Social Justice and The Gospel
There are more difficult things going on in the world right now than I could adequately express. With all of these difficulties in the world, it is definitely up to the church and to those of us who profess love for Jesus to step up and do something. I want to discuss what that might look like.
In Haiti, the coronavirus is making its way through the population very quickly. In fact, some people in Haiti are actually telling those with symptoms to stay home, assume you have it, and only come into a hospital if you need it. At the same time, anti-government protests are beginning to ramp back up with some scheduled for this week and others happening the past few days.
In America, the virus has made all of us change our lives. From quarantine to social distancing to wearing masks in public, all of us have done some, if not all, of these things. Others of us have been even more greatly affected by the virus through loved ones getting sick and some even dying as a result of Covid-19. At the same time, racial issues that have been stewing just beneath the surface of our society have recently bubbled over into protests and conversations about the racial divide in our country.
My question is what should we, as followers of Christ and seekers of justice, do? I ask this because there are many within the church that want to separate social justice from the Gospel while there are others that want to equate social justice with the Gospel. Neither of these 2 approaches is healthy.
When we started All Things New, we started it because there was a group of children in Haiti who did not have anyone to take care of them and to love them. We believed, and we still believe that it is our job to do just that...Love the kids at All Things New and take care of them however we can.
When we did this, we did not and do not believe that the action of loving these kids was all that they or us needed. Our love for them was prompted by our love for Christ and was an overflow of that love, but the mere fact that we loved and cared for them did not mean everything was ok. Social justice is not the Gospel, we have to do more than just help people or we have truly missed the point.
At the same time, we did not and do not believe that we should have just preached the Gospel to those kids and then left them in the position they were in. Their acceptance of the Gospel and Jesus' saving grace in their lives is ultimately what they need more than anything, but it does not take away the fact that they needed someone like us to love them. After much prayer, we decided to say "If not us, then who" and we moved to Haiti to take care of them and love them.
My point is that the manifestations in Haiti and the protests here in America are not just social justice issues. The poverty that we see in Haiti and the number of orphans in Haiti, America, and around the world are not just social justice issues. We are called to more than social justice, we are called to pour the love of Jesus Christ and His Gospel into lives and situations like this all over the world.
They are also not problems that require just the spoken word of the Gospel, but the combination of the Gospel lived out and the Gospel spoken into a situation. Words ring hollow but words accompanied by action speak truth. I get very tired of pastors and religious leaders speaking of ministry in 3rd world countries like it is nothing more than social justice.
Read this quote by Billy Graham about racism:
"Racism is not only a social problem, therefore; because racism is a sin, it is also a moral and spiritual issue. Legal and social efforts to obliterate racism (or at least curb its more onerous effects) have a legitimate place. However, only the supernatural love of GOD can change our hearts in a lasting way and replace hatred and indifference with love and active compassion."
Indifference to the plight and hurt of others goes against who Jesus is and what He taught just as much as outright hatred. Preaching a cold version of the Gospel that does nothing to help those who are hurting goes against the example we have in the New Testament of who Jesus is and what He taught. Helping others without specifically telling them of the love of GOD goes against who Jesus is and what He taught.
- Taking care of orphans and vulnerable children is not a social justice issue.
- Abortion is not a social justice issue.
- Fighting poverty is not a social justice issue.
- Racism is not a social justice issue.
If you are a follower of Christ, you cannot take the Gospel out of social justice and you cannot take social justice out of the Gospel. The Gospel is everything. It is the Good News of Jesus' death on the Cross that brings us into a relationship with the One true GOD. The Gospel forces us to love and it forces us to act.