Social Justice Isn’t New. And It Doesn’t Belong to Just One Group.

Social Justice Isn’t New. And It Doesn’t Belong to Just One Group. October 9, 2018

It seems that every day, there is more and more talk of “social justice.” All of a sudden, everyone wants to become a warrior. Joining this movement seems to be the trendy thing to do – like drinking pumpkin spice lattes or fighting with strangers on social media. The term itself was first used around 1840 by Catholics, so the expression isn’t as fresh as some people think. But, in many ways, it has been repurposed.

For some, social justice is connected to racial reconciliation. For others, it all about reproductive rights, also known as abortion advocacy. It’s linked to the LGBT community and their fight for equality. Many connect working towards women’s rights with social justice. Income equality, the rights of refugees, and addressing privilege are all aspects of social justice.

While some of this hasn’t been around long, fighting for justice isn’t new. And it certainly doesn’t belong to one group of activists.

For the Christian, the Word of God must be considered. And the Bible certainly has plenty to say about justice. Take these few verses as examples:

“When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” Proverbs 21:5

“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream.” Amos 5:24

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly & to love mercy & to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

It’s clear that justice is near to the heart of God. And make no mistake, God is going to administer justice. There is no doubting that. But until all of that is said and done, what are Christians to do in the face of injustices. And how do we decide what injustice even is? The truth is, justice doesn’t belong to people at all. It belongs to God. And we can all proclaim justice in His name.

In writing and speaking on the social justice of adoption and social injustice of abortion, I have been admonished by liberals and conservatives alike. Both Christian and non-Christian. Both progressive and traditional believers. Some have shouted from the rooftops that “real” Christians should not use the term social justice– especially if you are conservative. Others have told me to “have a seat” (how I loathe that expression) because what I am addressing is not “real” social justice. In other words, unless I view it the way they do, I’m wrong and shouldn’t have a voice.

Well, who gets to decide that?

Over and over and over, scripture speaks to the fact that God owns the earth, its inhabitants, and everything it contains. Everything. That must include justice. Even social justice. While many (most?) people use the term to align with liberal causes, Bible believing Christians do not have to exclude themselves or allow themselves to be excluded. To be sure, you must make sure that your fight lines up with the Holy Bible. And by all means know what you’re getting into. But don’t let anyone tell you that there is no place for you in this movement. Because justice isn’t new. And it doesn’t belong to just one group.

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  • tovlogos

    Excellent essay Dr. Shaler — it’s succinct and right on point…
    “It’s clear that justice is near to the heart of God. And make no mistake, God is going to administer justice. There is no doubting that.
    But until all of that is said and done, what are Christians to do in the face of injustices. And how do we decide what injustice even is?
    The truth is, justice doesn’t belong to people at all. It belongs to God. And we can all proclaim justice in His name.” Absolutely.

    Comparing the world’s values: “For some, social justice is connected to racial reconciliation. For others, it all about reproductive rights,
    also known as abortion advocacy. It’s linked to the LGBT community and their fight for equality. Many connect working towards women’s
    rights with social justice. Income equality, the rights of refugees, and addressing privilege are all aspects of social justice.”

    No mystery there — it appears that every action, value, position a person can take regarding anything has a spiritual component
    emininating from one place or the other, no matter how subtle or nuanced. Sitting in the curse is like sitting in a cesspool, we can
    never be truly clean under these circumstances but we can be positionally clean, based on the indwelling Spirit, now. So, how can one be led
    by He who leads from heaven, when his values, faith, are of this world? He believes the world will ‘fix’ all the impacted problems in its own strength
    despite the abundant contradictory evidence.

    A similar phenomenon occurred a few thousand years ago when it was common knowledge that the children of Israel yearned for
    a davidic ruler to come along and free them from the Roman yoke. Fortunately, Jesus came along to distribute true ‘inner’
    freedom, for one, from the devil’s penetrating influence? People didn’t want to hear much if what the Messiah said or did no matter
    how profound; but many lessons were and still are being learned by that unprecedented fateful visit. We know that the time will come
    when everyone will know…
    The indelible grip of the flesh, world, sin and the devil is having it’s day — so, we receive patience by the joy of the Spirit bringing us through every day
    Through Jesus.