Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Social Justice vs. Evangelism

Social Justice is a topic that as Christians don't like to get too involved? Is it true for you?
This article brings insight on what is on the table for debate. I think that we have to challenge ourselves as Christians to talk more about the topic and be informed. When I read the newspapers under religious headlines, I hardly find objective articles that speak about what the Gospel really is about. Christians are often mocked with really insignificant comments focused on the sexual or financial scandals. Is the Christian message misunderstood?

The Christian church is persecuted in the Middle East and other regions in Asia and Africa; even in South America the evangelical church is persecuted. But the truth is that as Christians we seek to love our neighbor, even those who persecute us. Why are Christian killed for trying to do good?
19Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
   if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Romans 12:19-20
I invite you to read this great article and to react and comment.

Social Justice vs. Evangelism by

Social justice is a complex subject for Christians. No one can disagree that Scripture commands to love the poor and oppressed, but what that looks like practically today is largely debated and at times ignored. As the world becomes increasingly more globalized and information more accessible, awareness along with responsibility has grown.
This responsibility comes multiple fold. Why, how and even if we combine social justice with evangelism is an ever-evolving discussion that must be considered from a local and global level. Both the individual and the church must play a role for the Body to have the impact Scripture intended—an impact we’re capable of but nowhere near.
The Two Sides of Holistic Ministry
Dr. Ron Sider, a professor of theology and author of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, doesn’t believe structural change is complete without sharing the Gospel. Referring to the active combination of word and deed as “holistic ministry,” Sider says that without social works, evangelism appears to be all talk. But without sharing the hope and good news of the Gospel, ministry lacks the Holy Spirit’s transformative power. Neither side of social justice ministry is complete without the other.

“People are both spiritual and material beings,” Sider says. “Addressing only half the problem only gives you half of the solution.”

This doesn’t mean the Gospel should be forced, Sider says. Offering to pray for those being ministered to or sharing evangelism through friendship can reveal Christ—without giving the impression that the material items given to them come from a place of self-righteousness or have strings attached.

“Each of us has contributed to the pain and suffering and decay in the world,” Sider writes in an essay on holistic ministry. “We thus serve with a posture of gratitude and humility, acknowledging our own brokenness before the cross. We recognize that ministering Christ’s wholeness to others is part of what makes us whole.” Read the rest of the story here

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