A statement from evangelicals that challenges those who believe “social justice” is compatible with Christian teaching has been signed by over 4,500 evangelical Christians and organizations.
The statement’s introduction avers:
Specifically, we are deeply concerned that values borrowed from secular culture are currently undermining Scripture in the areas of race and ethnicity, manhood and womanhood, and human sexuality. The Bible’s teaching on each of these subjects is being challenged under the broad and somewhat nebulous rubric of concern for “social justice.” If the doctrines of God’s Word are not uncompromisingly reasserted and defended at these points, there is every reason to anticipate that these dangerous ideas and corrupted moral values will spread their influence into other realms of biblical doctrines and principles.
The statement references copious numbers of statements from Scripture as it takes on the inroads it feels secular culture has made into the evangelical church. It begins with the simple statement: “WE AFFIRM that the Bible is God’s Word, breathed out by him. It is inerrant, infallible, and the final authority for determining what is true (what we must believe) and what is right (how we must live). All truth claims and ethical standards must be tested by God’s final Word, which is Scripture alone.”
Then, a direct attack on the values promulgated by secular culture: “WE DENY that Christian belief, character, or conduct can be dictated by any other authority, and we deny that the postmodern ideologies derived from intersectionality, radical feminism, and critical race theory are consistent with biblical teaching. We further deny that competency to teach on any biblical issue comes from any qualification for spiritual people other than clear understanding and simple communication of what is revealed in Scripture.”
The statement affirms the value of each individual: “WE DENY that God-given roles, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religion, sex or physical condition or any other property of a person either negates or contributes to that individual’s worth as an image-bearer of God. WE AFFIRM that since he is holy, righteous, and just, God requires those who bear his image to live justly in the world. This includes showing appropriate respect to every person and giving to each one what he or she is due.”
The document tacitly argues against the leftist concept of “white guilt,” writing, “WE DENY that, other than the previously stated connection to Adam, any person is morally culpable for another person’s sin. Although families, groups, and nations can sin collectively, and cultures can be predisposed to particular sins, subsequent generations share the collective guilt of their ancestors only if they approve and embrace (or attempt to justify) those sins.”
The statement reaffirms a commitment to traditional marriage: “We further affirm that God’s design for marriage is that one woman and one man live in a one-flesh, covenantal, sexual relationship until separated by death. Those who lack the desire or opportunity for marriage are called to serve God in singleness and chastity. This is as noble a calling as marriage.”
The statement also challenges the idea that human sexuality “is a socially constructed concept,” adding, “We also deny that one’s sex can be fluid. We reject ‘gay Christian’ as a legitimate biblical category. We further deny that any kind of partnership or union can properly be called marriage other than one man and one woman in lifelong covenant together. We further deny that people should be identified as ‘sexual minorities’—which serves as a cultural classification rather than one that honors the image-bearing character of human sexuality as created by God.”
Ryan Burton King, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in the United Kingdom, attacked the statement in a blog post, writing, “Purporting to address an alleged shift in evangelical circles away from the biblical gospel towards a false social gospel, the new Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel is driven by people I would like to believe are well-meaning but frankly not at all ‘getting’ what those whom it primarily addresses are saying. That is at best. At worst, it represents a toxic agenda to discredit and undermine godly men and women crying out for biblical social justice, national and ecclesiastical repentance, and meaningful reconciliation.”
King’s statement ignores groups such as The Evangelical Network, founded in 1988, which has as part of its statement of faith, ”That all who seek to live faithfully regardless of ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, race or sexual orientation are full participants in the Body of Christ.”