Yesterday we did a post on Glenn Beck’s call for Christians to flee churches that taught “social justice.” Scot McKnight at Jesus Creed has weighed in:
…I find these sorts of statements so far from an awareness of Jesus (not to mention John the Baptist), so I post here the first words of Jesus in public preaching. This passage can’t be read without thinking Jesus was here to bring justice. After the jump, I’ve got John’s words, which have to be seen as some form of voluntary economic sharing as a form of creating justice.
But instead of turning back kind for kind, we shall commit ourselves all the more to telling the truth of the gospel and urge churches to make sure, because of their commitment to following Jesus, their website does mention justice.
4:16 Now Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 4:17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and the regaining of sight to the blind,
to set free those who are oppressed,
4:19 to proclaim the year of the Lord‘s favor.”
4:20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. 4:21 Then he began to tell them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled even as you heard it being read.” 4:22 All were speaking well of him, and were amazed at the gracious words coming out of his mouth. They said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” 4:23 Jesus said to them, “No doubt you will quote to me the proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ and say, ‘What we have heard that you did in Capernaum, do here in your hometown too.'” 4:24 And he added, “I tell you the truth, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 4:25 But in truth I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s days, when the sky was shut up three and a half years, and there was a great famine over all the land.4:26 Yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to a woman who was a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 4:27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, yet none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” 4:28 When they heard this, all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage. 4:29 They got up, forced him out of the town, and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 4:30 But he passed through the crowd and went on his way.
John the Baptist:
3:10 So the crowds were asking him, “What then should we do?” 3:11 John answered them, “The person who has two tunics must share with the person who has none, and the person who has food must do likewise.” 3:12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 3:13 He told them, “Collect no more than you are required to.” 3:14 Then some soldiers also asked him, “And as for us – what should we do?” He told them, “Take money from no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your pay.”
I have my own beefs with the word “social” with justice, thinking it too often gets lumped with the US Constitution, but all justice will manifest itself in social and economic ways.