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The World Is Not Ours to Save: Moving from Activist Causes to a Lifelong Calling
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The World Is Not Ours to Save: Moving from Activist Causes to a Lifelong Calling

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  209 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Recent years have seen a remarkable awakening of awareness of global issues. Rising generations are passionately committed to making a difference. Today's young adults want to save the world. But it's not quite that simple. Liking Facebook pages only goes so far. As today's faith-based activists move from awareness to mobilization, we bump up against the complexities of in ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published March 8th 2013 by IVP Books (first published November 28th 2012)
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Bryan Kibbe
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
For those that are familiar with it, this book offers a great companion to James Davison Hunter's book, To Change the World. Both books express similar themes, though each are very different in style, tone, and pacing. Hunter's book exhibits a certain density characteristic of more academic books, while Wigg-Stevenson's book is sure to be more accessible to a wider audience. For example, Wigg-Stevenson uses an abundance of everyday experiences and encounters to inject a sense of narrative into h ...more
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
“We do not have to imagine that the battle hinges on our efforts. Instead, we are free...the battle is won, the conflict is done, the anthem sung, and the kingdom comes.”

This is by far one of the most convicting and humbling books I’ve read in a while. I can see my own hearts tendencies through the pages as the writer describes his journey.

The most beautiful truth this book offers humbles the heart of pride and lifts it up into true genuine freedom: you may want to save the world, you may want
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Powerful and timely book. I think Wigg-Stevenson does a great job stripping away the misconception (even among the church) that the world's problems can be solved just by caring a little bit more. It's challenging in all sorts of ways and I highlighted and starred passages all over the book. I do think he stretches his Biblical exegesis of Micah 4 a little bit in the second half of the book, but the lessons are still worth learning even if they don't come directly from that passage. Would have a ...more
Nate  Duriga
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that was so good, I didn't want it to end! The author's thoughtful framing of what it means to work for justice and why we should is helpful, and his description of the limits of our role are freeing. His writing style is engaging, enjoyable and personal. ...more
Michael Wear
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best Christian books of the last decade.
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
We can't save the world, and that is because in Christ, God already has, and will one day complete the job that we cannot. That sums up the main idea of this life-long activist's book.

Wigg-Stevenson's book is broken into two parts. The first explores the limitations of activism, which begins with his own anti-nuclear bomb activism, increasing despair and conversion both to faith and a different way of thinking about his activism. He chronicles our pretensions to heroism ('everyone wants to be a
Jennifer Lucking
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It took me months to get through this book. Not because it was a chore or was a bad read, but because there was just so much for me to digest. This book was exactly what I needed to read right now. I am immersed in social justice issues - professionally, educationally, personally - and even with faith and self care, this type of work can be heavy. I often found myself asking questions like "why? Why am I doing this? Slavery has been around for centuries." Advocacy and mobilization was beginning ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tim Hoiland
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith, justice, favorites, 2013
There’s been a recurring theme on this blog early in 2013. In my very positive review of Ken Wytsma’s Pursuing Justice, I put forward a gentle critique of the optimistic way he talks about “changing the world.” Soon afterwards, I offered some thoughts on James Davison Hunter’s sobering assertion that Christians would do well to practice “faithful presence” rather than thinking that changing the world is particularly within grasp. Then, in the pages of a book on faith and learning by Cornelius Pl ...more
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm quite familiar with the kind of rhetoric that glories in grand plans to save the world. It's simply assumed that is what's pleasing to God. Wigg-Stevenson maintains that sort of talk and resultant action fails to understand the (dysfunctional) world as it is and the complexity of actually bringing about meaningful change. He suggests that if there is saving to be done it's God who, in the end, will do it. This might seem to be something of an echo of the naysayers that told William Carey tha ...more
Joel Wentz
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was quite surprised by how much I loved this book. Wigg-Stevenson is able to deftly move from heart-wrenching personal stories to extremely humorous satire regarding Christian activist culture (his overview of the typical "Christian cause" video had me laughing out loud!). As a major anti-nuclear weapons activist himself, he brings an air of credibility and authority to the topic, without being arrogant, which I greatly appreciate. If you are passionate about justice causes, or even find yours ...more
Garrett  Clawson
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a great read for any Christian activist that easily becomes overwhelmed by the magnitude of global problems. While the author predominantly draws from his experience as an anti-nuclear weapons advocate, he rightly devotes a large amount of page space to discussing God's sovereignty and the ultimate victory that rests in Jesus alone. ...more
janice l. dimond
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In our current desire to pursue social justice, this book is a great reminder of how to really effect the world for the better. A must for any Christian involved in the battle for justice.
Lee Ann
I have to admit that I didn't finish this book. The basic premise, however, that we are not placed on this earth to save the world but to do the will of God was something that interested me. At this particular time in my life, I am adjusting to early retirement & an empty nest in a country (US) where almost everyone is passionate about activism and taking on one social justice issue after another OR just self-promoting their passion to help others achieve their best self through blogging and lif ...more
Tim Littleford
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A stiff, sobering drink of reality for Christian's, churches and denominations that slip into a saviour complex, forgetting that we have a saviour. It's not us, it's not the church and it's definitely not a denomination or movement. The world is Jesus' to save, and his alone, and he has. We are not the main character of the story. This frees us from the crippling reality that there is so much we as people of the kingdom of God need to advocate for, so much evil, so much injustice. We are free to ...more
Paul Frank Spencer
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Tyler WS presents a vision of peace in light of the victory already gifted to us through Christ. Because the Kingdom of God is at hand, we don't have to toil under the weight of global responsibility, but can instead work joyfully and dutifully in pursuit of human flourishing. A refreshing, practical, and uplifting analysis of Christian activism. ...more
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was overall mostly enjoyable, especially the moments when Wigg-Stevenson would flesh out a story on a personal hero of his. But it often got lost in its ambitions and the minutae of the thesis, and I left this book underwhelmed, though convinced nonetheless. Anyone with a background in Inaugurated Eschatology will find familiar arguments here.
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Should be required reading for all of us who love God and love justice and find ourselves struggling to "make a difference." This flips your perspective upside down and I'll be re-reading parts of it frequently. ...more
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm sad I read this in a rush to finish. It is a book that is best with time for reflection and probably group study. ...more
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was assigned for me to read at just the perfect time in my life. I cannot recommend it enough. Read it!
Mia Rickenbach
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Dr. Z
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Meh. Didn't finish. Not my cup of tea. ...more
Jan 06, 2014 rated it liked it
If you're interested in making a difference in the world in way that keeps you both rooted in the gospel and dependent on Jesus, this would be a great read.
Tyler - who's own work could be categorized as urgent (bringing down any use of nuclear bombs) - helps see that despite the brokenness in a world that desperately needs restoration, the world is not ours to save. God's kingdom project is already at work. However, before you think you've got nothing to do, read the book and discover how you ca
Oct 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I came to this book as one never should: I liked the cover. It's not a cover I wanted lying around for other people to misconstrue, but it grabbed me. Tyler Wigg-Stevenson has helped me want peace more. I've never been pro-war or anti-peace, but he wrote a book which helped ground me in Biblical Theology while covering events such as apartheid in South Africa, the devastation of Hiroshima, and the place that defines "unpeaceful," Palestine. He writes of these places with empathy and with some pe ...more
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly helpful and timely book that helped me to start to correct some harmful perspectives about mission and service that I've picked up from my early formative years in the church. That we are called to be ministers of God's gospel of peace in an overwhelmingly broken world and not heroes and saviours in ourselves has been my main takeaway.

Your time will not be wasted in reading this book. One of the best I've read in a while.
James Smith
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
A timely, forthright, charitable, hope-full, wise book for a rising generation. Well-written, rooted in front-lines experience, theoretically- and theologically-sophisticated while remaining accessible and concrete. A good antidote to Kuyperian triumphalism.
Nov 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm glad this book exists -- it would have helped me navigate the difficult waters of faith and activism when I was 22. It's a call for Christian activism that is truly Christian. May it lead to less guilt, cynicism, and despair and more hope, action, and love. ...more
Erin Goettsch
Apr 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book is fairly well-written, but leans a little fundie for me. Some of the theological arguments need a little more nuanced presentation or research. There seems to be more condoning of violence "in God's name" in Wigg-Stevenson's theology than I think he can argue for well. ...more
Stephen Redden
Apr 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Excellent read for anyone seeking to engage in philanthropy or any work for social good. Tyler blends hopeful optimism with clear-minded realism.
Dave Hornor
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Provocative and interesting take on Christian efforts to "save the world." ...more
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Tyler Wigg-Stevenson is the founder and director of the Two Futures Project, a movement of Christians for nuclear threat reduction and the global abolition of nuclear weapons. He also serves as chairman of the Global Task Force on Nuclear Weapons for the World Evangelical Alliance.

Tyler began his involvement in nuclear policy over a decade ago under the late U.S. Senator Alan Cranston at the Globa

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