twelve Questions Christians Should Inquire about Social Justice
Whatever else we might say about the contemporary church, we must state this: We are well resourced. When a new challenge comes up, when a new teaching comes up, when a new heresy appears, it does not take long before we have access to books that address, confront, and correct it. One of the recent challenges towards the church is the challenge of social justice—a term that is particularly tricky since it offers both negative and good connotations, both acceptable plus troubling definitions. Thaddeus William’s Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth: 12 Questions Christians Should Inquire about Social Justice is an attempt to understand plus explain justice from a biblical perspective and to show where society’s vision for justice falls short. It is an effort that succeeds well.
“I wrote this book because I actually care about God, ” he says. “I care about his chapel. I care about the gospel, and I care about true justice (though I am zero designed for four in caring as much as I should). Not all, yet much of what is branded ‘social justice’ these days is a risk to all four of those factors I hold dear. ” His purpose, of course , is not really to promote racism or call Christians to apathy in the face of the world’s innumerable injustices. Rather, it’s to provide a optimistic vision for what the Bible counts as true proper rights, and to separate this from your many counterfeits being promoted in church and modern society. “If you also care about advancing the kind of social justice that will glorifies God first, attracts people into Christ-centered neighborhood, and champions the good news of saving grace while working towards real oppression, then this book is for you. ”
Each book on this subject has to distinguish between two uses of “social justice. ” (See my article No One Feels in Social Injustice) Williams does so by talking about “Social Justice A” and “Social Justice B. ” He uses “Social Justice A” to speak of the type of justice “our ancient brothers and sisters did to rescue plus adopt the precious small image-bearers who had been discarded like trash at the dumps outside many Roman cities, ” as well as the kind of justice exemplified by William Wilberforce, Frederick Douglass, Sophie Scholl, and so on. He contrasts this along with “Social Justice B” which depends upon “the ‘oppressors vs . oppressed’ narrative of Antonio Gramsci and the Frankfurt College, the deconstructionism of Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, and the gender and queer theory of Judith Retainer. ” Obviously, then, the kind of justice Christians should go after is Social Justice A while the kind we should not is certainly Social Justice B. “Where, then, are the boundaries? Exactly where can we march ahead together with interlocked arms and biblically faithful hearts? And where might a vision of justice cross the line and lure us away from ‘the faith once for many entrusted to the saints’? These are crucial questions we must ask if the church is to pierce the political atmosphere of our age without bursting directly into fragments and flames. ”
His book is very much about the crucial distinction between these two forms of justice. And to distinguish between them he frames the book around 4 groups of three questions every.
- Part 1 focuses on questions associated with worship: Does our vision of social justice consider seriously the godhood of God? Does our vision of social justice recognize the image of God in everyone regardless of size, tone, sex, or status? Will our vision of social justice make a false god out of the self, the state, or even social acceptance?
- Part two advances to questions related to community: Does our eyesight of social justice consider any group-identity more seriously than our identities “in Adam” and “in Christ? ” Does our vision of social justice embrace divisive propaganda? Does the vision of social justice replace love, peace, and patience with suspicion, department, and rage?
- Part a few turns to questions associated with salvation: Does our eyesight of social justice choose damning stories to undamning facts? Does our vision of social justice market racial strife? Does our own vision of social proper rights distort the best news in history?
- Part 4 asks questions about knowledge: Does the vision of social justice make one way of seeing some thing the only way of seeing some thing? Does our vision associated with social justice turn the particular “lived experience” of harming people into more discomfort? Does our vision of social justice turn the quest for truth into an identity game?
A helpful turn lays out twelve “clashing doctrines” that distinguish Interpersonal Justice A from Social Justice B and provides a call to treat other Christian believers with great grace, especially those who may not be completely sold out to a false doctrine, yet who may be wavering on a couple of points. A series of appendices address several issues carefully related to justice such as illigal baby killing and the right to life, the changing definition of racism, variations between capitalism and socialism, and so on.
Early in the distribution process I was asked to learn the manuscript and think about writing an endorsement. Once I read it, I had been glad to do so. I’ll leave that blurb as our conclusion: Dealing with Injustice without Compromising Reality is the book I’ve been waiting for! This is actually the book that explains and analyzes the social justice movement—that treats it fairly and evaluates it vitally. This is the book that prioritizes the gospel as the foundation for any true justice. This is actually the book that helps Christians understand why they must emphasize social justice, but why they must emphasize the right kind of social justice. This is the book I highly recommend.