To do social justice is good; to proclaim the Gospel is better!?
One of the notable things to do with my recent Christian – STOP BEING NICE! blog is that I have earned a reputation of being a grumpy old so and so (which I need to deal with) but as a result of putting my head above the proverbial parapet through speaking my mind etc., which often goes against the societal flow, I get flak and some, including goody-goody Christian types, have sadly cut off ties.
That of course is between them and God and I try not to bear anyone ill will. As for me, I am called to be faithful and do those positive things discussed in that blog. While trying to set the record straight and clearing up misunderstanding etc. is a good thing, it does not always get the desired result, but try we must, as well as making reasonable allowances for and being winsome toward those who see things different to ourselves. The area I want to address in this blog is that of social justice, a thing I am keen on, as were the Hebrew prophets, whose concerns were for justice, peace, and genuine respect for people rather than in terms of a socialist leaning re-distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges in a society.
While I tend to be seen by some as being anti-woke, especially when I see wokeism taking precedence over Gospel proclamation in churches, I am not anti-social justice of the non-politically aligned or motivated variety. When around the turn of the millennium, I stopped being a well-paid computer consultant to become a low or even unpaid community activist, a lot of my attention was focused on what I see as social justice matters, e.g. local residents, mental health, asylum seekers, homeless needs and LBGT inclusion, evidenced in my Missing Communities (see here) and Faiths and Africa (see here) reports. I am now retired, yet am still active. For example, tomorrow I chair a meeting involving assorted movers and shakers in my town, addressing issues to do with immigration and homelessness. I see no inconsistency when describing myself as a gospel preaching, community activist, watchman on the wall, and my interest in justice is because that is implicit in the Gospel.
My point is not so much to blow my own trumpet, but rather lay out my credentials as someone who not only understands many of the social justice issues that affect society at this time but I also play my part in trying to practically address some of these. My gripe against churches emphasising social justice over gospel proclamation (see here for what this should entail) and making disciples, is that they often get the balance wrong, lose their nerve and are sucked into endorsing what is an anti-Christian ideology in their enthusiasm to make friends with those at enmity with the Gospel. While there is nothing wrong with having political opinions and there is a good argument that part of Christian saltiness may include political involvement, but we are on slippery ground if we replace sin and repentance with political social justice when preaching the Gospel.
Of course, racial justice matters, but Black Lives Matter is an evil organisation. Of course, we should care about the environment as long as we equally care about babies killed in the womb and oppose the globalist cabal that use this to promote their evil agenda. Of course, we should look after the foreigner that dwells among us, but open borders in not the way to go. Of course, we should reach out to LBGT folk, noting that of the 142 “abomination” references in the KJV Bible, only one is to do with homosexuality and what is cited above is the one that too often is broken (on both sides), but we must not call evil good. Part of the balance we must strive toward is that implied by the meme above and the words of Jesus below.
Before I conclude, I want to go off on what might be seen as a tangent, but I believe is relevant to this discussion. From the previous discussion, I suggest it is not one, social justice (that is properly, bionically defined) or the gospel (encompassing sound doctrine), but rather both social justice and the gospel and, if anything, the Church (as a body of believers rather than an institution), if it had to prioritise, it should be toward following in Jesus footsteps (text above) and carrying out the Great Commission (text below). But it should not do so out of ignorance. I fear some of the energies expended by churches (the institution) more concerned with social justice is done partly out of ignorance, even though there is often a measure of compassion behind what is done.
Events in the world are unfolding at a rapid rate and with great complexity, such as to bemuse even the most switched on, made more problematic for the earnest Christian because the unholy trinity of government, mainstream media and society’s elite promoting an unbalanced agenda (in effect, they lie). Some of my recent energies have been in seeking out alternative sources of information, which if questioning that agenda may be branded as conspiracy theory. Some Christians, including fundie types and anti-wokers, try to ignore, or to be more charitable, rise above all this, but ignorance is no excuse if our mantra is doing the right thing.
I found myself yesterday listening to an over one-hour interview with Alex Jones (on BitChute – he has been banned from YouTube and other platforms), founder of Infowars. Now Alex (famous for gay frogs and allegedly saying Sandy Hook did not happen) is deemed by some as the worst example of conspiracy theorists and one good Christians should avoid. I am not here to endorse or otherwise Alex, other than to say, when I did follow him before his ban, he often made sense. He was questioned concerning some of his conspiracy theories, e.g. Operation Paper Clip and Operation Mocking Bird, as well as the Corona virus being manufactured in the Wuhan lab with the likes of Bill Gates, Anthony Fauci and the WHO all involved. Alex made the points (rightly imo), and while dismissed at the time when he made his claims, he is being proved right. What particularly impressed me was his response to seeing so much unchecked evil going on in the world. He admitted to having feelings of anger when bad guys get away with it, but not depression. I get BOTH angry and depressed, and that is where the Gospel comes in.
I believe the call on today’s Church (with a capital “C”) is urgent and imperative. It is to proclaim the true gospel and, in the words of St. Francis, using words if necessary. Part of one embracing the gospel message entails recognising that evil will abound (at least until Jesus returns), because most of humanity are sinners who are in rebellion against God. Our calling is to be faithful, including carrying out the same commissions that Jesus announced at the start and end of his ministry down on earth (see texts above), and keep trusting in Him who promised to give we who follow Him, life abundant and eternal.