"Situated as they are within the Philippine Evangelical tradition, yet supported by wide reading in other traditions, the reflections of Melba Padilla Maggay come through to the Roman Catholic reader as both strikingly similar to and interestingly different from our own tradition. The similarities stem from the fact that we all see the same issues and problems in the world around us, and the same approaches to them; moreover, we share a common Christian concern for our less fortunate brothers and sisters. The main difference lies in the methodology: Maggay focuses strongly on Scripture in building a case for social involvement and in evaluating possible approaches; the Catholic would look also to the body of social thought developed by the Popes over the past 100 years or so. Yet for the Catholic the emphasis on Scripture can itself be refreshing and stimulating, and an incentive to dialogue with the Evangelical tradition.
"The book makes other interesting contributions as well. It brings to the fore the ferment now taking place within the Philippine Evangelical churches. And it offers useful reflections on attitudes and strategies, dangers and traps in the arena of social involvement. In particular it offers a timely reminder to keep our focus on God and His work in the world, in the midst of our own 'worldly' involvement. Finally, it all rings true as coming from one who has been deeply involved in that same work."
--Fr. Bienvenido F. Nebres, SJ
President, Ateneo de Manila University
"Dr. Melba Maggay writes on the Church as an agent for transforming society from her experience of Martial Law and her participation in the 1986 EDSA Revolution. She disavows being a theologian but she only means she is not an academic theologian! Or perhaps that she is not a dogmatic/systematic theologian. Despite her disavowal, what we have in this book is an outstanding piece of theological writing on the task of the Church in the world, particularly in Philippine society. She has no simple solutions to complex social situations. But she dares to dream because she knows that the Kingdom of God has come, and will yet come in blazing splendor when King Jesus returns. Meanwhile, in her words, she is 'one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread to sustain the journey towards liberation and social justice and righteousness.' I commend these essays wholeheartedly."
--Dr. Isabelo F. Magalit
President, Asian Theological Seminary
"Transforming Society is the kind of book one could put into the hands of a senator, a human rights lawyer, a journalist with a political conscience and a community development worker, whether they are Christians or not, The better they were not, for non-Christians might better understand the passion and pain of Melba Maggay's writing than triumphalistic Christians with their ready made answers to a superficial assessment of society's problems.
"She is writing as a social activist who has taken time to reflect on Scripture and theological tradition in order to make better sense of the Christian's role in society . . . Her involvement in working for justice in the Philippines leading to the euphoric EDSA 'revolution' gives the book concrete particularity. Her reflections on Scripture and the role of the church give the book usable generality for other social contexts and for other times.
"Transforming Society is written in a bitter-sweet note. There is no frothy idealism in this book. But neither is it pessimistic. Instead a wary realism is reflected throughout its pages . . . Its lyrical language will inspire. Its sound concepts will provide direction. Its realism will help in being credible. Its hope is Christological. The overall impact of this book will be both challenging and prophetic.
"Melba Maggay is undoubtedly the finest protestant theological writer in the Philippines, and possibly in the Third World . . ."
--Charles Ringma, PhD
Professor, Asian Theological Seminary and founder of Teen Challenge, Australia
Excerpts from a book review in Phronesis, a journal of A TS, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1995.