On Social Justice

A Lutheran congregation’s blog posted an article this week denouncing “social justice” as unbiblical and “Marxist.” Equality, they said, is a human idea.  Justice, a Marxist one.

They’re wrong.

Equality is rooted in the doctrine of Creation.  God created humanity from the dust of the earth; he created us male and female.  We’re all descendants of Adam and Eve, all part of one humanity.   This is reinforced for Christians in Christ, who has broken down the barriers between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female (Gal 3:28).

Social justice is a prominent theme in the Old Testament.  “The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed,” Ps. 103:6.  Read Amos.  Read Isaiah 58.  Read the many commands about caring for the orphan, the widow, the foreigner.  Read the commands for paying just wages, for not oppressing the poor, for feeding the hungry.

This theme carries over into the New Testament, starting with the Magnificat. “He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty” (Luke 1:52-53).

Yes, social justice is Biblical.  It’s what led evangelicals to support the abolitionist movement.  It’s what led Jews and Christians to march for civil rights.  It is what calls us today to demand justice for the poor, the refugee, all those forsaken by the rich and powerful.

And if we don’t do it now, God is coming in judgment.  His justice will prevail.  Matthew 25:31ff.