(This is a guest post by Karen Long, a student leader with the Leadership, Culture and Christianity student club at York University)
Book Review: Marshall, Chris. The Little Book of Biblical Justice: A Fresh Approach to the Bible’s Teachings on Justice. Good Books. Intercourse, PA: 2005
In Chris Marshall’s The Little Book of Biblical Justice, Marshall has done an effective job at attempting to explain the complicated and often misunderstood concept of biblical justice. Of course, it goes without saying that the book is not exhaustive, but it allows to whet the reader’s appetite to explore biblical justice further.
Many Christians consider the Bible a source of revelation about social and criminal justice. The Bible helped to shape Western civilization, so it is helpful to explore biblical notions of justice to understand modern day socio-political and judicial thought.
Last week, I was privileged to attend the Christian Reformed Church’s 2013 Multi-Ethnic Conference. The keynote speaker was Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and former Executive Director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. She is a leader in the faith-based economic justice movement in the United States among evangelical Christians. I want to share some highlights from her wonderful keynote speech at the conference.
I preached today at the local World Day of Prayer service at Rehoboth Fellowship Christian Reformed Church, Toronto. This year’s theme of “Let Justice Prevail” is written by Malaysian Christian women. And I was asked to speak because of my Malaysian roots. So, postponing my mini-series on missional church for a bit, here’s my sermon:
I have walked the downtown streets of Toronto enough to know a homeless or street person when I see one. The tell-tale clue is to see where they sleep. Someone who is homeless often sleep in places that aren’t designed to be beds, e.g. by the front doorsteps, between two newspaper vending machines, on a park bench, etc. The baby Jesus, as so many Nativity scenes remind us, ends up sleeping in a manger, an open box in the barn where the livestock eat out of. It is, for me, a symbol of homelessness.
In 2010, the controversial US TV/Media personality, Glenn Beck (pictured at right) asked Christians to leave churches that promoted social justice and economic justice. Beck’s call reflects the ongoing debate among Christians on social justice’s role in the faith. It is a good launching pad for a discussion on Jesus and Social Justice. Did Jesus preach about social justice? Or did he merely preach about charity and mercy, which are different from social justice? Should Christians and the Church consider social justice activism as central or peripheral to the Christian faith?