Community, Social Justice, Giving and EvangelismLast time in part 4, I talked about "My Churches Experiment With Community". This time I'm going to talk about my own take the social justice aspect of community.
Communal Living Often Has A Strong Social Justice Emphasis
This was the case in a number of communities that I outlined previously. It is also the basis of the message that started me writing this. The basic premise is that the Scriptures are full of references requiring us as Christians to look after the poor and the widows etc.
It’s a very convincing argument and has been taken up by many in the church. It is a very strong thrust of the Scriptures. My problem is that it is essentially scripture twisting, in that social justice is and should never be exclusive to communal Living.
There is a continual failure to acknowledge that the push for social justice in the Bible stems from a change of heart of the community (Isa 32:15-16, Am 5:15, Mic 3:8, Mic 6:8, Ps 7:8-12, Pr 23:17, Le 19:18). The word "Love" is commonly used and "The Spirit of The Lord". In other words justice requires a change of heart and a change of spirit.
The New Testament takes this even further, because social justice stems from a change of heart of the individual (Mr 12:30-31, Mt 22:38-39, Lu 10:26-27, Acts 4:31-34). In other words, without a personal relationship with Jesus all attempts at social justice are going to be futile. True change and therefore real social justice will only occur if people are confronted by God and open there lives to him. You cannot have real social justice without evangelism.
As an example I remember very clearly when I was younger that I had many disagreements with my elders, as young people do. But for all my disagreements with them the one thing that could not be denied was there was never a person who came to our church in need that was not helped. To this day I still think that our church had some ... well lets just say I still strongly disagree with that theology, but I could not ignore the heart of the people. This church was evangelical in their approach to church. You cannot have real social justice without evangelism.
Next time in part 6 I'll talk about a church that established a loan account for member's only.