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.”
- Read more: Love Needs No Justification, by Skye Jethani
- For more by John Stott see the classic Christian Mission in the Modern World, or start with his final book, The Radical Disciple.
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]