GETTING A WORLD THAT DOES NOT GET IT
Why is Biblical Justice Better?
Ask most Australians, and indeed Christians, what they mean by social justice and they would reply “I’d like to see a fairer and more equitable society.” They hate discrimination, injustice and disenfranchisement. For Christians, exercising justice is foundational to our Christian walk and the transforming grace that comes from the gospel is the most effective way of making our world fairer. Yet there is a radical ideology at play that is redefining social justice. Sadly, many genuine people become involved in these causes without realising the underlying ideology.
Our objective for this series is to introduce you to resources that will enable you to recognise, understand and assess social justice issues at play within our culture.
We also explore justice from a biblical perspective. What does biblical justice entail? Is executing justice a command? What does it mean for our Christian walk? The principles outlined will provide a biblical framework that you can use to assess the many social justice issues identified by our culture. Injustice is a reality, including inside our churches. There are many causes clothed in the banner of social justice that are not biblical in their nature. When you understand the worldview and the biblical view you are better informed to discuss these issues with family and friends.
The murder of George Floyd and the worldwide Black Lives Matter activism has catapulted racial injustice to become the hottest social justice cause today. We look at racism through a biblical lens which shows we are all one humanity and the one thing that separates us is whether we are saved by grace.
Finally, God is often seen as the culprit in this matter. People cite evidence of racism, slavery, sexism and genocide in the bible. We have included an excellent talk by Jo Vitale from RZIM which addresses these issues.
SOCIAL JUSTICE – A SECULAR PERSPECTIVE
Conversations with John Anderson and Douglas Murray
Most Australians want to see a fairer and more equitable society. They want to see injustice and discrimination dealt with. When we get behind a cause we believe that we are advocating justice. In our postmodern culture there is a cultural Marxist ideology at play that seeks to radically reengineer our society. This video conversation between John Anderson and Douglas Murray, a secular journalist and author, provides deep insights into what is happening to the underpinnings of western democracies, especially with the weaponisation of minority groups, which seek to set the agenda and values of our society. The ideology is undermining the Judeo-Christian foundational values of western societies and instead, promotes the primacy of self and the pursuit of illusory progress in the guise of equality.
It helps to explain why Christians are finding it increasingly more difficult to speak about our faith as we see it positioned as homophobic, bigoted and evil.
It also provides hope and a way forward for us to better understand the society around us, and the fundamental flaws in the current meta-narratives that are significantly impacting education, politics and business.
We also recommend you read the article Social Justice which explores the different definitions of social justice and in particular explains Critical Theory ( cultural Marxist) ideology. There are many links within the webpage that define much of the terminology and they are worthwhile reading.
This New Discourses website has excellent articles and podcasts that will provide a deeper understanding of this postmodern ideology.
Conversations with John Anderson and Douglas Murray Duration: 1:09:39Speakers: John Anderson and Douglas Murray Publisher: Conversations with John AndersonOriginally published at: https://youtu.be/qYaYk09kEDsDuration: 1:09:00Date accessed: - 24/09/2020
A BIBLICAL VIEW OF JUSTICE
Justice, Love Kindness – Walk Humbly Micah 6:8 by Dr Tom Ascol
As Christians we seek to understand the world through a biblical lens. In this address to the 2019 Founders Conference Dr Tom Ascol gives a fulsome explanation of justice. He starts by explaining that biblical justice exhibits four characteristics. People should be treated lawfully, impartially, proportionately and equitably.
He explains that exercising justice is radical and foundational to our Christian walk. Not only are we required to act in accordance with the commandments, we are also required to act with an attitude of kindness and mercy towards others, and with an attitude of humility and genuine love for God, to whom we seek to give glory.
Ascol also explains that as Christians we need to refer to the Bible as we think through our response to the calls for social justice. He explains that it is not loving to support a cause that contravenes God’s law because we are “loving” another person to eternal punishment.
Additional resources included in Digging Deeper are:
Questions Christians Should ask About Social Justice – Thaddeus Williams
We chose this video because it helps discern the difference between the biblical and secular views of social justice, particularly social justice viewed through a cultural Marxist lens. Understanding the differences could help you frame your conversations with non-Christians and bring a biblical perspective.
Thaddeus Williams is the author of Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth: 12 Questions Christians Should Ask About Social Justice.
In his address Williams uses the bible to show that God commands us to do justice and that blessings flow from its execution. In executing justice, we are called to discern what is good.
He explains that the biblical view of social justice is helping the oppressed in ways that are deeply consistent with the godhood of God, the authority of scripture and the gospel of Jesus.
He then shows how the secular view of social justice, what he called social justice B, is incompatible with the bible. Williams reveals the beauty of taking a biblical perspective on justice and its superiority to the secular worldview. He shows how the secular concept of injustice is based on idolatry, elevating the self above all else. He shows how finding our own identity is unsustainable and that we deprive people of the joy of being authored by someone who is better, stronger, and more compassionate than they are. He shows how the search for belonging by joining a tribe is better answered by the impartiality of the gospel. And he explains how the woke culture requires people to perform to escalating standards of wokeness. We can rest in Christ who is both our judge and our justifier.
This address helps us think about how the gospel meets needs that are not being met by the current postmodern culture.
In this article Thaddeus Williams identifies twelve perspectives on social justice and shows how biblical justice is more humanizing, God-glorifying and just. This thought-provoking article provides ideas you could use to turn a conversation to the Gospel, by showing that the values underlying Christianity are better than secular values.
Thaddeus Williams: Questions Christians Should Answer About Social Justice [Talbot Chapel]Speaker: Thaddeus WilliamsPublisher: Biola UniversityOriginally published at: https://youtu.be/drZh6YNNVo4Duration: 33:47Date accessed: - 24/09/2020
Social Justice and the Gospel: 12 things about which I Hope and Pray We Can All Agree – Thaddeus Williams
Originally published at: https://seanmcdowell.org/blog/social-justice-and-the-gospel-12-things-about-which-i-hope-and-pray-we-can-all-agree Estimated read time: 10 minsAuthor: Thaddeus WilliamsPublisher: Sean McDowellDate accessed: 24/09/2020
TWO CHRISTIAN VIEWS ON RACISM
Two Christian viewpoints
We have selected two Christian theologians who talk about their experiences of racism and provide interesting insights into the issue of racism from different perspectives.
John Piper describes himself as racist in the early years of his life. He describes how God challenged and transformed his heart and mind. He was the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church for 31 years and lived and pastored in one of the poorest and most ethnically-diverse parts of the city. He describes the transformation that comes from recognising that we are God’s image bearers, that we are one race, of one bloodline, descended from Adam. He sees it as fundamentally a gospel issue that allows us to triumph over sin that militates against the advance of racial harmony and the enjoyment of racial diversity.
Dr Voddie Baucham is an African-American pastor who has lived with racism and been treated with prejudice from both sides. He uses Ephesians 2:10-22 to show how Christ’s death and resurrection severed the separation of Jew from Gentile so that we have become one new man in Christ. We are fellow citizens in the kingdom. Likewise, everyone needs the gospel for salvation, and we should be impartial in sharing the good news.
Both come to the same conclusion. We are all part of God’s family. There is no segregation in the Gospel according to race. Seeing one race as superior to another is sin. We should be impartial in sharing the good news and executive justice to all with kindness and love.
Additional resources include:
Should Christians be Involved in Black Lives Matter? By Martyn Iles
Thaddeus Williams: Questions Christians Should Answer Bloodlines: Race, Cross and the Christian – Documentary on John PiperSpeaker: John PiperPublisher: Desiring GodOriginally published at: https://youtu.be/us-tvWT2gDoDuration: 18:47Date accessed: - 24/09/2020
Racism, Sexism, Genocide: Is this the God of the Bible? Jo Vitale
Christians know that God is holy. Everything he does is good, just, moral and righteous. But how do we explain the apparent racism, sexism and genocide that we find in the bible? Can we really trust God’s character? And if we cannot explain it, how do we handle the objections of our non-Christian friends, especially when it comes to social justice issues. Jo Vitale tackles this question head on and finds a loving, moral, holy God that we can trust implicitly.
Gospel and Race – 1 Tim 2:1-7 – All Lives Matter – Chase Kuhn
People acting with a social justice focus often separate us into different identity groups. We chose this sermon by Chase Kuhn as it provides a different perspective on racial issues. He recognises that the most critical need for everyone is the gospel of salvation. In this sermon Chase explains that we are one humanity, with one heritage, Adam, that God wants all to be saved and that the only way to salvation is through one mediator, Jesus Christ.
We are urged to have a primary importance of praying for all. We are also called to pray for our leaders that we may be able to live out our lives as witnesses of the faith, representing Jesus Christ to the world. Finally, we are to contend for the dignity of all. The gospel is for all.
TWO QUICK THINGS YOU CAN SAY
Today so many people base their identity on things such as their gender, their sexual preferences or their race. They often see themselves as victims and the oppressed minority. We do not need to see ourselves as victims as we are all given inherent dignity and worth because we are made in the image of God. The opinions of others become far less important as we live our lives for Jesus who is compassionate and welcomes us into his family. It is in Jesus we find our true identity.
Have you noticed how people try to enforce justice by legislating it? And some of that legislation is unfair as it legislates that the rights of some are more important than the rights of others. I hear many people saying that some causes are morally wrong. We need to find a way to live together where we treat each other with respect and tolerate differences in views, even when they are significant. And we need to ensure that what we fight for is moral. That’s what Jesus requires of his followers.
THREE WAYS TO TURN DISCUSSION TO THE GOSPEL
The Bible is clear that God does not judge people by their race, colour or gender. It sees us as one humanity made in the image of God. And we all have the same problem: we are separated from our creator by our sinfulness. There are only two groups of people: those who have been forgiven and those who have not. I’d love you to be one of the people who enjoys that forgiveness. Can I share with you how God has created a way for us to be part of his family?
We see so much social justice activism. Do you think that we can ever achieve a world that is just, a world where there is no discrimination or racism? I don’t. One of the joys of trusting Jesus is knowing that one day everyone will be judged fairly, according to what they have done, and true justice will prevail. The beauty is that we will be judged by the one who makes us right with God – Jesus. Are you interested in hearing how you can be on the right side of history on judgement day?
As a Christian I am against injustice and oppression, but where I disagree with today's social justice movements is their view on the causes and the solutions. I believe that God has created in his image and loves us all. Equally called to account for how we live, including whether we have truly sought justice, or been motivated by selfishness, rejection of God, or dehumanising violence or judgement toward those with different views to us. God's justice is perfect, yet graciously loving and merciful to those who belong to him, and we will all face it. Are you interested in hearing the Christian view of justice?
SIX BIBLE PASSAGES CONCERNING JUSTICE
Deut 10:17-18 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.
Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Romans 2:23-24 There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Proverbs 31:8-9 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Isaiah 59:14-15 So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.
Jer 22:16 He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord.
Jer 22:3 This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.
GROUP OR PERSONAL REFLECTION
We encourage you to discuss these questions with you friends or your Bible study group.
Think about the definition of biblical justice as it has been described by Ascol. Is there anything that surprised you? To what extent do you think you are executing justice in your daily life? Are you taking action where appropriate? How would you assess your attitude to yourself, to others and to God as you execute justice? Is there anything you would like to change? How could you make these changes?
Let’s think through the differences between (a) biblical justice, (b) the common secular view of social justice and the (c) cultural Marxist’s view of social justice.
What are the underlying motivations for each?
What are the strategies used for each to bring about justice?
What are the criteria used to determine what is a justice issue for each?
How would you assess the common view of social justice and the cultural Marxist view of social justice using the four criteria given by Ascol:
How would you explain how the biblical view of justice is better?
John Anderson stated in the video that we don’t seem to value things like love, harmony, turning the other cheek and forgiveness. These radical values are fundamental to living as a Christian. How do you think we could engage in conversations about these fundamental Christian values? fulln How would you turn the conversation to the gospel?
How is sharing the gospel critical to achieving the justice sought by social justice advocates, i.e. the ultimate way to achieve justice?
Thinking about racism: can you see any personal beliefs, thoughts or actions that are racist (where you are failing to treat others as image bearers of God)? Racism is a sin. How could you address these areas?
PRAYER FOR MEANING AND PURPOSE
We come to you knowing that we are perpetrators of injustice. We have not always treated others with the dignity and respect they deserve as your image bearers. We are blinded to injustice in our own lives and are not aware that we are not caring for others as we should. Sometimes we ignore the needs of our neighbours. Father, please forgive us.
You have a heart for the poor, the oppressed, the refugee and you have commanded us to show special care for them. Help us to be aware of people around us who need our help. Transform our hearts so that we are willing to love them, and not count the personal expense.
Father, we know that doing justice is not sufficient. You have commanded us to do justice with an attitude of Hesed, an attitude of compassion, love and kindness. We are also called to execute justice out of love for you. Please change our hearts so that we can show your compassion, kindness and love to others and in doing so give you the glory.
We live in a world which ignores your truth. We witness activism to bring about legislation and changes that are not in accordance with your good law. Often these are pushed at us under the guise of love. We bemoan their strategies that often silence us from speaking out. Father please give us wisdom to speak with love about these issues when the opportunity arises. Help us to love everyone, especially those who are feeling oppressed and victimised and whose lifestyle is sinful. We pray that when we speak, they experience your love, compassion and kindness. We know that we show love when we speak with them about how they can be saved by trusting in Jesus. Please give us the words to say.
We pray that you work in the hearts of all our church family throughout Australia. May we treat others with love, compassion and kindness and willingly speak about the gospel. May we become known as a community where everyone is welcome, especially those that are feeling victimised and oppressed. May our church family be the light on the hill that offers love, respect, compassion and truth, especially the truth of salvation.
Social Justice Isn’t Justice
This video explains how biblical justice is different from social justice.Estimated read time: 10 minsAuthor: Allie Beth StuckeyPublisher: PragerUDate accessed: 24/09/2020
The Dignity of God’s Image Bearers – Dr Stephen Nichols
In this video Nichols traces the crisis of human identity and dignity back to the Enlightenment and explains the consequences when we seek to find identity apart from God. He shows how our identity and value is degraded when it is unhinged from God.
Understanding what it means to be created in the image of God is one of the cornerstones we can use to understand the ethics of some of the hot topic issues of today such as gender identity, identity politics, racism, abortion, euthanasia and provide a better answer from the bible. We are called to reflect the very character of God.
Dr. Stephen J. Nichols is president of Reformation Bible College, chief academic officer for Ligonier Ministries, and a Ligonier Ministries teaching fellow.Speaker: Dr Stephen NicholsPublisher: renewingyourmind.orgOriginally published at: https://youtu.be/84wQVW_U-1YDuration: 26:22Date accessed: - 24/09/2020
Social Justice and the Gospel – John MacArthur
In this video John MacArthur explains the difference between the biblical view of justice and the secular concept of social justice. MacArthur explains that biblical justice is impartial, whereas social justice elevates the position of some groups over others. He states that social justice is not part of the gospel and that some churches are confusing social justice with the biblical concepts of compassion and mercy. We are to love people, care for them, minister to their needs and treat them mercifully. That is a result of the gospel.
MacArthur recognises that in this fallen world many will suffer abuse. Speaker: John MacArthurPublisher: Grace To YouOriginally published at https://youtu.be/_ix_eHfGYuADuration: 13:50 – the first 14 minutes are the most relevant. His following explanation is more detailed.Date accessed: - 24/09/2020
The New Social Justice Religion - John MacArthur
This video was chosen because it is a warning to us to ensure that we use our bibles to assess the theology of the people that we listen to, especially regarding social justice issues. He discusses how some evangelical churches have gone after Baal. They have been seduced into looking more like a political and social organisation, rather than representing the Kingdom of God confronting the world.
Justice for all is a noble ideal when it can be achieved but in this fallen world it is extremely difficult to see it, define it and implement it. People demand justice by violating laws. Perfect justice belongs to God alone. Many attempts to define justice lead to injustice because they reflect the perversion of the human heart. Defining justice without a transcendent revelation is impossible.Speaker: John MacArthurPublisher: Heart of Worship Channel / www.gracecurch.org Originally published at https://youtu.be/fAswFiVykSsDuration: 10:06Date accessed: - 24/09/2020
Race is More than Just a Social Issue – John Piper
John Piper describes what it means for God to be God. Every human being is created in God’s image, with the rational, moral and affectional capacities to image him and in doing so magnify him, i.e. put his glory on display. Not one human fulfils the design to enjoy God in all his glory. We all commit treason. John uses this as the basis for treating everyone one with impartiality. In doing so he provides a beautiful exposition of the Gospel.Speaker: John PiperPublisher: Desiring GodOriginally published at: https://youtu.be/K8CLHViMKR4Duration: 20:57Date accessed: - 24/09/2020
Should Christians be Involved in Black Lives Matter? - John MacArthur
John MacArthur looks at the question as to whether Christians should join Black Lives Matter. He challenges us to explore whether the BLM movement brings glory to God. He looks at both their tactics and their stated objectives. His approach provides a model for how we can assess whether we can support various causes and movements. He states that as a Christian you can’t be part of an organisation designed by SatanDuration: 9:19Author: John MacArthurPublisher: Grace To You / Plead For GraceDate accessed: - 24/09/2020
Black Lives Matter Admits “We are Marxist” – Victim
In this video, Martyn Iles from the Australian Christian Lobby discusses the cultural Marxist ideology behind Black Lives Matter and various other causes. He cautions against seeing all causes through this lens and identifies other reasons why people engage in activism. He explains the ideology behind cultural Marxism. In the following short video, Iles discusses the impact for people when they adopt a victim mentality and buy into Marxist ideology.Duration: 38:07Speaker: Martyn IlesPublisher: Australian Christian Lobby Date accessed: - 24/09/2020
This page was posted on: 24/09/2020