pt.2 Social Justice and the Bible
While it appears one is compassionate when this term of “social justice” is used we now know where it comes from. You find neither the term nor the principle in the Bible; nor in the US Constitution.
There are liberal/progressive Christians that claim “social justice” is part of the gospel. We are not commissioned to transform society and make sure everything is equal. We are called to rehabilitate sinners by the power of God, not government. The gospel is the cure for sin and it has absolutely nothing to do with “social justice.”
The Bible speaks a lot on work and laziness. We have all heard the story - if you give a person a fish he will be fed today, but if you teach him to fish he will be able to feed himself and his family everyday. Giving people the tools to grow and be productive is better than having them become dependent on government for their sustenance.
When Pres. Bush introduced the faith based initiative many felt religion would intrude on them and they were appalled. The Administrations “faith base initiative” was to be a partnership with many religions to help reform “communities.” Recently Pres. Obama has given a new and stronger influence to faith based initiative. All of a sudden religion with government is permissible and nothing is being said because it advances the socialist agenda. Its all about the green, both the environment and money. The environmental movement is being synthesized inside the church. There are faith based churches that are involved in environmental issues where Green building projects are being offered. Faith based ministries involve Churches partnering with government as they unite for the same goals, they are co – belligerents.
The main promoter of global warming, Al Gore states, “As it happens, the idea of social justice is inextricably linked in the Scriptures with ecology” (Al Gore Earth in the Balance p. 246-247).
If one is going to quote the Bible as justification for their use of social justice then they need to adhere to the Bible as well.
The Old Testament Scriptures are mostly for a small nation that was to be self perpetuating. They did not take in people at random. Scriptures are often lifted out of their context to validate their socialistic ideology. For example Mt.25 if you have done this to the least of my brethren and change both the meaning and application. They generalize the Scripture giving them a wider application to those outside the church.
Israel was once under bondage and God has them remember where they came from so they can treat others with kindness. Exod 22:21 "You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
Let’s look at what the Old Testament taught on caring for the poor.
Deut. 14:28-29: “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates.” And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.”
Deut 15:7-8: “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, “but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.
1 Sam 2:7-8: “The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and lifts up. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory.”
Deut. 26:12: “When you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase in the third year-- the year of tithing-- and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your gates and be filled.”
These are those within the nation; and it was every 3 years not a continuous handout. We all know what happens when people are always given their needs, they do not see the need to work.
God had fairness in mind for those who had abundance in both produce and money.
Lev. 19:10-11: “And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the LORD your God. 'You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.”
God had the owner of the land leave portions of the produce. They didn’t send the food to the people in need. Those who were hungry picked their own food just as the owner of the vineyard did.
Lev. 23:22: “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the LORD your God.'“
Israel had a built in social program for the needy, but it was not anything like social justice.
Exod. 22:25: “If you lend money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender to him; you shall not charge him interest.”
Deut. 15:1-4: “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts. “And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the LORD'S release. “Of a foreigner you may require it; but you shall give up your claim to what is owed by your brother, “except when there may be no poor among you; for the LORD will greatly bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance-”
This has everything to do with Israel as a theocracy. One cannot honestly apply these laws unless God is also involved.
Exod. 30:13-15: “This is what everyone among those who are numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (a shekel is twenty gerahs). The half-shekel shall be an offering to the LORD. “Everyone included among those who are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering to the LORD. “The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when you give an offering to the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves.”
God gave a boundary and even the poor had to give as they acknowledged God of their daily needs.
Deut 15:10-14: “You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand. “For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.' “If your brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you and serves you six years, then in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. “And when you send him away free from you, you shall not let him go away empty-handed; “you shall supply him liberally from your flock, from your threshing floor, and from your winepress. From what the LORD has blessed you with, you shall give to him.”
Israel was a nation under God unlike any nation today. Not all countries are equal and not all economic systems are equal. Socialism is not equal to a free enterprise system.
What about Justice?
Ps. 10:17-18: “LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; you will prepare their heart; you will cause Your ear to hear, To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may oppress no more.”
Ps. 25:9-10: “The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way. All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.”
Notice it is the humble not the proud, or defiant, or those that revolt that the Lord hears and honors.
God tells those in need to look to him and be obedient. Ps 37:28: “For the LORD loves justice, and does not forsake His saints; they are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.”
Ps. 72:2 “He will judge Your people with righteousness, and Your poor with justice.”
Ps. 82:3-4 “Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked.” Notice its not the rich he defends them against but the wicked. One can be poor and wicked as well. When we look at what communist dictators did to the poor in their country giving them bread and water, God does not call this justice.
Prov. 2: 8: “he is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.”
Ps. 10:2-3: “The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. For the wicked boasts of his heart's desire; he blesses the greedy and renounces the LORD” Not all rich are wicked, certainly having riches can make one wicked just as giving them a position of power can. This is why it is about mans heart. As Prov 13:7 “ There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.”
Isa. 32:7 “Also the schemes of the schemer are evil; he devises wicked plans to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaks justice. But a generous man devises generous things, and by generosity he shall stand.”
Prov. 29:26-27: “Many seek the ruler's favor, but justice for man comes from the LORD. An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous, and he who is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked.”
We are to work so that we can give to others in need.
Proverbs 22:9 “He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor.”
Isa. 10:1-2 “Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees, who write misfortune, which they have prescribed
To rob the needy of justice, and to take what is right from the poor of My people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless.”
If you do not know the difference between good and evil how can you speak of Justice. Marxists / socialists calling for social justice is an oxymoron; you can’t have right decisions on justice without God, and Marxists and atheists do not believe in God. Neither should they be allowed to use the Scripture to advance their agenda.
With all this talk about justice, many have forgotten about not coveting and being content with what they have. Instead, strife is formed by wanting more, telling people they deserve what others have without working for it and the government should be allowed to obtain it for them. One of the 10 commandments to Moses is thou shall not covet, another is you shall not steal.
Luke 3:14 Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.” Paul wrote in 1 Tim 6:7-8 “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.”
Phil. 4:11-13: “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Heb. 13:5: “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.”
Do not those who call for social justice, covet what they do not have. Does not the Bible teach to be content in all states we are in?The Bible says not to steal, this certainly can be applied to the government that has the intention to take from some who have to give to others who do not.
The Bible speaks a lot on laziness. Prov. 13:4: “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.”
Prov. 21:25-26: “The desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. He covets greedily all day long, but the righteous gives and does not spare.”
People work hard to have what they own, and those who are believers acknowledge it is all the Lords to do what He wants with it. So they are under the Lords instruction when to give and what to give. Is it fair to take from those who work to support those who will not work (not those who cannot work because of a situation that they cannot control.) Its one thing to take care of those who are unable, the bible makes it clear to do this. The Bible calls this charity and it is to be done by individual choice. We choose to whom we want to give, how much and when. But when it involves the collective there is no choice, it is just law, like taxes.
It is about individual choice, freedom. Our choice to do good to others will be rewarded in the afterlife. To legislate a law to be dutiful to help others takes away individual choice. This becomes Christian socialism which is really humanism in disguise.
The apostles who represented what Jesus taught did not have social justice in mind when they taught the church. Lets look at the main New Testament Scriptures used for social justice in the church.
In Acts 5 Annaians and Sapphirra saw how people in the church were giving for the needs of others and volunteered to sell their land. Acts 5:1-5 “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? “While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
Annaias lied. They were not required to give any amount, not 10% or 100%, it was a freewill offering. But they withheld what they promised. Peter had no right to take from them but only reminded them that they gave their word to God. We see that Peter believed in individual property, but that one also needs to keep their word, especially when it involves promises to others. Justice is about righting a wrong, defending the weak and innocent - making sure the guilty are punished correctly. It should not be confused with Christian charity. We see Peter distributing justice.
Acts 2:44-46: “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart”
They shared freely among those who believed. This was a small group that sold what they could and gave to those in need among them. They did not make a law inside the church to take from one to give to another. The New Testament does not obligate believers like the Old Testament law of tithing that had 10% to support the Levitical priests who taught them.
John writes “if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” (1 Jn. 3:17). Gal. 2:10 Paul says, “they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.”
We remember the poor by giving when there is a need. But those who are poor cannot give food, water or medicine when a large disaster happens. Those who have wealth, abundance of money can help, and this comes from businesses not government. We cannot depend on the church, for the church does not amass wealth nor create wealth. Again we come to the Bible and we find those in the church who had lands and abundance of possessions were able to sell them to help others.
Acts 4:32: “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.”
What was the common they all had? The Lord. The early Christians held all things in common, this did not include Rome; a central government was not established; giving to others was not enforced as law, it was done freely because they shared in their faith and trials together and looked to God as their source in all things. God takes care of those who have faith in him.
It goes on to say in Acts 4:34-37 “Nor was there anyone among them who
lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought
the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles'
feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. And Joses, who was also
named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a
Levite of the country of Cyprus,
Barnabas did this by his own choice as did others. Jesus never taught that one must give their money over to Caesar for him to distribute it to the poor and needy. He said to give Caser what is due him (taxes). He affirmed the church to help those among them in need. In the social justice model of compassion the state replaces God as she distributes the wealth. The church is supposed to be self -sustaining entity, non dependent on those outside the household of faith, especially government.
Providing for someone in need is not social justice, but love. The Good Samaritan in Jesus’ parable found the man wounded and robbed by thieves along the road (Luke 10:30-37). He demonstrated compassion toward the victim of a crime, not because he was socially, or financially disadvantaged, but because he was simply a “neighbor” in need.
The Good Samaritan didn’t collect money from the Roman government or the synagogue, he got involved himself. Charity has empathy for those in need and is willing to share, comfort and care for a person. It demonstrates God’s love from person to person.The law of Christ is to carry one another's burdens, this is not the same as a distribution of their goods decided by a council or government.
The widows mite is the definitive argument against social justice:
Mark 12:41-44 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury;" for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood."
Here we have someone who is very poor giving to the temple. The woman gave not to specific humanitarian efforts, not to help the poor but to to support God and His work. Jesus says she gave more than the rich men who were present because she had little and still gave. The widows story refutes the idea that the Bible teaches social justice. If it did, she would be the recipient, not the giver. And it would be to Roman government not the temple treasury.
James 2:5: “Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”
In other words those who have less depend more on God for their daily needs, God looks upon this as a blessing over those who only depend on their wealth.
When Government legislates fairness by law is it really fair? God gives man a choice.
Matt. 19:20-22: The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
Yes Jesus told this rich young man to sell what he has and give to the poor, but he also said to follow him. He was showing him his riches had him in bondage to the true riches he could have. He did not say to everyone who is rich to do the same, He treated people individually, not as a collective.
Jesus says:"...I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?'....And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me" (Mt. 25:35-40).
In other words they were individually engaged in ministry doing what they were supposed to the BRETHREN (not to everyone), this is charity was motivated by love done by individuals, they did not rely on government but were involved themselves. The meaning the Christian socialists give to “Charity” is concealed behind new definitions. Social justice is a legal way to enforce governmental control over people. Social justice (religious or political) by progressive democrats (socialists) means taking money from those that work to give to those that don’t. Charity is a voluntary giving to help those we choose, we are often personally involved. Compassion for the poor does not mean we allow the government to control what, how and when we give.
Americas constitution has both human rights and individual rights, based on Bible principles. To imply that Social justice is necessary insinuates that someone has not been fair. Is this not what they are doing when they try to legislate by government their solution through social justice?America as a country gives more foreign aid than any other country. When a disaster strikes; it is individuals that give as well.
The Bible says to give freely to whom the Lord puts on your heart. Where’s the Holy Spirit in this, does he work with the corrupt men who run the government who are mostly atheists and humanists? The church always helped the poor in this country, we do not need to relinquish our ability to the government.
Is social justice at the heart of the gospel? As its advocates claim. Not a chance.Don Hank comments: Recently, Christian Left leader (posted on the Huffington post) Jim Wallis recently said:
“Christians across the theological and political spectrum believe that social justice is central to the teachings of Jesus and at the heart of biblical faith.”
Actually, not only is there no consensus on this issue, but in fact, Jesus did not speak of such a concept as it is understood today.
Further, Jesus said that there would be false teachers coming in his name. Paul steeled future Christians against heresy by writing:
“Therefore, Brethren, stand fast, and hold to the traditions which ye have been taught” II Thessalonians 2:15.
While any Christian can agree that the first Christians held all things in common and virtually forbade owning any personal property, we find no mention that a theocracy should be established by Christians to enforce this socialism on others. And those who insist that Christian socialism must be enforced by political means are in fact endorsing theocracy.”
(Is social justice a Christian doctrine? http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=134389
The government gets its resources from the citizens, they have none on their own. This becomes legalized theft to take money from those who earn it by their hard work and give it to others who did not. Not distinguishing those that cannot work, from those unwilling to. Certainly we want to help those who genuinely need it, but I wonder if these same people were offered jobs instead of support would we see the same response?
We are warned that once government has control of distribution of finances our freedoms quickly vanish. Here are some quotes from various people who saw the flaws.
“History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance.” (James Madison (1751-1836), Father of the US Constitution, and 4th US President)
Fredrich Hayek: “To be controlled in our economic pursuits means to be controlled in everything” (Fredrich Hayek (1899-1992), Nobel Laureate of Economic Sciences 1974, author of “The Road to Serfdom”)
“If a man proposes to redistribute wealth, he means explicitly and necessarily that the wealth is his to distribute. If he proposes it in the name of the government, then the wealth belongs to the government; if in the name of society, then it belongs to society. No one, to my knowledge, did or could define a difference between that proposal and the basic principle of communism” (“The Dead End,” The Ayn Rand Letter, I, 20, 2).
When the government legislates that it is you moral duty to help others, God is being replaced by government and all the socialists, Marxists stand and applaud.
Nowhere do we read that Jesus or the early Christians had urged Christ’s followers to force others to live by their rules. You cannot enforce fairness, nor legislate it, it must come from the heart.
Jesus said to come to him, not the church or government to take their burdens away; Matt 11:28-30: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
To the rulers, the lawyers Luke 11:46 And He said, "Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.” Legislating a law is not an answer, our individual responsibility to be involved as representatives for Christ is.
As far as genuine “Societal justice”- this equality will only be found in the Millennium when Christ is here ruling, not by any earthly government today.
Social Justice = Theft via the government.
Social justice will one day be overruled by divine justice, which none of the supporters will be happy with because it will bring genuine justice to all.
An Excellent article explaining social justice system