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Social Justice vs Biblical Justice

Apologetics | Culture

Published on November 28, 2022
Home » Apologetics » Social Justice vs Biblical Justice

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The topic of Social Justice has become a huge issue of much debate and confusion in our times. It is an issue that is not simply “out there” in the world, but also in the church. As Christians, we still inhabit the same world and live in the same cultural atmosphere as the rest of the population. Therefore, we’re also being influenced every day by competing worldviews and religions – even atheistic and secular ones. Many of you may have already had to undergo mandatory Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (E.D.I.) training at your workplaces or through affirmative action policies. E.D.I. and affirmative action are some of the ways that social justice touches us and affects the way our culture thinks about issues of justice. Its roots are in a discipline called Critical Theory which is a neo-Marxist ideology that is at the root of secular concepts of social justice.

This issue is not limited to secular workplaces and schools. These ideologies have also infiltrated churches as well. For example, as Owen Strachan notes in his book, Christianity and Wokeness,

It is arguable that no book has been more influential in the “evangelical” wokeness movement than Divided by Faith. Emerson and Smith’s study landed at the top of The Gospel Coalition’s (TGC) 2016 recommended reading list on the topic of racial division.nnVast inequalities exist, the authors argue, between whites and blacks in the areas of income, employment, and health care, among others, all of which can be attributed to systemic racial injustice as the driving factor. All white evangelicals are complicit in the racial inequalities that exist, mainly because “they support the American system and enjoy its fruits.”nnDivided by Faith may seem like a dispassionate study. But as has already emerged, it is a book of thorough advocacy, and it is steeped in woke thinking. For example, the authors argue that whites and blacks should work together to “recognize” and “resist” racialized “structures of inequality” in society.” In combating racial inequality, whites, as “the main creators and benefactors of the racialized society, must repent of their personal, historical, and social sins.” (Strachan, 36)

As another example, popular Evangelical pastor and author, Dr. Tony Evans in his book Kingdom Race Theology writes,

While an individual today may not be personally racist, they can contribute to the racist structures by supporting the inequitable systems still in place, or by denying that they exist… If you are a nonracist yourself but do not actively oppose racism (willing to speak or work against racism and racist systems where they show up), you are failing to fulfill the whole letter of the law of love (Rom 13:8). (Tony Evans, Kingdom Race Theology, 36.)

Note that what Dr. Evans is arguing is that you can be participating in racism without actually being a racist or harbouring any hateful thoughts/actions towards persons of different ethnicity. One must instead become an activist against racism (which he defines as structures and inequitable systems) in order to be justified. This is not unique to Evans. Many today are perpetuating this ideology.

Critical Race Theory activist Ibram X. Kendi has also become very popular in various church circles. In his book, How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi writes,

The opposite of racist isn’t “not racist.” It is “anti-racist.” What’s the difference? . . . One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of “not racist.”

Note again the highly activist component of Kendi’s remarks. What is happening is that racism is being redefined from its traditional definition of hatred or animosity toward a person of another ethnicity, to now include racial inequities, political policies, systems and structures. We are seeing a transformation of language and a hi-jacking of terms which once meant something very specific to now being co-opted for this new ideology.

Virgil Walker, who is a pastor of Discipleship and Executive Director of Operations for G3 Ministries, and Co-host of the Just Thinking Podcast notes that,

“What Evans is offering is the same worldly message delivered by Kendi and those promoting the false religion of CRT. The advancing message is a gospel of works-righteousness which doesn’t atone for sins, is insufficient to save, and its work never ends.”

Many more examples could be multiplied of this sort of invasion into the church from books like White Fragility, The Color of Compromise, Woke Church, and many popular Evangelical figures. Brandan J. Robertson is a gay writer, activist, and “Christian” minister who notes that racial and LBGTQ+ justice are “inextricably linked”. He’s not wrong. This issue is also not only limited to racial justice but there are a whole host of other issues (as we will see) such as LBGTQ+, radical feminism & gender ideology, queer studies, etc that are related to these same concepts because they come from the same fundamental worldview. Sometimes this is referred to as “woke ideology”.

Larry Ball, a retired minister in the PCUSA, notes that those promoting the woke ideology know

“…that there will be a fight. There will be resistance. It will take time, but they believe they will win. Right and might are on their side. With a slow march through the institutions of our nation, capturing them one-by-one, the theology of wokism will become the new religion of America. LGBT rights, statism, government schools that own the children, Big Tech censorship, and the marginalization of Christians all of these they see as the future of this country. This world is important, and they intend to own it. This is one reason they are winning.”nn”Wokism is a secularized covenantalism and wants to capture your children. Your children are their target, few of them having any children of their own. Children are malleable and if we send them off to government schools and modern universities, wokism believes it can convert them. They have been doing this for years, only Christians did not know it. Secretly, they have been capturing our children. With the public “coming out of the closet” of doctrines like Critical Race Theory, parents are beginning to see now what has been happening behind their backs for years. It’s now out in the open, and there is a push back. Hopefully, for the present generation, it is not too late.”

While we don’t have time to get into every one of those topics right now in detail, in studying what the Bible says about justice generally, we will also be learning how to address some of these issues specifically.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at one of the most important concepts to understand at the root of all of this: What is Biblical Justice compared to Secular Social Justice?

Social Justice

This term has been problematic, as some people use it in a legitimate way. So, we must be careful to clarify with people what they mean by social justice before assuming.

However, the majority of our secular culture uses it in an unbiblical way associated with the concepts of wokeness we have been discussing here. Consider that when both Antifa and the American Nazi Party can call themselves “social justice warriors”, we may have a problem of clarity with this term. Thus, though some use the term legitimately, our present cultural context can make it particularly confusing and unhelpful. Scott David Allen in his book, Why Social Justice Is Not Biblical Justice, describes Social Justice as,

“Deconstructing traditional systems and structures deemed to be oppressive, and redistributing power and resources from oppressors to their victims in the pursuit of equality of outcome.”

You should recognize that that is not a Biblical concept of justice.

Before we jump in more, we must define two important terms to any discussion about true justice: equality and equity.

Equality

Equality has to do with the equality of value, worth and dignity that every human being possesses as an image bearer of God. It is also a term we’ll be using to refer to equality of opportunity – meaning that in a just society, there should not be discrimination between people of different ethnicities, physical characteristics, etc. in terms of the opportunities that are available to them. This is a biblical and right concept of justice. It also used to be one of the core principles that helped to form our liberal democracies where we enjoy various freedoms as equal citizens

Equity

Equity is the concept of “sameness.” It desires the flattening of all distinctions between people – such as sex and gender roles. It is also called radical egalitarianism. It aims for equality of outcomes, not just opportunities. It sees disparities as automatically problematic and unjust. This is what secular Social Justice aims at and it is unbiblical. God has created differences in people and even in outcomes as part of His good design. This concept of equity is what more socialistic government policies adopt and inevitably leads to less freedom in order to forcibly flatten out disparities in society.

Though both of these terms can be used in legitimate ways, typically, our modern culture has distorted the concept of “equity” – they’ve co-opted the terms and redefined them. So, we must be aware of this as we speak about these things and make sure we’re clear about what we mean.

Biblical Justice

Biblical Justice, the term we will be using to avoid confusion, is the type of justice that God commands. Now, it is true that Biblical Justice is “social” in a particular sense. In Leviticus 25:1-7, God’s vision for justice includes all of the social fabric of the creation, including land, domesticated animals, wild animals, and migrant workers. Individuals matter, but biblically speaking, you can’t engage the individual outside of his or her social situation. So, the Bible is concerned with the social dimensions of justice. However, there are other important factors to truly Biblical justice apart from only its social dimension.

Biblical justice is:

  1. Truthful
  2. Direct
  3. Impartial
  4. Restorative & Retributive
  5. Proportional
  6. Limited.

True Justice comes from God

Ultimately, the reason why Christians are passionate about true justice is because justice comes from God. God’s justice flows from his love:

He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.” (Psa. 33:5)

It’s at the core of who He is and how He rules the universe:

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.” (Psa. 89:14)

Justice is the foundation of God’s rule. We are created to be His vice-gerants, extending His rule over the earth. Therefore, we must extend God’s justice throughout the whole earth. However, since the Fall into sin, mankind has perverted God’s justice. Indeed, the Fall has corrupted our nature such that fallen man has a distorted sense of justice.

Evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.” (Prov. 28:5)

We should not take what fallen man considers “just” at face value, but we must hold it up to the scrutiny of God’s standards found in His Word.

Let’s examine these 6 traits of Biblical justice in comparison to secular social justice.

1. Truthful

Biblical Justice is Truthful – it accords with reality and the truth of God’s Word, and charges must be established on multiple independent lines of witnesses.

We must not pervert justice

Bildad asked the question,

“Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right?” (Job 8:3)

The obvious answer is “no.” God is described in Scripture as the Good and Righteous Judge of all the earth (Gen. 18:25; Heb. 12:23). Therefore, He commands us to judge correctly and not pervert true justice:

Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deut. 16:20)

This means that we must not judge by mere appearances. Jesus says,

Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” (John 7:24)

He knows that we are all too easily prone to make quick and hasty judgments without knowing the whole story. We make half-informed assumptions that lead to wrong conclusions. Our modern social media outrage culture does not help this. Oftentimes, we’ll see various viral outrages about some social issue, alleged crime or incident and we’re rallied up in a frenzy of quick words to damn what we perceive as an injustice. Yet how often have those viral outrages turned out to be less than truthful or biased in the way they were reported?

As Christians, we cannot get swept up in the viral trends of the flash pan-fires of outrage culture. The whole truth matters to truly do justice, and often, we cannot know the full story until after investigations have been thoroughly conducted. What the apostle James says also applies online and in every place and time:

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20)

That word translated as “righteousness” – δικαιοσύνην – is also translated as “justice”. The anger of man does not produce God’s justice.

The Black Lives Matter Movement

We saw a prime example of this recently in the George Floyd riots of 2020.

Black squares were posted on social media and unqualified support was demanded before any of the final details of the case were known. More than 8000 protests erupted in over 2500 cities, sometimes violent and destructive with calls to “defund the police”. Floyd was exalted as a martyr and patron saint of the systemic oppression of black people and police brutality. It was important that everyone support and promote this approved narrative. Yet the facts told a different and more nuanced story.

While his death is tragic, he was not the innocent patron saint he was portrayed to be. Floyd was high on three times the lethal dose of fentanyl and meth, when he was confronted by police because he tried to pay a convenience store with a counterfeit bill. He was a multiple-convicted felon with a record of armed violence – including armed invasion and robbery of a pregnant woman’s house and pointing a gun at her belly. The County Medical Examiner, Dr. Andrew Baker, stated in his initial report that the autopsy revealed “no physical evidence suggesting that Mr. Floyd died of asphyxiation.” The Examiner also noted the inclusion of fentanyl and meth in his bloodstream, saying that it would be “a fatal level of fentanyl under normal circumstances.” Baker performed the autopsy before watching the videos of the police restraining Floyd because he wanted to avoid bias. Apparently, Floyd may have panicked and consumed the drugs to dispose of the evidence when the cops came.

nn

The viral video clips showing Floyd saying “I can’t breathe” don’t show the fact that he was saying that well before he was subdued on the ground by the police. Also, they don’t show the fact that it was Floyd himself who insisted on being put on the ground. The body cam footage from the officers also show an alternate angle where it seems like officer Chauvin’s knee is not on Floyd’s neck but on his shoulder blade. Much of this footage has been released in the DailyWire’s new documentary, The Greatest Lie Ever Sold. In the final report, it was determined that Floyd’s death was due to a combination of factors including cardiovascular disease and drug intoxication contributing heavily in addition to his subdual by the officers. These facts don’t excuse whatever excessive force or inappropriate technique the officer subduing Floyd may have used, but it does tell a more nuanced story that is not useful to the agenda being pushed of systemic, and targeted police brutality against blacks.

Furthermore, similar details could be rehearsed for other popular cases that BLM uses like Michael Brown’s case that are held up as “normative” examples of police brutality. The popular narrative which went viral that an unarmed Brown put his hands up and yelled “don’t shoot” turns out to be false according to several (even liberal) sources that have had to admit the truth such as The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune and Huffington Post. Brown actually fought with the officer and tried to take his gun when he was shot. Yet these retractions are never publicized and Michael Brown was one of the major cases used to spark the Black Lives Matter Movement, even though Brown’s own father has decried BLM’s lack of transparency in order to further their own personal and political agendas.

BLM has received over $90 million in donations after the Floyd incident, yet their organizers have used this money to donate millions to pro-Trans activist organizations (LBGTQ+ activism and Social Justice go together because of the shared worldview they stem from), to training radical protestors and rioters, and to buy lavish mansions for themselves. Patrisse Cullors, one of BLM’s founders, bought several mansions in the US for $3.2 million, including a $1.4 million home in the “white” neighbourhood of Malibu, California. She also eyed property in the Bahamas at an ultra-exclusive resort where celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Tiger Woods have homes, that are priced between $5 million and $20 million, according to a local agent. Even Floyd’s former roommates received NO money from all the donations to help pay off Floyd’s rent debts. BLM is a sham, and a Marxist organization (according to the admission by their own founders) that hold a radical agenda against the nuclear family and promotes radical transgender ideology (according to their own statements on their website – which was since taken down).

Roland Fryer, a black economist and professor at Harvard, carried out a thorough investigation of police shootings in ten major cities across the United States. He concluded that there is no evidence of racial bias in police shootings. In Houston, for example, he found that blacks were 24 percent less likely than whites to be shot by officers even though the suspects were armed or violent. A Washington State University study found that police officers were less likely to shoot black suspects than white suspects in realistic simulations of both armed and unarmed scenarios. There are many other studies which paint a more nuanced picture of racial tensions that could be cited. Now, does this mean that legitimate instances of police brutality and racism don’t exist at all? Of course not. But it does mean that the truth matters!

However, the riots of outrage that ensued from these instances caused massive damage to society and many innocent white, Latino, and black business owners, shops, and families. According to FEE and other sources, the total damages for the BLM riots is upwards of $2+ Billion dollars!

This is a perversion of justice! Those rioting in the streets and burning down cities all in the name of “justice” actually make innocent business owners, families and people pay for the sins of others. Jumping to conclusions and onto outrage mobs is not what biblically-minded Christians do.

Canada’s Residential Schools

Similar stories of perverted justice and falsehood occur in Canada over race relations. The indigenous issue is one such example. The now famous Kamloops Indian Residential Schools case where it is alleged that the unmarked graves of hundreds of native children were found outside a residential school has led to the burning down of dozens of historic churches in protest. The story has gone viral over mainstream media that Canada is a historically racist nation and that the residential schools abused and killed many aboriginal people. However, is this true?

The original story was based off findings from Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) which is unable to distinguish what lies beneath the surface because it is not a detailed image of what’s underneath. Since then, through some independent investigative researching (which is hard to find on Google and other woke Big Tech platforms), it has come to light that what the GPR likely detected was actually the remains of septic canals and drainage systems. Several sources have reported on this, including Lauren Southern, James Pew, Rebel News, True North News and Woke Watch Canada showing the evidence. There is an entire website made by an architectural consultant called Graves in the Apple Orchard that lays out the survey data showing that the ground disturbances were irrigation ditches, utility lines, backhoe trenches, waterline, etc.

Researcher Nina Green testified that, “There’s no way GPR can distinguish between a filled-in septic field trench and a filled-in grave. The GPR profiles will look the same.” Former KIRS student, Emma Baker admitted in an interview with CTV that when she attended the Kamloops residential school from 1952 to 1956, she and her friends made up stories about graves in the apple orchard. Even the Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc Chief affirmed that it was not a mass grave. Not one single body has been found or produced from excavations and the public has been barred from entry to the site – even the airspace has been restricted. Why? Because the truth would not fit the narrative they’re trying to portray. But truth actually matters when it comes to reconciliation.

As Mark Milke notes in his book, The Victim Cult: How the culture of blame hurts everyone and wrecks civilizations,

“For example, even by the [Canadian government’s Truth and Reconciliation] commission’s own estimate, when the proportion of registered First Nations children in residential schools was at its peak, in 1944/45, the proportion was 31%. Thus even though that was the high watermark for attendance, and even if one accepts the Commission’s narrative that all residential schools made victims of all students (beyond those subject to sexual and physical abuse), it is yet a leap to attribute modern-day social and economic outcomes for all aboriginal Canadians to an education model where less than one-third attended at its peak. Even if the link between attendance at a residential school and poor economic and social outcomes in the 21st century was inextricably tight for every single attendee, that link would still not explain economic and social outcomes for the vast majority of aboriginal Canadians who never attended such schools and nor did their ancestors.” (Milke, Victim Cult, 56)

Yet thousands of Canadians are led to don orange shirts and donate to these causes. Now, again, this does not mean that there never has been any abuses in Residential Schools or injustices committed against Indigenous peoples. Because all are sinful, we can expect sin in every area. But the truth matters – especially when opportunists and politicians want to manipulate well-meaning people to further their own agendas.

As Dr. Voddie Baucham Jr has noted,

“Simply put, we must be careful when we hear and/or draw conclusions. We must reject simplistic, univariate analyses as a basis for sweeping accusations of bias.” (Dr. Voddie Baucham, Fault Lines, p. 52)

Indeed, God commands us:

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” (Zech. 7:9-10)

There are legitimate instances of injustice in this world that must be corrected. But if we keep chasing down contrived and hastily formulated narratives in the service of a particular agenda, we’ll find ourselves fighting windmills and imaginary dragons like Don Quixote. We should be sure that we are not perverting justice.

How do we do that?

Multiple independent lines of testimony

All throughout Scripture, from the Old to New Testaments, God’s standard for establishing a charge against someone is the necessity of at least two to three independent lines of witness.

Old Testament:

On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.” (Deut. 17:6)

A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.” (Deut. 19:15)

“If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the evidence of witnesses. But no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness.” (Num. 35:30)

New Testament:

“But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” (Matt. 18:16)

This will be my third visit to you. “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” (2 Cor. 13:1)

“Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.” (1 Tim. 5:19)

“Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” (Heb. 10:28)

In our modern-day context, we see this principle upheld in Western law courts which were based on Judeo-Christian principles in the need for multiple witnesses and lines of evidence to corroborate a story. This is sometimes done through eye-witness testimony or evidence such as forensic science, etc. The principle is the same though. We cannot be sure of a correct judgment without testing it from multiple angles and corroborating with multiple witnesses.

Where it is impossible to attain multiple witnesses to an incident, we must differ judgments and not speak in absolute terms. The truth is that some crimes in this life may not be perfectly brought to justice – but we’ll come back to this point more fully in a later section.

2. Direct

Biblical Justice is Direct – its rewards and punishments are meted out directly to the achievers and offenders, not to people of their descent/ancestry, tribe, ethnicity, social group, etc.

Today’s secular Social Justice seeks to punish those it sees as belonging to an oppressor group allegedly for the sins of their forefathers and ancestors. Whether it is white, straight, Christian, male, or rich people, they are told that they must pay “reparations” for the injustices committed by others of their identity group in the past against oppressed groups even though they themselves have not committed any of those injustices.

Secular Social Justice’s punishments are thus, indirect. But God’s standard of justice demands direct punishment and reward for the person committing the acts.

“Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.” (Deut. 24:16; cf. 2 Kings 14:6)

The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” (Ezek. 18:20)

Heaping punishment upon groups regardless of their actual guilt in committing crimes is unjust. This is why Social Justice initiatives such as affirmative action and reparations are unjust. These policies penalize people simply because they belong to a particular identity group instead of treating them as individuals.

Robin Hood Policies

When a government decides to take affirmative action – they are intentionally discriminating against people of a supposed “oppressor” or privileged class or group in order to show partiality and favoritism to someone of a supposed “oppressed” or underprivileged group. However, this does not take into account what the individuals have done to merit reward or punishment – it only considers their group identity and is thus unfair and unjust. Similarly, when reparations are demanded, the government is forcibly taking money from people through taxation and redistributing it to others – supposedly playing the role a sort of Statist Robin Hood – stealing from the rich to give to the poor. However, stealing is still stealing.

In one example, famous social justice activist, Ta-Nehisi Coates, in his famous article, “The case for Reparations” in The Atlantic Magazine makes the observation that,

“Black families, regardless of income, are significantly less wealthy than white families. The Pew Research Center estimates that white households are worth roughly 20 times as much as black households, and that whereas only 15 percent of whites have zero or negative wealth, more than a third of blacks do.”

Now, even if we take these facts at face value, this tells us nothing of the reasons why this is the reality. Did these white families make their wealth through hard work and wise investments? Were they directly involved in or profited from chattel slavery? How long have they been living in the country and how much has been passed down through inheritances which were built upon – much wealth building is generational.

He tries to make the case from “reparations” that were paid from Nazi Germany to Jews in the 1950s. However, whatever one makes of the case for reparations from the Holocaust, one significant detail is overlooked – the people who suffered under the Nazis and survived were still alive in the 1950s, and thus, there was some semblance of direct justice. In the age we live in today, the individuals who suffered under the horrors of slavery are dead and gone, and so are their evil slave masters. Similar points and questions could be raised about our Canadian context with regard to reparations to Indigenous communities. When almost 1 in 4 Canadians are immigrants, how can it possibly be a direct form of justice to tax every Canadian to pay for the sins of people long dead and gone who at least 25% of them would definitely have no relation to?

We must all bear personal responsibility for our actions. Noted black economist Thomas Sowell has raised the point,

“Have we reached the ultimate stage of absurdity where some people are held responsible for things that happened before they were born, while other people are not held responsible for what they themselves are doing today?”

Jesus himself when he comes to bring perfect judgment will not judge as Social Justice Warriors do, but rather his judgment of rewards and punishments will be direct:

For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. (Matt. 16:27)

“He will render to each one according to his works” (Rom. 2:6)

Secular Social Justice policies like reparations and affirmative action tend towards more injustice because it is indirect (not against the real perpetrators) and do not actually right wrongs but encourage entitlement.

The irony of the indirect nature of social justice policies is that it actually ends up directly hurting the ones they purport to try to help in the long run by facilitating entitlement, a lack of responsibility, dependency on the State and injustice. Thus, as we see in many inner city areas that follow liberal social justice policies, many poorer or disadvantaged communities end up worse off with higher rates of crime, fatherlessness, drugs, gangs, teen pregnancies and high-school drop-outs. This is well documented in books such as Discrimination and Disparities by Thomas Sowell.

3. Impartial

Biblical Justice is Impartial – it does not show preferential treatment to anyone based on identity group.

Biblically, showing favouritism, even to a suffering group, is repeatedly denounced throughout Scripture because it contradicts the very character of God who shows no partiality (Romans 2:11).

“You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.” (Exod. 23:2-3)

Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’” (Deut. 27:19)

“You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous.” (Deut. 16:19)

“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.” (Lev. 19:15)

See also Jeremiah 22:3 & Proverbs 18:5.

God’s law forbade any partiality, whether to the great or the poor. Justice was to be “blind” in that sense – that it didn’t change based on a person’s appearance, ethnicity, sex, or any other identity marker. This is why the symbol for justice – Lady Justice – is blindfolded with scales to show that justice is impartial and each case is weighed properly.

A person is not to be judged as guilty or innocent based on their skin colour, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sex, ability, or any other identifying marker. Each person is to be judged according to the merits of their own case according to God’s righteous standards. Contrary to this, today’s secular Social Justice divides people up into oppressor and oppressed identity groups and imputes guilt or innocence upon them based on this. It is a perpetual game of grievances between oppressor and oppressed.

The true ground for reconciliation

Paul in the first century did not go around playing a game of grievances between Jews and Gentiles in the newly formed churches. In the first century, the racial/ethnic divide between Jews and Gentiles was one of the most severe – Jews and Gentiles would not even eat together. Furthermore, the Jews could have easily brought up the oppressions of the Gentile Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians and even Romans around them for how they had historically treated the Jewish people. They could have pointed to the mass taxation of the Romans and complained that the whole system was rigged against them by these Roman supremacists who enforce their cultural hegemony upon them! They could have demanded that they repent of their Romanness and divest themselves of their privilege and pay reparations. Instead, he writes to a mixed congregation in Ephesians 2:

“But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” (Eph. 2:13-16)

True reconciliation, whether it be racial, or any other kind, is found only in Christ. He is our peace because “all have sinned”. There is no such thing as a certain class of people who are innocent by merely belonging to a particular identity group. Black or white, rich or poor, all sin is common to man and every group of people since the Fall has sinned against others.

Take the sin of slavery for example:

  • “Slavs were so widely used as slaves in both Europe and the Islamic world that the very word ‘slave’ derived from the word for Slav-not only in English, but also in other European languages, as well as in Arabic.”
  • At least a million Europeans were enslaved by North African pirates alone from 1500 to 1800.
  • “Europeans enslaved other Europeans, Asians enslaved other Asians, Africans enslaved other Africans, and the indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere enslaved other indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere.”
  • “It was the Africans who enslaved their fellow Africans, selling some of these slaves to Europeans or to Arabs and keeping others for themselves. Even at the peak of the Atlantic slave trade, Africans retained more slaves for themselves than they sent to the Western Hemisphere.”
  • “Slavery was also common in India, where it has been estimated that there were more slaves than in the entire Western Hemisphere.”
  • “Arabs were the leading slave raiders in East Africa, ranging over an area larger than all of Europe.”
  • China in centuries past has been described as “one of the largest and most comprehensive markets for the exchange of human beings in the world.”

Thus, because sin is common to all mankind, we are all on equal footing, all in need of the reconciliation that Christ brings and God’s law demands impartiality, regardless of a person’s socioeconomic status. This was not just an Old Testament standard, but one which God intends to stand for perpetuity in His people:

“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory… But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:1, 9)

4. Restorative & Retributive

Biblical Justice is Retributive – it seeks to restore that which was broken and punish the guilty.

One of the clearest places to see this in Scripture is the case laws in Exodus and Deuteronomy for theft.

“If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it or sells it, he shall repay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep… He shall surely pay. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft. If the stolen beast is found alive in his possession, whether it is an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he shall pay double.” (Exodus 22:1-4)

Here we see that if someone steals livestock from someone else and has already killed or sold it, then they are to repay the person from whom they stole it fivefold or fourfold, depending on the value of the animal. Why? Because the thief was restoring not just the value of the animal itself, but the loss of productivity the owner would have incurred by not having their animal. An ox would be used for plowing, and so the time without it, the owner would have incurred a loss of productivity also. The difference between the ox and sheep is that an ox takes a lot longer to mature than a sheep, and is also a bigger animal which is worth more.

If the thief has nothing to pay, he was to be sold into labour as a slave to pay off his debt. This was not chattel slavery as in North America though. This was so that he could pay back the debt he incurred directly to the one whom he had stolen from. It would only last as long as it took him to repay the debt. If he still had the animal he had stolen though, he was to repay less, because the animal was restored to its owner, but there is still a loss of productivity for the time it was stolen.

The rest of the chapter goes on to give other case examples. For example:

“If a man causes a field or vineyard to be grazed over, or lets his beast loose and it feeds in another man’s field, he shall make restitution from the best in his own field and in his own vineyard.

“If fire breaks out and catches in thorns so that the stacked grain or the standing grain or the field is consumed, he who started the fire shall make full restitution.”n(Exodus 22:5-6)

In these cases again, restitution was to be made directly to the person who was injured. The penalty fits the crime and is paid to the one who has incurred loss or been offended, not to the State or some other third party. This is very different from secular Social Justice’s concept of reparations. This is the type of justice that the Civil Government should uphold.

“for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.” (Rom. 13:4)

Fixation on Disparities

Another feature of woke ideologies is that it fixates on disparities between identity groups and assumes that there are only nefarious explanations for them. However, not all disparities are unjust. Some disparities just are, some are because of different choices that individuals make, and some are legitimately unjust. The details matter. Woke culture tends to only highlight the disparities that serve their goals.

Social Justice author and activist, Robin DiAngelo writes in her book, White Fragility,

“Racism is deeply embedded in the fabric of our society. It is not limited to a single act or person. Nor does it move back and forth, one day benefiting whites and another day (or even era) benefiting people of color. The direction of power between white people and people of color is historic, traditional, and normalized in ideology…. Whites hold the social and institutional positions in society to infuse their racial prejudice into the laws, policies, practices, and norms of society in a way that people of color do not.” (Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism, 22)

Note what DiAngelo is arguing – that white people are always guilty by the mere fact of the colour of their skin and the fact that, in her view, people of similar skin colour hold positions of power in society. Because of this, anyone who has white skin is complicit in this “system”. The mere fact that disparities exist and that you happen to share the same skin colour as people who are in privileged positions makes one guilty. That’s not only wrong, it’s actually racist.

Let’s look at some further examples. Take the fact that bank lenders across the US rejected twice as many blacks as whites for home loans, 44.6 percent compared with 22.3 percent. Taken alone, that fact seems damning. But the same US Commission on Civil Rights report found that white Americans are turned down nearly twice as often as Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians for those same mortgages (22.3 percent versus 12.4 percent). Does this prove systemic racial discrimination against whites? Of course not. How about the fact that black-owned banks turned down black applicants for home mortgages at a higher rate than did white-owned banks? Is that systemic racism? No. The median net worth of conservative Protestants came to $26,000 compared with a median net worth of $150,890 for proponents of Judaism. Are such inequalities evidence of systemic anti-conservative Protestantism?

There are, what professor Thaddeus J. Williams in his book Confronting Injustice Without Compromising Truth calls, “undamning explanations” for many disparities in life. He notes that,

“When we automatically assume damning explanations for unequal outcomes, we not only lock ourselves in a prison of never-ending rage but also dull our senses to the point that we will be useless for the sacred task of recognizing and resisting the real racism, real sexism, and other real vicious isms around us.” (Williams, Confronting Injustice, 84)

One major “undamning explanation” for some disparities is freedom. Because people are free to make different decisions, that necessitates different outcomes. The only way to eliminate that would be to eliminate freedom – which is what some woke ideologues would like to do and why some of these woke global elites move more and more towards totalitarian forms of government. Global elites who fancy themselves to be humanity’s saviours must step in with more laws, and more forced wealth redistribution to enforce “social justice” until this quest for equality turns our societies into Communist Russia, North Korea or Venezuela 2.0.

Reparations & Affirmative Action

Secular Social Justice is concerned instead with Reparations and the associated concept of Affirmative Action. The danger of these policies which come from Secular Social Justice ideology is that it cloaks itself in the language of compassion, but is fundamentally different to the Biblical conception of Restorative and Retributive justice.

  • Reparations are payments or fines exacted upon persons who are considered to be part of an “oppressor” or majority group to people of “oppressed” or minority groups.
  • Affirmative Action are policies which are enacted in order to favour and give a “leg up” to people who are considered members of a historically marginalized or oppressed group.

Both of these concepts deal with people primarily according to their identity groups and are therefore indirect and founded on showing partiality to the “oppressed” group. They do not correct actual wrongs done by individuals but rather try to correct perceived injustices towards identity groups. Thus, someone who happens to belong to an oppressor group (e.g. white, male, heterosexual, etc) would be disadvantaged or penalized by these policies and persons who happen to belong to an oppressed group (e.g. visible ethnic minorities, LBGTQ persons, etc) receive advantages and incentives regardless of their own performance, actions or merits. It is therefore inherently unfair since a person is judged or rewarded regardless of their individual responsibility for their own actions. It also goes contrary to the Bible’s commands not to show partiality to either the rich or poor or anyone according to their group identity.

Furthermore, peddling social justice reparations is big business for those who promote it. Robin DiAngelo charges fifteen thousand dollars per speaking event and has earned over two million dollars from her book White Fragility, even while castigating capitalism as a racist economic system. Ibram X. Kendi and Ta-Nehisi Coates have even higher price tags: Kendi’s speaking fee is twenty-five thousand dollars, while Coates’s fee is between thirty thousand and forty thousand dollars per event. There is a lot of personal greed behind the woke agenda.

Now, this is not to say that we should not try to help people who find themselves at a disadvantage because of life circumstances beyond their control, or even to help those who have reaped the consequences of sin (their own or others’ sins). However, Christian charity and compassion is very different from State-compelled discrimination and favouritism. It is unjust to “help” someone out by disadvantaging or taking from someone else, and politicians can tend to appear very generous with other people’s money. Scripture does not permit Robin Hood policies. Partiality is forbidden according to a person’s identity group – either for advantage or disadvantage.

5. Proportional

Biblical Justice is Proportional – its rewards and punishments are proportional to the act or crime committed. There are just weights in judgment – e.g. The Lex Talionis principle – “an eye for an eye”.

True justice requires that the punishment and rewards match the crime or good work. There are many Scriptures which illustrate this standard in justice. Its earliest expression was in Genesis:

“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” (Gen. 9:6)

Many theologians view this as the first foundation of the Biblical basis for civil government’s role of executing public justice. Because murder is the taking of life, the murderer forfeits his own as a just punishment. This principle of proportionality is called the Lex Talionis. The principle is so important that it comes up several times in the Law:

“But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” (Exo. 21:23-25; cf. Lev. 24:19-20; Deut. 19:21)

The rest of the Law affirms this principle of proportionality in judgment and punishments. It was even extended to livestock damage:

“Whoever takes an animal’s life shall make it good, life for life.” (Lev. 24:18)

This set Israel apart from other nations and pagan cycles of vengeance which would simply escalate as revenge feud continued. Someone stole your donkey, so you’d break their arm. They’d retaliate by killing you. Then your clan would retaliate by destroying their village, and the cycle of revenge keeps escalating disproportionately. This is why God tells us not to take revenge but to leave vengeance to the Lord (Rom. 12:19) and then gives us the mechanism He has instituted to carry out public justice according to His righteous standards.

In Romans 13, we are told that God has given the civil government the power of the sword to execute justice. The sword is an instrument of execution. Thus, the Bible’s standards uphold capital punishment for specific capital crimes as laid out in Scripture (premeditated murder and rape). For other serious crimes, “death was the maximum sentence when it was prescribed in the law, not necessarily the required one. Judges were to weigh the circumstances of each offence and consider the offender’s hard-heartedness before wisely applying the standards of the Mosaic law.” (Ligonier) We cannot say this is only for OT Israel because Paul affirms this in the New Testament in Acts 25:11,

If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.”

The principle of proportionality is also upheld in the Case Laws for restitution of damaged or stolen property. What was stolen or damaged had to be restored, plus the value of work or productivity that was lost as a result of its damage or theft. Note again that all of these judgments were directly against the person who committed the crime, not against “identity groups”. Also, note that it was calculable – you could actually figure out what was due to make restitution.

The Disproportionality of Social Justice

This Biblical standard is different from Secular Social Justice’s standards which are inherently disproportionate and impossible to calculate proportionality. How are we to calculate what is proportional for “crimes” against identity groups? Or crimes that were committed generations ago? How do we quantify just recompense for such damages? This is why advocates for reparations seldom have substantiated and justified limits on the sum of reparations due.

Proponents of reparations for slavery, Rashawn Ray and Andre M. Perry, argue that the government should “restore that deferred wealth through reparations to their descendants in the form of individual cash payments in the amount that will close the Black-white racial wealth divide.” They claim that equal opportunities are not enough, but we must actively use reparations to produce equal outcomes. These social justice proponents often point to select facts and group demographics to make their points. However, they do not consider the uniqueness of individual, cultural and historic factors.

Group statistics, while somewhat useful, cannot tell the specifics of people’s situations – such as, what was their work ethic? How long have they been in the country? What was the reason for their differing performance? How does their worldview impact the way they live their lives? And a host of other very important information to judging a situation rightly for a given individual. Furthermore, these statistics can sometimes neglect to track the progress of individuals. For example, a statistic saying that 40% of black men under 30 in 2004 made X amount of money compared to 30% of black men under 30 in 2018 who made Y, may not prove what it is sometimes cited as support. Within those 14 years, all of the men who were in the first set would have likely aged past their 30s and therefore no longer be a part of that demographic in the second statistic. So, we wouldn’t be tracking the progress of the same individuals but of a totally new set of individuals with their own unique factors. This sort of equivocation and selective data citing is common for social justice advocates.

Some advocates estimate that the bill for reparations in the US could be as high as $5 to 50 trillion USD today, with some estimates even higher. But in the end, they are just that – estimates and guesses which cannot ever be proven because of the complexity of factors. Aside from the question of where all of that money would come from in a just manner (since the government does not have money, it takes money via taxation and taxation of the entire population, including immigrants and people who had nothing to do with chattel slavery, would not be direct against those guilty of profiting from slavery) these policies have historically shown not to solve the problems faced by black and minority populations but actually to exasperate them and create a dependency class on the welfare state.

The truth is that it would be impossible to accurately measure the proportional damage and loss of wealth for victims of slavery this far removed by time. It’s a hypothetical that we could never hope to calculate and anyone who proposes to be able to do so is naive or misguided. The factors are simply too complex to know how any single person would have done had they not been enslaved, far less for their descendants or an entire group! Furthermore, most proponents of reparations for slavery are not concerned with vetting people to be actual descendants of slaves but rather want to apply reparations indiscriminately on all black people (as if black people were a monolithic group). Therefore, social justice’s reparations and solutions tend to be disproportionate and hence unjust.

6. Limited

Biblical Justice is Limited – reward and punishment do not continue on in perpetuity in this life (that is left up to God in eternity). Thus, there is a recognition that in this life there will not be perfect justice, as some people die before receiving their just reward or get away with things in this life, but it entrusts ultimate cosmic justice to God.

Biblical justice recognizes the impossibility of perfect justice in this life, and thus leaves that to God in eternity. We are to take comfort that even if we cannot achieve perfect justice in our lifetimes, no one escapes God’s final justice in the End. As Abraham said, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” (Gen. 18:25)

Paul reminds us that,

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Cor. 5:10)

No one escapes the judgment of God,

“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” (Heb. 9:27)

Jesus himself will execute perfect justice (John 5:22), and we know that his judgment will be correct as “God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” (cf. Romans 2:14-16) One of the reasons secular Social Justice goes astray is its quest for cosmic justice now. This is because at its heart, the ideology is built upon atheistic and naturalistic principles that have no hope of an afterlife. Thus, justice must be achieved now or never. But as Christians, we do not believe that. Revelation describes that coming Day,

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:11-15)

We should pursue justice as far as it is possible today. As God’s people, we are to seek to do justice and want to see true justice established in our societies. However, we are to only pursue justice as far as it is possible today and leave the rest up to the One who will judge all things justly in eternity. Secular social justice cannot do this because it is atheist at its core and has no hope of an afterlife. This is why its slogans are “justice now” and “no justice, no peace”.

Summary

In the end, today’s secular Social Justice gets these important factors about justice wrong. It is often based on falsehood or half-truths, subjective accusations, and flattening of the details or complexity of reality. It tends to be indirect – punishing those who weren’t directly involved in the injustice, it is redistributive instead of retributive – seeking to obtain equal outcomes by compelled redistribution of resources. Thus, its proposed remedies are disproportionate and unlimited – having no end point in sight, just continual repentance, grievances, penance through reparations and no hope of absolution. Finally, due to its root in naturalism and the quest for a man-made utopia, it seeks final justice now – even when impossible.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that this is fundamentally an inversion of the Biblical worldview. It answers the four worldview questions differently: Where do we come from? What went wrong? What can make us right? And what is our ultimate hope? Thus, we cannot mix Christianity with secular Social Justice, Critical Theory and these neo-Marxist ideologies.

The False Social Justice Cult

The root problem with the ideology is that it is not just some benign set of ideas, but actually part of a comprehensive and rival worldview/religion, complete with its own religious language. Ray and Perry claim that “the federal government atoned for the lost equity from anti-Black housing, transportation, and business policy.” Note the use of atonement language. “Guilt” needs to be atoned for – even secularists know this. However, their atonement can never suffice because there is only ONE once for all atonement (Hebrews 10:1-18). The solution is not to perpetuate resentment, grudge-holding and entitlement. The Biblical solution is forgiveness through Christ’s atonement that breaks down the dividing wall of hostility (Eph. 2).

There are many other ways that Social Justice ideology resembles a cult or religion which is unpacked in some of the Recommended Resources below.

Social Justice Terminology

Before we press on, there are a few terms which are important to understand Secular Social Justice ideology. We will provide some brief definitions here for clarity.

Intersectionality & Identity Groups

Intersectionality considers the multiple intersections of oppressed identities that a person may suffer under in order to figure out how to privilege them to compensate for their perceived disadvantages in life.

Thus, it tends to be radically cynical and suspicious – assuming that oppression is hidden in every system and institution and needs to be found, condemned, and dismantled. It also simplistically assumes that these “oppressed identity statuses” can account for all the disparities of life. Applied to modern Social Justice theory, it also seeks to elevate and advantage marginalized and oppressed classes over dominant classes. This is where the phrase “elevate _____ voices” and identity politics find their root. It is also essentially the sin of partiality (James 2).

Intersectionality divides society into privileged and oppressed classes according to group identities such as race, gender, sexuality, physical characteristics, immigration status, religion, etc.

The concept of intersectionality is simple. It does the same thing over and over: look for power imbalances, disparities, biases or bigotry that it assumes must be present and problematize them.

“It reduces everything to one single variable, one single topic of conversation, one single focus and interpretation: prejudice, as understood under the power dynamics asserted by Theory. Thus, for example, disparate outcomes can have one, and only one, explanation, and it is prejudicial bigotry. The question is just identifying how it manifests in the given situation. Thus, it always assumes that, in every situation, some form of Theoretical prejudice exists and we must find a way to show evidence of it. In that sense, it is a tool, a “practice” – designed to flatten all complexity and nuance so that it can promote identity politics, in accordance with its vision.” (Lindsey & Pluckrose, Cynical Theories, 128)

Critical Theory

Critical Theory is an analytical tool of Social Justice. Secular authors James Linsay and Helen Pluckrose, in their book, Cynical Theories define it this way:

“A critical theory is chiefly concerned with revealing hidden biases and underexamined assumptions, usually by pointing out what have been termed “problematics,” which are ways in which society and the systems that it operates upon are going wrong.” (Lindsay & Pluckrose, 14)

Critical Theory, as the name implies, is focused on criticizing all traditional structures in society. Its aim is primarily deconstructive – to dismantle the current systems and powerful “hegemonies” (majority power groups) and cause a ‘reset’ of the social order according to their utopian visions for a totally egalitarian society. Critical Theory becomes the tool which is used to reveal the hidden oppressive power structures that need to be overthrown. It can be applied to a wide array of disciplines – most popularly in Critical Race Theory, but also in queer & LBGTQ studies, disability and fat studies, Postcolonialism and other disciplines.

There are many books which get into more detail about Critical Theory and Intersectionality which will be listed in the Recommended Resources below.

Standpoint Epistemology

This is a concept that says that people of oppressed groups have access to knowledge that people in oppressor groups do not. Dr. Voddie Baucham has called this “ethnic gnosticism” – that people of visible minority groups have access to some “special knowledge” by mere virtue of their “lived experience” as a minority which people in the majority cannot have access to – and of course, you can’t argue with a person’s experience. This is where phrases like “elevate black voices” or “believe all women” in the #MeToo movement comes from.

Timone Cline notes in an article on Founders Ministries,

Because the knowledge of the oppressed is derived from their experience as the oppressed, to reject the knowledge is to reject the person. And because of modern, therapeutic conceptions of the self, to reject or devalue a person is to do violence to them. For example, as Douglas Murray has often noted, being gay is no longer something someone does, but rather something they are. To denounce homosexuality is to denounce them as a person (i.e. de-person them). Those who dare to question knowledge derived from the positionality of an oppressed person will likely endure a barrage of accusations of committing “epistemic violence,” and the like. This is why any detractor will be cordially invited to “shut up and listen!”

Standpoint Epistemology has also been used in Canada’s indigenous relations where some tribal members have claimed to have special knowledge through “alternative forms of knowing” such as witchcraft and animism or ancestral communications (a.k.a. necromancy). However, when dealing with issues of justice, real truth matters – especially when you’re potentially convicting someone of a serious crime! We don’t want someone sentenced guilty for murder based off subjective and made up special knowledge.

Systemic Oppression & Victimhood

Being a victim these days is “in”. It grants one uber-privileges in our woke culture. This is why we see people today claiming all sorts of victimhood. Robert Martin once wrote,

“The key to social and intellectual legitimacy is to be a victim, or, if one has little or no concrete personal experience of being a victim, to be a member of a recognised victim group.”

Being considered a part of a victimized class today is one way to get your voice heard by the woke crowd. This all comes from the root of much of these ideologies in classical Marxism. Karl Marx wrote,

“Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes.” Therefore, “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave…lord and serf, guild master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed.” (Marx, Communist Manifesto, 9)

Jeffrey Johnson, in his book What Every Christian Needs to Know About Social Justice writes that,

“Marx believed that the great moral problem of society could be reduced to the institutions of authority within society. He held that because authority by its very nature is oppressive, all authoritative structures and institutions must be destroyed. And when all decentralized divisions of authority have been dismantled, a globalized classless society must take its place in a new world order. In this new world order, people will no longer have to relate to each other as superiors and inferiors, rich and poor, leader and follower. Not until there are no class divisions, diversity, or hierarchical stature of authority will society be free of oppression. Only then will the world be rid of evil and experience utopia.” (Jeffrey Johnson, 28-29)

This is where the woke obsession over oppression and victimhood comes from. It assumes that oppression is everywhere. Oppression is the lens through which the woke view the world.

However, if merely holding a position of power makes one evil, then God must be the evilest and most oppressive entity in the universe – for He holds all power and authority. Power and authority are not inherently bad. In fact, we know from God’s Word that He has instituted various powers and authority structures such as parents and children, husband and wife, government and citizens, elders and churches. Just because there is an authority structure does not automatically mean there is oppression nor that the problem is “systemic”. This is far too simplistic of a view of complex realities.

In the end, secular Social Justice should be rejected as much as the ideology of Marxism that it stems from. It is just as destructive and evil and will lead to further injustice and devastation for our world. We should seek to root it out of our schools, churches, governments and workplaces. It has captured our culture, but we are not left without guidance and wisdom from God’s Word on what we should do. You cannot fight something with nothing. That’s why this episode has been focused on giving you a Biblical view of justice. This is what we must replace secular Social Justice with

It starts with each of us. We must first understand God’s principles of justice, love them, and then be unafraid to speak about them and implement them today. We must show our secular neighbours (and even our misguided Christian friends) how God’s way of justice is truly more just and beautiful and leads to actual flourishing.


Recommended Resources

Here are a few recommended resources you can check out for further study. Links will be in the description and the transcript of this episode.

You can also find a lot of helpful resources and book reviews on Neil Shenvi’s website.


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