Make no mistake about it, the Word of God is sufficient and the very moment that we take a step away from the sufficiency of God’s Word we take a step into darkness. Let me begin by stating that while I disagree with the social justice agenda and believe it to be a dangerous movement, I likewise believe that we can be guilty of talking past one another and at times—misrepresenting one another in this debate. We need to deal with the issues, the terms, the definitions, and connect the dots to the problems while at the same time seeking to represent people properly.
The Reformation was a recovery of God’s Word. For ages, the Bible had been lost in the darkness of Roman Catholicism. Once the Word of God was unleashed upon the people—light entered the scene. When talking about church history, people often ask what Martin Luther’s great accomplishment was in the work of the Reformation. Some point to his Ninety-Five Theses while others point to how God used him to reintroduce singing into corporate worship. Without a doubt, his greatest accomplishment was the translation of the German Bible. This project unleashed light into a world of darkness and was the fuel of the Protestant Reformation. When people lack a sufficient Bible they lack a guiding light.
We have seen this pattern work its way into evangelical circles in the past. With the rise of theological liberalism, it was more than the Swiss theologian Karl Barth (1886–1968) and German theologian Rudolf Bultmann (1884–1976) who were permeating the ideas of an insufficient Bible. Theological liberalism ran through seminaries and local churches and major denominations such as the Southern Baptist Convention. The Conservative Resurgence was a return to the Bible and anytime in history where there is an awakening—the Bible is at the center. That reality presupposes the fact that for darkness to prevail, people must be led away from the Bible. That was the pattern in the pre-Reformation era and it was the same pattern in the days prior to the Conservative Resurgence.
Make no mistake about it, the Word of God is sufficient and the very moment that we take a step away from the sufficiency of God’s Word we take a step into darkness. Let me begin by stating that while I disagree with the social justice agenda and believe it to be a dangerous movement, I likewise believe that we can be guilty of talking past one another and at times—misrepresenting one another in this debate. We need to deal with the issues, the terms, the definitions, and connect the dots to the problems while at the same time seeking to represent people properly. We all have blind spots in this area, and for that reason, I open myself up for correction where necessary, but I do not apologize for standing in opposition to the social justice movement.
What is social justice? In short, it’s a movement that positions itself to aid the oppressed within a group or a society. That could be a society as a whole or a group within a society. The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel was not framed to address the secular culture’s version of social justice. It was formed to speak into the culture of evangelicalism itself and to point out the inaccuracies of the evangelical version (which is connected to the secular movement too). Some people may be asking why it’s wrong to aid the oppressed? A better question would be—who is truly oppressed within evangelicalism and how are we seeking to help them? Is there really an evangelical system that’s committed to holding specific people back from serving God? Is “White privilege” really alive and well within evangelical circles preventing gifted Black brothers and sisters from serving God?
When we do find oppression at any level (individual or systemic), is it through political strategies like intersectionality that we need to engage or is it through the sufficient Word of God and the power of the gospel? That’s the issue, and that’s why I feel the need to engage at this point. Is the Word of God sufficient or have we arrived at a juncture where we must employ other tactics and trendy political strategies in order to reach the pinnacle of unity and to further fuel a God-glorifying mission?
Social Justice Has an Incorrect Beginning and a Flawed Conclusion
Social justice has a really bad starting point. Rather than beginning in the Word and seeking biblical justice—social justice by its very definition begins in the social environment and imports ideas from sociology, politics, and a wide array of disciplines into the Scriptures. This is why you hear gifted theologians talking about justice through the lens of intersectionality and systemic racism as opposed to James 1:27.
In many ways, the starting point of social justice likewise denies a key hermeneutic that goes beyond the presuppositional apologetic—it actually denies the literal, grammatical, historical approach to biblical interpretation. This is clearly put on display by what one preacher recently stated in a sermon:
Social justice is a biblical issue…it’s not a black issue, it’s a humanity issue. It’s not a hood issue, it’s a global issue. And until we understand that Jesus himself said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach liberty to the captive, to set free those who are oppressed.” If that ain’t social justice, I don’t know what is.