Should you run away from a church that is involved in social justice?

A popular media figure recently pleaded with people to do just that.

But, what do the scriptures say?

Here are just a few of the many scriptures that speak to God’s thoughts on faith and justice:

Isaiah 58

6 “This is the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke.

7 It is to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood.

Micah 6

8 He has shown all you people what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Matthew 25

40 “Jesus will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

45 “Jesus will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

James 1

27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Should you run away from a church that is involved in social justice?

No.

In fact, I believe that the scriptures call us to the opposite action.

You should run away from your church if it is NOT involved in social justice.

The God revealed in the bible is not interested in any faith that does not include justice and mercy for the poor, oppressed and marginalized.

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Ron Sider is a professor, author, and organizer who has been a consistent, strong, and reasonable voice calling Christians to be biblically faithful by prioritizing social action. If I ever meet Dr. Sider in person (and I can speak) I will give him a heartfelt “THANK YOU!” However, until that day I will give him a public shout out.

This is why I admire Ron Sider:

The Whole Gospel for the Whole World: That is the motto of Palmer Theological Seminary where Sider teaches. It fits Sider well. He has called Christians to recognize the enormous amount of scripture that directs us to care for the poor and marginalized. We can not ignore such a major theme in the Bible. Sider is right to remind us.

Social and Political but Not Partisan: Sider recognizes that the scriptures have great social, cultural, and political implications. I think that he has done a brilliant job pressing into those realms without becoming partisan. In a system where no party fully embraces the ethic of the scriptures, Sider has done well to challenge both sides.

Called for Justice when it was Not Hip: Today a number of younger evangelicals (and other believers who will not use that label) are prioritizing justice issues. Sider was on it well before this trend. He had the courage to stand for the biblical call for justice, even when it was not marketable.

Built a Lasting Foundation: Sider has written over 20 books. Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger has been recognized as one of the top Christian books of the century. I would also recommend Just Generosity and The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscious. In addition to his books, articles, and teaching, Sider established Evangelicals for Social Action an association of Christians seeking to promote thoughtful and biblical engagement on social issues. Click here to experience the ESA website: http://tinyurl.com/4wtvoy

It is my prayer that Sider’s writing, teaching and organizing will prove effective in multiplying his efforts.

From where I sit, this world needs a lot more Ron Siders to faithful live out Jesus calling.