The responses to my piece from Monday on social justification/social justice have started to heat up, and if you decide to wade through them I would like to ask everyone to keep their eye on the ball. What is actually going on?
Remember that social justice is a framework of social “sanctification” that must, of necessity, presuppose a framework of social justification. Social justice always rides on social justification. Without an assumed doctrine of justification, every scheme of social justice is nonsensical. If that framework of justification is alien to Scripture, it does not matter if a particular standard you apply happens to be a biblical standard also. If you are doing it from within a framework of biblical justification, your endeavors will not be recognized. And if your endeavors are recognized and applauded by them, it is because you are in the process of acquiescing to the authority of their system of social justification.
So in our current climate, you must understand that conservative white Christians are unjustified. This means that if our “god” should mark iniquities, who could stand? Whatever you did back in the day, it was by definition lame. In his first article, John MacArthur recounted how he was holding integrated services back then and got arrested for it—and I had the privilege this morning of seeing that get sneered at on Facebook. Like saying “some of your best friends are black.” Not enough, ye workers of iniquity! Whatever you conservative Christians did—we speak rapidly because the progressive train is about to depart for yet another utopia—it will have been too little, too late, too tall, too short, too hot, too cold, too too too.
But wait a minute. Why are believers from that era being condemned for doing precisely what they were told to do? “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you” (1 Thess. 4:11). Make a black friend. Give a cup of cold water. Be a little bit of yeast in a big lump of dough. Stop trying to fix the whole world. Love your neighbor. As it says in Leviticus, bloom where you’re planted.
Not enough, boyo.
“Then shall the ‘righteous’ answer him, saying, señor, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And el presidente shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, all your pitiful little gestures were in fact utterly inadequate. We are sorely displeased” (Matt. 25:37–40, modified).
Social problems like race relations in the fifties were really complicated. Because of all the ramifications of these complications, what people at our pay grade needed to do was simply honor God, believe the gospel, and obey His law. Be a Christian and live like one. Unequal weights and measures really are ungodly, and so this is why it is so important that we do more than simply adopt the narrative of that era supplied to us by the progressives.
And at this, someone will really sneer. “Narrative supplied by the progressives?” One of the things that Joel was writing about, among others, was the problem of the lynchings. What would it take to get Wilson to condemn that? Not exactly a subtle problem, right? Right. And anyone who has read this blog for more than a week running knows how much I hate the kind of trial that occurs after the sentence is carried out. You should know by this time how important I think real justice is. Every lynching that ever occurred in the American South was an affront to the holiness of God. So how was it complicated then? I have a question for you. During that “strange fruit” era, how many whites were lynched? The answer is lots. As in many. Did that culture have a problem with vendettas that targeted blacks only? Or did they have a more general and massive problem with the injustices of vigilantism? Either way it was wickedness—but it was not the peculiar form of wickedness that the left’s narrative loves to portray. Those interested in learning more should read Thomas Sowell’s Black Rednecks and White Liberals.
Joel’s problem is that he wants to insert the standards of biblical justice into the general narrative supplied to us by the social justice gang. The two do not go together. And this is why Joel concluded by saying that John MacArthur should not have been the kind of activist he was. Rather, he should have joined forces with Martin Luther King, and he should have done so before the murder. Better to have been complicit in adultery as God defines it, the thinking goes, than to have been complicit in racism the way the left currently defines it. This is what I mean by systems of social justification.
Some say that this is not what Joel meant. But it is what he said.
“John MacArthur visited the Lorraine Motel the day after King was assassinated. He saw the spilled blood of Martin Luther King, Jr. . . Question: where were the conservative church leaders the day before King got shot? Why did MacArthur get there a day late?”
Get where? To King’s hotel. To do what? To rebuke him for his ungodly behavior? Doubt it.