The Biblical Case Against Counter-Social Justice: YHWY’s Demand For Justice And Righteousness -- By: Steven W. Boyd
JMAT 24:2 (Fall 2020) p. 29
The Biblical Case Against Counter-Social Justice: YHWY’s Demand For Justice And Righteousness
Abstract: A question is being prominently raised today by evangelical Christians: “What responsibility does the local church have to the disadvantaged and oppressed?” The biblical evidence that YHWH demands justice and righteousness from his people is irrefragable. He metes swift, severe judgment to the nefarious recreants to his mandate. And that he holds even his choicest servants accountable to execute the same, strictly judging either directly or through circumstances any breech, is indisputable. And that he even included it as a perpetual expectation in the covenants, the unconditional Abrahamic covenant, the conditional Mosaic covenant, and the mixed Davidic covenant, is undeniable. We have our answer.
Key Words: Justice, Righteousness, Abrahamic Covenant, Mosaic Covenant, Davidic Covenant
There is a movement afoot that contends that Christians have no obligation with respect to social justice: our responsibility is only to promulgate the gospel and edify the saints. Let sinners feed other sinners and make amends for egregious wrongs committed in the past on certain people groups. But is this what the Bible teaches? The proponents of this position maintain that it is. I argue, however, that this is not only not what the Bible teaches but in fact is diametrically opposed to the character of God; his expectations for his people in the
JMAT 24:2 (Fall 2020) p. 30
Abrahamic, Mosaic, and Davidic covenants; and an explicitly stated goal of the Messianic mission.
The Argument—The Evidence
We need to start by defining our terms. “Justice” is only one of the ways that מִשְׁפָּט can be rendered. In law contexts it refers to casuistic law as opposed to the apodictic laws of the Decalogue. In fact, in Psalm 119 it is used over and over again as one of eight terms within the semantic field of the Word of God. Some others are תּוֹרָה, “instruction,” חֹק (from חקק, “engrave”), “statute,” and מִצְוָה, “commandment.”2 In addition, it refers to fair and honest adjudication in disputes. The usage in Genesis 40:12–13 is a bit different, the meaning of which we can determine ad sensum. Joseph told the chief of the cupbearers (lit...
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