Beware of Christians preaching “social justice,” says Fox News talk-show host Glenn Beck. But the stridently individualistic gospel that he’s touting hardly resembles anything found in Scripture.
I watched the Glenn Beck show on Fox News recently. His topic was how churches that are using the term “social justice” are misinterpreting Scripture in order to spread Marxism. Now I don’t want to suggest that this might not be true in some cases, but to offer a sweeping brush stroke that claims allto be Marxist and in no way biblical is a major blow to true evangelical theology.
One of the hallmarks of evangelical theology is the authority and centrality of Scripture. The Bible is full of Kingdom mandates from God that call for a justice that goes beyond individualism. For those that don’t believe this is the case, they have to wrestle with the Exodus story as well as the book of Esther and the words of Jesus in Matthew 25, beginning with verse 31. This mission of God in the world includes salvation, which is individualistic in nature, but also includes what the corporate church should do concerning the widow, the poor, the orphan, the stranger, and the sick in society. The society makes up the social structures. This isn’t a political ideology, nor Marxist philosophy, this is the Word of God.
Glenn Beck’s show onincluded guests from Liberty University and Westminster Theological Seminary who stated that the gospel is individualistic in nature. The guest from Liberty University even said that the parable of the talents (which just happens to come before a parable about feeding the hungry and visiting the sick and those in prison) is about free market enterprise. So the Gospel of Jesus Christ, according to the opinions of the guests, is rooted in individualism and capitalism. It is about a person, as an individual, accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and then investing their resources into the marketplace.
This is a very limited and unbiblical view of salvation. Salvation itself is communal because it includes the community of the Trinity and in many cases the community of the person that God used to bring the person to Christ. This is why the evangelical church has a strong history of global missions. If the gospel is rooted in individualism, we should shut down every department of world missions in every evangelical denomination.
Read the Old Testament and the Gospel letters and it won’t take you long to realize thatpresented as an act out of the overflow of an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ, as well as a significant part of the mission of the church. The church is called by God, through Scripture, to be about the whole mission of God, which includes evangelism, discipleship, mission, compassion, mercy, and justice. The church is called to make disciples and to do justice and love mercy.
Let the Word of God drive the evangelical church and its theology, not a political talk show host.