Monday, December 18, 2006

Social Justice: Politics and Christians...

I came across a helpful quote in approaching social justice through politics from a Christian perspective a few days ago from Tim Keller from Redeemer Presbyterian Church.
"No institution in society will escape the impact of heavy new social problems, especially with the new welfare reform. Regardless of our political views, it is indisputable that millions of people who once looked to the government will now need service and aid from churches and other agencies. The church will be forced by demographics to see what the Bible has always said. Love cannot be only expressed through talk, but through word and deed (1John 3:17).

Further he says,
"While accomplishing that task, Francis Schaeffer said, Christians may be at times, 'cobelligerents' with the Left or the Right, but never allies. 'If there is social injustice, say there is social injustice. If we need order, say we need order....But do not align yourself as though you are in either of these camps: You are an ally of neither. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is different from either - totally different.'"

Lastly he draws this conclusion,
"The ideology of the Left believes big government and social reform will solve social ills, while the Right believes big business and economic growth will do it. The Left expects a citizen to be held legally accountalble in areas of personal morality, but totally autonomous in the use of wealth. The North American "idol" - radical individualism - lies beneath both ideologies. A Christian sees either "solution" as fundamentally humanistic and simplistic."

[Keller, Timothy J. Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road Second edition. Pp. 25-26 P & R publishing company, New Jersey. Copyright 1997]

I agree with Keller...question is why can't we fix these problems? Why won't Christian democratic candidates [generally speaking] and republican candidates [generally speaking] stand up and destroy these stereotypes? Recognizing that these things probably won't improve apart from will the church step up to the plate to correct the "American idol" ideology and to meet social needs through preaching the gospel and giving materially?


jwd said...

Amen! I've long believed that we shouldn't expect the government to do what the Church has been called to do. However, I often forget that it's not just up to the organization(s) of the Church, but the individual members of the Church. And I must confess that I'm a big failure when it comes to meeting the needs of the "least of these."

Noah Braymen said...

That's a good point...I would say that it's good for individuals to realize their share of meeting the needs of those with less...but I would say that it should be done in the context of small groups of members/believers.

Otherwise we might have a bunch of folks just serving and not sharing the vision and passion with more know?

Good point Josh!

In Christ

jwd said...

Right on. My point was that I all too often look for another small group of members/believers to do something, without acknowledging that I am part of that group.