Author Topic: Social Gospel  (Read 7435 times)

readselerttoo

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #30 on: August 04, 2020, 02:26:10 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?

I think Mr. Garner nailed it here.  At least, that is, for me.  What do social workers and politicians do that is different from Christianity?  Or do Christians influence value within their secular vocation differently than say Jewish social workers, etc?

James J Eivan

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #31 on: August 04, 2020, 02:29:31 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
”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 . . . .
There was never any intent to imply or associate Rev Hannah or any organization with these ideologies/theologies.


At the same time, to deny that these anti scriptural theologies are major tenants of the social justice movement is to misrepresent the goals of the social justice movement.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #32 on: August 04, 2020, 02:30:26 PM »
There is a reason people insist on “social” justice as opposed to just justice. Every reason I have ever heard from people who prefer to include the descriptor “social” with justice has revolved around group identity as opposed to individuals. If I am mistaken about that, I would gladly listen to some one who rejects group indents politics explain why it is important to advocate for social justice as opposed to mere justice.


readselerttoo

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #33 on: August 04, 2020, 02:36:26 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.
Yes,  “...a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name” makes all the difference between secular humanistic values
of justice and goodness, and those of Christianity.   What is that difference?

Dan Fienen

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #34 on: August 04, 2020, 02:58:33 PM »
The water remains the same in either case, and each will quench physical thirst as well as the other. The difference is that giving that cold water in Jesus name, makes the person receiving the water more aware of other thirsts that need quenching, specifically spiritual thirst, and begins to point the person to where those thirsts also can be satisfied i.e. Jesus. It also indicates that the person giving the water is aware that his motivation is not only human kindness, social awareness, guilt, or any of the other human motivations, some good, some less so, that may motivate such a kind deed, but that he is giving the water as part of his vocation as a disciple of Jesus.


Reminds me of the old "give a man a fish" saying. Give a man a fish and you fed him for a meal, teach a man to fish and he'll be out of your hair for hours on end. More completely, compare to Jesus' conversation with the woman at the well. He asked for water to quench His thirst. When she wondered that He a Jew would ask her a Samaritan woman for water, He directed her to contemplate that He could give her living water (Himself) the would quench a thirst for eternity. By giving the water in Jesus name, we also offer living water.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2020, 03:02:54 PM by Dan Fienen »
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #35 on: August 04, 2020, 04:35:56 PM »
I recognize that the "social gospel" is NOT the Gospel of Jesus whose death and resurrection was for forgiveness, life, and salvation. I lament that some Christians have wrongly substituted one for the other.


So, being forgiven, receiving the abundant life and salvation from Jesus makes no difference in the way one treats other people? Shouldn't there be at least a different motivation in believers than non-believers for seeking to improve the plight of others?
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #36 on: August 04, 2020, 04:40:32 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.


"Treating other people according to a group identity" is precisely what the biblical world was about. Being born again meant having a new group identity. One was born into this new community. The old identifiers no longer mattered: male, female, slave, free, Jew, Gentile.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #37 on: August 04, 2020, 04:44:53 PM »
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)


The bareliness of James only came from Luther. For 1500 years there was no question about including it in the canon - moreso than Hebrews or Revelation.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dave Benke

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #38 on: August 04, 2020, 07:56:08 PM »
There is a reason people insist on “social” justice as opposed to just justice. Every reason I have ever heard from people who prefer to include the descriptor “social” with justice has revolved around group identity as opposed to individuals. If I am mistaken about that, I would gladly listen to some one who rejects group indents politics explain why it is important to advocate for social justice as opposed to mere justice.

When you say "mere justice" it's connected to "individual" justice.  And "social justice" is connected to "groups," more than individuals.

There are all kinds of instances when social justice or social change have to do with groups but not with what you call "group idents politics." 
Affordable housing
Public school education
Police policy
This could go on and on and on.  All of it would have to do with more than individual justice or change.  And none of it would per se be limited to let's say racial group A or B.

As an example, two teenagers were murdered a few blocks from our church last week.  Shots were fired at the prayer vigil, which pre-COVID, I would have been attending.  Our community organizing entity works specifically with NYPD to engage in strategies to keep our neighborhoods safe(r).  The strategy employed, which benefits a group of everyone in that neighborhood, was to put a mobile precinct outpost (a big trailer) on that corner and coalesce with neighborhood leaders.  That's the development of policing policy with and by people for social justice - the safety of the community - with everyone who lives there being included.

Affordable housing is something I know a little bit about, and it has always been a place where social justice includes all in need of affordable housing - a large large group - through the development of public policy that encourages developers and community organizations to bring housing into the affordable zone. 

"Groups" that include the residents of a community are going to be diverse.  In some locations due to long periods of discriminatory housing practice, for instance, the majority - even the overwhelming majority - of the people will be non-white.  But they won't only be black, or Latino.  The policy and the opportunity are inclusive, usually based on income.

Dave Benke


Terry W Culler

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #39 on: August 04, 2020, 07:58:39 PM »
I recognize that the "social gospel" is NOT the Gospel of Jesus whose death and resurrection was for forgiveness, life, and salvation. I lament that some Christians have wrongly substituted one for the other.


So, being forgiven, receiving the abundant life and salvation from Jesus makes no difference in the way one treats other people? Shouldn't there be at least a different motivation in believers than non-believers for seeking to improve the plight of others?


No one here has either stated or implied what you are accusing them of--and you well know it.  Your position seems to confound justification and sanctification dragging us back into the very place we left.
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readselerttoo

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #40 on: August 04, 2020, 08:40:21 PM »
I recognize that the "social gospel" is NOT the Gospel of Jesus whose death and resurrection was for forgiveness, life, and salvation. I lament that some Christians have wrongly substituted one for the other.


So, being forgiven, receiving the abundant life and salvation from Jesus makes no difference in the way one treats other people? Shouldn't there be at least a different motivation in believers than non-believers for seeking to improve the plight of others?

So what is that difference?  The cup of cold water can be given by a Christian and non-Christian with the same result:  someone who is thirsty and they are being given water to quench their thirst.  Either way the good work is being done: either by a believer or unbeliever.  I would say Jesus in these cases doesn't really make a difference to the thirsty person.  Either way the thirsty one is getting their thirst quenched.  Social justice is about needs being alleviated and injustices being righted by justice.  To me that is not the unique Christian Gospel of the New Testament.  Social needs can be alleviated by the empire sometimes better than the Church.  Judaism has their own social "gospel" I'm sure of it. 

No the Body of Christ means something different and the writing of James in the New Testament could be discarded without endangering the Gospel as kerygma.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2020, 08:42:39 PM by readselerttoo »

James J Eivan

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #41 on: August 04, 2020, 09:11:33 PM »
I was taught that a good work in the sight of God is primarily a work motivated by faith and trust in God.

The same action not motivated by faith and trust in God is simply an act of civic righteousness.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #42 on: August 04, 2020, 09:31:21 PM »
There is a reason people insist on “social” justice as opposed to just justice. Every reason I have ever heard from people who prefer to include the descriptor “social” with justice has revolved around group identity as opposed to individuals. If I am mistaken about that, I would gladly listen to some one who rejects group indents politics explain why it is important to advocate for social justice as opposed to mere justice.

When you say "mere justice" it's connected to "individual" justice.  And "social justice" is connected to "groups," more than individuals.

There are all kinds of instances when social justice or social change have to do with groups but not with what you call "group idents politics." 
Affordable housing
Public school education
Police policy
This could go on and on and on.  All of it would have to do with more than individual justice or change.  And none of it would per se be limited to let's say racial group A or B.

As an example, two teenagers were murdered a few blocks from our church last week.  Shots were fired at the prayer vigil, which pre-COVID, I would have been attending.  Our community organizing entity works specifically with NYPD to engage in strategies to keep our neighborhoods safe(r).  The strategy employed, which benefits a group of everyone in that neighborhood, was to put a mobile precinct outpost (a big trailer) on that corner and coalesce with neighborhood leaders.  That's the development of policing policy with and by people for social justice - the safety of the community - with everyone who lives there being included.

Affordable housing is something I know a little bit about, and it has always been a place where social justice includes all in need of affordable housing - a large large group - through the development of public policy that encourages developers and community organizations to bring housing into the affordable zone. 

"Groups" that include the residents of a community are going to be diverse.  In some locations due to long periods of discriminatory housing practice, for instance, the majority - even the overwhelming majority - of the people will be non-white.  But they won't only be black, or Latino.  The policy and the opportunity are inclusive, usually based on income.

Dave Benke
You seem to be applying the term "social justice" to just about anything that tries to help anyone. I bought a condo in order to provide housing for my children and niece who otherwise would not have been able to afford the rent on their own. Was I doing "social justice" by providing affordable housing to them? Are gated communities, designed to keep neighborhoods safe, examples of social justice? How do you decide whether something is an example of social justice? Is it always a government program? Is what is seeks to redress always an injustice? 

Dave Benke

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #43 on: August 04, 2020, 10:07:27 PM »
There is a reason people insist on “social” justice as opposed to just justice. Every reason I have ever heard from people who prefer to include the descriptor “social” with justice has revolved around group identity as opposed to individuals. If I am mistaken about that, I would gladly listen to some one who rejects group indents politics explain why it is important to advocate for social justice as opposed to mere justice.

When you say "mere justice" it's connected to "individual" justice.  And "social justice" is connected to "groups," more than individuals.

There are all kinds of instances when social justice or social change have to do with groups but not with what you call "group idents politics." 
Affordable housing
Public school education
Police policy
This could go on and on and on.  All of it would have to do with more than individual justice or change.  And none of it would per se be limited to let's say racial group A or B.

As an example, two teenagers were murdered a few blocks from our church last week.  Shots were fired at the prayer vigil, which pre-COVID, I would have been attending.  Our community organizing entity works specifically with NYPD to engage in strategies to keep our neighborhoods safe(r).  The strategy employed, which benefits a group of everyone in that neighborhood, was to put a mobile precinct outpost (a big trailer) on that corner and coalesce with neighborhood leaders.  That's the development of policing policy with and by people for social justice - the safety of the community - with everyone who lives there being included.

Affordable housing is something I know a little bit about, and it has always been a place where social justice includes all in need of affordable housing - a large large group - through the development of public policy that encourages developers and community organizations to bring housing into the affordable zone. 

"Groups" that include the residents of a community are going to be diverse.  In some locations due to long periods of discriminatory housing practice, for instance, the majority - even the overwhelming majority - of the people will be non-white.  But they won't only be black, or Latino.  The policy and the opportunity are inclusive, usually based on income.

Dave Benke
You seem to be applying the term "social justice" to just about anything that tries to help anyone. I bought a condo in order to provide housing for my children and niece who otherwise would not have been able to afford the rent on their own. Was I doing "social justice" by providing affordable housing to them? Are gated communities, designed to keep neighborhoods safe, examples of social justice? How do you decide whether something is an example of social justice? Is it always a government program? Is what is seeks to redress always an injustice?

So I and really tens of thousands of people around the country have been working in community organizations representing mostly houses of worship that cross all the various ecumenical and interfaith as well as racial lines for decades for the things I mentioned in my post as well as many others.  And the faith leaders across those lines have always said we were interested in social justice and social change across all those boundaries.  Because affordable housing on a large scale - say 10000 units, say a national housing act, is an example of social justice.  More opportunity for more people without access to decent and affordable housing to have that access.  It's worked, it's working now, it's demonstrable, it's quantifiable.  That's for one example. 

You asked if someone not committed to your description - identity politics - could point to social justice issues that affect more than individuals on a large group scale with policy implications that affect groups of people.   That's what I've done. 

Dave Benke

peter_speckhard

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Re: Social Gospel
« Reply #44 on: August 04, 2020, 10:41:13 PM »
There is a reason people insist on “social” justice as opposed to just justice. Every reason I have ever heard from people who prefer to include the descriptor “social” with justice has revolved around group identity as opposed to individuals. If I am mistaken about that, I would gladly listen to some one who rejects group indents politics explain why it is important to advocate for social justice as opposed to mere justice.

When you say "mere justice" it's connected to "individual" justice.  And "social justice" is connected to "groups," more than individuals.

There are all kinds of instances when social justice or social change have to do with groups but not with what you call "group idents politics." 
Affordable housing
Public school education
Police policy
This could go on and on and on.  All of it would have to do with more than individual justice or change.  And none of it would per se be limited to let's say racial group A or B.

As an example, two teenagers were murdered a few blocks from our church last week.  Shots were fired at the prayer vigil, which pre-COVID, I would have been attending.  Our community organizing entity works specifically with NYPD to engage in strategies to keep our neighborhoods safe(r).  The strategy employed, which benefits a group of everyone in that neighborhood, was to put a mobile precinct outpost (a big trailer) on that corner and coalesce with neighborhood leaders.  That's the development of policing policy with and by people for social justice - the safety of the community - with everyone who lives there being included.

Affordable housing is something I know a little bit about, and it has always been a place where social justice includes all in need of affordable housing - a large large group - through the development of public policy that encourages developers and community organizations to bring housing into the affordable zone. 

"Groups" that include the residents of a community are going to be diverse.  In some locations due to long periods of discriminatory housing practice, for instance, the majority - even the overwhelming majority - of the people will be non-white.  But they won't only be black, or Latino.  The policy and the opportunity are inclusive, usually based on income.

Dave Benke
You seem to be applying the term "social justice" to just about anything that tries to help anyone. I bought a condo in order to provide housing for my children and niece who otherwise would not have been able to afford the rent on their own. Was I doing "social justice" by providing affordable housing to them? Are gated communities, designed to keep neighborhoods safe, examples of social justice? How do you decide whether something is an example of social justice? Is it always a government program? Is what is seeks to redress always an injustice?

So I and really tens of thousands of people around the country have been working in community organizations representing mostly houses of worship that cross all the various ecumenical and interfaith as well as racial lines for decades for the things I mentioned in my post as well as many others.  And the faith leaders across those lines have always said we were interested in social justice and social change across all those boundaries.  Because affordable housing on a large scale - say 10000 units, say a national housing act, is an example of social justice.  More opportunity for more people without access to decent and affordable housing to have that access.  It's worked, it's working now, it's demonstrable, it's quantifiable.  That's for one example. 

You asked if someone not committed to your description - identity politics - could point to social justice issues that affect more than individuals on a large group scale with policy implications that affect groups of people.   That's what I've done. 

Dave Benke
I get that use a term—social justice— to refer to various programs that assist people. But not all things that help people. Walmart does more for poor people than either of us will ever do, but I never hear Walmart described as an agent of social justice. What makes you call some things social justice and not other things that help people? Where is the injustice? I have foster kids— am I doing social justice? Again, I get that Alinsky disciples and leftist churches use the term all the time. And I can sort of predict what they’ll use it on and what they won’t use it on. But why they call helping people in need a matter of social justice and not simple charity stems from a particular diagnosis of society that is purely political, power-obsessed, and false. 999 out of 1000 people who use the term social justice regularly also support group identity politics. I’m glad to know you are the exception who sees group identity politics as inherently unChristian and unjust.