Poverty

The Statement on Social Justice vs. the Poor?

Reposted from The Cripplegate.

A few months ago “The Statement on Social Justice” was released. Authored by a group of pastors (including John MacArthur, Voddie Baucham, and James White), the statement declares that the modern concepts of intersectionality, radical feminism, and critical race theory run contrary to the Bible’s depiction of justice. Moreover, it argues that the concept of corporate guilt is more at home in the Old Covenant than the new (an excellent post on that here), and that people only inherit guilt for sins they actually commit, not for sins that their ethnic ancestors committed. The main point of the declaration is that the concept of “social justice” is inherently an outcome oriented approach to justice, which is categorically different than the Bible’s concept of justice (which is process oriented).

What is outcome oriented justice? That is the concept that diverse sociological outcomes reflect an existent injustice. The most obvious examples are America’s disparity in education, incarceration rates, and income along racial lines; or South Africa’s disparity in farm ownership along racial lines. Those disparities are unequal outcomes, which reflect a social injustice.

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From the Archives – Materialism: It's Probably Not What You Think

Ask most people to describe materialism and you’ll hear references to big-screen TVs, computers, SUVs, spacious houses, and overpaid CEOs. A few might mention “consumerism” and “greed.” Most would agree with the idea that materialism has been a major obstacle to relieving world poverty. Some would say it’s the cause of that poverty.

Four myths of materialism

But what if materialism isn’t really what most people think? We could fall prey to materialism unawares or reject good ideas we have misidentified as materialism. In seeking to help the poor, we could waste our efforts opposing what really contributes little to the poverty problem.

So what is materialism? I’ll pursue a definition by countering four popular myths.

Myth 1: Material things are not important.

A widespread attitude, especially among Christians, is that materialism involves attaching value and importance to material things—and that these things are not truly important.

But wouldn’t that make God the first materialist?

Consider creation from a before-and-after perspective. Before Genesis 1:1, there was nothing—no material at all. Apparently, God considered this situation and decided that He wanted material to exist. He created matter, energy, time—an entire, mind-bogglingly huge universe of material. Before He created it, He invented it. After He created it, He repeatedly declared it to be “good” (Gen. 1:4, 1:10, 1:12, 1:18, etc.).

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"[T]here is not much discussion of the materialism of those who are poor"

"[T]here are many similarities between the materialism of 'the rich' versus 'the poor.' In both cases, their hearts are set on wealth. However, there is an important difference between the two: the rich have received their reward and their hope, whereas the poor have not."  Neither Poverty nor Riches

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