Are Christian Social Justice Campaigns Misguided?
Before I get into the meat of this post I’d like to make a disclaimer: I’m on board with the causes behind most of the social justice campaigns out there. This post in no way is a defense of some of the terrible things that social justice campaigns are combating. Rather, I simply want to draw your attention to a common trend in social justice campaigns that I find troubling. This troubling trend is the tendency of Christians to turn to the state to accomplish the goals of their social justice campaigns.
Over the past 100 years the secular state has been responsible for more atrocities and deaths than any of the evils that Christian social justice campaigns are combating. Again, I must reiterate, this does not mean I am for any of the evils social justice campaigns are battling. I’m against the perpetuation of another evil, the secular state.
Christians seem to believe that their social justice campaigns are only legitimized after the state gets involved. These campaigns petition and beg for the ear of congress while forgetting that they have the ear of the risen Christ each Sunday as they gather in worship.
All authority has been given to Christ upon His ascension. He is ruling history to bring about the reign of His kingdom that he inaugurated 2000 years ago. Wicked men and nations will rise up against Christ’s kingdom but are ultimately doomed. Social justice campaigns are concerned with ending the oppression of these wicked men but all too often looked to Godless nations to do their bidding. What they misunderstand is that the secular state, wholly set up against Christ, does not truly care about their cause. The modern secular state wants to be God; it wants to be sovereign.
The reason the state seems to be so concerned with so many social ills is because it wants the authority over those areas. Moreover, the secular state does not want to recognize God’s authority. In our holy ambition to bring about social justice in the world we must not be duped by the idea that the state will be our ally. Ultimately the state wants to “help” in these areas because the state wants to claim authority over these areas rather than recognizing Christ’s ultimate authority.
In our attempts to bring about social justice in the world we must look to the means that Christ has appointed in his sovereignty. This means that we can no longer capitulate to the current system while the church gives up its responsibilities to the state. Again, none of this is to deter our efforts towards social justice. James says that pure and undefiled religion is to serve the widow and the orphan. In many ways the modern church and our social justice campaigns have changed James’ words to say: “Pure and undefiled politics is this, to serve the widow and the orphan.” In so doing we’ve assuaged our guilt of not truly serving the widow and orphan because we live under a government that claims to do so.
Food for thought.