So, there is this thing called “the social gospel” that I don’t really know anything about. I know it sounds good to me, but I have not done any research into it to see why many view it negatively.
We live in a time where non-biblical words are being used to describe biblical schools of thought and/or opinions. It’s crazy to me that the words “conservative” and “liberal” have been hijacked and adopted into Christian nomenclature with the purposes to identify, demean, or uplift people and camps. I’m tired of hearing, “oh, social justice is all that Liberal theology where they threw out the cross and repentance to just focus on doing good deeds.” Is that really all it is composed of or does defining it that way make it easy to dismiss?
I really don’t care what the social gospel has been defined as because I am not here to talk about the social gospel. I am here to discuss social issues and the gospel. Not, social issues OR the gospel. In fact, I aim to show that any gospel that does not affect our society—our families, schools, neighborhoods, and cities—while also proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord, is no gospel at all.
The gospel, the good news, speaks to the fact that a holy, righteous, and perfect GOD has made a way for HIS creation, a crooked and sinful people, to be reconciled with HIM. That indeed is good news. However, the good news does not stop there because the same GOD has called for a reconciliation of people to each other. This same GOD has called many different people to be one people. There is indeed a major social aspect to the good news of JESUS. The reconciliation we preach is not just between man and God, but between man and his neighbor as well.
Many have failed to recognize that the role of the deacon in the church began from a social issue (Acts 6). The church was coming together in an amazing way. People were pooling their resources so that everyone’s needs were being taken care of. However, there was some discrimination taking place. The Greek-speaking Jewish widows were being neglected. They were being overlooked.
This was a legitimate concern to the apostles. It was so much of a concern that those chosen to serve tables needed to be “full of the Spirit.” The apostles did not view this is a light issue to just hand over to anyone. It was not right that these women were being discriminated against and they saw a moral obligation to take care of it. They preached the word and made sure the tables were served in a way that was pleasing to GOD—a non-discriminatory way.
So, you can promote or rail against the social gospel and whatever that has been defined to be. That’s not a debate I want to be in or a conversation that I want to have. Without a doubt, social issues and the gospel are intertwined, and it’s sad that many in the church seem to believe and live as if they are separate.
Grace and peace.15