Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Social Justice Christianity" and Crisis of My Faith

Tonight I saw Glenn Beck's TV special about the Social Justice and it's history which triggered some thoughts I wanted to share. By the way, I thought this TV special was excellent with some very helpful and accurate information about government and the church being allied for "social justice". I really liked Peter Lillback's (of Westminster Seminary) thoughts. It was assuring to my understanding even though I know Glenn Beck is a Mormon and his church has a different Gospel than mine. It addressed Salvation, is it individual or corporate and the understanding of the Gospel and Bible that seems to be almost always associated with politics and redistribution of wealth. I do not hold that the Bible or Gospel empowers the secular government to redistribute wealth through seizing it.

Last year I had a discussion with a friend of mine, rather a fellow I knew from the past that I have been friends with on Facebook. We were arguing (or correcting and rebuking one another) in regards to differences in politics and faith. It seemed he could have been open to discussion but turned out to be not so much. He was correcting and rebuking me based on his understanding of things. I was hoping to be of one mind with him in the faith in the lines of Bible verses I have in the bottom of this post but I'm not sure we were able to get there. We both claim to be Christians so we are called to have a common mind and be harmonious with one another but I believe in reasoning from the Biblical. Correction and admonition can be applied if needed and I was engaged in this at points during our discussion. In our discussion he was telling me that I had got my facts wrong and I was basically mislead by deceived and corrupt leaders (in the church, in politics, and the media). Even though he mischaracterized my beliefs, I focused on the most concerning thing to me, which was how he saw the Gospel.

Even though he claimed to be orthodox theologically as a Christian he told me that the Gospel is all about the Kingdom, doesn't require an understanding of sin as is traditionally understood, that God isn't interested in individual salvation, and that repentance isn't needed to be a believer but was a "down the road feature". This lead to me posted a blog post on the Gospel with my a Bible Study on the need for repentance in Salvation. He also said that a focus on ones eternal state is not Biblical. The facts, when focusing on correctly interpreted Scripture, I believe are clearly not on his side. I did considered his words, argued from the Bible with him while trying to find common ground. I even brought other mature Christians into the conversation and tried to see if we could have correction or some mediation but ultimately I wasn't seemingly able to get anywhere with him. He unilaterally put the discussion on hold claiming to be too busy.

This discussion, perhaps with another recent conflict, triggered a significant crisis of faith where I began to seriously doubt my own salvation. This has never happened to me since I knew was a saved Christian believer (in 1993). After all, I didn't understand how he and I could both be orthodox believers and both be saved if we have seemingly vastly different Gospels. It begged the questions, could one of us, think we are true believers but really aren't? If I just looked at my own self for my present evidence, or fruits, of salvation I found that I had very good reason to doubt my salvation. BTW: I don't believe one can loose their salvation but perhaps one may not be a true convert. Ultimately I have returned to my assurance of salvation. My Christian testimony and Christian story has helped me, and most importantly, I believe the Holy Spirit can and has assured me that I am indeed saved. As Paul wrote, “These Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16; cf. 1 John 5:5-7, 10).

Some of the issues still remain outstanding as I haven't been able to talk to my friend about these things and I think of my friend frequently when I hear teaching on the Kingdom, social justice, politics, and other related topics (as happened again tonight). Is my friend a "Social Justice" Christian or what? I don't know but I would invite prayers for him, as I will try to pray for him when I think of him, and continue to consider these topics when perhaps I talk to him or someone else in the "Social Justice Christianity" camp.

Verses on Christians living harmoniously and having a common mind with each other:
* Romans 12:16 - Live in harmony with each other. Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all!
* 1 Corinthians 1:10 - I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.
* 1 Peter 3:8 - Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.
* Acts 4:32a - All the believers were one in heart and mind.

Verse on examining yourself:
2 Corinthians 13:5 (New International Version) Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

For more on Politics and the Christian, or the State and the Church, see my blog post.

1 comment:

David said...

I updated the blog post after some consideration of what I previously posted.