“Social Justice” is making inroads in Christian churches— even conservative ones. The surface appeal of “righting the injustices” of poverty, “neo-racism”*, imprisonment, excessive wealth, privilege, and a host of other wrongs is tempting. But is it really just Marxism?
Biblical Injustice vs. Social Injustice: A Crucial Distinction
Danger, of course, comes with a hint of truth. Christians should oppose racism and help the poor. We should minister to the imprisoned. But a host of new meaning is poured into these traditional terms when they are called “social justice”. Progressive societal objectives are being recast as matters of justice instead of Christian compassion and love. True injustice is when a human action lies as an offense to God. If you break one of the 10 commandments, you’ll answer to God, and possibly the state. This is what justice is about. In a Marxist world, there is no God. So, the injustice is of another sort— pseudo-injustice. This pseudo injustice is rooted in inequality. Inequality does not break one of the 10 commandments. Coveting does. Marxism turns coveting into a virtue.
In this context, many schools and churches are struggling to understand our call in a day and age when social justice is woven into the fabric of our vocabulary and our culture. We’re often tempted to join protests or join forces with those who are fighting injustice. We may inadvertently engage in activities that promote Marxism, which is a worldview that could not be further from Christianity. As classical Christian schools, we teach students how all justice flows from God, not man. We also teach them to love their neighbors, and feed them, and clothe them. It’s not about justice, it’s about love.
The issue of “Social Justice” was front and center this week as conservative pastors at the Shepherd’s Conference engaged in a panel discussion on the matter. Things were a bit tense (for pastors, that is). A statement on the right role of justice in the church was proposed, and several did not sign it. We understand that the panel discussion about the matter was pulled from some social networking platforms, possibly by the censors?
We thank our friends at Cross Politic for dissecting the issues at stake in a way that helps us understand the underlying issues. We encourage you to watch the Cross Politic discussion below:
*Neo-racisim is a blend of racial reconciliation theory, intersectionality, and privilege theory.
Vocabulary is powerful.
Consider these 15 words from George Orwell's 1984 and statistics on America's view of free speech today. Words are containers for ideas. And, ideas have a mysterious power to shape what we believe. That's why we need to think when we use terms like "social justice".
David Goodwin is the President of the Association of Classical Christian Schools