Just Gospel? : Why the Conference Asks Much but Answers Little
(Opinions expressed herein belong to the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Fides Quaerens, its editors, or any associated organization.)
Does the biblical Gospel have anything to say about biblical justice in the face of these continuing social problems? On March 16–18, 2017, minority pastors and leaders from various traditions and denominations gathered in Atlanta, Georgia to ask this very question. Voices like Thabiti Anyabwile, Anthony Carter, Trip Lee, Carl Ellis, Jarvis Williams, and a host of other well-respected African Americans addressed the Gospel’s application and the role of justice in the contemporary evangelical church today. Speakers and panelists tackled many issues ranging from hip-hop to a theology of justice; and even looked at prison ministry, abortion, and other issues of justice not explicitly related to race. While there is much to be commended in the goals of the conference, the result was ultimately a failure to answer its own fundamental question.
Most importantly, the conference failed to give a thorough, biblical view of justice that is persuasive to those skeptically disposed and distinct from the theologically modernist social gospel. The conference specifically dedicated one lecture to expounding a biblical theology of justice. This message by Darryl Williamson (pastor of Living Faith Bible Fellowship in Tampa, Florida) looked at a handful of passages from the Old Testament, arguing that the Bible prescribes much for God’s people as it pertains to justice.
Before looking at Williamson’s brief survey, it will be helpful to understand what is meant by justice. While Williamson never...