Monday, 22 November 2010

Generous justice

Many Christians like me have a very individualistic view of Christianity, a sort of, 'I'm ok, I am forgiven by God, Jesus Christ is my Saviour and I'm guaranteed a place in heaven'. A caricature perhaps but more than a grain of truth I suspect.


In the church I am a part of we have nearly finished an 8 week course on Sundays and in our home groups called the Gospel In Life. It's been exhilarating and very provocative. The essence of it is that the gospel, or good news from God about what he has done to set the world right, cannot be reduced to, 'believe this and you'll be ok', but rather is,  
the good news that through Christ the power of God’s kingdom has entered history to renew the whole world. When we believe and rely on Jesus’ work and record (rather than ours) for our relationship to God, that kingdom power comes upon us and begins to work through us.” – Tim Keller.
OK that takes a fair bit of unpacking, and the course attemts to do that. This week we looked at the huge Biblical emphasis of God's concern and action for the weak, the poor and the vulnerable.  It's a subject Tim Keller has written about in his book Generous Justice. It's a massive subject and has complexity within it. I was helped however by one of our members, Chris Almond, who was interviewed in our evening meeting. Having worked with Tear Fund, he reminded us of just how much  the Bible has to say on this, and also that we must not hide behind the complexities of the subject but trust Christian organisations like Tear Fund and Micah Challenge who help us understand matters of trade justice and inequalities and urge us to take action such as  writing to our MPs, protesting peacefully, reviewing our own western consumer lifestyle or engaging in local social or political action.


Most telling for me was Tim Keller's comment in the DVD that, we may think we have a close relationship with God, but if we have no concern for the poor and vulnerable in society, and if we don't back that up with action, we may well be fooling ourselves. Our pastor Ray Evans had preached similarly from James' letter in the morning meeting. Perhaps we really don't believe that faith without works is dead.



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