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Marvin Olasky: The Tragedy of American Compassion

The final two chapters (12 and 13) are, by far, the most helpful with excellent suggestions on how to put true compassion into practice and how to best apply historical precedent to the present welfare situation. Olasky provides examples. “In the end,” he writes, “not much will be accomplished without a spiritual revival that transforms the everyday advice people give and receive, and the way we lead our lives” (p. 230).

“[N]ot much will be accomplished without a spiritual revival that transforms the everyday advice people give and receive, and the way we lead our lives.”

— Marvin Olasky

Olasky’s work, in this reviewer’s assessment, is the most definitive and even-handed work ever written on American social welfare. Social historian Donald J. Berthrong, formerly of the University of Oklahoma, has done research and written in this area of concern but Olasky’s The Tragedy of American Compassion is, by far, the most useful in the practical sense. If not already, the book needs to be on the reading list of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work (Botsford, Connecticut).

Reviewed by Woodrow E. Walton

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Category: Church History, Pneuma Review, Winter 2011

About the Author: Woodrow E. Walton, D.Min. (Oral Roberts University School of Theology and Missions), B.A. (Texas Christian University), B.D. [M.Div.] (Duke Divinity School), M.A. (University of Oklahoma), is a retired Seminary Dean and Professor of biblical, theological and historical studies. An ordained Assemblies of God minister, he and his wife live in Fort Worth, Texas. Walton retains membership with the Evangelical Theological Society, American Association of Christian Counselors, American Society of Church History, American Academy of Political Science, and The International Society of Frontier Missiology.

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