Can Social Justice Happen Outside of the Church?

(Today’s post by Wayne Bunting)

Ezekiel 22

jesusjusticeEzekiel 22 has some social justice issues in it. Part of the reason God is mad is because His people have become obsessed with violence and greed. But this is not the source of why God is angry at them, or the ultimate reason Israel is shown to be in the wrong here. It is a result of Israel’s hard heart and her sins. Many times in Israel’s history when God’s people turned away from Him there was a rise in unjust issues that took place. What is important to note is that for the most part social injustices happen when people forget about God. You cannot detach the two. Injustices, especially here, are a result of what happens when God is absent from a people. Social justice cannot be pushed outside of an assertion that the people need to turn back to God. The two do not exist apart from one another.

There has been a recent rise of people concerned with the issues of social justice. While this can be a good thing, what we must remember is that the source of the problem, and the reason why social injustices happen in the first place, is because people have turned from God, or have never known God in the first place. The kidnapping of the girls in Nigeria by Boko Haram did not happen because there was not a correct understanding of justice by the people who kidnapped them. On the contrary, it happened because there is an absence of God. The Muslims who did this do not know Christ and therefore cannot truly reflect the things of God. People who push for justice in this issue many times push for an application of justice alone as a resolution to an unjust problem. While the church should promote social justice, the application of it alone without recognizing the root of the problem is a very bad thing that does not fully deal with the issue at hand. Any part of the Old Testament that dealt with issues of social justice had at the root of its problem the absence or denial of God. This then must be the source of our solution to the problem of injustice.

So if justice is something that God wants, and is upset over when His people do injustice, then can we expect social justice to happen outside of the church? Its strange to me that suddenly so many people, Christian and non-Christian, are equally and similarly concerned with social justice. Why is this all of a sudden happening? I think that what is happening, especially in the millennial generation, is that people are becoming blinded by post modernism. I won’t go in to all that that involves, but one major thrust of this lie is that truth is defined by each of us individually, and not by anything higher than ourselves. Because of this, humanism (secular human potential and achievement) is put at the forefront, and anything that stands in the way of this is deemed immoral. So people seek to do “social justice” for the sake of our common humanity, instead of who God is.

Sadly this perversion has crept into the church, which is why so many people confuse Biblical justice with post modern justice. The two seem to look the same in practice, but they are not. Like many lies that Satan uses to attack the church, this one looks a lot like the truth, but in reality is very destructive. There is nothing valuable about our humanity in and of ourselves. We are a sinful people who are incapable of doing any good apart from God. We are not an inherently good people who deserve better in life. Postmodern people who do not believe that there is any truth outside of themselves believe that the source of the problem of injustice is because of a hindrance of human potential. This to them is injustice. But the end result of this is a denial of the fact that the source of injustice in the world is because of an absence of God, and so the solution to the absence of God is never pushed.

I’m not surprised when a lost world embraces demonic ideology, but I am horrified when this demonic ideology creeps into the church and begins to affect the lives of those who know Christ. We must not let Satan dumb down what Christ set in motion in the church. We must put Christ first, and because of Him seek His ways, including true Biblical social justice. To do otherwise is to pervert the truth. We can use much of the prophets and their writings as a measuring rule to gauge the character of God. Ezekiel 22 shows us that God desires His people to act justly. But more importantly it shows that the source of unjust acts are a denial of God and His ways, and that only through turning to God can God’s justice be seen. This is just as true today as it was to God’s people then.

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