I thought this was a really fabulous article, “The Fault in Their (Social) Gospel.”
Full disclosure, I have not changed my view of John MacArthur’s Anti Social Justice Declaration one bit. I think it just stinks. It’s wrong-headed, wrong hearted, contains bad theology, and it uses hyberbole and poorly defined terms. Also, knowing the history and actual words written by some of the signers, it smacks heavily of outright contempt towards their own brother sand sisters in faith.
However, on another level, outside of the larger political range, in what we shall call a different dimension, I often say one of the worst sayings of our time is, “the personal is political.” No it is not! We should completely reverse that, the political is always going to be personal. That means that if you are feeling like a victim of social injustice, rather than trying to change the whole world, we should try to figure out what you need personally in order to heal, and to receive the Lord’s love so fully, you’re now walking in a world that is just raining His goodness down on you.
Are you trapped in extreme poverty? Why? God didn’t call you to be trapped in extreme poverty.
Are you feeling rejected, unloved, cast out of society? Why? God didn’t call you to be cast out and unloved.
Driven by fear, anxiety, distress, feeling bad about yourself, having issues with men, women, relationships? Why? God didn’t condemn you to perpetual suffering.
Life of course can be painful, suffering is a part of our walk in the world, but there are just a myriad of things that can needlessly afflict us, keep us trapped, prevent us from receiving the goodness of God and life abundant. He came to set the captives free and whom the Son sets free is free indeed.
This is a sticky wicket, a delicate matter, but so often the path to healing really is repentance, not the guilt ridden crippling form of, it’s all totally my fault, but rather, So what have I done to separate myself from the goodness of God? Why am I not receiving the full richness of His love?
Often when we look about and blame the world we are looking in the wrong direction. The world is not going to right itself and give us what you need, but God sure will. The Lord fixes everything, He has genuine power, He will move mountains for us if only we believe. We cannot legislate changed hearts, we cannot build a world that heals people in the same way that only God can.
The bible says, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” I have had to meditate on that verse over and over again, because that really is the Lord’s heart for us, His will for us. If our souls aren’t thriving, we’re outside of His will. His desire is to bless us immensely. God doesn’t want to give us “justice,” He wants to give us so much favor, it isn’t “just” at all! That’s what grace is, unmerited favor, way more than we deserve, a blessing so huge, it is totally unfair. We aren’t getting “equal and fair,” we’re getting the biggest piece of the pie! And the pie is so infinite, our bigger piece doesn’t make anyone else’s piece smaller.
There really is no such thing as “social sanctification” or as the article calls it “sanctification by social activism.” Sanctification is painful work and far too often what we people do is try to find external solutions to what is really an internal problem. The kingdom of heaven is within us! There is no external social utopia we can create that will cure what ails us. We simply need a Savior and the humility to approach Him. Humility and boldness because it takes some real boldness to go before the throne of grace and claim His promises to you.
One thing this article touched on is socialism. Socialism is a big fear and it really should be if we are talking about a financial/political system often rooted in tyranny in which we’re all suddenly equal because we’re all suddenly dirt poor! But in faith? In an emotional, psychological, and spiritual context only, we are socialists. Our job is to enable one another to receive what the Lord invites us all to have. We are our brother’s keeper. In one of the wealthiest countries the world has ever seen, people should not be experiencing poverty, oppression, abuse,and injustice, even if it is sometimes self-inflicted. Our job as Christians is to spread the good news, heal the sick, cast out demons, and free the captives.
Until the world around us begins to look like the grace of Jesus Christ within us, IT IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. We are not finished, we still have work to do. Social activism is that work, it is making manifest the love of Jesus Christ for all the world to see. It is the manifestation of our faith, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
When the world around us does not look like the grace of Jesus Christ within us, it is not the hearts and souls of the oppressed and downtrodden I worry about, it is the hearts and souls of those in positions of power and privilege! The bible is pretty clear about that, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”