The importance of Toward a Theology of Radical Involvement lies in its focus on the theological and ethical perspective of Martin Luther King, Jr. By examining the multiple, competing images of King in both academia and the public square, Ivory argues that mass public confusion and ambiguity exist today about King's identity. Consequently, the more radical and prophetic thrust of his legacy of thought and action has been blunted.
Seeking to resolve the public identity crisis about King, Ivory offers the provocative thesis that King is best understood as a creative theological thinker whose activist rhetoric and emancipatory praxis were thoroughly informed and undergirded by an understanding of God and God's will for history and humanity. Hence the prophetic focus and radical character of King's thought and action culminate in a "theology of radical involvement," which gives rise to an ethic of community. King's perspective raises permanent, generative tensions in the contemporary church, academy, and culture. Ivory thus promotes a re-reading of King that gives due credence to the too-often overlooked but profound level of critical analysis, proactive revolutionary challenge, and the bold transformative vision King inspired.