Social Justice and the Gospel


soup kitchen

by John Ellis

For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him. Genesis 18:19

The most frequent questions I field of late are about social justice and the gospel, and the ongoing dustup over social justice within conservative evangelicalism. People want to know which “side” I’m on and if I’ve signed any statements. In answer to those two questions, I don’t think that I’m on any “side” and I haven’t signed any statements about social justice, nor do I intend to (that’s not to say that it’s wrong to do so).

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The Cross Is Where True Social Justice Is Found

cross_the_passion

by John Ellis

Luke chapter fifteen is one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible; which is to say, one of the most beautiful passages in all of literature. As the chapter opens, we meet a group of grumbling Pharisees and scribes who are accusatorily saying of Jesus, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” With his response, Jesus reveals his love, his heart, and the reason for his incarnation.

The self-centered, self-righteous revelation of the Pharisees and scribes’ hearts finds a contrast and, more importantly, an antidote in the three parables that Jesus told in response. Instead of defending himself against the charge of receiving sinners and eating with them, Jesus confirms the accusation and explains that that is exactly what he came to do. Jesus’ telling of “The Parable of the Lost Sheep,” “The Parable of the Lost Coin,” and “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” reveals to us his desire to see sinners saved and reconciled to God. The readers of the Bible shouldn’t be surprised.

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Abortion and Hypocrisy

 

abortion sign

by John Ellis

Abortion is either the murder of babies or it’s not; it can’t be a little bit of both. I do realize that our justice system has varying levels for categorizing the intentional killing of a person. Yes, the courts view first degree murder differently than third degree murder (voluntary man slaughter, which is generally crimes of passion). But, I’ve never heard anyone say, and I would bet lots of money that you haven’t either, “Look, if you must kill that person, don’t first degree murder them, third degree murder them.”

Intentionally killing someone is murder. Period. And it’s wrong. Period.[1]

According to many, however, abortion is an act that exists in the moral equivalent of a no-man’s land and is merely, at best, some sort of nuisance, or, at worst, a necessary evil that society would do well to phase out, but only, and I do mean only, after a litany of social ills are cured first. For those people, if you’re not willing to adopt an unwanted child or personally feed a village of single mothers, you better darn-well make sure that you don’t say boo about abortion. (Can I get an “amen” from Rachel Held Evans?) Well, if abortion isn’t the murder of babies, then I fail to see why it should be phased out or even discouraged in most cases[2]. If it is the murder of babies, then it’s a moral evil of such magnitude that society’s collective sins in other areas have no immediate bearing on its abolition.

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Love May Not Mean What You Think It Means

love

by John Ellis

If there is a word out there that’s used more than “love” to shame Christians into silence, I don’t know what that word is[1]. Likewise, if there is a group of people who use the word “love” to shame Christians into silence more often than other professing Christians, I don’t know who they are. Swinging the word “love” as if it were a cudgel, many progressive Christians eagerly swoop in to squash any mention of God’s judgment on sin and sinners. For those people, loving your neighbor doesn’t include warning them that may be under God’s wrath.

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