Sometimes the debates among followers of Yeshua on the political civil sphere produce a lot of smoke and little light. I often sense that people do not really engage with the other. Maybe social media is a terrible place for serious dialogue. I love such dialogue and have never feared to enter dialogue with people who are of strongly different opinions. As a professor, I note that this comes with the territory. I noted this with the pro-Trump and anti-Trump people. They often could not dialogue. With Joe Biden as President, I hope that people can engage in the issues and not be so much be focused on a man. However, if we do not agree on the foundations and goals, we cannot really move forward on the empirical questions of what does and what does not work. One of the issues with people who say they are progressive is that they do not clarify the goals towards which we are to progress. I sometimes think that the people are not yet clear on basic definitions and goals. I repeat the definition of justice from my book Social Justice. Justice or righteous order is an order of righteousness where every person can fulfill a good God intended destiny. Injustice is an order that prevents that destiny. The motivation for justice is love. Love is the passionate identification with other people that seeks their good guided by law. Biblical love always seeks real good that is in accord with the Law of God.
Having thus defined love and justice as I deduce it from the Bible, I would like to lay out some statements and see if we agree.
- A just society is one that is in conformity to the principles of Biblical Law. This is not possible unless there is a revived, growing and discipled Body of Believers within the society as a whole of sufficient numbers to form a consensus on justice.
- The quest for justice seeks to lift people to their highest potential. In this there is the desire that people have sufficient humane employment, adequate food, shelter, medical care and education as a basic minimum.
- The Gospel is the greatest instrument of social justice since it provides personal transformation and empowerment. With God, people are able to overcome supernaturally. If truly appropriated, Gospel power is the greatest lifter of people.
- The Bible requires that we treat all people as equally valued and created in the image of God. There is a biblical quality that no humanistic system can match. Indeed, the quest for equality in society is due to historic biblical influence, though today it is not recognized by secular humanists.
- The Bible has special reference to those who are poor from the black community due to the historic injustice of slavery and the inter-generational poverty that still affects many. The emphasis of the Church should be to come along side and help in those communities as a first priority with financial, business, educational and other help while recognizing that the Gospel is the first priority.
- The intact family is one of the greatest and proven keys to lifting the poor.
- While disparities of wealth can be part of a dynamic economy that lifts the whole society (Kennedy’s statement that a rising tide lifts all boats) the concentration of wealth in ways that are super disparate is not good. Indeed, that there are super rich people controlling tens of billions of dollars in personal wealth brings them super power. Such concentrations of wealth lead to the fulfillment of the saying, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Economies need to be organized so that the wealth is distributed more equally and that levels of the super wealth of a few are precluded. The political power of the super wealthy should be circumscribed. This is in keeping with the Jubilee principle of Levticus 25 where all are to be given a new opportunity every 50 years.
- A just society fosters stable families.
- A just society discourages abortion
- A just society does not have government policy that undercuts the faith and morals of Bible based people.
- A just society enables education according to the world view and moral convictions of world view people groups.
We can argue about how much government help should be given, how big corporations should be, how much socialism, the dangers of crony capitalism, the levels of taxation to produce the greatest lift to the most in society and much more. But these are empirical questions, not the foundational ones. Great justice is not possible without a revived, strong and sacrificial people of God.