We have been discussing justice over the last few weeks on this blog because after all if there is “no justice there is no peace” so it might be nice to get this right. Concepts of justice impinge on our mission and mercy work as well. Jesus made it plain that the things written in the Law and Prophets were about him and that the point of it all was that repentance and faith be preached to the whole world which is mission work. The concept of justice is all over the Old Testament and how God’s people should treat the orphan and the widow, the alien and the sojourner were to be pictures of God’s justice and mercy. We looked at several principles that seem to cover explanations of justice.
One last principle would be Distributive Justice which is basically taking from the rich and giving to the poor. This principle is popular because I am convinced that many of us have a definition of “Rich” as someone that makes a dollar more than I do. The problem with this principle is that it misses the Biblical injunction against stealing.
Christian Socialism and the modern welfare state as well as many of the political platforms being espoused today are based on distributive justice. The idea of taking things away from some and giving to others reaches extraordinarily stupid actions. Just now I heard a story of a school district that used taxpayer money to destroy a sports shed that was built by volunteers with donated money for both the boys and girls sports teams. The district used taxpayer money to destroy it because it was in their brains “unfair to the girls teams”.
A while back there was a paper written entitled “Justice and the Bible”. The author is Andrew Kulikovsky.
“Jesus told his disciples that the two greatest commandments were to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and to “love your neighbour as yourself” (Matt 22:37-40; Mark 12:30-31). These commandments are summaries of the Decalogue (ten commandments). The first four commandments relate to loving God whole-heartedly. The remaining six relate to loving our neighbour as ourselves. If we love our fellow humans we will honor our parents, we will not murder or commit adultery. We will not steal from our neighbor, or lie about them. We will not covet their property. Yet ‘Christian socialists’ advocate policies that bare false witness against their fellow humans by implying that their wealth is inherently unjust or was obtained unjustly. They never consider that a person may have obtained wealth through the application of their intelligence, innovation and hard work. They advocate policies that encourage covetessness of others’ property instead of encouraging people to obtain their own property. They advocate policies that effectively result in state sanctioned theft since such policies call for the involuntary transfer of property by force of law. Such policies are clearly in error and stand against the spirit of Scriptural teaching. Therefore, it is right to respond to Christian social justice advocates today, as Jesus once responded to the religious leaders of his day in another context: “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Matt 22:29).