As Christians we love the goodness of God in his justice and mercy. We all believe in justice. The problem is we theologically-driven Christians disagree on what justice in regard to ethnocentric oppression looks like in our American context in 2018. This leads to frustration, impatience, anger, and an overall despair. We've slowly begun to believe the lie that we'll never make it out of this issue together for God's glory.
I feel that despair and frustration too. But God has kept me minimally optimistic.
The World and Everything in It evenhandedly covered The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel on Wednesday's program (10/3/18). Take a listen as they interview pastors from both sides of the discussion.
Here are the salient points:
(1) There is grave danger in many false teachings being propagated under the banner of "social justice." These false teachings obscure, confuse, and oppose the gospel message and clarifying to people their real need for the grace of God in Christ.
(2) Those for the statement say that evangelicals are adopting a cultural marxist approach to the areas of race, manhood and womanhood, and human sexuality. They are concerned that Christians are taking a political strategy to the culture rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ.
(3) Those who wouldn't sign the statement, like Albert Mohler and Tim Keller, are concerned that the problem of what I call "ethnocentric (and therefore systemic) oppression toward African Americans" is minimized or reduced enough to the point where signing it would be unwise.
In order to encourage you to discern the issue and move forward in Christian hope, let me offer four reflections:
I agree with the fact that there are (1) the false teachings that spring up under the banner of social justice, where the gospel is confused and contradicted. We should continually clarify the gospel and protect justification by faith alone.
I agree that (2) some "Christians" are doing this for man's applause. But in the debates I've had with brother-pastors the likes of Thabiti Anyabwile and John Piper and Russell Moore and Tim Keller and Albert Mohler and Lig Duncan and David Platt and Matt Chandler and Mark Dever are not doing this as a political strategy or to gain the approval of the culture. They are clearly against so-called "gay marriage" and abortion which does not bring the culture's favor. They have not adopted a culturally-marxist approach to manhood and womanhood and sexuality. Therefore I don't find the accusation that they have adopted cultural marxism in the area of race as plausible. The accusation that they are chasing the approval of the culture rings hollow.
Thirdly, I believe that (largely unintentional) ethnocentric (and therefore systemic) oppression of African Americans exists as a massive and urgent problem today. Therefore, a statement written by those who functionally assume it does not exist as a massive and urgent problem will inevitably reflect that assumption in the framing of the statement, as was the case with the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel.
Lastly, let us praise God that he is in control, so we don't have to be. Jesus is Lord over all Christians and non-Christians. He is working out everything according to the counsel of his will (Eph 1.11). We have the privilege of trusting him and speaking the truth in love and allowing him to water seeds and cause the growth, repentance and change. He may grant repentance on this issue, he may not (2 Tim 2.24-26). It is up to us to keep removing the log from our eye, listening with humility to those on the other side (James 1.19), and taking every thought captive to Christ (2 Cor 10.3-5). We all have blind spots. We are also responsible to help remove the speck out of our brother's eye after removing the log from our own. Let's pray that God shows us our own logs in this debate. And let's cling to the cross of Christ knowing that even where we unintentionally sin, Christ Jesus is mighty to save all of us, on both sides, who trust in him alone for our salvation.
What do you think about my reflections on The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel? Let's talk about it in the comment section below.
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