Worth ReadingDave Welch
JUST'ICE, n. [L. justitia, from justus, just.] "The virtue which consists in giving to every one what is his due; practical conformity to the laws and to principles of rectitude in the dealings of men with each other; honesty; integrity in commerce or mutual intercourse. Justice is distributive or commutative. Distributive justice belongs to magistrates or rulers, and consists in distributing to every man that right or equity which the laws and the principles of equity require. â€¦"
That definition from Webster's definitive 1828 dictionary is firmly grounded in the premise that justice is a byproduct of a righteous God, not the whim of man. As we have wandered further and further from the anchor of moral absolutes of the Judeo-Christian heritage that birthed this nation, so has the existence of justice.
One of the first declarations of what God requires of us in regards to civil justice is given in Deuteronomy 16:18-20:
You shall appoint for yourself judges and officers in all your towns which the LORD your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you.
One of the most visible abuses of this vital principle is the concept of "social justice" that is in purpose and practice nothing more than code for redistribution of wealth by government. It is theft, not justice.
It is not justice to take the lives of over a million unborn babies a year through abortion.
It is not justice to allow government to intrude into the church and silence it.
It is not justice to redefine marriage, family and sexual mores to snare vulnerable children into destructive lifestyles.
It is not justice to hand our children to government bureaucrats to educate into a godless worldview.
It is not justice to use the sword of government power to take from producers to give to non-producers.
It is not justice to leave our borders wide open, allowing drug cartels, terrorists and other predators to threaten our very existence.
It is not justice to allow immigration laws to be violated en masse and create a vulnerable subculture because they are valuable as cheap labor and easily manipulated through fear and deception as a tool of political agitation.
It is not justice to foster and feed dependence on government in minority communities that has destroyed the nuclear family and personal responsibility.
It is not justice to build "Taj Mahal" church buildings worth tens of millions of dollars in the suburbs while our inner-city churches are desperate for help and forced to turn to government.
It is not justice to spend multiplied millions of dollars on foreign mission trips and short-term projects while churches ignore the condition of the community surrounding their building.
I realize that I "went to meddling" in those last two, but it is reckoning time for the Christian church in America on several fronts. If we don't get back to the basics of redemptive Christianity that transformed lives, communities, cities, arts, sciences, education and government â€“ we should just padlock the buildings and write "God was here" over the doors.
A friend who is an active member of a well-known mega church said he is tired of empire building and what he calls "Christianity without consequence." We also need to be careful about "Conservatism without consequence."
The 2010 version of "Year of the Woman" may be nothing more than a more politically conservative version of 1992 â€“ the products of which (Murray, Mosely-Braun, Mikulski, Feinstein and Boxer), fortunately, are either gone or in danger.
I'll say it more specifically, that while movements like the tea party and other reform efforts are often short-term "course corrections," if the foundations are not repaired, the results will not last. More critical, if the strong, solid, unmovable foundations are replaced with weak, shifting sand, the structure will fall.
"Have it your way" may be great for hamburgers, but it is deadly for people and nations. Now, more than ever before, pastors must boldly speak, teach and lead those entrusted to their care by God to know, think, live and act on a firm, biblical worldview.
The failure to do so will not mean that God will allow the destruction of His people â€“ it just means that as Mordechai warned Esther if she chose not to speak out (just read the whole book of Esther and/or watch "One Night With The King" for the story), deliverance will come elsewhere, and those pastors will suffer great loss.
If we will cry out in repentance for our national injustices and turn to God, his promise of restoration and hope are still held out to us:
Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you." Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
â€“ Psalms 35:3-6
Dave Welch is the founder and executive director of the U.S. Pastor Council and Houston Area Pastor Council, interdenominational and interracial ministries of and for pastors based in Houston, Texas. Over the past 24 years, he has held numerous leadership positions including founding executive director of Christian Coalition of Washington, national field director of Christian Coalition and executive director of Vision America.