Many things confound the minds of those of who are watching so many conservative evangelical leaders (CELs) embrace the concept of social justice. One can see how tempting the bait is since the name sounds attractive and appropriate for a biblical worldview. It is time to examine this notion in a non-polemical-yet-uncowering fashion. This article will reveal the radically progressive ideas on social issues that are currently being embraced by certain CELs.
Yet, one wonders why we have veered left on issues of race, gender, and sex. Orthodoxy based on a biblical worldview has been abandoned by many contemporary CELs at such an alarming rate that speculation regarding motivation is required.So, what could be the reasons for this leftward tilt? Several suggestions for further review leap into focus: 1) Traditional numbers of enrollment in Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) seminaries and mega-churches are declining for various and obvious reasons, so the answer is to recruit from within African-American communities; 2) Opposing gender confusion and liberal sexual practices not condoned in Scripture makes churches and seminaries less attractive; 3) The apparent need to repent of the sins of our grandfathers is overwhelming. As strongly as a blanket apology was accepted by the SBC two decades ago, it does not follow that the stain of the racist attitudes of our great-grandfathers should remain with us today.
SOCIAL JUSTICE IS NOT A SOLUTION TO RACISM
Within a biblical worldview, there is simply no room for racism. It should have never been a platform, so it should never have required answers. Nevertheless, even the most naïve among us would admit that it still exists. Yet, the problem is a sin issue in the human heart that programs will not address. However, apologizing for the racist sins of previous generations might only salve the wounds of those seeking forgiveness. Racism is simply unacceptable for Christians. The Bible records slavery, but it does not condone it. Jesus used it simply as illustrations for believers. Retrospective apologies have never been the answer, even though no one would oppose them. The answer is found only in regenerated, repentant hearts. One CEL has recently publicly described the signers of the Dallas Statement as racists and bigots. One must surmise that he was aware that several of these signers are not white. Thus, the CEL has fallen into the mold of the progressive movement by playing the race card at an unfortunate time.
SOCIAL JUSTICE IS NOT A SOLUTION TO SEXUAL CONFUSION
Within a biblical worldview, there is simply no room for gender confusion and what the Bible refers to as abominations. Many SBC leaders are again trying to make themselves more likeable by tolerating this confusion. Some of them have supported conferences where the LBGT life was the primary if not the sole topic of conversation.Some CELs have walked back similar endorsements as if they had heard a still, small, voice telling them this topic was not in line with a biblical worldview, and clearly inconsistent with the rest of the message that characterizes their preaching and teaching.
SOCIAL JUSTICE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LEGAL JUSTICE
Social justice proponents hope that criminal and civil courts might reach a parity where convicted criminals would represent the exact ratios of ethnicities within the general population, regardless of who commits crimes. Casual glances at this idea reveal the naivete involved.
SOCIAL JUSTICE IS NOT EVEN JUSTICE AT ALL
There is a difference between mercy and justice. From a biblical perspective, justice involves what we deserve, but mercy involves a treatment better than what is deserved. Free-market Capitalism rewards people who (usually) educate themselves and have enough courage to take financial risks in order to receive substantial rewards. Social justice is directly opposed to this. It has always been and will always be about re-distribution of wealth. Robin Hood was using unjust measures to answer obvious injustices. In the social justice movement, government leaders are the greatest beneficiaries of the system, not the risk-taking, creative geniuses. Jesus said, “For you will always have the poor with you…” (Matt. 26:11 NASB). Attempts to forcefully re-distribute wealth are socialistic rather than just and grease the skids to a culture where the state replaces God for the citizens. This is a result that no CEL would tolerate, so why should preliminary steps be promoted?
However, the church and her institutions of higher education simply cannot and must not compromise on these principles. Since moral relativism has swept into the church, she cannot succumb to the tidal wave by winking at unbiblical concepts such as racism, gender confusion, and the sexual misconduct that must accompany it. This compromise is devastating. Racism, although far from defeated, is in a sharp decline from the previous two generations. The phrase “social justice” indeed has a noble sound to it but requires imagination to attach Christian virtue to it.
The problem is that it does not answer racism. It heightens racism. Once the CELs of the day understand that social justice is clearly connected more to socialism than anti-racism, we can return to the mundane things like leading congregations in spiritual development rather than developing a progressive resurgence that the vast majority of the SBC would oppose if they could recognize it. We deal frequently enough with false teachers spreading horrific doctrine over the airways promising prosperity and improved health. When CELs become promoters of a progressive resurgence, the resulting chaos will be devastating. Today’s CELs are having to moonwalk certain positions when the camouflage is removed and the world (or the Church) sees the true, progressive motivations behind the Social Justice Movement. We must remember that the only thing worse than being a wolf in sheep’s clothing is being a wolf in shepherd’s clothing.
Many of these leaders enjoy renown for their stands on biblical inerrancy. Others are theologically conservative yet politically progressive on ideas such open borders, gender confusion, and sexual promiscuity.
For more on this, please see a column by Michael Gryboski, Aug. 1, 2018 (www.christianpost.com/news/revoice-speakers-lament-treatment-gay-christians-church-share-stories-rejection-226528/.)