Yesterday I wrote about my differences with the promoters of trendy social justice Christianity. You can read the whole piece here, but to sum up, while we both have a shared goal (combatting racism), I believe their approach to doing that is flawed because it is built upon cultural theology that anticipates its eradication coming through social policy. I believe the better approach is one rooted in the truth of the Bible that reminds us racism will never be eradicated in a fallen world, and thus pushing the world towards the cross of Jesus is the best way to combat the sin.
But what about those who pretend that social justice Christianity isn’t about a misplaced missiology of elevating manmade institutions enacting social policy as some sort of substitute savior? What about those who believe that our churches should be motivating already-converted Christians to combat racism just like they motivate such believers to combat earthly injustices like abortion or sexual immorality?
Let’s be as clear as we can possibly be: racism is sinful and evil. It is not born of a godly mind, it is not Christ-like, and it has no place in the character of a believer. Is it distinctly possible that some Christians will struggle with that sin because of their upbringing, personal experiences, education, environment, or attitude? Of course. And ministers of the Gospel of Jesus should be as passionate about eradicating that attitude from their flock as they are the attitudes of permissiveness towards sexual sin or abortion.
But where Biblical justice is objective, specific, individualized, and quantifiable, almost none of these attributes can be applied to the theology of social justice Christianity.
“[I]f we’re suggesting that a nation is presently committing racial injustice, we need to name these injustices. If we are not slanderers, we need to list these unjust laws. If we are not merely perpetuating Black fear and White guilt, we should be able to address what makes America and the American church systemically racist.”
Perhaps using the specifically referenced parallels above would be helpful in understanding this point. Consider the church preaching against abortion.
- The sin is objectively stated: killing an unborn child is wrong.
- The sinner is specifically identified: the one who kills an unborn child or has their unborn child killed.
- The action is quantifiable: an exact and precise offense was committed – the killing of an unborn child.
- The sin is individualized: this isn’t guilt by association, it is guilt by chosen action.
Now contrast that with the often-cited injustices from those preaching social justice race reconciliation: unemployment disparity between blacks and whites, infant mortality rate disparity between blacks and whites, violent crime disparity between blacks and whites, incarceration rate disparity between blacks and whites.
While there is certainly no questioning that racial disparities exist, notice the obvious distinction between these concerns and the Biblical understanding of injustice as demonstrated with abortion. With these injustices:
- The sin is not objectively stated: no cause for the disparities is given or explained.
- The sinner is not specifically identified: who is to blame specifically for these disparities?
- The action is not quantifiable: there is no indication that any of these disparities were the result of sinful behavior.
- The sin is not individualized: the implication is guilt by association (you’re part of a society where this happens), not guilt by chosen action.
With abortion, a sinner in the congregation could be made aware of what they have done, how it offended God, the redemption found in the Gospel, and Christ’s promise of a renewed mind. The intended objective appears to be repentance and a new hope. With social justice, the congregation is confused as to what they have done, how they are to blame, and they are left with either a vague feeling of white guilt or a stinging black resentment.
The former (preaching against abortion) is an example Biblical justice, the latter (preaching against racial disparities) is social justice. The two are not the same. Sey dug deeper:
“Conflating racial injustice with racial disparities is Marxist, and it is incompatible with a mosaic and biblical definition of justice… That is not the philosophy of Amos 5…God didn’t declare judgement on Israel because of tribal disparities. He didn’t condemn Israel because of poverty. No, he declared judgement on Israel because they worshiped him while transgressing from Mosaic justice. He condemned Israel because they were trampling on the poor. Particularly, they were over-taxing the poor and taking bribes (Amos 5:11-12), which God, through Moses, explicitly charged them not to do (Deuteronomy 16:19).”
Notice there again, in Amos 5 we have an objectively stated, specifically identified, individualized and quantifiable sinful action that was condemned, which leads (hopefully) to repentance. That is simply not the case with social justice Christianity, which as Sey surmises:
“is about social justice, not human rights. It suggests that people are guilty before proven innocent. It conflates disparities with injustice. It worships the critical race theory, not Christ. It believes in the rule of leftism, not the rule of law. It believes in feelings, not facts. It believes in microaggressions, not maturity. It is completely antithetical to Mosaic justice, real justice.”
And that’s why as a Christian I oppose it.