Rape is a shattering experience for the victim—physically, psychologically, and spiritually. When rape is institutionalized through sexual trafficking, this shattering experience is renewed daily, and the wounds fester, slowly killing a woman’s body, soul, and spirit. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 800,000 to 4,000,000 women and children are trafficked across international borders annually, with as many as 18,500 coming into the United States alone.
In Courageous Compassion, Beth Grant issues a clarion call to Christians to combat the horrific evil of sexual trafficking. Grant is co-director of Project Rescue, a ministry to victims of sexual trafficking that began in a red-light district of Mumbai, India, in 1997. In 2013, Project Rescue provided care for over 32,000 women and children victimized by sexual trafficking in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Spain. She is also a member of the Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking and coeditor of Healing Hands, which is that organization’s training manual for caregivers to victims of sexual trafficking.
Courageous Compassion lays out a strategy for “confronting social injustice God’s way,” as the book’s subtitle puts it. “There is no value-free social response to human need and injustice,” Grant writes. “All human response to human need and injustice is inevitably influenced by the values and worldview of the person responding.” Consequently, “any initiative focused on the injustice of sexual slavery and the restoration of victims developed by a Christian organization or mission should reflect the person and message of Jesus Christ.”
For Grant, confronting the social injustice of sexual trafficking requires more than political efforts to legally abolish such slavery, as valuable as they are. Rather, Project Rescue aims to intervene in the lives of women who have been trafficked, restore them holistically (physically, psychologically, spiritually), and prevent their children from being exploited in turn. This strategy utilizes, prayer, evangelism, discipleship, medical care, job training, and cooperation with local churches to accomplish those ends.
Among some American Pentecostals—Grant is an ordained Assemblies of God minister—compassion ministries that seek to rectify the problems of social injustice are viewed with suspicion, as examples of a liberal “social gospel” that replaces evangelism and discipleship with political activism. Courageous Compassion allays those suspicions—and does so entirely—by presenting a holistic Pentecostal approach.
Who should read it Courageous Compassion? Christians interested in issues of social justice. Pastors whose churches send short-term missions teams to countries to work on compassion projects. Missionaries—both current and prospective—who need to see what holistic ministry looks like. And scholars who work at the intersection of theology, the Church’s mission, and social issues.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
(Full disclosure: I am a friend of Beth Grant, and I work for the Assemblies of God, which is the parent company of My Healthy Church.)
Beth Grant, Courageous Compassion: Confronting Social Injustice God’s Way (Springfield, MO: My Healthy Church, 2014).
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