Social justice centers its claim on this concept of “justice.” God is indeed a God of justice; Deuteronomy 32:4 says, “all His ways are just.” In the Old Testament, God showed concern for the poor, the afflicted, the fatherless, the widow, and the sojourner (Deuteronomy 10:18, 24:17, 27:19). These people were unable to fend for themselves and had no support system. God commanded Israel to care for these people and made provisions in the Law that provided for them.
Jesus said that those who care for the least of these would inherit the kingdom of God (Matthew 25: 34-40). Beyond that, Jesus modeled this behavior by tending to the physical needs of the outcasts of society.
In this regard, the social justice movement’s advocacy and care for the less fortunate align with biblical teaching.
Foundational to social justice is the concept of the oppressor versus the oppressed. However, the Biblical approach does not assume that those in the oppressor position got there by ill-gotten means. Wealth is not viewed as inherently evil in the Bible. When one loves money over God, then it is sinful (1 Timothy 6:10). God is sovereign over everything, so He determines who is wealthy and who is poor. We are told to steward our wealth wisely, whether it is a lot or a little (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
The second chapter of James is about the sin of partiality. This means that it is sinful to make distinctions and judgments amongst ourselves. Yet, the social justice movement parcels out labels based on gender, skin color, sexuality, and socioeconomic status. The Bible commands no such distinctions amongst image-bearers of God. Therefore, the concept of oppressor versus oppressed is an inherently sinful, human-made concept that has no bearing in God’s Word.
Beyond that, the command to care for outcasts of society is an individual command rather than a societal one. This is supported by Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus modeled this by caring for individuals, not focusing on governmental reform. Modern-day social justice is a politicized ideal that aims to use the government to redistribute wealth. If God has called us to steward our finances wisely and give generously, then that is for each Christian to decide. Activism that creates laws and policies to make government coerce its’ citizens is not charitable. It takes away the individual’s act of charitably stewarding their finances and forces them to give to organizations that they may not support, like Planned Parenthood, for example.
Finally, while Jesus cared for physical needs, his primary message was the message of the Gospel, the Good News, that the Kingdom of God may be inherited by those who believe in Jesus Christ. The social justice movement is void of the Gospel message. It calls for activists to fight for their manufactured definition of injustice. It attempts to create a utopia here and now using government to redistribute wealth for the common good of all. The good news is this sinful world we live in is not a utopia and that we must have eyes for the future Kingdom of God.
This post is part of larger blog series, “Tenets of Progressive Culture.” Read the intro post to learn who this blog series is for and what to expect. Previous post in this series – Social Justice: Defined