June 16, 2020

Christianity Today Pushes Social Justice, Not the Gospel

The magazine Billy Graham founded is now demanding reparations from churches.

Christianity Today has called for churches to make restitution for “America’s original sin” of slavery and racism by paying reparations to black Americans. “Repentance is not enough,” CT president and CEO Timothy Dalrymple argues. He appeals to the New Testament account of the tax collector Zacchaeus, who responded to Jesus’s visit by repenting and committing to give back any money with interest that he unjustly extracted from anyone.

The problem is that Dalrymple uses this model of genuine individual repentance and applies it to the American church at large, with no nuance or recognition of the fact that the vast majority of U.S. Christian churches are not based on race and do not espouse racist doctrine. It’s true that some churches have ugly pasts, but it was Christians both white and black who led the way in the abolitionist movement, as well as during the civil-rights era when they pushed for an end to segregation and racial discrimination.

Unfortunately, Dalrymple paints an overly simplistic and ahistorical account of America’s founding. He insinuates that it was uniquely birthed in racism, though his claim doesn’t stand up to the historical record. Furthermore, Dalrymple ironically engages in the very same racism he so roundly condemns when he promotes the fallacious “social justice” dogma of “white privilege,” a concept that is itself blatantly racist.

Scripture is clear when it speaks to justice, which comes with two distinct yet related pillars. The first and most significant is mankind’s standing before God. As sinners, people have done and continue to do inestimable injustice to God. The second is the consequence of the first — man’s injustice to his fellow man. A Christian seeking to be biblically consistent cannot ignore the first and greater problem and have any genuine hope of remedying the second, but that is precisely the error at the root of the “social justice” movement.

Playing to this error, Dalrymple charges fellow Christians with the sin of racism, solely on the basis of their skin color. He has done what Scripture says not to do — judge others based upon their outward appearance. Furthermore, Proverbs 17:15 warns, “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.” From this and other biblical texts is where much of our judicial system finds its foundation.

Therefore, how is it just to condemn people for the sins of others — sins that were committed before they even existed — and solely on the basis of their skin color? The obvious answer is that it isn’t just; in fact, it’s unjust.

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