In our course Reading with Doug (with Doug Logan, President of Grimké Seminary), we discussed the horrible shooting of Ahmaud Arbery (see Russell Moore’s article), and how pastors and Christian leaders should respond (to this or any similar social issue). Here are five takeaways from that discussion.
Speak up, because injustice is not first a social issue, it is first an issue that emanates from God’s holy character and that Scripture teaches on extensively. Christian leaders can and should speak thoughtfully to these social issues because God cares and because he calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Integrate social issues into your meat-and-potatoes discipleship and teaching, starting with membership. If we simply call out injustice at the top of a news cycle, we can’t blame our church for not seeing those topics as integrated with normal biblical teaching.
Develop your church’s positions on social issues with a team of diverse, biblically-minded people…before you are faced with the need to speak to a particular situation. And then when it’s time to address a particular situation, form your statement. (And have your team look at it first.)
Preach the Gospel
If you address an issue from the pulpit, do so in order to preach the gospel. As Paul addressed issues in the Corinthian church, he drew a direct line to the cross. Show your people the power and clarity of the gospel in the light of the world’s sin.
Keep Your Head
Bear in mind your calling to do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim 4:5). If you rage with hatred against injustice so much that the perpetrator will not come into your church (and hear the gospel), you have lost your sense of calling. We want “all people to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). It is not only appropriate to be angry at injustice, it is godly. We hate injustice because God hates injustice, in any form. But as we express our anger, we need to keep in mind God’s promise to bring all things to justice in the end. Until then we proclaim his holy standard, our sin, and his offer of grace through Christ.