CHRISTIANS CARE. Spring 2016 - Page 4

Letter from the Editor

Christians Care

In light of the current emphasis on societal injustices , Cornerstone has come together as a staff to produce our first thematic issue , titled “ Christians Care .” Our faith compels us to address deep-seated injustices in society . But before you dive into the collection of literature in the pages to follow , allow me to present a somewhat radical view of the intersection between social justice and the Christian faith .
The Gospel provides us with the firmest of foundations for why we should have a desire to display God ’ s justice , love and mercy to disadvantaged and abused groups in our communities and around the world . We should care about suffering , and this is an essential part of our faith . But even more so , we should care about eternal suffering . This means that as Christians , we should harmonize our advocacy efforts with evangelism , because the former deals with what ultimately are temporary afflictions . Lastly , the Christian fighting for social justice should do so in tandem with personal holiness . God cares just as much about both justice in the world and our holiness , and so should we .
The Bible clearly calls us to care about people for whom questions about poverty and justice are more than ink on pieces of paper but concerns life and death . Many passages speak to this but I want to focus on one I feel is instructive - Amos 5 . Amos was a prophet from the southern kingdom of Judah . He was called by God to pronounce judgment on the prosperous northern kingdom of Israel . After declaring God ’ s punishment on various nearby nations , including Judah , Amos turns to judge Israel in Amos 2 : 6-8 and the rest of the book is a proclamation of God ’ s justice and His condemnation of oppression . In Amos 5 , God rebukes Israel for turning “ justice into wormwood ” ( v7 ), afflicting the poor for individual gain ( v11 ) and refusing to help the poor ( v12 ). Notably , however , insofar as God ’ s rebukes go , they are focused on the oppression that the Israelites conduct on the poor , rather than the fact that there is inequality at all .
Incidentally , the concluding exhortation of the chapter for justice to “ roll down like waters and righteousness like an everflowing stream ” ( v24 ) was made famous by Martin Luther King Jr in his speech “ I Have A Dream .” Five years later , just a day before his death , King delivered another speech where he said ,
Bull Connor next would say , “ Turn the fire hoses on .” And as I said to you the other night , Bull Connor didn ’ t know history . He knew a kind of physics that somehow didn ’ t relate to the transphysics that we knew about . And that was the fact that there was a certain kind of fire that no water could put out . And we went before the fire hoses ; we had known water . If we were Baptist or some other denominations , we had been immersed . If we were Methodist , and some others , we had been sprinkled , but we knew water . That couldn ’ t stop us .
King alluded to the Biblical sacrament of baptism as the point of resolve and unification for the Civil Rights Movement that could not be quenched by opposition . He did this because he knew that it was the firm foundation upon which he could rest his movement . King strongly believed in the words of Paul to the Colossian church that in Christ , there is no distinction between nationalities , ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses ; Christ is all , and in all . This should very much propel us to combat oppression in our various circles .
Why , however , does God not seem to explicitly rebuke the disparity between the rich and the poor , but only active abuse of the latter ? It is because ultimately , the disparity stems from a sinful heart that would justly result in eternal judgment while the abuse is a temporal affliction . This is not to say that God is not concerned about issues of poverty . He calls His followers to commit themselves to the betterment of society , but we should do so out of compassion , not necessarily an effort of undoing an injustice . More importantly and clearly put forth is the call to evangelism . As much as we are concerned about the issues of this world ( and rightfully so !), we should be all the more concerned about the pending eternal judgement that many would face in the age to come .
There is no distinction between nationalities , ethnicities , and socioeconomic statuses ; Christ is in all .
This is why when Jesus describes His mission quoting from Isaiah , He said ,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me , Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor . He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives , and recovery of sight to the blind , to set free those who are oppressed , to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord . ( Luke 4:18-19 , NIV )
Note the verbs used by Jesus : “ preach ,” “ proclaim ,” “ set free ,” and “ proclaim ” again . The third of these , “ set free ,” is directed at the oppressed which once again echoes God ’ s condemnation of oppression . The other three , however , are verbs of speech , and the focus here is clearly on the preaching of the Gospel . Christians should be as concerned about the eternal fate of the people in the world as they are about their present well-being . Our primary mission as disciples of Jesus should be to proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the world .
2 CORNERSTONE Magazine
Letter from the Editor Christians Care In light of the current emphasis on societal injustices, Cornerstone has come together as a staff to produce our first thematic issue, titled “Christians Care.” Our faith compels us to address deep-seated injustices in society. But before you dive into the collection of literature in the pages to follow, allow me to present a somewhat radical view of the intersection between social justice and the Christian faith. The Gospel provides us with the firmest of foundations for why we should have a desire to display God’s justice, love and mercy to disadvantaged and abused groups in our communities and around the world. We should care about suffering, and this is an essential part of our faith. But even more so, we should care about eternal suffering. This means that as Christians, we should harmonize our advocacy efforts with evangelism, because the former deals with what ultimately are temporary afflictions. Lastly, the Christian fighting for social justice should do so in tandem with personal holiness. God cares just as much about both justice in the world and our holiness, and so should we. The Bible clearly calls us to care about people for whom questions about poverty and justice are more than ink on pieces of paper but concerns life and death. Many passages speak to this but I want to focus on one I feel is instructive - Amos 5. Amos was a prophet from the southern kingdom of Judah. He was called by God to pronounce judgment on the prosperous northern kingdom of Israel. After declaring God’s punishment on various nearby nations, including Judah, Amos turns to judge Israel in Amos 2: 6-8 and the rest of the book is a proclamation of God’s justice and His condemnation of oppression. In Amos 5, God rebukes Israel for turning “justice into wormwood” (v7), afflicting the poor for individual gain (v11) and refusing to help the poor (v12). Notably, however, insofar as God’s rebukes go, they are focused on the oppression that the Israelites conduct on the poor, rather than the fact that there is inequality at all. Incidentally, the concluding exhortation of the chapter for justice to “roll down like waters and righteousness like an everflowing stream” (v24) was made famous by Martin Luther King Jr in his speech “I Have A Dream.” Five years later, just a day before his death, King delivered an ѡȁݡɔͅ) ձ ȁЁݽձͅ䰃qQɸѡɔ͕́t)$ͅѼԁѡѡȁа ձ ȁeЁ܁ѽ)!܁ͥ́ѡЁͽ܁eЁɕєѼѡ)Ʌͥ́ѡЁݔ܁иѡЁ݅́ѡЁѡ)ѡɔ݅́хɔѡЁ݅ѕȁձЁи)ݔݕЁɔѡɔ͕ݔݸ݅ѕȸ%)ݔݕɔ ѥЁȁͽѡȁѥ̰ݔ((() =I9IMQ=95饹()͕%ݔݕɔ5ѡаͽѡ̰ݔ)ɥЁݔ܁݅ѕȸQЁձeЁѽ̸)-ՑѼѡ ͅɅЁѥʹ́ѡ)ɕͽٔչѥȁѡ ٥Í5ٕЁѡ)ձЁՕ䁽ͥѥ!ѡ͔́)܁ѡЁЁ݅́ѡɴչѥݡձ)ɕЁٕ́и-ɽ䁉ٕѡݽɑ)AհѼѡ ͥɍѡЁ ɥаѡɔ́)ѥѥݕѥѥ̰ѡѥ́ͽ)х͕ ɥЁ́Q́͡ձٕ䁵Ս)ɽ́ѼЁɕͥȁمɥ́ɍ̸)]䰁ݕٕȰ́Ё͕Ѽѱɕխѡ)ɥ䁉ݕѡɥѡȰЁ䁅ѥٔ)͔ѡѕ%Ё͔́ձѥѕ䰁ѡɥ)ѕ́ɽͥհЁѡЁݽձѱɕձЁѕɹ)ՑЁݡѡ͔́ѕɅѥQ́́)ѼͅѡЁ́ЁɹЁՕٕ́丁!)́!́ݕ́ѼЁѡ͕ٕ́Ѽѡѕɵ)ͽ䰁Ёݔ͡ձͼЁͥ)ͅɥ䁅Ёչѥ5ɔхѱ)ɱЁѠ́ѡѼمʹ́Ս́ݔ)ɔɹЁѡՕ́ѡ́ݽɱɥљձ)ͼݔ͡ձѡɔɹЁѡ)ѕɹՑЁѡЁݽձѡѼ()Qɔ́ѥѥݕ)ѥѥ̰ѡѥ̰)ͽх͕ ɥЁ́)Q́́ݡݡ)͍́ɥ́!)ͥսѥɽ%ͅ!ͅ)QMɥЁѡ1ɐ́5 ͔!ѕ)5ѼɕѡѼѡȸ!͕́Ё5)Ѽɽɕ͔Ѽѡѥٕ̰ɕٕ䁽)ͥЁѼѡѼ͕Ёɕѡ͔ݡɔɕ͕)ѼɽѡٽɅ啅ȁѡ1ɐ(1խ䰁9%X)9єѡٕɉ͕́)胊qɕtqɽtq͕)ɕtqɽtQѡɐѡ͔q͕Ёɕt)ɕѕЁѡɕ͕ݡ́e)ѥɕͥQѡȁѡɕݕٕȰɔ)ٕɉ́ѡ́ɔ́ɱ䁽ѡɕ)ѡ ɥѥ́͡ձ́ɹЁѡ)ѕɹєѡѡݽɱ́ѡ䁅ɔЁѡ)ɕ͕Ёݕ=ȁɥ䁵͍ͥ́́))͡ձѼɽѡѼѡ́ѡݽɱ((0