To hear more about the role of the Christian and that of Christ's Church in the world, consider listening to the following messages delivered from the Word of God by Pastor Richard Caldwell:
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The Church and The Social Justice Movement.
This week on the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot sit down to talk about the social justice movement. This movement happening in the culture has made inroads to churches in our nation and around the world. Dr. Philpot shares that according to some Old Testament Scripture passages, it certainly seems that the Church should be an advocate for social justice. He reads Isaiah 1:17 and Micah 6:8, saying that in these passages, God is commanding justice. These seem to imply that every believer ought to advocate for the kind of justice God commands. But is this the case? Is that what God calls us to do? Is the Church to be an advocate for social justice? The word social does not appear before God’s commands, biblically speaking. So how should we understand this? What is our place as individuals, and what is the Church's place or role regarding justice and righteousness in the culture?
Dr. Caldwell shares that this terminology is supercharged at the moment. A lot of what is being done in the name of social justice is not social justice. This justice is mislabeling because it does not represent the justice of God. He tells us that instead of taking the world's categories and trying to figure out how we are to relate to them, we ought to look at these things and say what the biblical categories are. We should ask how are we to be thinking as a believer and then be faithful to that. He then proceeds to explain some of what this looks like. He repeats himself when saying the problem we have right now is that a lot of what is going on in this name, social justice, is not justice.
Dr. Caldwell wants to explain why he has said this and why he repeats it. To do so, he takes us to Exodus 23 and reads verses 1-9, telling us that it is a great passage that addresses what is going on in our culture. Following are excerpts from what he shares that stand out to him:
1. True justice is never built on falsehoods. Justice is not built on strawmen. Justice is not arrived at nor administered faithfully by taking truth and twisting it, making it something that it is not.
2. You do not arrive at justice when you show favoritism. We are not to tip the scales by being partial or showing favor, one over another.
3. We have specific warnings about vengeance. We are not to operate in hatefulness, in unforgiveness, nor with a sense of personal vengeance.
So, a lot of what is going on today in the name of justice is just this; it is reverse hate. These ways are anti-biblical; this is not what God calls His people to be, neither individually nor corporately. The first priority of the Church is the soul. The Church's aim is to be vertical, not horizontal. We are to demonstrate God’s love in the Church in the way that we treat each other. Then we do good to all as opportunity is given. But it begins in our own set of relationships, in our homes, our churches, in those spheres where we live it out. However, it is not by the standards of lost men but by the standards of God’s Word. We are looking for what is right. We are looking for what pleases Him.
Dr. Philpot and Dr. Caldwell briefly discuss how the Old Testament applies and does not apply to us today and why this is so. They share the importance of drawing principles out of it to understand how we should think about justice socially. Dr. Caldwell reminds us that God’s justice is even-handed and right; His justice is not based on social-economic situations. These are the things that should guide our minds and our lives as members of His Church. They then discuss the difference between an individual advocating for these principles mentioned versus what the Church should do. Dr. Caldwell also shares whether he would ever lead the local church he pastors to join a social movement in advocating for justice.
Lastly, anticipating some objection, Dr. Philpot believes that a vast majority of people would say yes, do not show partiality; yes, we are to advocate for justice for both the poor and the rich. But, there would be this interjection that the ‘system’ is naturally bent towards advocating for the rich person over the poor; the ‘system’ is corrupt. He asks Dr. Caldwell how he would respond to this in terms of biblical justice?
In his answer, Dr. Caldwell shares about theocracy, God’s law, government, and sin. In doing this, he explains how the way the economy ran in New Testament days is really no different than the way it runs today. It is due to sin; sin is systemic; it is in every one of us. The world ‘system’ reflects what is in us, our sinfulness. Until Jesus comes, this world is going to manifest ‘systemic’ sinfulness. Yet, as people are converted, as they come to Jesus, they cannot live that way anymore. It is through the preaching of, hearing and believing the gospel that this change comes. Change is affected one heart, one life at a time. That is how societies become better. But there is no society that is going to be what God means for it to be until Jesus ushers in His kingdom. To think that we can, are able, and will transform this world any other way is an illusion – It will not happen!
About The Straight Truth Podcast
The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net
The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo. The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.
The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.
The Straight Truth Podcast is the perfect podcast for those seeking to strengthen their faith, to be informed on how to broach difficult topics with a Christian point of view, to share their faith with unbelieving friends, to challenge the status quo of their own beliefs by viewing them under the lens of the Scriptures, to interpret current news events from a Biblical point of view, and more.
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