MacArthur’s definition seems vastly different from what others understand as “social justice.” In her article “How the Social Gospel Saved my Soul,” Katelin Hansen writes:
There seems to be a belief in the Evangelical church that social justice is secondary to an individual’s relationship with God. As if ‘loving thy neighbor’ is something to do in the Church’s spare time, after it has addressed the state of a person’s soul in the afterlife…There are some churches that feel that involving themselves in issues of justice will distract from their ‘true mission,’ when really there is only one mission: bring glory to God. And justice is very much a part of that.
Let’s Not Give Up on the Term “Social Justice”
The term social justice may be hitched to several cultural agendas at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it is a phrase we should stop using or a movement we should work against in order to quell. In “The FAQs: What Christians Should Know About Social Justice”, Joe Carter of The Gospel Coalition writes “Whether we use the term or not, Christians are engaged in social justice when we advocate for issues such as abortion, racial reconciliation, religious liberty, and sex trafficking. We engage in social justice whenever we seek moral reform of our society in a way that ensures every person is treated with dignity and given their due.”
Social justice is a very Christian agenda. Although we may disagree on what kinds of social justice causes we should be involved in, we would be wise to look at the church’s history.
From Old Testament leaders like Boaz to the early church fathers to Wilberforce to Sojourner Truth to Dietrich Bonhoeffer to Martin Luther King Jr., Christians have been concerned with social justice causes. Some in the church questioned their motives and even their interpretation of Scripture. Things are no different today.
On his blog, MacArthur asserts that he has taken on such potential heresies as the charismatic movement, the seeker sensitive movement, women’s role in the church, psychotherapy, and more. He believes he is definitely right about these issues and that he is doing his part to protect the Church from error.