Thursday, February 17, 2005

Injustice to Social Justice

I have become more and more aware this year of the injustice that conservative Christians have been doing to social justice. It seems that "social justice" has become a code word for "liberal church." While this may be true now, I certainly don't think it should be. Matthew chapter 25 talks about how at the last day the sheep will be separated from the goats. The main criteria for this separation seems to be based entirely on justice issues (feeding the poor, clothing the naked etc.). This is certainly not the entire message of the Gospel, but we must not forget that it is part of that message. Remember the words of Isaiah as he proclaims the coming of the Messiah:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;*
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;*
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn; (Is 61:1,2, ESV)

I believe the historical root of this problem began in the middle of the 20th century when the more liberal side of the church began to throw out all of the message of the Gospel leaving only the parts about social justice. I, along with many others, would call this the "Social Gospel" and it is not at all what I see as good teaching. It is an injustice to the Gospel as it makes Jesus into a mere moral teacher and not the Christ, the Son of God. As a result of this Social Gospel, conservatives began to distance themselves from work with the poor becasue they saw this work as associated with a liberal agenda.

I believe that it is important for us to return to biblical Christianity for whatever that means. We cannot cease proclaiming Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, the way, the truth, and the life. This also means, however, that we must do those things which he taught us to do. We need not be scared of what the liberals do or don't do, instead we need to concern ourselves with what God calls US to do.

1 comment:

Jeff Klukas said...

I couldn't have said it better. Especially as I spend time living in a developing country, the question of how to best serve God in the world is present on my mind.