What does the bible have to say about social justice issues? Many of us are not sure. We know it says something but it’s not very clear to many of us. Understanding social justice from a biblical perspective is important because it affects our theology, our practice of theology, and how we treat others in this world. Some passages on social justice are found in: Amos 5:1-17; Exodus 20:22-23:33; wisdom literature; Luke-Acts; Hebrews & general epistles; and Revelation. The Amos 5 passage has caught my attention lately.
I love these words from Amos 5:14-15
14 Seek good and not evil,
that you may live;
and so the Lord, the God of heavenly forces,
will be with you just as you have said.
15 Hate evil, love good,
and establish justice at the city gate.
Perhaps the Lord God of heavenly forces
will be gracious to what is left of Joseph.
(Common English Bible)
McMaster Divinity College (Hamilton, Ontario) is having its 16th H.H. Bingham Colloquium in New Testament today. Since I’m not too far away (an hour’s drive) I’m going on the freeway to McMaster University to listen to the presentations by biblical scholars who will be presenting from contemporary biblical/New Testament perspectives. The topic this year happens to be “The Bible and Social Justice.” I’ll be interested in listening how some of these biblical scholars will be treating their above New Testament biblical texts at hand. This biblical stuff just turns my crank.