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An essay donated by Contributing Editor Susan Humphreys:

One Woman’s Opinion About
"The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel"

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An article on the Religion News website caught my eye. It was "Battle lines form over social justice: Is it gospel or heresy?" written by Jemar Tisby. 1

In it, he referred to a statement published recently by a group of evangelical Christians, "The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel." 2 There was a link to the statement so I looked it up and read it. I see this manifesto as another last ditch effort to save what they refuse to accept has actually been lost forever.

People have grown, matured. Their understanding of the world and how it works, and of people and societies and how they work has expanded. The world has shrunk. Global communication and transportation networks have brought people together and now global supply chains of both goods and raw materials have bound us together. We are a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial and multi-religious society. Somehow or another everyone (including the signers of this manifesto) have to learn how to live with this great diversity.

Addressing social justice issues is the ONLY way this can be done. If these issues can’t be integrated into your religious belief system than maybe it is time for your belief system to change. That is what I think they are really fighting, what they are really afraid of -- the idea that "dangerous ideas and corrupted moral values will spread their influence into other realms of biblical doctrines and principles." If they give an inch they will lose everything.

The statement uses some pretty strong language:

  • "dangerous ideas and corrupted moral values", and
  • "these deadly ideas"
  • "currently undermining Scripture in the areas of race and ethnicity, manhood and womanhood, and human sexuality."

It then repeats a warning from St. Paul in Colossians 2.8:

"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ".

At the end of the statement they stress how important it is for a:

"clear understanding and simple communication of what is revealed in Scripture."

With that in mind I’d remind them of another passage in Matthew 7: 15-20:

"Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inside are ravenous wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits."

Articles like "The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel;" as well as the articles that can be found by a Google search, people’s day to day words and actions; how they treat other people, other living things -- plants, animals and our planet; and how they treat themselves; are "their fruits".

This essay, and all the others I write, are my "fruits"!

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What the Bible says:

I thought I’d do a little investigation to see what the Bible really has to say about race and ethnicity, manhood and womanhood, and human sexuality. A Simple google search of these words brings up a variety of articles. People tend to pick the articles that support their position. I selected the articles that support mine!

In regards to race and ethnicity:

  • Acts 17:26: "And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place."

  • Acts 10: 28 "And he said to them, 'You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean."

  • Galatians 3: 28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

There are many more I could mention.

This website has good information about Homosexuality and the Bible. Instead of repeating that information I will let you refer to those articles.

What does the Bible say about transgender roles and gender roles? I found an interesting piece by a Rabbi, Jay Michaelson titled: "What Does the Bible Teach About Transgender People?" 3 One of the first things he points out is that sex is not the same as gender. "Sex is about chromosomes; gender is about cultural practices."

Gender identity is about how an individual views their gender. About 0.6% of adults view their gender identity as different from their biological gender.

He then lists several places where the Bible teaches about heroic characters who vary from normative gender roles.

He states:

"If the Bible is our guide, then God’s design for gender is a gigantic rainbow of variation, not a black-and-white conformity with sex."

There are also plenty of passages that address issues of social injustice:

  • I suggest people read all of the biblical book of Amos. Its message is clear: because of the people's social injustice and religious arrogance, the Lord will punish them.

  • Or read Micah, the message here is also clear: religious worship without social justice was meaningless.

  • Or Psalm 103:6, "The Lord works vindication and justice for all who are oppressed."

  • Or Isaiah 10:1. Or Luke 6:31 "Do to others as you would have them do to you."

  • Or Matthew, especially my favorite 25:31: "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me."

Who is presenting "dangerous ideas" and who has the "corrupted moral values"?

Who is following the "spirit" of God’s word and who isn’t?

  • The ones who seek social justice for all: for the homosexual and transgender person, the immigrant and refugee, the people of different cultures, ethnicities, races and religions; for the hungry and the poor?, or

  • The people who are against social justice?

Is it a heresy to seek social justice or is it exactly what the Gospel teaches?

One final thought: Perhaps the only way to keep from losing everything is to discard the bits and pieces that no longer work for our 21 st Century world and focus on the core, the meat, the heart of the Gospel message. Is it about Obedience to a patriarchal authority, or about love?

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Jemar Tisby, "Battle lines form over social justice: Is it gospel or heresy?"
  2. "The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel," at: https://statementonsocialjustice.com/
  3. Rabbi Jay Michaelson, "What Does the Bible Teach About Transgender People?" The Daily Beast, at: www.thedailybeast.com/

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How you may have arrived here:

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Author: Contributing Editor Susan Humphreys
Originally posted on: 2018-OCT-18

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