Toward an Adventist Theology of Social Justice

(Patrick Travis) #104

There were festival tithes of about 3%. Families helped their own and then as with Naomi the kinsman redeemer. Of course one is free to give as much as they want but the wise man said giving to much was vanity also.

(Kim Green) #105

"So I wish more Adventist would get their heads out of the prophetic clouds and come back down to earth where our faith is supposed to be meeting the road and making a difference in our world."

I can basically agree with this, however, in theory, it will never happen due to a lack of a “philosophical” theology of social justice as its basis for starters. The church does need one for many reasons.

If you have ever tried to work with the church on a project- you will encounter the endless committees and competing interests even before you get started. What you propose is not a “solution” for the church…it does not operate in this fashion. It is a different kind of business…a non-profit one.

(Steve Mga) #106

I keep reading here-- THE CHURCH [which I assume means only the small SDA church in
the LARGE community] should be “Doing Something”.

Perhaps we need to define “Church”. Do we mean ONLY the SDA church, or the WHOLE
BODY of Believers in the Community which would include Sunday keeping Christians and
Sabbath Keeping Jews?
Perhaps it is time for SDA church to open its mind and to fellowship with OTHER God
Worshipers and Join in a Broad Plan of Doing Good Works with the WHOLE body of
believers in the Community.
Instead of attempting to DUPLICATE what they are doing? Then everyone can Give
God The Glory.
HOW can “Your Friends the Adventists” [remember THIS slogan?] become friends if
SDA members do NOT go out and join in activities where they can MAKE friends???

(William Noel) #107

I’m sorry you think that way. Not very many theologians understand the simplicity of Jesus’ instructions about doing good works. There is nothing complicated or about prophecy in that command.

(William Noel) #108

They describe different points of view about the same thing. “Venture Capital” is the legal term and “vulture capital” is the euphemistic description. Both terms have been used in business journals and taught in business schools for more than 30 years that I am aware of. I’m not surprised some other concepts are being used but they are not the textbook definitions.

(Kim Green) #109

Thank-you for your knowledge about this topic…however, my husband who has worked in business for 30 years doesn’t agree.

(Frankmer7) #110

Yes, William…the church’s primary work is to do the works of Jesus. Works of love, compassion, and generosity.

But, the church must also use its voice to speak to power. This is what the prophetic voice is and was in the scriptures. It is what Jesus did in his time. His cleansing of the temple was not simply a blow aimed at corrupt religion. It was aimed at corrupt religion that was colluding with Roman power, the very coalition that crucified Jesus.

This speaking to power was also embedded in the gospel announcement that Jesus was Lord/Kurios. To proclaim Jesus as Lord was announcing to Caesar that his claims to ultimate kingship, and the values of his kingdom, were false. IOW, the gospel was not simply an otherworldly, spiritual proclamation about saving people for heaven. It carried real world, even political implications. If Jesus was Lord, then Caesar wasn’t. It was a dangerous message to preach.

The 19thc. abolitionist movement, that was led by many Christians, challenged the powers of its day. The American civil rights movement of he 1950’s and 60’s spoke to power and was active in the same way. They challenged the evils of society, and of systemic injustice through organized, peaceful protest, and through the power of the liberating gospel of equality and justice from the pulpit.

To simply tout the economic benefits of America capitalism without qualification, and to say that the solution is just the private actions of Christians with conscience is not a full answer. The church is called to also speak against the injustices, inequities, abuses, and exploitation created by that system, especially as it pertains to the poor, the alien, and the powerless, and to speak out for justice and equitable treatment for them.

Following your line of thought, the Christian abolitionists and civil rights leaders should never have said a word, and the church should never have taken any public stand on these issues, either.



(William Noel) #111

You’re getting your terms confused. The popular description of the “1%” is “crony capitalism.” By the way, you’re wrong about vultures because they do not kill other creatures, they eat those that have already died. The complaint about “vulture capitalists” originated with one of the founders of a Silicon Valley startup that was funded by the venture capital firm Kleiner-Perkins when he complained that their share of company equity was making him feel like they were eating-out his insides just like a vulture does.

(George Tichy) #112

Vulture vs. Venture

Maybe he is having difficulty understanding that there is a difference between “vulture capital” and “vulture Capitalism.” He may have heard of v. capital, but never heard about v. Capitalism. But, hey, he has a MBA… :roll_eyes:

And I have a ____ (not even important to mention it since I am not trying to impress anybody… :wink: ), that with years of experience, allows me to understand certain human behaviors and talks that are at times quite &#%$^$&… :wink:

(Kim Green) #113

He is accusing the author of the article of having a “Pie in the Sky” attitude and cannot see how his own “philosophy” is more than a little perfectionistic and unattainable in a business organization. Both are “philosophical” as we both are well aware of.

(William Noel) #114

I get the feeling that you and I could each share a good number of painful stories about how church committees have prevented new ministries and hobbled or even killed good ones. I got so frustrated by it that I stopped asking for permission and just started doing what God wanted me to do. You know what happened? At first they sniped at me and criticized. Then they saw the results and discovered God really was blessing so they couldn’t keep saying those things without looking stupid. Now the committees at both my local church and Conference ask questions to learn how they can support what I’m proposing to do.

(Kim Green) #115

Glad it worked for you. Maybe you can write a book and/or do seminars for churches. Adventists do love their meetings and programs. :wink:

(Kim Green) #116

Thanks for the link…but I think that I want you to conceptualize it in a few sentences or a short paragraph.

(William Noel) #117

Thank you for making that affirmation. Actually, I’m working on a book because a dozen years of Angel Team projects has given me a lot of stories that illustrate how God has worked in me and through me and others. It has been an absolutely wonderful path filled with amazing blessings. My previous books each took a year or longer to write so I am not making any predictions about when it will be finished. Actually, I have an invitation right now to present a weekend seminar about gift-based ministry. I feel like that’s something I need to be doing but I’m not ready to do it yet.


From earlier:
"But really justice is not what this is about."

What do you believe it is about?




As i said, we disagree. You ascribe the language to a political party only. I do not.

It is very much about the political aspects. If one uses the language of the political party then you can be pretty sure that they are in agreement with the way the political party uses that language. The articleI linked to traces the creation of the term social justice in modern times. If it was simply about justice there would be no need for the modifier of social or economic or environmental or healthcare to the term justice. The purpose of those is to connect those things to the views of a political party and their ideology.

As this good article states: “If you don’t support my program, says the social justice advocate—typically a program giving more power and money to the state while restricting economic or political freedom or freedom of religion or speech—you don’t support social justice. You support social injustice.
But no one, in their own eyes, supports social injustice. We all want to see a reduction in poverty—and unprecedented reductions have occurred worldwide under capitalism.”

You can easily test this observation simply examine what people purpose when they talk about economic justice, healthcare justice etc. You can’t get much specifics though when you look at what they mean by social justice,

(Vinjar Fonnebo) #119

Fiscal responsibility is, of course, something politicians have problems with. As far as I can see this is a problem common to every nation. To save oil revenues for a “rainy day” is a wise fiscal measure. The Norwegian government has always planned to spend this money in the future when the “rainy days” inevitably will come.

The rest of your analysis has nothing to do with Scandinavia. But again FYI: Italy and Greece both have the Euro as their currency. The last time I checked (today) the Euro was far from “worthless”…

(George Tichy) #120

That for sure. Anyone spending a few days in Europe will very quickly realize that there is a problem with the US dollar…

(Kim Green) #121

Interesting article…will read more when I am fresher. I have heard some of these arguments before and there is some validity to them. But before Post Modernism…there was Modernism. It is inevitable that there will be changes and those are being brought on by a change in society. There is a slide into Socialism which I believe is an inevitable progression of Post Modernism. I also believe that there are degrees of “Socialism” and eventually the US will be operating under one of them. Given this…I am not opposed to the term, Social Justice. The Adventist church needs to understand that it needs a more coherent approach to it- or it will continue to decline within the Post Modern countries.

(Kim Green) #122

I am all for what works in very pragmatic terms and I do think that you need to keep going with the things that you feel/see that God blesses. Having said this, we should not pooh-pooh the idea of an Adventist Theology of Social Justice because you do not know that God cannot reach others through it. God uses different ways of reaching different people. Your way is not another’s way…God is not limited by our own understanding.

I would have preferred that you started out with the positive stories of the success that you have had. It is always more spiritually enlightening and encouraging instead of getting into petty squabbles. :slight_smile:


It could be that the US will slide into socialism, That would be sad as it ends a lot of our freedoms. Plus socialism has never worked. It promises a lot but never delivers. Plus a lot of young people think that nations like Sweden and Denmark are socialist, they are not they are capitalist with high taxes to pay for social safety nets but that is much different from socialist and communist nations. But I would say not objecting to the term social justice because you believe in the future socialism wins is not a very good reason. Why not just say you like social justice because you believe socialism is the better method of governance.

Reality is much different from simply believing something. For example many people don’t even realize that because of capitalism more people have been raised out of poverty. As another good article says: "Milton Friedman points out that “the only cases in which the masses have escaped from . . . grinding poverty . . . in recorded history are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worst off, it’s exactly in the kind of societies that depart from that.”