Category Archives: Justice

John Stott on the justice of God

I came across this quote today from John Stott and was reminded of the beauty of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, God in flesh in the midst of a broken world, not merely a poor man but an oppressed man.

“I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross… In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it? I have entered many Buddhist temples in different Asian countries and stood respectfully before the statue of Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing round his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agonies of the world.

But each time after a while I have to turn away. And in imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in Godforsaken darkness.

That is the God for me! He laid aside His immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us. Our sufferings become more manageable in light of His (The Cross of Christ, 335-6).

Praise be to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who by the Holy Spirit, grants us faith to glimpse the beauty of God made flesh. For our sake and the sake of the world.

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Giving it all away in May

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Storyville Coffee is donating all its revenue in the month of May up to $1,000,000 (yes, that is one million) to International Justice Mission. IJM rescues people victimized by modern-day slavery and restores the broken public justice structures that perpetuate this atrocity. Why would they do such a thing, especially in light of our strained economy? Here is the answer they provide on their site:

“At Storyville, coffee is about a ritual that gives us time to think, create, and dream. As we dream, we think of all those who can’t.”

So here’s what you can do:

  1. Go to the Storyville website linked here
  2. Buy a half-pound of coffee for $13.99 (includes shipping to your house).
  3. Forward this post to a few of your friends so they can help.

Gospel: personal or social?

Last week I was made aware of this quote about the gospel. The content is great, but what I find most impressive about the quote is the year it was written- 1929. The “new” debate over the nature of gospel is not new at all. The church has been wrestling with this issue for decades if not centuries. Is the gospel about personal salvation only? Or is it about social justice only? Eighty years ago, someone accurately said it’s both…

“We must preach the whole gospel of personal salvation and social service, and whatever it means, have no fear of giving actual expression to love of the neighbor. It is imperative that social service should not be substituted for evangelical religion, as it sometimes has been, but be shown to be one of its integral characteristics … the gospel of salvation must be preached not only as a gospel of personal redemption, but also of social reconstruction, if we are to reach this age, and if, indeed, we are to preach the whole gospel of the New Testament.”

J. Ernest Rattenbury, 1929 

Prophetic property damage?

My friend and fellow church planter Mark Brewer just put up a provocative post about God-inspired property damage. He cites as a biblical example Gideon (from the Old Testament), who demolished his parents’ Asherah pole and altar to Baal because their worship of false gods offended the one and only God. He poses the question: are there modern structures that so offend God they warrant property damage?   

Read the post here.

Upcoming film on modern slavery

Yesterday I learned of a documentary set be released this fall that will expose the horrors of modern-day slavery. The creator of the film, Justin Dillon, a musician, was touring in Russia and witnessed first-hand the reality of human trafficking. He met young girls whose dreams of coming west were being preyed on by sex traffickers. He came back to the US and started recruiting other musicians to raise their voices on behalf of this tragedy. It worked. Backing him are Imogen Heap, Moby, Five for Fighting, Switchfoot, Natasha Bedingfield, Matisyahu, and others. Also contributing to the film are Gary Haugen, president of International Justice Mission, Dr. Kevin Bales, author of Disposable People, and David Batstone, author of Nor For Sale.

The film is titled Call + Response. Check out the website and watch a trailer here.