I have been reading some new research from USA by Ed Stetzer about the increasing emphasis on social justice among protestant Christians. It is fascinating stuff and mirrors similar trends in the UK and, I think, around the world.
I was particularly struck by Stetzers’s concluding remarks.
Jesus defined his ministry as being focused on the poor, the captive, the blind, the oppressed (see Luke 4:18). So we join him on mission not only when we proclaim the gospel but also when we confront injustice, touch human need, and seek to bring about changes that make at least one part of the world more like God intends it to be.
Because Christ’s reign has already been inaugurated though not completed, the church has a meaningful role within the “already, but not yet” time we call the present. More than just “having a role,” we sense inside us a God-given desire to serve the hurting, to restore the broken, and to minister to the marginalized with the tools and opportunities God has placed at our disposal.
Christians have always believed that they can’t preach Jesus and not care about justice or, conversely, that they can’t have true justice without pointing people toward Jesus the Just. The numbers seem to show that more churches are catching that mission.