A Clash with Christianity
The phrase social justice sounds sort of benign and perhaps even biblical. When you think of social justice you might think of caring for the poor, the downtrodden and the persecuted. What Christian doesn’t want that kind of justice? God actually commands that we, do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed (Jeremiah 22:3). Micah 6:8 starts, He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? Jesus declared his mission to proclaim good news to the poor…to set at liberty those who are oppressed (Luke 4:18). However, the term “social justice” is a term that is grounded in a worldview that conflicts with Christianity. It is rooted in “critical theory” derived from Marxism. Why is the social justice movement contaminated and why should Christians be concerned?
Social Justice Has Nothing To Do With Legal or Biblical Justice
According to contemporary social justice it’s meaning has nothing to do with legal justice and the law. It has nothing to do with the Bible to say what is right and wrong. It has nothing to do with divine justice either. Divine justice is God bringing about perfect justice on all levels.
Identity to the Victim Philosophy
Social justice is a phrase that describes the idea that everyone has the right to equal social privilege, equal finances, equal resources and equal opportunities. And if you don’t have those rights then the society is, by nature, unjust. Social justice comes out of the deep emotions of people in our society who feel they have been treated unjustly and now demand to be treated justly (defined by them). Those who claim to be treated unfairly classify themselves as oppressed groups who they claim have been deprived of privileges in our culture. They claim to have been deprived of power, position, property, status, prosperity, etc. Consequently, there is no social justice for them in our culture. One word sums up this ideology: the word “victim.” These oppressed groups cry out for social justice because they believe that they or their ancestors have been victimized by others in this society. They are self-perceived victims of social discrimination. These include women, the poor, various ethnic groups, homosexuals, transgenders, etc.
So you have these victim categories including a growing group of victims and victim causes. Under the banner of social justice, we now have the LGBTQ agenda, feminism, abortion on demand, hate-crime laws, open borders, interfaith dialogue, reparations and mandatory minimum incomes. In recent years, a plethora of politically correct causes have been added to the menu, including global warming, animal rights, infanticide, universal basic income and other issues advocated by the political left. The social justice movement is based on greed, envy, idolatry, conceit, and self-righteous justification of one’s own self (aka it’s someone else’s fault why things are this way, and not my own and their group needs to repay me for oppressing my victim group).
Victim or Victor in Christ?
Now, it must be said that there certainly are victims in our culture and believers understand that. We are all victims in many ways, especially in the case of inheriting a sin nature from Adam. We have all been victimized just by being born into this world. But above that, most of us have suffered injustice at the hands of someone else at some time or another. No one should deny that justice evades us in this fallen world. That is why believers are longing for the coming of Christ to set in order a new society where justice rules perfectly (Isaiah 32:1). However, the social justice agenda is different. Their ideology is not content with simply understanding that injustice has happened and still happens, but they are convinced that they need to single out the “kind” of injustice that has happened and demand the terms of how it is remedied in society. For example, they want to pick the privileged groups who have victimized the victims, namely white men, Bible-believing Christians, the wealthy, the powerful, the capitalists, etc. In relation to Bible-believing Christians, they must repent of the sins of past injustices, even if they themselves have done nothing wrong. The fact that they are part of an oppressor group makes them culpable of the wrong doings of the past.
“The Son Should Not Bear Guilt of the Father”
This alarming ideology of social justice is being embraced in certain evangelical circles. It crept into liberal churches years ago in the form of Liberation Theology. It then migrated into evangelical circles through the Emerging Church movement. More recently it is being embraced by Christian student organizations, seminaries and conservative organizations. The idea that the church needs to repent for the sins of past generations or of other people who commit injustice is unbiblical (Ezekiel 18:19-20). But certain evangelicals are succumbing to this. In addition, social justice warriors inside the church are telling us that if you are not fighting against injustice, you are not doing Gospel work. Thus we need to take these causes on as Christians. But how is social justice a Gospel issue? Does suffering oppression absolve anyone of wrongdoing? Does being privileged make a person any more sinful? No, we all deserve the wages of sin: death. That is what the law says. Once we understand that, the last thing we need is more law. What we need is salvation from the penalty and power of the law. That is where the Gospel comes in.
The Good News In Christ
The Gospel is the good news about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). It’s themes are atonement for sin, forgiveness, reconciliation, and the justification of sinners (1 Peter 2:24; Romans 4:4-5; 5:1; 1 Peter 1:18-19). When someone says social justice is an essential part of the Gospel, they are injecting secular sociological concepts into the Gospel and polluting its purity (Galatians 1:6-8). Social justice has nothing to do with the Gospel and thus should be rejected by followers of Jesus.