Does a preacher from the previous century have anything to say to this generation? Yes His clarion call to justice and loving community was shaped by his friendship with Mahatma Gandhi and influenced the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In one of his famous appeals, Jones wrote: "Let us go out to stimulate everybody and throw open the doors of equal opportunity to every single person. We must galvanize beaten down people with a faith in God, in themselves and in the future. ... And this faith in humanity would apply to people outside our own borders."
In his day, E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973) was described as the "greatest missionary since Saint Paul." More than an evangelist, he was the author of 27 books that sold millions of copies. He also was a statesman, the founder of Christian ashrams, an interfaith leader as well as a spokesman for peace, racial inclusion and social justice. He was a confidant of presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman. Twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, his ministry in India brought him into close contact with that country's leaders including Jawaharlal Nehru, Rabindranath Tagore, and Mahatma Gandhi. His writings from India influenced Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s own nonviolent approach to injustice.
The crystal clarity and the warm hospitality of Jones' Christian message formed working relationships with leaders of other world religions and often startled his own American evangelical colleagues, especially when he prophetically condemned racism as "spiritual treason against God."
As challenging as his preaching sometimes was in confronting injustice, Jones was best known for inspirational Christian messages of hope and refreshment for the millions of people from every walk of life who he addressed either in person or through his writings.
Now, a widespread movement is reviving Jones' spiritual wisdom in the midst of global tensions over faith, ethnicity and race. The Rev. Dr. John E. Harnish, himself a noted Christian educator, writer and pastor, has written 30 short, inspiring true stories from Jones' life and the people that he touched, that illustrate the timeless, loving wisdom that he believed lay at the core of Christianity.
The stories can be read as daily devotionals or could be discussed with friends or within small groups, Sunday schools and congregations. The book includes a complete discussion guide as well as links to introductory videos by Harnish that can be used to spark discussion in your group.
In his introduction to these 30 stories, Harnish writes, "From Jones' life and work, we can hear a word which is as relevant today as it was 75 years ago. In a day when tensions between races and religions are on the rise globally and the message of the Christian faith seems to be either weak or aligned with a political agenda, the voice of a true World Christian needs to be heard once again."