Saturday, December 31, 2011

Why "social" justice? (Scot McKnight)

For a long time I have been thinking whether I should include the word "social" when I refer to "justice" in the Bible. In terms of biblical usage, "social justice" is not strictly speaking the language used in the Scripture. But on the other hand when "justice" is mentioned in the Bible, it has much to do with social and communal living.

In his recent blog post Scot McKnight discusses this matter. Here I cite a few things McKnight says.
Tim King is a former student of mine, works with Jim Wallis, and is pointing out something I would affirm. The word “social” has been added to the word “justice” because “social” has been too often neglected. Having said that, though, I would plead with us to learn to use the word “justice” biblically — it refers to being right with God, with self, with others, with the world — so that we don’t have to add “social” (with others, with the world) and so we can cease with our gnostic-like spirituality where it is only “me and God.”
I am ready to concede the point that if we properly define our terms, the “social” in social justice and the “personal” in personal salvation should both be dropped. But, I’m not willing to stop using the modifier “social” when it comes to justice until Christians fully engage the biblical definition of justice.
Someday, justice will be flowing like a river and righteousness like an everflowing stream.
On that day, we won’t be fighting about whether or not it is “social” justice or just plain old justice that is rolling.
I gather that the last two sentences echo Amos' words about justice. I think Scot McKnight has something for us to ponder here.

Click here for McKnight's blog post.

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