By Scott Buss
Should Christians promote “Social Justice”?
Should we become “Social Justice Warriors”?
Should we take up the “Social Justice” flag as a big red banner around which to rally? (And let’s face it: That particular banner is very red.)
Or are we better served (and better serving others) by standing clearly against the SJW vibe and in defense of biblical justice – also known from a Christian worldview perspective as “just plain justice“?
Are we perhaps better served and better serving those around us by proclaiming and pursuing the many clear and important distinctions between “just plain justice” and “Social Justice”?
Whatever our answers to these questions, it seems reasonable and even necessary to notice when pro-SJW terminology – terminology routinely employed by groups and individuals who actively and openly move to undermine the Church – seems to be increasingly embraced and employed by a once trusted organization which, in recent years, has become entangled with and supportive of movements that many (rightly or wrongly) perceive as actively, openly moving to undermine the God-ordained structure, authority, and discipline of the Church.
Wherever one stands on any of these particulars, these are not unreasonable connections to at least consider; they are not unreasonable dots to connect, or at least consider connecting.
Which leads us The American Vision, the increasingly SJW lingo-friendly organization in question.
Before digging into troubling aspects of AV’s trajectory in recent years, it’s important to note that even now, after what strikes many as a significant stretch of bad decisions, eroding credibility, and the predictably bad product that flows from such things, I’m still a fan of much of what AV does. Since not that long ago AV occupied a much more trusted, favorable position for me (and many others), the organization’s slide in recent years has been both concerning and saddening. Without dipping too deeply into my own version of what might be percieved as SJW-esque emoting or emotion-fueled virtue signaling, please understand that I’ve been greatly inspired and encouraged by AV in the past, and I still find some of its work to be very informative and useful.
That said, let’s get back to considering the questions at the top, beginning with an important foundational point on which AV and I seem to agree.
Should we as Christians aim to reclaim and restore every good thing in God’s creation, including language, in accordance with the Gospel-fueled Great Commission?
Every concept, system, realm, and area of life that’s been stained or even thoroughly corrupted by the touch of sin can and will, by God’s grace, be reclaimed, purged of its sin-inspired imperfections, and restored to a place of rightful, beautiful purpose and use in God’s creation. This is what God’s Spirit-filled people have been called and equipped to do right here and now in His creations of time and history. (See: Matthew 28:18-20 and Colossians 1:15-20.)
This general (and quite inspiring) principle of comprehensive restoration as the goal of God’s Gospel-fueled Great Commission is one thing (and a very beautiful thing at that). Picking up the “Social Justice” tag (and any associated banners/terms) right here and now in 2018 is another.
Especially when the one promoting the notion of picking up that banner appears to be enmeshed with and influenced by individuals and movements actively striving to undermine the God-ordained structure, authority, and discipline of the Church, which is the path that many perceive AV to have taken in recent years.
There are many reasons for these perceptions, and I hope to explore more of them in the near future. In the meantime, for those interested in knowing more about where I’m coming from regarding some “individuals and movements actively striving to undermine the God-ordained structure, authority, and discipline of the Church”, feel free to check out related past FBC posts, including:
Now back to the issue of SJW terminology and the Church-undermining attitude it often accompanies and promotes (whether it means to or not).
What is “Social Justice”?
That’s the good and important question asked and explored in a recent article posted by Dr. Joel McDurmon at the aforementioned AV.
As I’ve already touched on, there’s a whole lot that I agree with in the article where general principles of redemption – including the redemption of language and terminology – are concerned.
Today I’d like to focus on the AV article’s close, which reads as follows:
” . . . Granted, ‘social justice’ has historically been a leftist buzzword. I have written about this and taken a hard position against it in the past. But this is actually not the best approach. Part of dominion involves the reclamation of language and the social sphere to serve Christ. This means we must also redefine the true, biblical meaning of phrases like ‘justice’ and ‘social justice.’ This we must not be afraid to say it.
A big part of the reason ‘social justice’ has been a leftist catchphrase is that conservative, Bible-believing Christians long ago largely abandoned social justice altogether and let the left have it by default. We gave social justice to the left, then complained that ‘social justice’ is leftist. Shame on us. It is time to take it back. That means we need to get busy writing and applying social theory, social order, and indeed, social justice from the Bible. This means we need to start saying what social justice really is. This means we need to quit being afraid of saying, ‘social justice.’”
So it’s “time to take it back”, with the “it” in question being “social justice”, and (at least one of) the means by which we are to take it back is by actively using the term “social justice”?
Is this really The Time for us to use that term?
If so, then why not “Social Justice Warrior”, too?
I mean, if we’re gonna embrace this principle and apply it consistently, then why not just call ourselves Social Justice Warriors? Why not just literally grab and use the SJW tag outright?
If the fact that we can explain how a proper understanding of terms from a biblical perspective makes those terms acceptable for PR use is enough for us to grab and deploy “Social Justice” right now, then why not roll with “Social Justice Warrior”, since that tag can easily be justified using the same logic?
Well…for many of the same reasons that a happy Christian man shouldn’t jump at the opportunity to advertise himself as “a gay man” even though we all know that “gay” can, and once primarily did, mean “happy”.
So what’s really going on here?
Who’s AV trying to impress?
Why the SJW lingo friendliness right now?
Could this linguistic shift be related to other things?
Could the “Social Justice” vibe at AV be connected to other SJW-related themes and movements?
Could there be a broader context worth at least considering as many of us scratch our heads and wonder what in the wide world of sports is going on with The American Vision?
There could be.
As we all know (or should know), context is to language as location is to real estate. It’s a big deal. The same could be said for what appear to be many potentially relevant connections that seem worthy of at least considering where recent SJW-friendly shifts undertaken at The American Vision are concerned.
In contemplating potential AV/SJW connections, here are three points I’d encourage people to think about a bit as we work through The American Vision’s apparent ongoing softening towards Social Justice Warrior approaches to things like language:
1. SJW Hostility Towards Church Structure, Authority & Discipline
SJW’s tend to share hostility toward the God-ordained structure, authority, and discipline of the Church. The aforementioned links between AV and what I’ve described previously as The Lone Ranger Christianity movement and the Marinovian Industrial Complex seem quite relevant in that context. The relationship between AV and groups that are openly and actively moving to undermine the God-ordained structure, authority, and discipline of the Church is a disconcerting trend in and of itself. When paired with the increasingly SJW-friendly vibe that’s also been percolating at AV for a while now, that Red Flag gets bigger and more disturbing.
2. SJW/AV Inclination Toward Virtue Signaling
High octane virtue signaling sure seems to be all the rage these days at AV and with many of the aforementioned groups that it’s cozied up to. A hard core “If you aren’t with us, you’re against us…and you’re probably a racist, too!” approach seems to have taken root, even if the explicitly stated sentiment would be denied by some within the movement. This SJW M.O. has manifested itself in numerous disturbing and tangible manners, including…
3. SJW/AV Inclination Toward Emotion-Fueled Inquisition
A recent proclamation made by Dr. McDurmon with regard to how a particular issue (inter-“racial” marriage) must be viewed and addressed by all within range of his decree has given us a clear signal as to where SJW AV is heading.
The Inquisition is on.
And if you’re not down with that program, you are, of course, a racist. Or at the very least a supporter of racists, which is practically like being a racist anyway.
For the record, I have zero regard for (and actively strive to correct) any position that places one “racial” group over or against another in any way. I don’t even like the term “race” as it’s generally used because I believe that each and every human being is a part of the same human race (see: Genesis 1:26-27; Acts 17:26). Further, I have zero regard for (and actively strive to correct) any position that would impugn the beauty and legitimacy of what some describe as inter-“racial” marriage.
That said, the combination of playing the race card while drenching “arguments” with appeals to emotion designed to shame opponents into either recanting or, at the very least, shutting up, is vintage SJW in the worst sense.
The American Vision’s apparent dive into that vein of the SJW sewer has been acutely disgusting to me and many others.
Does shame have its place?
Absolutely. Shame is a vital concept to embrace and pursue in a proper biblical context.
Should some emotional appeals be taken seriously and can they add to an argument in a completely legitimate and valuable way?
And perhaps that is all that’s happening at AV.
Even so, when one considers all of the points mentioned here together rather than in isolation, the AV lurch toward SJW-ism begins to look and smell quite bad.
At least that’s how I see and smell it, for now anyway.
I hope to write much more on Item #3 (the AV/SJW Inquisition) in the near future, crazy schedule permitting. I look forward to sharing and learning more on this situation and its core subjects in the coming days, weeks, and months. I hope that we will all treat these things with the seriousness that they deserve.
One quick point of clarification: The seriousness referenced above is not to be confused with a specific approach or explicitly defined seriousness that is dictated by any of the SJW wannabe Popes running ’round with rhetorical torches looking for heretics to burn and/or banish.
The seriousness I’m trying to point toward isn’t the sort that takes kindly to SJW themes like virtue signaling, Inquisitions, and the emotion-laced shouting/pummeling of opposition into submission or silence.
At this point, the trajectory seems clear to many, myself included: SJW-ism is becoming more and more of a thing at AV. Maybe it’s a very small, teeny tiny little thing. Maybe it’s much bigger than that. Maybe it’s just a thing that I’m misunderstanding and shouldn’t be concerned about at all. Whatever the case may be and wherever The American Vision actually sits on the SJW spectrum at the moment, the reality of AV’s long-running slide in an SJW direction seems hard to altogether deny in a credible manner.
This should concern those of us who once held AV in high esteem and hope to do so again.
Noticing and contemplating multiple facets of AV’s present context as it nudges its readers toward more and more SJW-friendly approaches is a perfectly legitimate thing to do. It’s a reasonable and right thing to do. It’s a responsible thing to do.
American Vision has been a blessing. I hope that it will be so again and well into the future.
Republished with permission Fire Breathing Christian
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I’m a husband, father, speaker, author, blogger and member of Christ the King Church in Middle Tennessee. Through my writing here at Fire Breathing Christian, I hope to equip and encourage Christians to better understand, proclaim, and apply the lordship of Christ in every realm of His creation.