Love in a Cauldron of Ministry – Perspectives on Christian Prison Ministry – Book Review

Love in a Cauldron of Misery_Love in a Cauldron of Misery – Perspectives on Christian Prison Ministry
By Kirk Blackard
Wipf and Stock Publishers
199 W. 8th Avenue, Suite 3
Eugene, Oregon 97401
978-1620322727, 2012, $ 21.00, 218 pages
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake,

A Challenging Approach to Christian Prison Ministry Today

Kirk Blackard expertly combines poignant stories, interviews, and historical background to introduce the reader to a divergence of views, opinions, and perspectives on prison reform, retribution, rehabilitation, and restoration within our country’s justice system.

The book is divided into two parts. In part one Blackard traces the historical perspectives from the Colonial days to the recent explosive growth, overcrowding and crisis found in today’s prisons. Part two presents four basic Biblical principles for prison ministry based on Jesus: teaching the Gospel by living it, fostering forgiveness, building wholeness, and encouraging restoration.

Through the expressed opinions and observations of lay ministers, inmates, theologians, ethicists, criminologists Blackard interweaves these perceptions as they relate to the myriad of problems faced by prison officials, political pressure, the incarcerated, family members of the inmates, faith based prison organizations, and the individual Christian reaching out in a ministry of love.

“Love in a Cauldron of Misery – Perspectives on Christian Prison Ministry” has opened my eyes to see the potential of the power of Christian love to bring hope, redemption, and restoration to individual men and women condemned to misery behind prison walls. I recommend the book be assigned as required reading for those considering careers in criminal justice and for Christians exploring the opportunity of ministry with state and federal prisons or in local jails.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Copies of the book are available through the Restorative Justice Ministries Network Store at


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