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  • Writer's pictureJack Selcher

The False Gospel of Social Justice

A statue of Jesus with a needy and kneeling person in front of him

The False Gospel of Social Justice

A well-fed and well-watered, healthy tomato plant produces far more fruit than a neglected plant. Take care of the plant, and the plant takes care of you. The fruit of the Christian faith is like bunches of red-ripe tomatoes.

One “tomato” is demonstrating God’s love in practical ways to the needy. We must keep the faith strong and healthy to bear spiritual fruit.

Focusing on the fruit while neglecting the plant doesn’t end well. That is what happens when we focus on societal transformation without keeping making more and better disciples of Jesus the main thing.

Social justice is difficult to define and is without any universally agreed meaning. These days, it often carries political cargo. Honest Christians differ in their political views. Churches are best served if they focus on maximizing the spiritual health of their congregations than mandating their political views.

Major justice passages in the Bible include Leviticus 19 and 25, Isaiah 1 and 58, Jeremiah 22, Amos 5, Micah 6:8, Matthew 25:31–46, and Luke 4. We shouldn’t make too much or too little about what the Bible says about justice. It shouldn’t be on the top of our to-do list or entirely missing from it.

Kevin Deyoung wrote, “Doing justice means following the rule of law, showing impartiality, paying what you promised, not stealing, not swindling, not taking bribes, and not taking advantage of the weak because they are too uninformed or unconnected to stop you.”1

Simultaneously, we must remember that ministering to the least among us doesn’t save us. We are saved by grace through faith in the merits of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection in our place. Sharing that message must remain our highest priority.

Loving our neighbor as ourselves embraces social justice as Kevin Deyoung defined it. It’s part of being “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10, NIV). Ministering to the needy is a practical demonstration of our love for God (John 14:15).

Those who are following Jesus act justly and self-sacrificially. But their goal isn’t the social transformation of society. It’s the spiritual transformation of society that results in people dealing with others equitably.

The false gospel of social justice occurs when social justice is behind the wheel for churches and individuals who profess to be Christ’s followers instead of one of the passengers. Fulfilling the Great Commission to make more and better disciples must remain the main thing. #freechristiandiscipleshipresources #freeevangelismresources #freechristianleadershipresources

1.Is Social Justice a Gospel Issue? (

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