What is the relationship between evangelism and social justice?
Should Christians talk more about the good works of Jesus, or demonstrate their own good works? I’m convinced it is BOTH/AND, not just either/or, for Jesus came proclaiming the Good News (Gospel) He embodied in His whole life (see Luke 4:14-21).
Skye Jethani (editor at Christianity Today and Leadership Journal) points us to John Stott to help us navigate the ongoing evangelism/social justice divide:
“Atonement-only advocates demand that advocates of social justice justify their efforts. And justice advocates demand atonement-only advocates justify their emphasis on gospel proclamation. But, using Stott’s logic, if evangelism or social activism is flowing from a heart of love and compassion, than neither must be justified. Love is its own justification. As you engage this issue in your own community, do not get snared by the false dichotomy that declares either evangelism or social justice must be superior. Instead, let’s affirm whatever work God has called us to, whether that be proclaiming reconciliation or demonstrating it, as long as his love is found to be fueling it.”
I will add that evangelism that cares only for the eternal safety of another’s soul but not for that person’s flourishing in this life is not truly motivated by the love of Jesus. Let’s talk and walk at the same time.
[HT: Tim Høiland]
In the Christian (reached) world there are 2,100 full-time Gospel workers for every one million people.
In the unreached world there are six foreign missionaries for every one million people.
This video from the Beautiful Feet Project:
Beautiful Feet Project from AsiaLink HistoryMaker on Vimeo.
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Everything changed when Jesus rose from the dead. He conquered sin, death and Satan. And then He told His followers:
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
He not only sent them out — go do this! — He was to go with them. How did the Father send the Son? He went with Him. How are we ‘sent’ by Jesus. With Him, in relationship with Him, to live His life, a resurrected life that will never end. He is with us. One could call this “withness.”
There’s a famous quote from William Carey, an ambitious believer who was a key shaper of the modern missions movement. In what came to be called the “Deathless sermon,” Carey said:
“Expect great things from God;
attempt great things for God!”
I think Carey would agree: we don’t do things ‘for’ God. In Christ we get to do things with Him. Withness.
Grateful for the reminder from Pastor Matt Kottman in his Easter 2011 sermon on John 20:19-23, “So I Send You.”
Because millions of kids go everyday without shoes, as I mentioned last week.
Why all the fuss? Who needs shoes?
TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie says that not having shoes puts kids at a heightened risk of injury, disease and infection. Among the soil-transmitted risks that most can’t afford to prevent and treat are:
- Hookworm: Causes anemia, stunted physical and mental development and, on occasion, congestive heart failure. Affects up to one-fifth of the world’s population.
- Podoconiosis or “mossy foot disease”: Causes swelling of the feet and legs due to prolonged exposure to certain types of irritant soil.
- Chiggers: Bites on the feet and ankles from these mites can cause severe itching and hives.
- Tetanus: Potentially fatal infectious disease caused by bacteria entering the body through cuts or other open wounds. Causes painful muscle spasms and locked jaw.
Want to give?
Our family supports the intentional Gospel-driven work of great organizations such as World Vision, Compassion, Africa New Life (Rwanda), and Open Arms (Kenya). We intentionally focus on the needs in Africa, but there are opportunities all over the globe for us to curb our consumerism and give joyfully to a cause greater than ourselves.
Maybe your Tuesday without shoes will go something like this: