social justice, Bible style

Since I started speaking out for racial reconciliation, I’ve had many people question my faith, wondering if I’m even a Christian anymore. I’ve been so confused by this, because based on what we know of Jesus, it seems that he’d be on the side of racial justice too… I’ve also seen a number of Christians questioning the Church and its response to racial injustice, wondering if it’s how Jesus would be showing up.

I spent a good amount of time combing through a printed out copy of this article by Tim Keller about about secular justice and critical theory through a Biblical lens. I highly recommend reading it. If you’re not familiar with Tim Keller, his writing is very heady and takes work to get through, but it’s worth it.

He outlines five facets of Biblical Justice:
1 ) Community
“The Bible depicts the human world as a personal inter-related community. So the godly must live in such a way that the community is strengthened.”

2 ) Equity
“Any system of justice or government in which decisions or outcomes are determined by how much money parties have is a stench before God.”

3 ) Corporate responsibility
“Sometimes God holds families, groups and nations corporately responsible for the sins of individuals.”

4 ) Individual responsibility
“The Bible does not teach that your success or failure is wholly due to individual choices.”

5 ) Advocacy
“In this aspect of justice, we are seeking to give more social, financial, and cultural capital (power) to those with less.”

He then goes on to explain the spectrum of cultural justice theories and offers a biblical analysis of each. Not surprisingly, no other theory aligns with biblical justice.

“When God came to earth in Jesus Christ he came as a poor man, to a family at the bottom of the social order. He experienced torture and death at the hands of religious and government elites using their power unjustly to oppress. So in Jesus we see God laying aside his privilege and power—his “glory”—in order to identify with the weak and helpless (Philippians 2:5-8).”

He ends with these words: “There is nothing in the world like biblical justice! Christians must not sell their birthright for a mess of pottage. But they must take up their birthright and do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God (Micah 6:8)”

May it begin with me.

Thanks to Renee Fisher for sharing their work on Unsplash.

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