Do we really have to read the Bible to learn about justice?? The Bible is long and complicated. Why can't I just tell everyone in a few sentences what justice is and how everyone should do it? Well, here are a few reasons (and yes, I do firmly believe that we reading whole, wonderful, long book is needed to get the full message) :
Justice and righteousness a key, essential part of the Biblical story: Growing up in my church, there was a general sense that social justice folks had weaker-ish theology and cared less about the Bible. The irony is that there are over two thousand verses that talk about justice and poverty, while other things I was taught that all Christians had to have an opinion about, like the rapture or homosexuality, had less than 10. Justice and righteousness are an essential, key part of the Biblical story.
We need it. Not only are there multiple definitions of "social justice," even plain old "justice" had multiple definitions. And definitions alone can't give values and principles for how to do it, or give models. Thankfully, we Christians have a secret weapon for unity. The Bible can give us the definitions, values, principles, and models that are lacking. No matter how we personally define justice and social justice, we can all look to the Bible to ground us in God's truth.
Stop being a reaction to a reaction to a reaction of a bad movement. So much has been done in reaction- in reaction to the Social Gospel movement, in reaction to problems in Capitalism, in reaction to feminism, in reaction to the reaction of the reaction of the reaction to social justice. To get out of a reactionary cycle, which means that everything gets defined in relationship to something that is wrong, we are going to focus on Scripture. No matter where you currently are in your beliefs about social justice or where you land on the political spectrum, we can all move toward something: the justice and righteousness that God loves and Jesus lives out as expressed in Scripture.
You want the most impactful, unifying message about justice? Here it is. And when you line up to the Bible, you get lined up to truth and the effect of planting God’s word will always bear fruit. In Isaiah, God says that like the rain doesn’t head back to heaven after it goes to earth, but it is fruitful- producing seed and food. And like the rain:
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11, ESV)
This means that if we want fruit from receiving a message about justice, the best place we can get that message is from Scripture- because it will accomplish everything God intended for us to get with a justice message.
Old and young can link up. So many genuine, sold-out Christians that were taught by their spiritual and church leaders that social justice was a terrible, scary thing. They saw other social movements manipulate the Bible or use weak theology to justify their political ambitions. Out of a heart for truth and the pure gospel, many older generation Christians (and some current) have rejected social justice out of good motives. For this reason, if we want a unified movement that joins the power in every generation, we need to find a place for all of us to meet.