In this final article of the series I want to address a question I brought up near the beginning: Why am I, a worship leader, so concerned about this issue?
If I’ve been right in my preceding arguments, the answer is clear. I care about my society. I care about the world I live in and the world I leave to my son. I work as a leader in a church because I want people to see God and his righteous ways. Sometimes that means taking an unpopular stand.
The momentum of our culture is toward statism and socialism.
It would be easy for a pastor to preach about “caring for our neighbors” and to throw in ambiguous references to “communitarian ideals” and “social justice.” But what happens to pastors who take a stand for the unique American value of individual rights? They are derided. People leave the church because he is “bringing his personal political views where they don’t belong.”
I wrote this series to say, in my capacity as a worship leader, that we should be talking about “social justice” in our churches. We should be denouncing it and telling people what God says about real justice.
Is justice not a proper subject for a sermon?
It’s right to “get political.” If people in your church are destroying our country by their wicked ideas, they should be told so. Pastors, choose to speak the truth now.
Is justice a “gospel issue”? Perhaps we should ask, “Is godliness a gospel issue? Does righteous judgment matter to me?” Rights matter because life matters. Remember the colonial American preachers who placed their very lives at risk to become the mouthpiece of the American Revolution. Look around you at what they made possible, and then look at yourself. Ask whether your reticence is simple fear.
If somebody does not take a stand for individual rights, there will come a time when no one can. You do not protect your platform by refusing to use it. All moral men must speak out. They must speak in the broadest realm possible to them. On the issue of individual rights, faithful Christians are in disarray. The one who speaks out with clarity and conviction will be heard.
What should you say?
Tell people about justice in Scripture. Justice is about keeping your property, not losing it. It is simply wrong to assume that the government’s place is to help people and to increase the general happiness by whatever means the rulers or the people see fit. Scripture places the state as the protector of individual liberty and property, not as a nursemaid (Ex 20:13-16, Matthew 17:24-27, Romans 13:1-7, and 1 Peter 2:13-16).
Man is not his brother’s keeper. The poor you will always have with you (Matthew 26:11). “Who is my neighbor?” Your own neighbor is your neighbor. We have no indication that God desires centralized social planning. We have every indication that God desires men to be left free from force.
There is a way to turn around our country and to challenge those who believe in state redistribution of wealth.
The solution is—us. The church. Christians have the moral high ground. If we contend for freedom and capitalism on the basis not only of economic arguments (which are overwhelming), but also on the basis of moral arguments (which are more important), we will overcome. We will convince the nation that a nanny-state is a moral obscenity.
What does the Bible say about the state? It should stop the wrong-doers. That’s all. The state is not a tool for shaping the world. That’s our job as individuals. When Christians understand this we will vastly reshape the course of our country.
Let these be the rallying points as we challenge generations of error:
1) The government should never tax some to meet the needs of others. There should be no public school, public healthcare, public food programs, public housing, etc. There should be no entitlements, no grants, no subsidies: no redistribution of wealth that has already been produced.
2) The government should not control the economy, even to try to benefit it. The government should not compel its citizens to do business with each other and it should not prevent its citizens from doing business with each other: no control over the production of wealth.
Just as Alexander sliced his Gordian Knot, so do rational men take an absolutist position on government force: “Not to be used except to stop force.” If you take this bold position you will stand out. Perhaps, like Alexander, you will change the world.
Bonus Appendix: 64 Passages on Social Justice
In this series: