“Here is a question that you need to wrestle with. How much time do you spend with sin sick people? I’m not talking about some evangelism program. I’m talking about intentionally building relationships with people you know need the Great Physician. To quote Jesus “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” This is clearly the method of His mission. So maybe when those undocumented workers from Mexico show up on your job instead of parroting that Mormon Glen Beck or acting like Romans 13 is the only chapter in the Bible you follow the teaching of Philemon, welcome the stranger, and turn it into an opportunity for the gospel to be spread.” – An excerpt from one of my sermons
Was that offensive to you? A few months ago I had an experience that was a first in my 20 years of preaching. After this sermon on social justice a man came up to talk to me about this point. He started off cordial but no more than 30 seconds in I realized his niceness was a set up. He kept inching closer and closer, literally getting in my face and angrily chewing me out over my comments. I literally had to walk away in fear of the guy hitting me and trust me, I don’t scare easily. It was a very tense moment.
But that wasn’t the end of it. He stormed off and chewed out the host pastor for inviting me. Other people chewed out one of the staff pastors. Furthermore some people tracked down my home phone number and called, demanding a meeting about the sermon. I thought I was in the Twilight Zone. I don’t know maybe it’s me but I didn’t think what I said was so offensive. But obviously it was.
Last week at my Alma mater (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) Al Mohler and Jim Wallis debated the question “Is social justice an essential part of the mission of the church?” I didn’t watch the debate because for me I read Micah 6:8, Matthew 25:31-46, and a host of other Scriptures and that’s a wrap. Personally I’m not even sure how this a question that can be debated. So how did we get here in the first place, where we are questioning whether the church and justice should be paired together? And people want to deck a 6″5, 275lbs guy at their own peril (I may be a minister but I ain’t but one generation from the street!)
So let’s have our own debate. How did we get to the place in the American church where its Gospel v. Social Justice?