Church courting disaster with 'obsession' over social justice

Thursday, August 16, 2018
Steve Jordahl (

church congregation (rear view)A Christian apologist who hosts worldview conferences across the U.S. says a popular California pastor is right-on in warning about the negative consequences of the "social justice" movement within evangelicalism.

Pastor John MacArthur, in a recent blog on his website, is warning the Church about getting too wrapped up in the social justice movement. The popular author knows of what he speaks, having personal experience on behalf of racial injustice. At the height of the Jim Crow-era 1960s, in Mississippi – the state that saw the murder of civil rights activist Medgar Evers – MacArthur traveled the state with Evers' brother, Charles, working for desegregation and racial equality, sometimes from jail.

But MacArthur isn't on board with the trend of some of today's evangelical church leaders embracing social activism. "The only long-term solution to every brand of ethnic animus," he writes, "is the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Dr. Alex McFarland of Truth for a New Generation says MacArthur is exactly right.


"We've got to remember that the primary need of the human race is salvation," McFarland tells OneNewsNow, "and when people find Jesus Christ and when entire cultures are transformed by the gospel, things like poverty and exploitation of fellow human beings –  those things get worked out."

MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church of the Valley in Sun Valley, California, also writes:

"Evangelicalism's newfound obsession with the notion of 'social justice' is a significant shift ... that is moving many people (including some key evangelical leaders) off message, and onto a trajectory that many other movements and denominations have taken before, always with spiritually disastrous results."

Again, McFarland agrees, saying those leaders are selling the gospel short. "Many today, even many within the professed evangelical world, seem to feel like We've got to make the gospel relevant – as if Almighty God, our Creator and Savior, is somehow not relevant," he states.

According to the Christian apologist and educator, it's causing a drift even in traditionally conservative evangelical circles that could lead to grave error.

"I'm concerned that in the quest to be relevant and socially just maybe we're 'biblically lite' and we're not standing up for the things that the word of God is unequivocally clear on," McFarland adds.

The 79-year-old MacArthur concludes his blog with the promise to explain in future columns why "biblical justice" has little in common with the secular, liberal idea of "social justice" – and why the push to advance social issues to the top of the evangelical agenda poses "a significant threat" to the real message of gospel reconciliation.

MacArthur hosts "Grace to You," a daily half-hour radio program that airs internationally. McFarland co-hosts "Exploring the Word" weekdays on American Family Radio.

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