Justice

From the “it’s always something” department…

Southern Baptist pastor Grady Arnold submitted a resolution to the SBC (Southern Baptist Commission) this past week calling upon the SBC to “decry and reject the terms and framework of social justice,” that they “avoid the terms ‘social justice’,” and several other things.

The second sentence in the resolution contains this:

Whereas social justice by definition is based on anti-biblical and destructive concepts of Marxist ideology

Let’s take a tour and see how “anti-biblical” this justice thing is. (All emphasis mine.)

How does God feel about justice?

Deut 10:18—He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the foreigner by giving him food and clothing. (NASB)

Psalm 25:9—He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way. (NASB)

Psalm 33:5—He loves righteousness and justice.

Psalm 37:28—For the Lord loves justice

How has God called us to live?

Genesis 18:19—For I have chosen him [Abraham], so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice… (NASB)

Deuteronomy 24:17—Do not deny justice to a foreigner or fatherless child, and do not take a widow’s garment as security. (HCSB)

Isaiah 1:17—Learn to do what is good, seek justice, correct the oppressor, defend the rights of the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. (HCSB)

Micah 6:8—Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God. (HCSB)

Jeremiah 22:3—This is what the Lord says: Administer justice and righteousness. Rescue the victim of robbery from the hand of his oppressor. Don’t exploit or brutalize the foreigner, the fatherless, or the widow. Don’t shed innocent blood in this place. (HCSB)

Psalm 89:14—Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne… (HCSB)

Psalm 106:3—How blessed are those who keep justice, who practice righteousness at all times! (NASB)

Proverbs 21:3—To do righteousness and justice is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice. (NASB)

Isaiah 56:1—Keep justice, and do righteousness… (ESV)

Amos 5:15—Hate evil and love good; establish justice in the gate.

What does God have to say about those who reject justice, who are unjust?

Deuteronomy 27:19—The one who denies justice to a foreigner, a fatherless child, or a widow is cursed.

Isaiah 28:17—And I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the mason’s level. Hail will sweep away the false refuge, and water will flood your hiding place. (HCSB)

Jeremiah 22:13—Woe to him who builds his house without righteousness and his upper rooms without justice… (NASB)

Amos 5:6–7: Seek Yahweh and live, or He will spread like fire throughout the house of Joseph; it will consume everything, with no one at Bethel to extinguish it. Those who turn justice into wormwood throw righteousness to the ground. (HCSB)

What was (among other things, being the Son of God and all) special about the Messiah (Jesus?)

Isaiah 9:7—The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. (HCSB)

Jeremiah 23:5—“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land.”

Isaiah 11:1–4—Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse…the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him…but He will judge the poor righteously and execute justice for the oppressed of the land.

Isaiah 42:1—This is My Servant; I strengthen Him, this is My Chosen One; I delight in Him. I have put My Spirit on Him; He will bring justice to the nations.

Gosh, that is anti-biblical, isn’t it?

“Wait,” you say, “he was talking about social justice, not justice.” Ahhh, right. How are those different, exactly? Without ducking, give me five differences. I’ll go get some tea and be right back.

How are we doing? Got five? Three? One?

Here’s the problem. I’m well aware of “social justice” as a technical term. I’m also aware that 90% of the people that use that term aren’t using it technically, and 90% of the people that hear that term aren’t hearing it technically. For them, the “social” is like the p in psychiatrist; it’s silent, and they either don’t know why it’s there, or, occasionally, don’t know it’s there at all.

Decrying “social justice” in a resolution without explicitly defining what you’re talking about is a fool’s errand. It’s at best counter-productive and at worst destructive to all justice. It’s controversy for controversy’s sake, and the only thing it accomplishes is to make yourself look like another clueless Baptist pastor.

You want a resolution? Here’s one.

We resolve we’re for justice.
We resolve that those of whom much is given, much is required. (Luke 12:48)
We resolve that we will make every effort to rescue and restore the victims of oppression. (See above)
We resolve that we will bring those who oppress others to account. (See above)
We resolve that we will make every effort to provide for those who do not have enough. (2 Cor 8:13–14)

Why do we resolve this? We don’t do it because it’s the right thing to do. (It is.) We don’t do it because Darwinism teaches us to take care of those more disadvantaged than we are (it doesn’t, it teaches the opposite). We do it because “you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich.” (2 Cor 8:9)

When we start living by that resolution, we can worry about making other ones.

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