Are You Ready to Learn How to Build a 21st Century Faith? CLICK HERE

21st Century Word Salad: 4 Popular Social Justice Terms Every Christian Should Understand

These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace.  - Zechariah 8:16

Growing up, my family occasionally used made-up words that only we knew. These were silly words that wouldn't make any sense to outsiders listening in, but we all knew what they meant. Here are two fun examples:

  • If my grandparents were to ask you if you had 'foofed' before church, they were wondering whether or not you had remembered to brush your teeth.
  • My grandfather, in particular, liked to use the word 'stinkum' in place of perfume. If he smelled perfume as you walked by, he might say, "Lookout, world! She put her stinkum on...she must have a date tonight!"

Why Understanding Social Justice Is Important

Today, our culture is saturated in its own language: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Oppression, Wokeness, Privilege, Social Justice, Systemic Injustice and probably a whole list of other terms as well. These words have come to mean certain things, and as faithful Christians, we need to be aware of them for these reasons:

  1. Because the Gospel, at its core, is a message. It's a message of good news, of God's love poured out on our behalf. The concepts of love, justice, mercy, compassion, goodness, righteousness, sin and salvation all refer to specific concepts which are getting lost in today's mixed-up bowl of word salad.
  2. Because our current administration is heavily invested in the Social Justice Worldview. So, we can expect to see legislation which includes these terms and their worldview concepts being injected into our daily lives in increasing measure.
  3. Because these words frequently masquerade as Gospel-friendly. In reality, however, the Social Justice Worldview and all of its related terms are offering us a false gospel and a false worldview. So, if we don't recognize them for what they are, we (and our kids) will likely end up consuming a counterfeit Christianity.

Despite its noble-sounding name, the ideas associated with the Social Justice Movement carry within them the potential to dismantle your family’s faith while it discredits and destabilizes the things which do a great deal of good in society.

I've written about Social Justice before, but in this post, I'm beginning a 4-part series focusing on specific Social Justice terminology, and comparing each term to the Biblical Worldview so that we see clearly what's at stake in this cultural moment. In future posts, I'll dive into Oppression, Wokeness, and Systemic Injustice. 

But this post will focus on the term equity.

Equity vs. Equality

It's tempting to think that equity means equality, but it doesn't.

Equality is a good thing.

Equality means that the intrinsic value of one person amounts to exactly the same degree of value in another person, even when the two people are different in race, gender, age, and socioeconomic status, or any other metric.

It is grounded in the idea that all people are made in God's image, and are therefore, of the highest possible value, no matter how they are situated in society.

"Then God said, 'Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness...'"

- Genesis 1:26

Equity, on the other hand, means something entirely different. That alone is important, because the White House recently announced that equity is among its highest priorities.

If you were to ask world-renowned psychologist, Dr. Jordan Peterson, how he feels about the term, equity, you'd get quite an earful. The word equity sits at the top of a list of words that he feels are among the most dangerous concepts of today's Social Justice Movement.[1] According to Dr. Peterson, “all the horrors of Marxism” lie hidden within that term.[2]

Let that sink in: All the horrors of Marxism...

And this is true despite the Marxist objective of creating a utopian society of full and complete equity among its members.

Why? Because equity doesn’t mean equality among people, equality of value, or equality of standing. Equity means equality of outcome, but you can remember it more easily like this:

 Equity = the forcible redistribution of (x).

In the above formula, (x) can be any aspect of perceived value in a given society. It's usually thought of in terms of wealth redistribution, but it could just as easily be status, power, or representation.

The important thing to remember, though, is that the concept of equity relies on some authoritative source to forcibly redistribute (x) according to its more morally upright standard.

That morally authoritative source is usually government.

Equity allows the government to use its coercive power to artificially rearrange (x) in the way that the Social Justice Movement deems morally superior. That's why Dr. Peterson finds the term so alarming: equity serves as a gateway to totalitarianism.

Although Christianity doesn't necessarily endorse a certain political party or form of government, it does generally establish a framework of loving God and loving people, within which all our politically motivated decisions should fall. Given that totalitarian governments tend to generate massive human misery, Christians should be extra diligent in these matters.

Social Justice and the Bible

So how should we think about equity in its Social Justice Worldview context?

As Christ-followers, we should think about it Biblically. So here are four critical differences between Social Justice-driven equity, and the Biblical Worldview:

1.) Equity enforces a morality that isn't necessarily Biblical. Ultimately, the Social Justice Worldview isn't an established social principle. It's a theory about how the world should work, which places it squarely in the category of being a moral theory.

But despite its talk about making the world a better place and caring for the needy, Social Justice isn't ultimately committed to Scriptural principles. It's committed to secular ones. So, when its moral enforcement arm goes to work -- the equity principle -- it can use the legitimate force of government to establish moral mandates as legally binding whether or not they fall inside the boundaries of a Biblical Worldview.

The secular world may rejoice in this arrangement, but Christians should be very cautious in accepting it. Why?

Because we know something they don't.

We know that true morality flows from God's character, and proceeds according to His Word & ways. Any society built on a moral system which doesn't do things this way will fall woefully short of its best intentions. 

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. - John 15:4-5

2.) Equity focuses on getting rather than giving. The equity mindset focuses solely on how to take the available pool of resources within a society and transfer them into the hands of the people through the force of legislation, public policy, and cultural sway.

Now, that sounds nice. It sounds like the kind of thing we should all applaud, but don't overlook these two things: taking and forcing.

According to a Biblical Worldview, when human need presents itself, we should respond voluntarily, out of personal love and compassion for our fellow strugglers. We should dip into our own reserves to meet the needs of others. When we do this, we mimic God's lavish and self-sacrificial love for us, while at the same time, filling in the inevitable gaps which arise from living in a broken world.

There is a big difference between a society which grants its members the freedom to meet one another's needs voluntarily, and one which imposes on its citizens the heavy burden of taxation, regulation, and punishment all in the name of helping people get what they need. 

The free society relies on giving. The burdened society focuses on taking. According to the Bible, our choice should be pretty clear.

"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" - Acts 20:35

3.) Equity violates the Biblical principle of sowing and reaping. Every farmer knows that if you want to harvest a certain kind of crop, you must plant and tend those kinds of seeds. It makes no sense to plant watermelon seeds, but expect to harvest eggplants.

This isn't just an agricultural principle. It also describes the link between choices and outcomes. As a result, some individuals or groups may legitimately harvest more "crop", depending on which seeds were planted, and how intentionally they were tended.

For example, an hourly wage-earner putting in a full day of work will necessarily be paid twice as much as someone else putting in a half-day's work at the same hourly rate. The difference in take-home pay at the end of the day will be drastically different, but it isn't an unjust difference. The one who worked more hours received more pay. This shouldn't be seen as a problem.

Certainly, there are times when individuals or groups acquire their stuff by unjust means. When that happens, it would be right for proper authorities to intervene in order to correct the situation.

But that isn't what the Social Justice version of 'equity' is all about. Equity sees injustice as the root of every dissimilar outcome, and so seeks to advance sameness as the only solution.

This attitude tramples the sowing and reaping principle.

In our example, equity would see an injustice between the wage-earners (even where there isn't one) and would insist that income from the higher income earner be forcibly redistributed until the earners' incomes are equal. 

But if an injustice hasn't occurred, then the intervention isn't warranted. In cases like these, the forcible redistribution of income for the sake of equality is actually an injustice of its own.

"Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows." - Galatians 6:7

4.) Equity promotes a false sense of justice. A major theme in the Social Justice Worldview is 'leveling the playing field.' Usually, that refers to some kind of wealth redistribution like we just discussed, but it isn't limited to that.

In the Biblical Worldview, men and women are created equally, and are assigned the shared task of ruling the world using God's definition of what is good, and right, and fair. In other words, we are to carry on His initial Creative efforts by rolling up our sleeves and jumping into the process of turning chaos into order, desolate earth into flowering gardens, and raw materials into functioning systems for the good of the world and to the Glory of God.

Taking a quick look around, you'll see that we are not all the same. We all have different talents, skillsets, and opportunities. That presents a unique set of challenges, that's for sure, but it isn't necessarily an injustice.

When we stand before God, we won't be held responsible for talents we didn't receive or opportunities we didn't have. We will only be held responsible for what we did (or didn't do) with what we were given. With God's help (Zech. 4:6; Phil. 2:13) we can take our individual circumstances and develop them to their fullest potential.

But that isn't how the Social Justice Worldview sees things.

First of all, Social Justice tells us that our highest loyalty is to the State or Society, while the Bible tells us our highest loyalty is to God. Secondly, the Social Justice Worldview sees individual differences as wrongs which demand to be righted through force of law, if possible. The Biblical Worldview sees them as gifts to be uniquely used, or maybe even as challenges to be overcome through faith, perseverance, obedience, and sometimes the voluntary cooperation of others.

Equity is the tool that the Social Justice Worldview uses to overcome injustices and achieve its brand of justice. This ends up looking primarily like turning differences into sameness by political and social mandate. This is what is typically meant by leveling the playing field.

And that, my friends, ends up looking alot like the Biblical definitions of covetousness and vengeance. If I'm right about that, then Christians should give very little place to the ideas contained within the Social Justice Worldview.

"He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the LORD really wants from you: He wants you to promote justice, to be faithful, and to live obediently before your God." - Micah 6:8

Social Justice and the Church

It also means that Social Justice is co-opting Christian-speak in a way that leads people into a false gospel and a false worldview.

According to the Biblical Worldview, people are made in the image of God, and the problem with the world is that the people no longer carry out their duty of being God's faithful, earthly representatives because of sin.

Sin leads to all kinds of problems, and so the only way to overcome sin is for its price to be paid through Jesus. Those who accept this solution are restored once again to the kind of spiritual connection with God that allows them to fulfill His original purpose for them - to cultivate the earth for the good of others and the glory of God as His personal representatives.

But the Social Justice Worldview claims that we are essentially material and social beings whose loyalty is to the State or Society, and the problems of the world are due to socio-economic differences among people groups. We overcome the problem by imposing all sorts of secular-moral demands on society by fiat. Once we have people groups who are beholden to the governing authorities to behave in ways mandated by the State or Society, all things will be made right again.

This, my friends, is a different gospel.

This is nothing more than the kind of works-based, secular-humanist religious order that the Bible has warned us about for centuries.

Unlike the words foof and stinkum, popular Social Justice terms are not cute little words with cute little meanings. They house ideas which are potentially disastrous to our faith and our society.

As Jesus followers who are committed to His priorities, His plans, and who bear His name, we need to make sure that we, our families, and our churches are staying faithful to the True Gospel found in the Biblical Worldview. Therefore, we need to make sure we sort through the word salad of the Social Justice Worldview so that we can do what we are called to do:

"These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace." - Zechariah 8:16

[1] Identity Politics & the Marxist Lie of White Privilege, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, SNC 2017 (video) at YouTube.com; January 30, 2018 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofmuCXRMoSA&t=2429s)

[2] Ibid.

 

Are you frustrated by the influence of todays secular society? Do you wish you were more comfortable sharing your faith?

I'm convinced that it has simply never been more important to know what you believe and why you believe it. Today's political and social environment is growing increasingly more hostile to matters of faith. 

So, I teach women of Christ who are frustrated and intimidated by the relentless influence of an increasingly secular society how to :

* Walk closely with God in an increasingly godless world

* Find answers to the questions you are too shy to ask in church

* Raise kids whose faith outlasts the scary statistics

* Develop your Christian Confidence so you can have effective, relaxed conversations with those who struggle with this whole Jesus thing.

This is no simple task! It requires building a faith that's fit for the 21st Century!

Click the button below to let Hosea, Nehemiah, Gideon and Esther lay the foundation of Building a 21st Century Faith!

Yes! Show Me How To Build A 21st Century Faith!
Close

50% Complete

Never Miss a Post!

If you are frustrated or intimidated by the relentless influence of an increasingly secular society and would like to learn how to use your earthly life for eternal purposes, subscribe below!