The whole "Social Justice" juggernaut has been in full combat mode for some time now, but especially in religious circles. I say "religious" because there is a large, self-identified Christian component, but I question the connection of "social justice" and "Christian". These "Social Justice Warriors" (SJWs) trot out "social justice" as the primary goal and first aim of Christianity itself, and I'm simply asking, "Is that so?" What does the Bible say?
In order to understand this properly, we have to figure out what we're talking about. "Social justice" is generally defined as "a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society." Hey, we know the Bible is absolutely in favor of justice (e.g., Micah 6:8). While enforcing fair and just relations between the individual and society is not listed as a primary task of Christians, we are certainly in favor of it (Matthew 25:31-46).
But ... is that what they mean when they speak of "social justice"? I don't think so. Like so many other things ("marriage," "love," "gender," etc.), the meaning of the terms we commonly used have been abducted and, while they claim they are speaking of the same thing (and, thus, you must agree with them), they aren't.
Typically, these days, what passes for "social justice" has several concerns. The most obvious is "equality," another word that suffers from redefinition to mean not "of the same value," but "the same." The "equality" they're talking about is in terms of distribution. Distribution of goods, wealth, advantages, disadvantages. "If you have it, so should we." We used to think that "equality" included "proportional to effort," for instance, so that those who put in the most effort would get more than those who put in less, but we're not there anymore. Distribution must be equal, not equitable.
They want what's best for "the common good." Surely you can see the problem here. Who gets to define "the common good?" They do. So they insert things like "socialism" and "welfare state" and "income inequality" under the heading of "common good." They offer new rights and new requirements and label them "social justice." Think of the "minimum wage" battles these days where they get to decide what "minimum wage" is without any thought of the value of the workers or the cost to the ones paying the wage or the customers who will have to make up for it. They throw in "the right to kill your baby" if you're a woman as if killing your baby is a matter of "social justice" -- as if killing a baby can be justice in any sense. And if you don't concur with their definition, you are opposed to "social justice."
Much of what passes for "social justice" today is nothing more or less than what the Bible refers to as "covetousness." "I want what you have and I should get it." Couch that in "social justice" terms and it ceases being a sin and becomes a right, a matter of "equality," an issue that all Christians ought to support.
In a Steve Taylor song against the "health and wealth" gospel, he has a line that goes like this: "I know You'll give me what I need; they say I need a shopping mall." That's what has become of the "social justice" concept today. We're in favor of compassion and caring; they say we need to give them what others have earned. Scripture says, "If any would not work, neither should he eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10). When a man asked Jesus to make his brother do what was right, Jesus said, "Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (Luke 12:13-15). Jesus declared His own primary task as seeking and saving the lost (Luke 19:10), not providing for equal distribution of wealth and privilege. His first message was "Repent and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15), not "Get out there and help the needy."
Scripture encourages us to care for the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, uphold the weak, and so on. It is not the Gospel, but it is a calling we have under the heading of "love your neighbor." We should do those things. And I don't think there is a question that a lot of us are not doing those things nearly enough. On the other hand, what passes for "social justice" today is misguided, misdirected, and even sinful in many cases, but a lot of us are buying into it because "Hey, it's 'social justice' and we're all for that, right?"
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)
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