Top Ten Quotes: Confronting Injustice Without Compromising Truth
The next time you’re at an evangelical dinner party, you can bring things to a standstill – I’m talkin’ record scratch on the Jars of Clay 1995 Flood LP – by just clearing your throat, clinking your spoon against your grape juice glass, and saying the following:
“So whadda you guys think about this social justice thing?”
If there’s one topic that Christians like to avoid and/or verbally punch each other over, it’s social justice. Because it’s such a wide topic with vastly different viewpoints, it’s often misinterpreted by people who are starting from two different definititions.
That’s why Thaddeus Williams’ Confronting Injustice Without Compromising Truth was such a helpful read. He puts those definitions in two camps, Social Justice A and Social Justice B:
[Social justice can describe] “…Christian efforts to abolish human trafficking, work with the inner-city poor, invest in microloans to help the destitute in the developing world, build hospitals and orphanages, upend racism, and protect the unborn. Let us call this broad swath of biblically compatible justice-seeking ‘Social Justice A.‘”
“Social justice is also the banner over movements with a stated mission to ‘disrupt the western-prescribed nuclear family structure,’ movements on college campuses that have resorted to violence to silence opposing voices, and movements that seek to shut down the Little Sisters of the Poor and Christian universities who will not bow to their orthodoxy…[l]et us call this second kind of justice-seeking ‘Social Justice B,’ the kind of social justice that…conflicts with a biblical view of reality.”
I snuck in two extra quotes because the book – like the topic – is thick and dense and rife with areas where it’s easy to get lost. But Williams deftly guides the reader between camps A and B. If you want to be equipped with some excellent conversational points for your next evangelical dinner party, I recommend you pick up Confronting Injustice Without Compromising Truth.
Here are my top ten favorite quotes:
- The first commandment, to have no gods before God, is where any authentically Christian vision of justice begins. Devalue the original by putting something else in his place and it’s easier to treat the images like garbage.
- By starting our exploration of justice with the question “What is due to God?” let me be clear: we are committing twenty-first-century heresy. We are starting from beyond the immanent frame. But any truly Christian approach to justice must be an outside-the-box perspective. We must be heretics in the culture’s eyes, willing to risk all kinds of unsavory labels, if we are to truly “execute justice” as Scripture commands.
- Caring about the oppressed is a good thing. It is a deeply biblical thing. But when we make that good thing an ultimate thing, it becomes a destructive idol.
- Any other claim to be “better than” is sheer self-deception. Any and all righteous status we have is solely in Jesus, not our color, not ethnicity, not gender, not the amount of oppression we or our ancestors have or haven’t experienced, not our good works, our ticking the right squares on the ballot, or our height on a hierarchy of privilege or pain; it is nothing but Jesus.
- Think of how easily our hearts harbor grudges and assume the worst of others to feel better about ourselves and our clans. That is what our hearts do in their fallen default mode.
- The point is not that there is no such thing as racism or sexism or other vicious isms wreaking havoc on earth…The point is that shouting “Systemic injustice!” at every unequal outcome is too easy.
- If we make social justice our first thing, we will lose not only the real first thing – the gospel – we will lose social justice too.
- Christians should be known less as culture warriors and more as Good Samaritans who stop for battered neighbors, whether they are black, white, brown, male, female, gay, straight, rich, poor, old, young, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, atheist, capitalist, socialist, Republican, Democrat, near, far, tall, short, or smaller than a peanut…Tribes thinking, for all its claims of inclusivity, is clear about who is not worth stopping for.
- [on seeing every opposing viewpoint as an oppressive attack] We must not teach any ideology – right or left – that pumps enough wattage into people’s uh-oh Centers to light up Times Square. That would be mean. That would not be loving our neighbors. That would be oppressive.
- …the more we start weighing ideas on the melanin of the idea-speaker rather than the merit of the idea itself, the more difficult it will become for us to love God with all our minds the way Scripture commands.
Disclaimer: FTC watchdogs will probably want you to know that the authors represented did not ask for this endorsement, nor did they provide me with free swag in order to do so (unless specifically mentioned otherwise). I’m just a really satisfied customer who wants to let you know where you can get some great products. So there. Further, if you order a resource from a link on any “Top Ten Quotes” page, I may receive a small affiliate commission from Amazon. If that bugs you, feel free to bypass my link and buy from a vendor of your choice. But still: buy it. I only promote books that have benefitted me and that I believe will benefit you.