Author Topic: Social Gospel  (Read 8478 times)

Michael Slusser

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2020, 11:58:02 AM »
"Social justice depends on treating people according to a group identity, which is inherently unjust."
"A friend of mine recently commented, wisely I think, that "social justice" is neither social nor just."
     Of course it is possible to define social justice (or anything else) in a way which automatically makes it abhorrent and incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That seems to me to be sophistry. I don't see why anybody does that.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
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John_Hannah

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2020, 11:58:33 AM »
John: Your argument above implies that social and economic conservatives are not interested in justice--some would consider that a slur

Not intended at all. Sorry that you inferred that.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Mike Gehlhausen

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2020, 12:04:54 PM »
Speaking of social Gospel, Pete Buttigieg has taken a faculty post at Notre Dame.

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/pete-buttigieg-takes-a-faculty-post-at-notre-dame/

John_Hannah

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2020, 12:05:31 PM »

Outside of caring for others though, I do have problems believing that an orthodox Christian is not required to be a right wing social conservative.  I agree that we are to comfort and care for those who have chosen abortion, but we do not need to become pro-choice to do so.  I agree that we are to act in love towards those in the LGBTQ+ community, but we do not need to affirm their lifestyles as God-pleasing to do so.

Perhaps you disagree with me on those positions and want to discuss that with me. Or perhaps you don't believe someone who holds these beliefs is necessarily a right wing social conservative.  My perspective is that society does believe that is right wing social conservatism.


I do not believe that abortion and same sex marriage is right. It is most unfortunate that some lump that together with better social justice.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

readselerttoo

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2020, 12:23:27 PM »
Social justice depends on treating people according to a group identity, which is inherently unjust. For example, people who attack police officers in retaliation for the Floyd killing are engaged, in their minds, in social justice-- they're not attacking an individual but a representative of an oppressive group. Which is injustice in every instance. Even in warfare, where the individual is often unavoidably treated according to membership in a group, it remains injustice and is in fact a war crime to treat non-combatants as combatants or to punish innocent individuals for the deeds of other people in their group.

 

 

Yes!  This!

Michael Slusser

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2020, 12:24:24 PM »
RC bishops have connected evangelization and social justice in various documents. From the USCCB website:
Quote
In Need of Evangelization: Civil and Political Life
"In this sector [civil and political life], the Gospel must be transmitted in the following endeavors: the duty to seek peace; the development and liberation of peoples; improvement in forms of world and national governments; the construction of possible forms of listening, living together, dialogue and collaboration by various cultures and religions; the safeguarding of the rights of persons, entire peoples and, above all, minorities; support for the most vulnerable in society; and the stewardship of creation and the commitment to the future of our planet."

- Synod of Bishops, "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith," no. 57

Likewise, the U.S. Catholic bishops identify particular areas in need of the hope of the Gospel, including current instances of war, injustice, the erosion of human rights, including religious freedom, disparity in economic development, and unequal distribution of goods. They note that "the new evangelization offers hope" in the face of these problems. We must be witnesses, the bishops say, to the "transformative power of the Gospel and the mission of the Church to sanctify society" (Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization).

But is that what is meant in this thread by "Social Gospel"?

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
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David Garner

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2020, 12:30:51 PM »
"Social justice depends on treating people according to a group identity, which is inherently unjust."
"A friend of mine recently commented, wisely I think, that "social justice" is neither social nor just."
     Of course it is possible to define social justice (or anything else) in a way which automatically makes it abhorrent and incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That seems to me to be sophistry. I don't see why anybody does that.

Peace,
Michael

I don't think it's semantics at all, much less sophistry.  I'm talking about "social gospel" and "social justice" in application.

What do "social justice" advocates do?
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

readselerttoo

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2020, 12:34:19 PM »
We say: "Actions speak louder than words."
Jesus said: "By their fruits you will know them."
James wrote: "Faith without works is dead."
Verna Dozier in The Dream of God, writes: “The important question to ask is not, ‘What do you believe?’ but ‘What difference does it make that you believe?’ Does the world come nearer to the dream of God because of what you believe?” (p. 105)


Walter Brueggemann said something like this in a lecture: "There's no such thing as works-righteousness when you're the covenant people. They are God's people because God said so. They strive to keep the 613 commands of the Torah to show the rest of the world that they are God's people."


How we act is the witness to what we believe.
How we act proclaims our faith louder than our words.
If our faith does not influence our actions, it's a dead faith.
The gospel without social gospel is like a barren fruit tree - it's good for nothing.


Trying to make a distinction between the gospel and "social gospel" is a false dichotomy. In Jesus' parable about the sheep and the goats, nothing is said about faith; only their actions towards "the least of these." In addition, the phrase in the parable: "all the nations" is always used in Matthew of  unbelievers. (It could be translated, "all the pagans."

The covenant people referenced above are the nation of Israel.  We are not that nation.  So there is a false attribution made by Brueggemann.  Secondly fruits happen when the tree is first made good.  Good trees bear good fruit.  So being and relationship are prior to actions.


Are we not the people of the new covenant? Thus we are now the covenant people.


Yes, being and relationship with Christ are prior to actions; but the actions witness to our being in relationship with Christ. Jesus tells us to let our lights shine (= do good works). How does the world know that we are "good trees"? By our fruits.

We Christians are people of the promise arising through Abram and his progeny.  We are not of “Moses” attributed to identity through circumcision, “blood” or race.  Those latter attributions may be included but do not define our inheritance.

Sure Epistle of James is in the canon but barely so, imo.  James elevates human agency at the expense of its grounding in Christ’s forgiveness of sins (so that good fruits might develop and be shared, ie. Do the good)



Mike Gehlhausen

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2020, 12:35:49 PM »
RC bishops have connected evangelization and social justice in various documents. From the USCCB website:
Quote
In Need of Evangelization: Civil and Political Life
"In this sector [civil and political life], the Gospel must be transmitted in the following endeavors: the duty to seek peace; the development and liberation of peoples; improvement in forms of world and national governments; the construction of possible forms of listening, living together, dialogue and collaboration by various cultures and religions; the safeguarding of the rights of persons, entire peoples and, above all, minorities; support for the most vulnerable in society; and the stewardship of creation and the commitment to the future of our planet."

- Synod of Bishops, "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith," no. 57

Likewise, the U.S. Catholic bishops identify particular areas in need of the hope of the Gospel, including current instances of war, injustice, the erosion of human rights, including religious freedom, disparity in economic development, and unequal distribution of goods. They note that "the new evangelization offers hope" in the face of these problems. We must be witnesses, the bishops say, to the "transformative power of the Gospel and the mission of the Church to sanctify society" (Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization).

But is that what is meant in this thread by "Social Gospel"?

Peace,
Michael

Father Slusser,

Since I started the thread, I believe it is fair for me to say that, yes, it is what is meant.

The Gospel indeed shows through in these actions.  The concern which I wanted to discuss in this thread is when these social actions overshadow the proclamation of Jesus Christ as our Savior and at times even lead us to the impulse to deny the proclamation of the true Gospel in order to make progress in these social goals.

David Garner

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2020, 12:39:27 PM »
For what it's worth, Father Michael, when I criticize "social justice" and the so-called "social gospel," I do not have the Catholics in mind.  I have said many, many times that I would love to see a sufficient re-alignment of the American political parties so at least one of them would embrace Catholic social policy, which is basically my own worldview, even though I am Orthodox.

I do, however, have in mind a lot of mainline liberal protestant churches and their attendant political activity.  I suppose we could locate their fellow-travelers in the Catholic Church (or in my own communion), but in the main, I think you all do this correctly.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

John_Hannah

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2020, 01:11:02 PM »
RC bishops have connected evangelization and social justice in various documents. From the USCCB website:
Quote
In Need of Evangelization: Civil and Political Life
"In this sector [civil and political life], the Gospel must be transmitted in the following endeavors: the duty to seek peace; the development and liberation of peoples; improvement in forms of world and national governments; the construction of possible forms of listening, living together, dialogue and collaboration by various cultures and religions; the safeguarding of the rights of persons, entire peoples and, above all, minorities; support for the most vulnerable in society; and the stewardship of creation and the commitment to the future of our planet."

- Synod of Bishops, "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith," no. 57

Likewise, the U.S. Catholic bishops identify particular areas in need of the hope of the Gospel, including current instances of war, injustice, the erosion of human rights, including religious freedom, disparity in economic development, and unequal distribution of goods. They note that "the new evangelization offers hope" in the face of these problems. We must be witnesses, the bishops say, to the "transformative power of the Gospel and the mission of the Church to sanctify society" (Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization).

Peace,
Michael

The U.S. Catholic bishops make an excellent example of what I stand for also.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

James J Eivan

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2020, 01:22:18 PM »

Outside of caring for others though, I do have problems believing that an orthodox Christian is not required to be a right wing social conservative.  I agree that we are to comfort and care for those who have chosen abortion, but we do not need to become pro-choice to do so.  I agree that we are to act in love towards those in the LGBTQ+ community, but we do not need to affirm their lifestyles as God-pleasing to do so.

Perhaps you disagree with me on those positions and want to discuss that with me. Or perhaps you don't believe someone who holds these beliefs is necessarily a right wing social conservative.  My perspective is that society does believe that is right wing social conservatism.


I do not believe that abortion and same sex marriage is right. It is most unfortunate that some lump that together with better social justice.

Peace, JOHN
”Some lump together “??

It would seem that pro abortion and pro gay ideologies and theologies are a major and required tenant of the social justice agenda.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2020, 01:31:25 PM »
In considering social justice and the social gospel, I think that we need to look to Jesus' example. He came to usher in the Kingdom of God, and the beginnings of that Kingdom could be seen in His work. His ultimate goal was to die and rise again for our salvation, but He spent several years preparing for and working towards that goal.


What did Jesus do in His ministry? He went about preaching and teaching about the Kingdom, healing the sick, casting out demons, healing the blind, deaf, lame, and mute, and on occasion feeding the hungry and raising the dead. Most specifically, look at the majority of His healings when the Gospels go into detail about what happened. Jesus does not fail to deal with the spiritual needs of the people. He pronounces forgiveness, He encourages faith, but He also actually deals with their spiritual needs. If nothing else, the setting right what was wrong about their situation was a sign that the Kingdom of God was at hand.


In our proclamation of the Gospel, we are proclaiming that the Kingdom of God is at hand. That Kingdom is seen most preeminently in the death and resurrection of Jesus and the calling of people to faith in Jesus. Our "doing" of the Gospel dare never neglect that. But as Jesus cared also about the physical wellbeing of the people with whom He interacted, so part of our "doing" of the Gospel needs to be care for the physical wellbeing of the people to whom we preach. That care should also be a sign of the Kingdom breaking into our world. To neglect caring also for the physical needs of people as well as their spiritual truncates the Gospel message.


I would note, however, that caring for the physical needs of people does not necessarily mean that we must do so according to the doctrine and teachings of Marx, Adam Smith, Democrats, or Republicans. Nor is it an adequate proclamation of the Gospel when human, temporal needs are met without also giving spiritual aid. Jesus did not say that simply giving a cup of cold water was praiseworthy and deserving of reward, but giving a cup of cold water in His name.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Michael Slusser

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #28 on: August 04, 2020, 01:43:43 PM »
RC bishops have connected evangelization and social justice in various documents. From the USCCB website:
Quote
In Need of Evangelization: Civil and Political Life
"In this sector [civil and political life], the Gospel must be transmitted in the following endeavors: the duty to seek peace; the development and liberation of peoples; improvement in forms of world and national governments; the construction of possible forms of listening, living together, dialogue and collaboration by various cultures and religions; the safeguarding of the rights of persons, entire peoples and, above all, minorities; support for the most vulnerable in society; and the stewardship of creation and the commitment to the future of our planet."

- Synod of Bishops, "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith," no. 57

Likewise, the U.S. Catholic bishops identify particular areas in need of the hope of the Gospel, including current instances of war, injustice, the erosion of human rights, including religious freedom, disparity in economic development, and unequal distribution of goods. They note that "the new evangelization offers hope" in the face of these problems. We must be witnesses, the bishops say, to the "transformative power of the Gospel and the mission of the Church to sanctify society" (Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization).

But is that what is meant in this thread by "Social Gospel"?

Peace,
Michael

Father Slusser,

Since I started the thread, I believe it is fair for me to say that, yes, it is what is meant.

The Gospel indeed shows through in these actions.  The concern which I wanted to discuss in this thread is when these social actions overshadow the proclamation of Jesus Christ as our Savior and at times even lead us to the impulse to deny the proclamation of the true Gospel in order to make progress in these social goals.
Thank you--I was hoping that you would be the one to confirm what is meant, and you are.

My concerns on this issue are more that (1) social injustice can contradict and undermine the proclamation of Jesus and (2) many people aren't primarily verbal, so verbal proclamation can be noisiness that does not impart conviction or recommend and elucidate the message.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

John_Hannah

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #29 on: August 04, 2020, 01:44:27 PM »

Outside of caring for others though, I do have problems believing that an orthodox Christian is not required to be a right wing social conservative.  I agree that we are to comfort and care for those who have chosen abortion, but we do not need to become pro-choice to do so.  I agree that we are to act in love towards those in the LGBTQ+ community, but we do not need to affirm their lifestyles as God-pleasing to do so.

Perhaps you disagree with me on those positions and want to discuss that with me. Or perhaps you don't believe someone who holds these beliefs is necessarily a right wing social conservative.  My perspective is that society does believe that is right wing social conservatism.


I do not believe that abortion and same sex marriage is right. It is most unfortunate that some lump that together with better social justice.

Peace, JOHN
”Some lump together “??

It would seem that pro abortion and pro gay ideologies and theologies are a major and required tenant of the social justice agenda.

Not required of me; nor the U.S. Catholic bishops; nor . . . .
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS