This is the false choice often posed by those who favor “social justice” (usual translation: Marxism) over evangelism and mission. Christians have, throughout our history, favored one or the other, sometimes resulting in bloodshed. But it’s a false choice; one who knows Jesus Christ as Lord will, by definition, come to do that which is right. Which most definitely includes taking care of the least of our brothers and sisters.
One group that might be accused of erring on the “social justice” side, if you didn’t know any better, is the Baptist World Alliance. BWA biggies hobnob regularly with such as Fidel Castro and Jimmy Carter, and, in the name of pushing for religious freedom, with government officials in places such as Communist China whose mission it is to control the fast-growing Christian churches.
But, if you’ve ever been to a BWA event, you may find out, rather quickly, that the emphasis is not on “social justice.” It is on Jesus Christ as Lord. Period. One need not ponder long what Jesus would do, were he with us in the flesh today. He would tend to his flock, which is to say, each and every one of us.
What brings this up at all is the retirement bash for Dr. Denton Lotz last night. Dr. Lotz, General Secretary of BWA, has devoted his life to the cause of religious freedom. Which is to say, to the Baptist cause. Not that other denominations do not also advocate religious freedom. Rather, that the Baptists, from their beginnings in the 17th century, have been persecuted by the state, and by established churches. This tends to sharpen one’s perspective, when you’re on the wrong side of religious persecution. It is also the primary reason that I call myself a Baptist.
Take the time to read this statement on religious freedom by Dr. Lotz. As the Friends (Quakers) might say, “he speaks my mind.”