Book Review – Salt, Light and Cities on Hills (1/1)

Happy New Year Guys!

Here’s the book review as promised. Hope you’ll find it useful.


The struggle between social actions and evangelism has been a hotly debated issue that has been discussed repeatedly throughout church history and also recently. One might be incline to think in terms of “which one should the church do more of?”. But as Melvin Tinker shows, both are important.

Salt, Light and Cities on HillsTinker first starts by summarising what has been discussed about this topic in our recent past. Tinker shows clearly how the idea of evangelism with social action has shifted or progressed through the decades, and why these have happened. Next, Tinker then gives in his own opinions on what has happened, giving his criticism on those whom he disagree with and explaining why he agrees to some of the points raised.

Next, Tinker brings the readers to the bible. He first concentrates on the New Testament, working on the two metaphors Jesus used to describe his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount — salt and light. Following which, Tinker then brings the readers into the Old Testament to see how a Jew would have understood these two metaphors with their background and their upbringing. Though I do not agree with that Tinker has raised in this chapter, I do find many helpful pointers that he has raised that helped me reconsidered about my own views too. Following which, Tinker showed how in Acts the believers lived out what it means to be light and salt. Tinker shows clearly that the church did not choose one or the other, instead they did both. However, the preaching of the gospel was always the crux of the disciples, while the social actions was always the “follow up” or implication of the gospel. Lastly, Tinker ends by sharing about his own experience and also how the church can consider about how they can start such a ministry in a blue-collar region.

I found the summary of the history of social actions and evangelism, and the discussion on what it means to be salt and light to be cogent and thought-provoking. I enjoyed this book a lot, though I’m not very well read in this area, I think the strength of this book is how Tinker tries to think about this topic as biblically as he can.

Albeit it would be worth considering if the two words — salt and light — would really be a good basis to think about social action and evangelism, Tinker helps readers think what these two words would actually mean. This is where the book excels, it shows the readers what the bible has to say about it. Pastors or those involved in church evangelism ministry should be challenge to read this book especially if they want to stay think biblically about what the bible has to say about social action. I’m sure you’ll benefit from the pointers raised in this book.

Rating: 4 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping).

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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