Toward an Adventist Theology of Social Justice


(JA ORourke) #23

Thank you for your response. I am glad we can agreee on that injustices of the world need addressing from a kingdom perspective. As to your question of the local issues here in holland, my church is engaged in our local context. And you are correct that the drug and prostitution problem is great here.
Having said that forgive me if i find that line of questioning slightly disingenuous. I have experienced it many times: the moment large scale issues of equality or equity are discussed, someone always seeks to dismiss or minimize the discussion by asking about the authors local context. I do not suggest that this is your intention, just conveying my experience to your question.
I agree with you about keeping Christ central. I am not believing that we are able to move on to other issues once we fix the core problem. That thought is dualistic to me. The outer issues affect the core issue and vice versa. Additionally, the church has done that type of preaching for years and yet still picks and chooses which societal issues are worthy of its advocacy (sabbath, drugs, sex slavery, etc.) while leaving others as if they must be allowed until Jesus comes (health care inequities, criminal justice inequities, etc.).
Finally i would like to point out that my article has people protesting from a heavenly orientation with and on the lamb. Thus it is the main thing, the lamb standing in protest, that gives imperative and impetus to their final life of protest on the form of the 3 angles messages. They protest as witnesses Christ’s grace andnbabylons falleness, and then protest sacrificially, aftetnthebexample of Jesus and his apostles. It is their protest activity, this civil disobedience to ungodly laws, that causes their persecution, be that law Sunday observance or any other antichrist injustice. Remember, sabbath observance is a protest at the end of time. It is social justice activity. It will get one called before king etc.
I appreciate the dialogue, the agreement and disagreement (without being disagreeable).
God bless


(JA ORourke) #24

Thank you for commenting


(William Noel) #25

That is because few moderns take the time to thoroughly study their Bible. That failure leaves them defenseless prey for the sophistries of Socialism.

The Socialist concept of equity is NOT treating others equally, it is dividing society into sub-groups, identifying some as victims of others and then penalizing supposedly offending groups so they are the ones paying for the wrongs of the past. This totally ignores the Golden Rule because penalties are imposed on entire groups or classes of people instead of on individuals because of their specific misbehavior and those privileges are denied to members of other classes or groups. That has justified and legalized discrimination enabling members of the victim group exercising power over others simply by making repeated claims of offense, often without evidence to support their claim and often in the face of refuting information. This tactic is designed to divide society and create support for the overthrow of law, which then allows the writing of new laws that create anarchy. Every nation that has followed the Socialist philosophy has degenerated into anarchy, mass suffering and national ruin. A past example of this is the former Soviet Union. Present examples of this include Cuba, Honduras, El Salvador and Venezuela. Socialism is the root cause of the economic decline and social disintegration taking place in Europe. Socialism in America has not created benefits but has multiplied problems and suffering. Much of the overwhelming and unmet need for Christians to minister God’s love in their communities has been created by the passing of laws designed to provide “equity” because they have not solved nothing. Instead, they have preserved problems, enlarged them and created new ones. For example, public welfare has directly driven the near destruction of the family in the African-American community and other social groups are following one generation behind on that same path.


(William Noel) #26

No. Because I’ve actually read the teachings of Socialist thought leaders. If Christians read those teachings they would be shocked by the clever sophistries being used to lure them away from the principles of God.


(William Noel) #27

Participation does not make something right or good. I think you and I will completely agree that we as Christians have a great opportunity to minister God’s great love by working to relieve the suffering of others. Doing that under the rubric of “social justice” leads the individual and groups to look to government as the empowering and guiding power for doing those works. In contrast, God blesses us when we obey Him and our desire to help others springs naturally from wanting to share that great love so others can be blessed. Socialism and “social justice” are popular because government has been allowed to take the place of God as the source of the means to do the good works Jesus commanded us to do. The system of charity God outlined for the Children of Israel was a one-to-one relationship between both the individual who was giving to others and God and between the giver and receiver. It was for the purpose of demonstrating God’s amazing love so people who were suffering would have their faith restored and those who did not know God would be drawn into loving Him. I have never seen or heard of a “social justice” cause that led people into a closer relationship with God. But I have long experience with ministering God’s love to others in the power of the Holy Spirit so I have seen weak faith strengthened, unbelievers become believers and hear people praising God because of our good works for them.

Doing things God’s way and according to His instructions is a certain path to us being changed by seeing the amazing power of God working through us as we touch others. In contrast, I have seen the faith of those who followed the pied piper of “social justice” end in ruin.


(JA ORourke) #29

Thank you for responding William,

it is possible that the principle of what i am discussing you have missed. It is also quite possible that i can continue to work to clarify my position.
I gave my defintionand therefore rubric of what i consider societal justice to be, purpose fo the prophetic response, the message of said response, the method of said response.
Your definition of what israel was doing and one are different. I say6 they were enacting societal justice. You call it charity. This is a significant departure for us. i have given reasons why i view it the way i do.
Finally, just because you have never heard of something does not intimate that the thing does not exist. The civil rights movement was a very spiritual movement, founded in the black Church and led by black preachers, joined by white preacher and jewish rabbis like Abraham Heschel. In the black church the movement was seen as a move of God in liberating His people. While not all were religious, and not all were brought to God, that the movement was highly spiritual and biblical is well documented.

God bless


(William Noel) #30

I understand very well what you wrote. I was illustrating the very significant need to draw a line of distinction between doing the good works Jesus told us to do and the popular concept of “social justice” that is built on the foundational concept of removing God from society. I believe that we who are attempting to minister God’s redeeming love must be distinctly different and separated from that concept so that people will see the differences and be drawn to God. I believe we cannot afford the slightest taint of association with what is against God so we dare not describe our work to uphold the principles of God in society as “social justice.” We’re supposed to be representing God, not what is working against Him.


(George Tichy) #31

I fiercely repudiate the Socialist theory associated with Communism. Before I was born, my parents fled from the already communist Czechoslovakia at some time around 1948. And what a story it is!

Like my three brothers, I also have been very well educated on the issues related to Communism. Freedom is a theme that is not for discussion in our family; it’s an untouchable matter with no room for any compromise. Freedom is a right, not a privilege.

Then I also learned about “vulture Capitalism.” Not just (regulated) Capitalism, but the “vulture” kind, the one that has basically no difference from Communism. A little privileged group that possess everything and exploits the working class as much as they can, and in which there is no middle class, just the “leaders of the nation” and “the (poor) laborers.” (Trump is taking America into this model).

And then we have the Scandinavian model, which is Democratic Socialism. The one in which people are very happy! If there is freedom, and people are happy, it must be good. It’s a political theory that positively supports social justice - something that neither Communism nor vulture Capitalism do.

I strongly believe that social justice is one of the pillars on which Christians must stand.


(William Noel) #32

Why did you pursue the topic from that direction? Why does it seem that theologians must detail a relationship of everything to prophecy? Is it not enough to do good works in society just because we love Jesus and He told us to do good work so that the Father would be glorified?


(George Tichy) #33

A little list identifying some of those works would be of great help.


(JA ORourke) #34

RThank you for your comment

Even if i left prophecy out, my point would still be that within a the drastic church state relationship, where the oppressive state is undergirded by the theology of a religion, it is a Christians duty to protest, to point out the glaring injustice.
Also, if you read my article, i am in complete support of good work/compassionate social responsibility/charity.


(JA ORourke) #35

Thank you for your comment:

Please don’t miss that i formulated my own definition of social justice which may or may not be in line with popular definitions. My definition is much more narrow than many others, sticking solely to policitcal and governmental activism against the politically legislated and police enforced injustice, in a nation where theology openly undergirds state oppression


(William Noel) #36

I think you would benefit from adding to your reading list some biographies of people like Stalin because of how many of them have documented how he was a student of the Socialist philosophers of Europe and how he and his successors were attempting to enforce those philosophies while enforcing them with the “iron fist” of communism. Stalin and his successors often quoted those Socialist philosophers in their speeches.

Have you looked at the countries of Scandinavia recently? They aren’t as happy as it appears you think. Traditional families have almost disappeared, governments are drowning in debt and the struggle to preserve their vaunted social welfare systems are drowning those nations in debt. The economies of those countries are on a long-term path of decline because of the rising tax burdens imposed on the wage-earning public to support those social programs.

By the way, venture capitalism has given you a long and growing list of benefits. For example, the vast majority of technology-based products that you use exist because venture capitalists invested in the businesses developing them and bringing them to market. The ability to profit from the fruits of one’s labors is what drives innovation and has made America the most prosperous nation on the planet. The irony in your remarks is that the powerful who are followers of Socialism are the very people who have structured society so they and their friends have enjoyed the greatest financial benefit from Capitalism.


(William Noel) #37

The best list I can point you to is found in Mark Levin’s book “Ameritopia.” He presents a careful analysis of Socialism, the hypocrisy on which it is based and it’s negative impacts wherever it is allowed to dominate.


(George Tichy) #38

I didn’t say anything about “venture capitalism.” I referred to “vulture capitalism.”


(George Tichy) #39

Why don’t you read carefully what I write? I was referring to some “good works” that Christians could be involved with in terms of helping people, society. And you come up with a book on Socialism?

By the way, don’t be so sure :roll_eyes: that only you are educated on this issue. To your surprise, there may be others around here who are well educated on it as well…


(Joselito Coo) #40

Why Adventist Theology? How about Adventist biology? Adventist philosophy?

My point is theology when it is done in isolation tends to become myopic and neglects the larger historical picture.

Not surprisingly the footnotes begin with, among others, [[i] Koranteng-Pipim, Samuel. *[Must We Be Silent: Issues Dividing Our Church]… Plantak, Zdravko. *[The Silent Church: Human Rights and Adventist Social Ethics]

Any reference, for instance, to Ernst Troeltsch (1865-1923) The Social Teaching of the Christian Churches (1912, English translation 1931)? H. Richard Niebuhr (September 3, 1894 – July 5, 1962) Christ and Culture?


(JA ORourke) #41

Thank you for your comment.

If you checked the Pipim reference, it was about a specific historic situation of social justice failure, not about the notion of a social justice theology.
Also, as in the title, this is toward a theology. Why? Because i do not claim to have all the answers. I am aiming toward, journeying toward a destination.
I cannot do It biologically, or philosophically, as i am a pastor and not a biologist :dna: or philosopher :thinking: :thought_balloon:. However as i am willing to continue developing your literature references are most welcome
God bless you


(Kim Green) #42

I think that it flies in the face of what most of us were taught…that the agenda/theology of the Adventist Church was to be considered foremost. If the hierarchy of the Church decides that this cause or that cause is important- then one may act upon it. We have heard this refrain among those who feel that the “cause” of Women’s Ordination is a “distraction” to the REAL work of the SDA church.


(Vinjar Fonnebo) #43

And when was the last time you visited Norway?