The Inconvenient Gospel: A Southern Prophet Tackles War, Wealth, Race, and Religion

Reviewed by:

Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


The Inconvenient Gospel: A Southern Prophet Tackles War, Wealth, Race, and Religion


Clarence Jordan (selections edited by Frederick L. Downing)


Plough Publishing House

Publication Date:

October 25, 2022




152 pages


Clarence Jordan played an underdiscussed role in the Civil Rights movement. A Southern Baptist pastor who became committed to pacifism and reconciliation, he started Koinonia Farm in 1942, where black and white Christians lived together and shared their resources. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, the FBI monitored Jordan as a suspicious individual, and the Klu Klux Klan sent threatening phone calls (and occasionally gunshots). Jordan continued to preach and teach wherever people would listen, exhorting desegregation and critiquing affluent churches that didn’t care for the poor. He also wrote a variety of books, including a colloquial translation of the New Testament titled The Cotton Patch Gospel. In the 1960s, Jordan worked with Koinonia Farm residents Millard and Linda Fuller on a project that eventually became Habitat for Humanity. The Inconvenient Gospel collects a variety of Jordan’s sermons, covering topics like racism, fellowship, the ten commandments, and Jesus’ attitude to the least of these.

Like his contemporary William Davis Campbell (the Civil Rights campaigner who wrote Brother to a Dragonfly), Jordan preached reconciliation in ways that many people found shocking. Like Davis, his theology could be eccentric. Sometimes Jordan reads worthwhile lessons out of Bible lessons where most won’t see those lessons (for example, using the hog farmers in the story about the demoniac in the Gerasenes for a discussion about religious hypocrisy).

However, even at his most eccentric, Jordan’s words provide valuable lessons about loving one’s enemies and reaching beyond one’s biases. The selections show he had a gift for storytelling (for example, when talking about how much Simon the Zealot and Matthew the tax collector must have hated each other at first, he imagines Jesus having to sleep between them so that Matthew didn’t wake up with a knife at his throat). His messages are memorable and challenging, forcing readers to see that following Jesus may be inherently counter-cultural.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

5 stars

Suggested Audience:

Christians who are interested in the Civil Rights Movement, fighting racism, and countercultural perspectives on pursuing peace and helping the needy.

Christian Impact:

Jordan’s theology may surprise readers at times. However, as Russell Moore observed, even if one argues with Jordan’s theology, one can’t argue with how he lived out Jesus’ teachings. His words push readers to consider how much they are doing to love their neighbors and practice Jesus’ message of peace.



The Inconvenient Gospel: A Southern Prophet Tackles War, Wealth, Race, and Religion

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: