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Is Social Justice compatible with Biblical Justice?

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Is Social Justice compatible with Biblical Justice

In a growing movement referred to as Woke Evangelism, there is a greater emphasis on the church playing a role in social justice issues. This movement was sizable enough for church leaders to address with the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel. The problem, that the SSJG points out, is that the notion of social justice is inconsistent with actual justice or biblical justice. As one may expect, much of the outrage was brought on by modern day heretics.

The first tweet expounds upon a larger argument worth addressing. The second tweet is heretical due to blatant denial of the inerrancy of scripture. The first tweet poses a question worth answering: do Christians really misunderstand social justice?

Understanding Social Justice

David Miller, Professor of political theory at Oxford University, wrote a college level textbook that argues that principles of justice must be understood contextually, with each principle finding its natural home in a different form of human association. Because modern societies are complex, the theory of justice must be complex, too. The three primary components in Miller’s scheme are the principles of desert, need, and equality.

A more detailed explanation of social justices can be found courtesy of Peter Corning, author of The Fair Society: The Science of Human Nature and the Pursuit of Social Justice (2011). His book explains the three pillars of social justice as equality, equity, and reciprocity. Corning explains.

Among other things, the book calls for a new “biosocial contract” that includes a “basic needs guarantee” as an equal right and a societal responsibility, along with full recognition for personal “merit” (equity) and a strong obligation for reciprocity to balance the scales and repay the benefits that we receive.

Corning’s notion of equality borrows from Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx. Social justice so often receives the label “social Marxism.” The label proves very accurate with Cornings openly building his biosocial contract theory from the social, collectivist, visions of Marxism.

 This is the fundamental promise of the “biosocial contract,” and it ultimately trumps individual property rights

Understanding Biblical Justice

There are many concepts in law and justice we apply today that are biblical derived. “Eye for an eye” or the law of retaliation is a brilliant notion that contradicts the ancient Mesopotamians and the ancient Greeks. Lex taliones means that the punishment is proportionate to the crime. It also means that everyone’s eyes are equal, regardless of class.

There’s also the Ten Commandments, a source of ethical monotheism. Morality, right and wrong, are determined by God. The Ten Commandments place a focus of human action in two particular directions: relationship with God and relationship with neighbors. Jesus uses the “Good Samaritan” to illustrate that our neighbor is our fellow man.

Outside of the doctrinal notion of justification, biblical justice consists of not sinning against our fellow man, and further implores the follower of Christ to engage in love for their congregation and the unsaved.

By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

John 13:35 ESV

The Bible further encourages followers of Christ to care for widows, orphans, and elderly.

You shall not afflict any widow or orphan.

Exodus 22:22 NASB

Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.
Honor widows who are widows indeed; but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God. 
1 Timothy 5:1-4 NASB
Additionally the Bible is the inspiration for defending the unborn and youth.
Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you;
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:4-5 NASB
Understanding the full extent of the Bible’s notion of justice takes time and study, but the gist of it is rather simple, unlike David Miller’s model for justice.

Are the two compatible?

While the notion of biblical justice presented was simplistic, social justice bears little resemblance to it. One of the immediate differences is the recipient. To whom is man obliged to act justly towards? Under social justice, man is obliged to society. Under biblical justice, man has obligations to God and fellow man. The bible focuses little if at all of one’s relationship with society and government. The Bible does however address the topic of citizenship.

But you are A chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 
1 Peter 2:9-15 NASB

This instance in 1 Peter, focuses on on citizenship as an extension of the Great Commission. Christians are called to be sanctified. In essence, obeying God makes one stand out, and standing out for being virtuous leads people to Christ.

This passage also divides people into groups that are the only groups that matter: saved and lost. Racial identity is unimportant. The only identity that matters is our identity in Christ. So the Christian worldview and, by extension, biblical justice are incompatible with identity politics.

Are The Two Complimentary?

Christians are instructed to be upstanding citizens. The next question to explore is whether social justice pursuits are complimentary or contradictory.

Churches that preach the social justice gospel place a large, primary focus, on social justice issues. In contrast the Catholic Church has a social teaching are seemingly compatible with social justice. However, the Vatican, up until now, has consistently denounced communism.

Catholic Social Teaching | Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart | Houston, TX

The Catholic Church’s social teachings lacks the component of Marxism found in social justice, so lumping the two together is misleading. A church can focus on a lot of the social focuses of the Catholic Church without promoting social justice.

The teachings of the Catholic Church are focused on the actions of the church, not the state. The entire focus of social justice is aimed at the state. While there is a biblical basis of instruction for caring for the poor and treating people with respect, that same level of instruction is lacking in political matters. There was never an instance where Jesus advocated a public policy change. The teachings of Jesus (Sermon on the Mount) changes peoples’ mentalities rather than changes people to conform to politically correct norms. Jesus spoke of our relationship with God and our neighbors. When Jesus said render to Caesar what Caesar is due, he followed it up by saying render to God what God is due, trivializing the former.

What Do They Really Look Like In Action?

It’s difficult to describe biblical justice in action. It would sound utopic. The ten commandments is a basis for which to begin that thought and the Kingdom of Heaven is the final destination. The simplicity of a world without sin is unimaginable. Here the notion of justice according to the Bible is inseparable from the doctrine of justification in Jesus.

In contrast, history has seen social justice in action. But even in setting aside the various examples of Marxism in action, churches pursuing social justice inevitably conflict with the Scripture. My colleague, Paige Rogers detailed the Episcopal Church’s slide:

As I have previously written, the has been a concerted, decades-long effort among a growing segment within the Episcopal Church to strip the Word of its masculine references to God, beginning with the 1973 publication of “Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation.”

These efforts to amend church materials in conformation to ideological post-modernist thought drew national attention this year after the Washington D.C. diocese adopted a resolution urging the national church’s General Convention to revise the prayer book and, when doing so, to remove the use of gendered pronouns for God in all future revisions. The Book of Common Prayer includes liturgies, prayers, the Bible’s Psalms, etc., was last revised in 1979.

A July 11, 2018, statement by the national Episcopal Church now informs us that this year’s General Convention has indeed concurred, passing a resolution that calls for the revision of the prayer book to include “inclusive and expansive language and imagery for humanity and divinity.”

Conclusion

Pursuing social justice inherently shifts the directional focus of the church in the wrong direction. In pursuing social justice, now-apostate churches have began the endless marathon of conforming to the ever changing whims of modern society. As I discovered when writing, Is American Christianity at an all time low, this is not a successful strategy for these churches. The issue is not that Christians fail to understand social justice.  Social justice is not only incompatible with biblical justice, but an outright opposition. The issue is that Christians understand social justice better than its advocates.


Originally published on Startup Christ.

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Culture and Religion

Stand against Marxism

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Stand against Marxism

As you may have seen, there’s a conference coming up called Stand Against Marxism Conference. Fellow GKer Sam Jones and I will both be speaking at this conference, alongside a long list of speakers, including Trevor Loudon, Janet Mefferd, Judd Saul, Steve Deace, Jon Harris and JD Hall. This two day event will be jam-packed with information from these voices who have chosen to take a stand against the Cultural Marxist infiltration into the church.

There are at least two people that I know of that will be speaking at this conference that are not biblical Christians. One is flat out not a Christian, while the other is Catholic. So how can I be consistent in publicly confronting pastors like John MacArthur for speaking with those promoting a false Gospel when I choose to speak at this conference alongside a Catholic & a non-Christian?

For example, I wrote an article criticizing Pastor MacArthur being scheduled to speak at the NRB Convention. My criticism of him agreeing to speak there was that the premise of the convention was that everyone was unifying around furthering the Gospel. Thus, it’s a blanket endorsement of everyone’s Gospel who was speaking or exhibiting. Well, there were people like Rick Warren, Roma Downy & Mark Burnet, as well as TBN. Why would you agree to speak at an event that was stating for all to see that those people are furthering the Gospel? You see, there might be another context in which it would be ok to speak at the same event as those people. However, it couldn’t be when the premise was furthering the Gospel or some other unifying factor around serious doctrine that we disagree with.

So when it comes to the Stand Against Marxism Conference, am I being a hypocrite by speaking with a non-Christian and a Catholic? I do not believe so. Here’s why:

When Judd Saul asked me to be a part of this conference, I discussed this concern with him. We had a very good talk about it, and the thing that I came away with was that the unifying factor for this conference is combatting Cultural Marxism and Social Justice, which is intentionally infiltrating Christianity. However, this is not a strictly theological issue, although it is compromising the Gospel and the most dangerous threat to the Gospel in our lifetime.

This is a political ideology that is using religion to further its goals, and our own evangelical elite are falling for it hook, line and sinker. You see, the ultimate strategy behind the social justice movement is to usher in the one world religion, one world government and one world currency that we see talked about in Revelation. So what these non-Christian Globalists are doing is trying to use God’s own people for their evil plans. They’ve already infiltrated our government. They’ve already infiltrated the entertainment world. They’ve already infiltrated the education system. Now, the final stand is infiltrating religion. And the most influential religion in the most influential nation in the world is Christianity here in America.

Both non-Christians and Christians can be concerned with this strategy. Non-Christians see this as a communist/socialist attempt to overthrow our American way of life, taking away our freedoms and liberty given to us in the Constitution. Christians see this not only as a political overthrow, but as a flat out compromising of the Gospel, changing biblical theology just enough to motivate acceptance of Social Justice within our churches.

Think about it: Many of these Social Justice Warriors have eschatology that teaches them that they need to establish God’s Kingdom here on earth before Christ can return. So they are so concerned with overtaking politics, education, entertainment and business that they are accepting of these false beliefs of Social Justice, because they are trying to alleviate all of systemic oppression to clear the way for Christ’s return. However, really what’s happening is they have a belief system that is so sinister, that they think they are establishing Christ’s Kingdom, when in reality they are laying the groundwork for the anti-christ’s rule during the tribulation. This is the definition of the term: Useful Idiots.

So when it comes to the Stand Against Marxism Conference, the unifying principle is opposition to Marxism. Both Christians and non-Christians see that the church is the last stand against this sinister movement. If we lose this battle, that’s it. Our way of life is done.

When it comes to the majority of us who are Christians who will be speaking at this conference, we understand theologically and prophetically what is happening here. We understand that we have to take a stand for biblical truth. But we also have to remember that many of those who are on our side in this battle against Marxism are not saved and heading towards eternal punishment in hell. So it’s important that, while we are going to battle against Marxism alongside some that aren’t saved, we must preach the Gospel and not in any way compromise our beliefs. Many of those that are leading the way in this fight need to hear the Gospel themselves.

This is the perfect opportunity for many of us to be clear in our beliefs, but also point back to the necessity of the Gospel. We could win this war against Marxism, but many of those who helped us win are still going to hell. So what’s the point? For us as believers, we cannot get distracted with political battles. We can participate in them, yes. In fact, it’s a good thing to participate in them. But we have to remember our primary goal: Preach the Gospel and point everyone back to Christ.

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

-Mark 8:36

To register for the Stand Against Marxism Conference, please visit standagainstmarxism.com. We’ll see you there!

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Culture and Religion

Lecrae’s Jordan River baptism is unbiblical

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Lecraes Jordan River baptism is unbiblical

The rapper known as Lecrae posted a baptism video on Instagram and Twitter touting his upcoming album. The social media post sparked conversation on baptism and the merits of getting baptized more than once. Many comments had assumed that Lecrae, who has for years marketed himself as a Christian had already been baptized. Others tout Jordan River baptisms as something Christians do when they visit the Holy Land. There are a number of important biblical questions here that should be discussed. But first, here’s the post:

Believer’s Baptism?

The Bible has examples of baptism all throughout the Book of Acts. We see that in Peter’s Sermon, Peter instructs the convicted audience to repent and be baptized. We can go all throughout the Book of Acts, but my favorite example is is Acts 16, the passage read when I was baptized.

27When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” 29And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. 33And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. 34And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household. Acts 16:27-34 NASB

People first believe, then they are baptized, promptly. That is the model throughout scripture with every Christian except the thief on the cross next to Jesus.

Number of Baptisms?

I challenge people to find a scriptural example of someone being baptized more than once. There may be a passage fitting for this question with the baptism of Jesus.

11“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” 

3Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:11-17 ESV

John the Baptist was presumably already baptized, seeing as he was baptizing many others. While one cannot blame him for wanting Jesus to baptize him, Jesus corrects the situation by saying it must be done to “fulfill all righteousness.” As we can see in verse 17, Jesus knew what he was talking about. John the Baptist is not then baptized by Jesus afterwards despite experiencing the awe of the Holy Spirit.

If John the Baptist was not baptized a second time, what scriptural support is there for any believer to be baptized a second time.

Legitimate Second Baptisms

Samuel Sey of Slow to Write wrote a piece on why he’s a baptist. It provocatively begins by stating:

I’ve been baptized twice. I was baptized for the first time two years before I became a Christian. And I was baptized for the second time six years after I became a Christian. But what happened in between that time is why I am a Baptist.

He goes on to explain how he had a meaningless baptism in his youth. Then when he actually became a Christian, his church wrongly disallowed him to be baptized. There are Christians who were baptized either as infants or when they never really believed. For them to be baptized when they are saved is perfectly in line with the scriptural model. Otherwise it is not rooted in the Bible for Christians to be baptized a second time whether they have just gone through something or as a “renewal.” For if it were, what is to stop baptism from being performed a third or fourth time for a believer. And if a believer can be baptized that many times, why then is baptism not practiced to the regularity that Communion is?

Lecrae Responds

So in one tweet, it went from being a baptism to a Mikvah. So after being questioned, he backtracked. His Instagram post delves deeper into explaining how baptism and Mikvah are the same, which further undermines the legitimacy of his defense.

But then after backtracking, he doubled down. He then compared his baptism after already being baptized to Jesus being baptized despite being God, as if the reasons for either are remotely comparable.

Thirdly, Lecrae insists that we “celebrate the heart” as opposed to criticizing him. But plainly put, there is nothing here to celebrate. He is a rich man of privilege vacationing overseas. There is nothing godly about what he is doing: calling a baptism a Mikvah under criticism and telling us to “celebrate the heart” instead of discerning the obvious theological discrepancy that sets a terrible example for believers. No, we should reject his his postmodernist statement of celebrating the heart which the bible says is deceitful. We should instead use our heads, for Christianity is a faith that promotes and enables us to critically think.

Final Thoughts

Can’t be baptized in the Jordan river and make the same old music. This new album is gonna be special.

This stunt is clearly self promotion and that elevates this from being a misunderstanding of scripture to an open mockery of the sacrament of baptism.

This is likely a sign of further decline as he increasingly distances himself from the “Christian” label in favor of going woke. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism (believer’s baptism), and believers ought to take that seriously.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Culture and Religion

Why are we losing to the SJWs?

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Why are we losing to the SJWs

We are losing the war right now to the SJWs. There is a remnant of believers still here willing to take a stand, but we are losing. The Cultural Marxists are taking over the church. They’ve infiltrated our very own churches to the point to where they have a firm hold of influence that’s not going to be easy to shake.

One of the reasons why this has happened is because the church, as a whole, has become indifferent to false teaching. The mentality that we need to be tolerant of everybody and their ideas has softened the church to the point where nobody bats an eye when someone like John Piper breaches his heretical Final Salvation gospel. His false teaching is tolerated because we, as the church, accept him… thus, we accept all of his beliefs because of who he is. This is a problem, and the enemy has used it to their advantage.

We have this celebrity mindset within the church where we accept a particular teaching simply because a famous pastor says it’s true. It could be completely off or 100% true, and the church will believe it either way. That’s a serious problem. Discernment has gone out the window.

What we have to remember is that we can’t base our theological beliefs on anyone, including our favorite pastor…. Including our own pastor. We can use them as a springboard for our own study and to help us to understand particular passages, but we need to always be like the Bereans, comparing everything we hear with Scripture.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

-Acts 17:11

If we can be Bereans, that will go a long way in this battle.

The other reason why we are losing is because many within the church are following a pastor instead of God. This allows the enemy to use its strategy of celebrity influence over the church to usher in false doctrines influencing an unsuspecting group of people. Paul warned us that we need to stop being followers of individual leaders:

For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

-1 Corinthians 3:4-9

Your favorite pastor is simply being used for God’s purposes. However, he’s not the one that we should be worshiping or glorifying… that’s supposed to be reserved for God and God alone!

A common response to those who criticize celebrity pastors is that the person doing the critique is harming the kingdom of God because that person is so important to God’s plans. To me, that is questioning God’s sovereignty and saying that God’s plans can be thwarted by us. Remember, God is sovereign and in control. Our theology should make us have a low view of ourselves and a high view of God. If you believe that disagreeing with a particular pastor is harming the kingdom of God instead of asking whether the critique is valid or not, that’s a part of the problem.

We should be okay when people disagree with us. We should welcome it. We should encourage it.

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

-Proverbs 27:17

Engage in the debate. Pastors, welcome criticism of your beliefs. Constantly reevaluate what you are teaching. When someone criticizes you, go to Scripture and see if their critique is valid. If it is, change your ways. If it’s not, point the critic back to Scripture. But either way, it’s a good thing!

Ladies and Gentlemen… please don’t try to protect a celebrity pastor from all criticism. When you do that, you are actually doing more harm than good. The debate and conversation over ideas is what we need right now, but the Evangelical Elite have done an amazing job shutting down the public conversation. This allows them to not define their terms and clearly explain the general principles that they believe support their teachings.

This is dangerous when it comes to Social Justice. The SJWs are not having to defend their beliefs, they just continually spout them off with almost no pushback. We need that to change.

There’s one other reason why I believe that we are losing the war right now, and I’ll address that in my next article. If we can fix these issues, we can have a chance at Reforming the church back to Biblical Christianity.

Participate in the conversation. Join in the debate. It’s how this war is going to be fought. It’s going to be a long fight, and it’s going to be difficult. But in the long run, it’s going to be worth it!

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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