issue I have with the book is the heavy handed, all encompassing, poorly defined use of the term white supremacy. It's modern day pervasive presence is asserted and assumed merely by the existence of racial inequalities in areas such as wealth, power, education, and criminality. Each one of these topics is a complex area of inquiry requiring careful analysis. The authors wildly and blindly swing their hammer of white supremacy at all the nails of modern social issues. It's just way too easy for such deep and intricate problems. I'm willing to allow for the vestiges and even continuation of racism to account for a portion racial inequalities. What about other factors apart from racism - family dynamics, education prioritization, personal choices, cultural pressures, and governmental enabling? How much do each of these factor into the disparate outcomes by race? How do they look in other "non-white" communities? Can it all be traced to white supremacy? The book's claims of pervasive, present day white supremacy are merely asserted and not demonstrated in any meaningful way. Further, if white supremacy is a continuing problem that's woven into the fabric of society, including the church, the discussion should primarily be about how the church owes reparations for its ongoing present day sins and not those of the past. If I steal from my neighbor today it's of much more significance to me than if my great grandfather stole from his neighbor last century. The truth is the authors' use of the term "white supremacy" turns it into a ghost. They're chasing something they can never pin down yet is claimed to be everywhere, and it does an injustice to all those truly hurt by actual, demonstrable racism and oppression. This is not a review of the authors' response to DeYoung's review, but I can't help but include something I believe is telling in their first article. They offhandedly dismiss DeYoung's use of quotes by Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. as "ill-advised, because he enlists them in the service of a theological and cultural project that they explicitly and repeatedly disavow". The hubris of their beliefs about their own position as being totally aligned with those of historical figures is striking. Without stating it explicitly, they are making a "right side of history" type of argument that is both arrogant and condescending, and, in essence, are lumping DeYoung in with the pastors who endorsed slavery and forced segregation. In summary, I believe we do need a better way forward as a church regarding race relations. The work is not finished and the mountain to climb is both high and treacherous. However, I don't believe the solutions offered in Reparations are biblically warranted or beneficial, rather, they would hinder us in our long and arduous climb.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    For White evangelicals in particular, this book is a powerful and challenging introduction to the biblical concept of reparations. Ultimately, this book is about opening our eyes to see the ways in which White supremacy has damaged our world and the biblical call to repair what’s been broken. I look forward to the effects this book will have on the White church. I give this book five stars for its impact on my heart and mind.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    This is tough...as most conversations about racism and white supremacy are. On one hand, the book provides some very unique history and excellent touch points about these ideas, drawing new lines between the church and its call to respond to the injustices of the culture in which we live, inside and outside of our walls. On the other hand, it's not so easy, as anyone paying attention to the authors' actual suggestions will understand. The authors point out that what we need is for those of us who This is tough...as most conversations about racism and white supremacy are. On one hand, the book provides some very unique history and excellent touch points about these ideas, drawing new lines between the church and its call to respond to the injustices of the culture in which we live, inside and outside of our walls. On the other hand, it's not so easy, as anyone paying attention to the authors' actual suggestions will understand. The authors point out that what we need is for those of us who have benefited from a culture of white supremacy to start paying back what is not rightfully ours. The challenge is that the only reason we have it to pay back is because we still live in a culture of white supremacy. If we did not, we could not afford to pay our debt. The authors talk about how we have to make room in our white churches for black voices; we have to have a place at our tables for our black brothers and sisters to add their wisdom to our knowledge. But here again, it is assumed that we are the ones with the tables to set. The authors talk about how, when we provide resources to the black community, we have to do it in a way that empowers and encourages them to become the stewards of our offering; we can't micromanage it - we have to let them decide its best use and put it to work for the needs they are able to identify in their communities. The problems here? We are still giving, out of our white supremacy, the resources, and we are still talking about "we" and "their" communities. The trouble, then, with reparations is that reparations itself depends upon white supremacy in order to even be possible. And I...I just have higher aspirations for the church. I believe the church can do BETTER than reparations. I believe the church is called to do better than this. I believe the church is called to step outside of the box where white supremacy pretends to offer the solution to white supremacy by pretending to humble itself all the while depending upon its very institutions to be able to create the illusion of breaking down its own walls. I believe we can't, in the church, start with an "us" and a "them" and try to play some kind of hero in bridging the gap or setting things right; I believe we have to start with "Him," and I think that at this point in our history and in our cultural framework, it's something we have to build from the ground up. We can't just shift pieces around and think that somehow, we're going to get there. If the structures, the foundations, underneath of us are already so skewed, then they are not something that we can stand on to do the hard work that we are called to when it comes to matters of racism (or sexism or genderism or ageism or classism or whatever). It's easier said than done, of course, for the church - like culture around it - has always had its insiders and outsiders. But if we are citizens of heaven FIRST.... To be fair, the authors do touch on this idea a few times, but they end up circling back away from it rather quickly each time, falling back into the options that our current framework provides us. The conversation is an important one, and this book is an excellent conversation starter. It's much needed. And it's also a good, pointed but somehow gentle, guide for those who don't know how to even enter the dialogue (or perhaps don't think that they need to). It's definitely worth the read, as long as we remember it's only a start and only from where we are. If we ever want to truly tackle these troubles, much, much more is needed. (I received a free digital copy of this work in exchange for my honest review, which is, clearly, my honest impression.)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jarrel

    A much-needed conversation to determine what reparations look like in the 21st century and beyond. And this book is written primarily for the Christian conscience because the adherent and reader have a written framework by which to guide them on the path of restitution and reconciliation. Now, this is not to say that other religions or worldviews, even, say, secular efforts cannot venture into the topic of reparations and come up with wholesome resolutions. What the authors intend to promote is A much-needed conversation to determine what reparations look like in the 21st century and beyond. And this book is written primarily for the Christian conscience because the adherent and reader have a written framework by which to guide them on the path of restitution and reconciliation. Now, this is not to say that other religions or worldviews, even, say, secular efforts cannot venture into the topic of reparations and come up with wholesome resolutions. What the authors intend to promote is the idea that the Christian conscience produced a society within the American west or perhaps the Americas in general that favored one race over all others. This conflation of faith or perhaps the misuse and distortion of faith with a supremacist ideology spawned the centuries of genocide we are still attempting to reconcile to this very day. What is troubling and also new to me is that reparation is not a monetary issue alone. We cannot give a monetary value that can reduce the amount of suffering experienced in the past nor can we pay people a one-time amount to do away with the compounding consequence and legacy of centuries of white supremacy. The authors identify the cultural, communal, personal, financial, emotional, and spiritual life-long commitment Christians must make to not only better our racial relations but also stand for the just cause of restitution. If we limit reparation or the repair of a dilapidated society to an economic layer alone we miss the point altogether. Reparation is not a hush-money payout. They're not giveaways. This effort is a conscious commitment to continual relationship repair and restoration between several communities who have for centuries been at odds and whose disparities must be amended by the very people who claim to hold the words of the Divine Creator. If the Christian conscience will not take on this task with a clean heart and a clear conscience, without bitterness or ill will, then someone else will with the aim of returning harm-for-harm and economic distress for the same. Mind you, this is also a call for the federal government to take on as well. It is not new nor is it impossible for the government to pay out reparations to the families of former slaves, native Americans, or the poor within the land because this same government paid reparations to former slaveowners through Abraham Lincoln's District of Columbia Emancipation Act. Reparations are doable but their success and fruition depend upon the tenderheartedness and gracefulness of regenerate minds and souls. Push for them, in Christ's name. Push.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Lara

    Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Repair by Duke L Kwon and Gregory Thompson is a call to the Church, in particular white Christians to be awakening to the legacy of racism in America. The public cry and conversations regarding the issues of racial division and inequalities have been in the forefront recently. The authors feel it is an overdue response. As Christianity has the view of reconciliation has its sole purpose but are at a loss as to offer a solution for their black neig Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Repair by Duke L Kwon and Gregory Thompson is a call to the Church, in particular white Christians to be awakening to the legacy of racism in America. The public cry and conversations regarding the issues of racial division and inequalities have been in the forefront recently. The authors feel it is an overdue response. As Christianity has the view of reconciliation has its sole purpose but are at a loss as to offer a solution for their black neighbors, the authors offer a new perspective on the Church’s responsibility for the deep racism at the heart of American culture and what it can do to repair that brokenness. The book’s main goal is to make a compelling historical and theological case for the Church’s obligation to provide reparations for the oppression of blacks. The authors focus on the church’s responsibility for its promotion and preservation of white supremacy throughout history, the Bible’s call for repair, and offer a vision for the work that needs to be done at the local level. Are they successful? For most of the book, the authors focus on how white supremacy was created in our system and the why it still persists. It wasn’t until about 57% into the book, do they talk about reparations. They focus more on community repair than just cutting a check and handing it over. They use the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 as the Samaritan chose to help the injured Jew in love with his eyes, his heart, his hands and his resources. The authors do their best to make a compelling case for reparations; however, at times I felt like they were talking in circles. And while they make a case that white churches need to share the wealth to help repair balck churches and communities and add black voices to the conversation, they don’t really offer how with specifics. They talk about the obstacles that white supremacy has created for the black community, again without saying specifically what the obstacles are, just ways they can be overcome. Overall, I recommend Reparations is a place to start the conversation. Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Repair is available in hardcover, eBook, and audiobook.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Kleven

    I've read a few books on the history of race and Christianity in America, and this is one of the best. As a historical survey, it dives deep into primary sources and the best of the secondary literature. As a biblical presentation, it digs deep into Old and New Testament texts and posits a robust biblical ethic; as a theological exploration, it digs deep into the Christian tradition (Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, others) and their rich reflections on the moral imperative to "repair." But most of a I've read a few books on the history of race and Christianity in America, and this is one of the best. As a historical survey, it dives deep into primary sources and the best of the secondary literature. As a biblical presentation, it digs deep into Old and New Testament texts and posits a robust biblical ethic; as a theological exploration, it digs deep into the Christian tradition (Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, others) and their rich reflections on the moral imperative to "repair." But most of all, as a present call to the, the book seeks to shape Christians to be a certain kind of people: more like the Good Samaritan, and less like the lawyer whose casuistry demanded the parable in response; more like Zacchaeus, and less like the Pharisees who "robbed widows houses" and quoted scripture in their defense. This book asks "How do we become people capable of and committed to the reparative work of love?" -- and then seeks to shape us into that kind of a people. A few other reflections: one, this book is so clearly written! Clear purpose, clear expectations, clear definitions. The clarity of thought and expression is refreshing. And thus, I feel a deep charity as well, mingled with the clarity. I feel cared for by Kwon and Thompson -- they've anticipated responses, acknowledged them, and tried to address their approach up front. No hiding, no prevaricating. The effect of White supremacy is theft: theft of truth, power, and wealth. This chapter is a thorough yet succinct summary of the history of the United States. The 6-page section starting with "The Theft of History" (p 77ff) is gold, and goes a step deeper than just recounting dates and figures to the historiography of it all -- *how and why* have we told the story the way we have via Romanticization and Erasure? good stuff This book tracks so well with my own journey -- learning more and more about our country's (and our religion's) true history, and grappling with what to do with that. The authors graciously point us toward the way of love -- I'm hoping many will hear the call as an encouragement (not a threat!) and joyfully pursue it.

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