Would Christ have had to die for the social justice gospel to be true?

So-called "progressive Christians" are all progressive and no Christian.
The "social justice gospel" is all social justice and no gospel.
"Nationalist Evangelicals" are all nationalist and no evangel.
What do these movements have in common. They all fail to take into account the seriousness of the human condition. The missing element is regeneration: They are all law and no gospel. Human effort without new life. Take away their politics and social causes and they would have nothing to talk about and their movements would collapse in a week.
Those in Christ, who are theological conservatives, on the other hand, by grace, recognize that man cannot extract himself from the morass he is in. He cannot save himself - his will is inflexibly and hopelessly corrupt. No amount of human wisdom or good works can save himself or others. The quick fixes offered by these other groups do nothing to change the nature of fallen man. With all our technological advances, man's heart remains wicked.
Thus, unless the Holy Spirit open his blind eyes, unplugs his deaf ears and turns his heart of stone to a heart of flesh mankind is irretrievably lost, depraved and unable to fix himself. But when the Spirit does a work of grace in a person, they behold their own wickedness, that they are part of the problem and no more deserving of God's favor than another. That before God they are "undone" and justly deserve God's wrath but then rejoice when God extends His undeserved grace in Christ toward them instead and even adopts them as His children. Then when God takes the log out of our eye, we are humbled, changed and finally in a position to liberate the captives, give sight to the blind, help the helpless and do good in all spheres of life. Without new life in Christ, all of these political machinations are but the exertions of fallen human will, and building one's own house, not God's house -- not accoring to His eternal blueprint as revealed in the gospel.
Would Christ have had to die for the social justice gospel to be true?
If the answer is no ... if social justice has, de facto, become the gospel itself, and our goal is simply to "redeem" the culture" then Jesus would not be needed as a Savior, but merely as an example. Without personal redemption, however, can we even come close to living a life according to such a perfect standard?  Even many leaders of other religions could serve as moral examples to follow, so if an example is all we needed then Christianity could not be differentiated from any other false religion. If this were the case, we could have churches full of people every Sunday where we learned how to craft social and political policy (like they often do in Unitarian churches) but where it would be quite unnecessary to preach Christ.
First let us acknowledge the fact that Jesus and the Apostles went out of their way to intentionally help specific groups of sinners — the poor, the alienated, the mistreated, and many of those facing injustice. (Luke 4:18; Isaiah 61:1; Gal 2:10
But Satan works hard in an attempt to confuse these issues in our minds! When we focus exclusively on obedience/morality/social justice and diminish the role of the Gospel in these matters then we end up with something very different than the teaching of Jesus. Instead we get nothing more than moralistic religion. It is supremely naive to think that humanity, in its sinfulness and brokenness, can bring about anything approaching a social justice utopia. Man is too selfish, to sinful, too broken to do this simply through laws and good education. Let me propose an impossible supposition: even if our fallen world could reach a place through human effort where all injustices were eradicated and everyone was morally upright, but where Christ was not preached, then all you have accomplished is outward behavior modification without heart change - And you have not resolved the most critical problem we face as human beings, our estrangement from God.
it seems pretty obvious that Christian nationalists (on the right) and progressive Christians (on the left) are cut from the same cloth. They both prioritize politics above the gospel, making an idol out of it, creating and unholy union of church and politics, confuting their respective political parties and social justice with advancing the gospel.
Theological conservative Christians, on the other hand, ought to critique both with equal forcefulness. While we ought to remain socially and politically active, we are also realists who are well aware that governments come and go and politics is really quite small when weighed against history and God's purposes - purposes which we, as Christians, have been invited into.
It is my strong belief and experience that those of us who recognize ourselves to be sinners who are objects of God's undeserved mercy will be more likely to see their churches actively involved in feeding the hungry, defending the oppressed, bringing liberty to the captives and giving mercy to all people, albeit imperfectly. This is a natural fruit of the gospel and, as such, things we should all be actively seeking to do voluntarily. Jesus did not exert his energy calling on the Roman empire to take care of all these things. This is our responsibility. Taking care of the poor and needy should be our priority - as I know it is in many of our churches.
Does this mean we should forsake politics?  No, if we live in a Democratic country we ought to vote for policies we think will do the most common good. So I am not completely discounting the the need for government. God ordained it.... But I know there are many professing Christians who want to trust the government with most of this ... but the data appears to show that, overall, the government has almost always managed to make matters worse -- like the roll is has played in breaking up families over the last 50 years. FACT: Human bureaucracies have the propensity to become corrupt because human beings are sinful. So a smaller, more manageable, controllable government is almost always preferable to one where we have no real say in the matter. But whatever government we find ourselves under, the gospel is not chained ... history has shown us that some of the greatest movements of the Holy Spirit, some of the greatest revivals, some of the greatest advancements of the gospel, were done under the most oppressive governments and the least optimal human conditions.
Even though Christianity impacts every area of our life, it is not a political movement or a sociological phenomenon but the only way of reconciliation with our Father and creator. 


Question: So what about William Wilberforce who spent twenty years in politics and fighting for social justice and an end to the atrocities that were committed on slave ships? Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water here. Jesus should be preached in all aspects of our society. God is a God of justice and we have a responsibility to maintain justice as Christians. Are you anti-social justice and anti-politics? I realize there are those out there that are involved in social justice without Christ. They are still at least advocating justice. We will always have to deal with unbelievers, I would rather have them advocating justice than not.

Response: The first three lines of the blog post should make clear this is a message for professing Christians. Those who are replacing the gospel with moralism. 

But now, having already received mercy from the Lord, the saved sinner will exercise mercy unto others. To invert this order is to overthrow the whole scheme of grace. Having been made the recipient of Christ's wondrous grace we cannot now but act graciously toward others: having an aversion to everything harsh, cruel, oppressive or injurious; and having a propensity to pity, to do our best to alleviate or remove the miseries of humankind.

The above three political movements which claim to be Christian are overturning this idea, which is no different than any other kind of base moralism.

As citizens I agree we ought to be engaged in politics, but we ought not to make an idol of politics. By all means vote your conscience but the kingdom is not advanced merely by political victory. Victory comes only as hearts are changed by the gospel. Having lived in a communist country for many years I learned firsthand that the gospel is not chained by oppressive governments but often times advances in spite of them. Anyway, I agree with being engaged but it is sad to see these Christian ministries talk about nothing except politics. I realize there are many churches who already are doing mercy ministry in a biblical way.  This short essay is really directed at those who are erring by making social justice the central meaning of the gospel whether their political leanings be on the right or on the left.

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 15:09 -- john_hendryx

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