I wonder if the Apostle Paul were alive today if he would rewrite Galatians 3:3 to say:
Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by pursuit of social justice?
It is one thing to speak of justice as a result of acceptance of the gospel, it is another thing entirely to present social justice as the mission of the church.
I get why churches have capitulated in this way. It plays well in current society. This thinking is the same thinking that capitulated on the inspiration and authority of Scripture in the last century. The idea is that if the church subscribes to the culture’s way of thinking, the church will then gain new acceptance and its sphere of influence will grow.
The problem is that the exact opposite happened. The church was not accepted by the culture and many “Christian” congregations eventually stopped being the church.
Now, I think that every form of injustice is by definition wrong and Scripture does have much to say about those who perpetrate and those who overlook injustice.
The problem is that when the church allows itself to be reduced to a group of social justice warriors, we lose the war to win the battle. We treat the symptom without curing the disease.
The church’s mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ, not social justice warriors. By proclaiming the good news that Jesus Christ came to rescue us from our sin and by accepting Jesus as the provision for our sin, we can be changed from the inside out. That inside-out change will affect how we treat each other.
If the church preaches social justice without preaching the good news of Jesus Christ, the church merely provides justification for the hearers to hate the oppressor. Need I remind my readers that Jesus taught us to love our enemies, not rail against them in our social media posts.
It would be great if there was a world where injustice never happened. That world will not come about by the church or any other group taking up a political cause or trying to start a social movement.
That world will ultimately come about in only one way. That one way is when Jesus comes back to set things right.
Now, we have glimpses and hints of what that world will look like when there is an outpouring of God’s Spirit that brings spiritual revival like we have seen in the Great Awakening and other movements of God.
So church leaders, preach the gospel and all the implications for those who embrace the gospel.
We are called to obey the second great command to love our neighbor as ourself. But without the gospel we lack the strength and conviction to actually do it.