All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope. Winston Churchill
On Friday, my Mac (6 months old) developed a scratch on an inner screen. This caused strange lines to appear and I was unable to fully view the screen. My computer is now in the hands of Apple and should be returned by Wednesday. Unfortunately, my husband’s very old computer stalled when I logged in. GBTC fixed it and got it back to us on Sunday at 3:30. My husband plans to get a new computer, pronto. During this time we were confronted with the possibility of a serious hurricane event. We spent yesterday and today getting ready. I think I got the last few cases of water in Raleigh. People were circling that water palette like sharks about to move in for the kill.
Given that, I did not have enough time to spend on this post as I had hoped and plan to spend more time on Wednesday. We also have a large portable generator so I hope to surface from time to time once the hurricane hits (if it does.) If you don’t hear from us, assume services are down. Raleigh is projected to be in the direct line as the hurricane moves inward and 1-2 feet of rain is predicted. Ah, summer-you ended too soon.
Is social justice the gospel?
The simple answer is “No.” As many readers know, the Deebs become downright irritable when people add onto the word *gospel.” The Gospel is profoundly simple yet deep. It is the death of Jesus for us. Martin Luther summarized the gospel as:
“that he is the Son of God and became man for us, that he died and was raised, that he has been established as Lord over all things” (“A Brief Instruction on What to Look for and Expect in the Gospels,” LW: 35:118).
But (and you knew there would be a but) the gospel changes us. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) says this quite clearly.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!
Jesus role modeled his concern for people in two ways.
- He always looked to the heart of the matter, pointing out the sin inherent in people. Interestingly, he tended to focus on the sins of the Pharisees, calling them snakes and white washed tombs.
- He spent his time with those who were rejected by society as opposed to the rich religious leaders and the movers and shakers of His day. I wonder if He would have gone to the White House evangelical dinner to hob nob with the movers and shakers of the evangelical establishment or if he would have attended a dinner at the Raleigh Rescue Mission instead?
So what is social justice?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as:
: a state or doctrine of egalitarianism
- the causes of human freedom and of social justice—Sir Winston Churchill
- promote the common good and social justice—G. J. Schnepp
From my perspective, social justice is utilizing the resources of society, both Christian and secular, to alleviate suffering and pain brought about by the unjust and sinful actions of mankind.
Warren Throckmorton said of those Christians who believe in social justice:
They simply believe Christians should advocate for what’s right when the status quo is unjust and wrong.
Throckmorton recently addressed his concerns about a talk that John MacArthur gave to students. He titled the post John MacArthur: Victims are Everywhere.
He believed that it could appear that MacArthur mocked victims, either intentionally or unintentionally. I tend to agree. He gave these two examples. In the first statement, MacArthur claimed that there is a “mass of belligerent victims.” I guess he thinks victims should be far and few between and should always be nice and cooperative.
And the more victim categories someone is in, the more empowered that person is, the more important that person is, the more truthful that person is, the more authoritative that person is. If you’re in multiple groups this is a new idea called “intersectionality.” All the segments of victimization come together for you, and your multiple victim status makes you the most authoritative person, the one to be listened to. But if you are not in any victim group, you have nothing to say, “Shut up, and sit down.” That’s where we are. We have an ever-increasing belligerent mass of victims who are defining their lives by what other people have done to them.
In the second, MacArthur appears to make light of the #metoo movement. I guess he doesn’t think it is really awful that so many churches have pastors and leaders who molest adults and children. Such a bummer, you know.
“All this has been done to me.” And so, hashtag, “Me too. I’m a victim.” “Me too, me too. I was abused, I was abused, I was abused.” “Somebody offended me. Somebody made a micro-aggression against me.”
Please read the entire post. Sadly, MacArthur lumps all victims together. There is a tiny minority who use the classification of victim to get attention. However, the Deebs have been writing for 9 1/2 years. In that time, we have written about victim after victim who have been legitimately hurt by the church and the number of these victims continue to rise. Is MacArthur on a roll because his institutions or associated churches have been suspected of abuse. Is it hitting too close to home for him?
Let’s look at some examples of social injustice.
- When my father started school, he could not speak English. He was Russian and was constantly teased about being a *Commie.* As an old man, he was still hurt by those remembered taunts. Why did the fears of communism of that day cause people to hurt a little boy whose parents got away from the dreaded Communists?
- People who came to this country from Ireland were viewed with suspicion, especially because they were Catholic. Many were forced to hide that they were Irish. My mother claimed she came from an old *Yankee* family who came over on the Mayflower. She was shocked when her DNA testing came back and she was 40+% Irish. She made us repeat it with another company to be sure. Her father hid his background from his family and claimed he had been a Protestant. What was wrong with the society in those days who would look down on hardworking neighbors?
- I spent two years working for the Navajo Tribe, setting up a program of health care followup for the elderly. I spent my days traveling throughout the reservation, along with an interpreter since many elderly Navajo still used their native tongue. My Navajo interpreters spent the hours of driving, discussing the pain of their history with me≥ There were many days I was close to tears. The treaties made between the Native Americans and the US government were constantly declared null and void by greedy leaders as the tribes were shipped off to the reservations so the white Europeans could have the land they desired.
- How many African Americans were relegated to second rate schools with old textbooks and substandard education just a few, short decades ago?
- How many women have been told to return to abusive husbands because some Baptist and Reformed evangelical preachers had a misguided view of marriage? Adultery was a get out of jail free card but getting beat to a pulp was not mentioned by Jesus, so the woman had to return and pray she wouldn’t get beaten.
- How many children have been told by their pastors to keep quiet about their abuse by church leaders?
Are we being told that is it wrong to attempt to alleviate these ills from our churches and society since, in so doing, we are engaging in social justice? Why can’t the Gospel and social justice be synergistic?
- Jesus healed the lepers.
- He fed thousands.
- He lectured the religious leaders on how poorly they treated their people.
- He helped a woman leave her life of prostitution.
- He was close friends with two women, Martha and Mary, and spent time talking alone to a woman who had a *dubious* history.
- He reached out to a scoundrel and tax collector and caused him to make restitution.
Yes, Jesus came to pay a debt that we couldn’t pay. However, the price we pay for that paid debt should be a changed heart which reaches out in love to others.
An act of social justice on the part of TWW readers.
As some of you know, TWW has taken on the cause of providing medical and dental care to victims of human trafficking through Project Fight of the Salvation Army. Many of you donated money in order to pay for the dentures of a woman whose teeth were knocked out by her trafficker. Due to the kindness of my son in law, Scott, we were able to get her premium dentures for only $480. Scott refused to take any money for the many visits and procedures that were necessary to prepare her mouth for the dentures.
We will be posting her pictures after her final fitting. She is a very young woman and has been so excited to have a beautiful smile. I received this letter from Project Fight today and was asked to share it with our readers.
“On behalf of the entire Project FIGHT team and the client that these donations served, I want to thank you for your incredible generosity. The trauma that human trafficking survivors have suffered, and the challenges they must overcome to heal and become independent, oftentimes can feel overwhelming. As case managers, we strive to partner with our clients to meet their most pressing needs, one at a time. Medical and dental needs are often first on the list, but expenses and lack of insurance coverage can be prohibitive. Your gift made it possible for one very special client to regain self-esteem, smile and speak with confidence, and find employment to support herself. What once was a reminder of her abuser is now a reminder of her potential to overcome and achieve her goals. We cannot thank you enough for your monetary gifts, as well as your continued prayers for her.”
We plan to use the leftover money to help other clients in a similar fashion. Whenever that money is used, I will post exactly what it is used for, every. last. penny. This is an example social justice. A young woman, let down and marketed like she was cattle, has discovered that people do care for her and that her life is precious. Thank you.
Human trafficking is a scourge on our society. Many victims do not have identification and this delays their ability to get assistance they need to survive. Many people are working to change that which is another example of social justice.
I plan to write more on this subject later this week. I will look at groups like Sovereign Nations and show how MacArthur’s ideas mimics groups such as this.
Now, do I have enough canned foods????