1968年4月，当金恩博士（MartinLuther King Jr. 美国黑人民权领袖）在孟菲斯（Memphis）遇刺时，正巧我又和珀金斯牧师（John Perkins）以及一群黑人教会领袖在密西西比州（Mississippi）一起服事。带领我们团队的其中一位是密西西比州“黑人协会”主席埃弗斯（CharlesEvers），他的兄弟Medgar于1963年被KKK党杀害了。金恩博士被杀的消息一传出，我们立刻驾车前往现场，在他遇刺后不到几个小时，就到达了洛仁旅馆（Lorraine Motel），站在他被枪杀的阳台上。我们还参观了凶手詹姆斯（James Earl Ray）站在马桶上发射致命枪弹的地点。
Social Injustice and the Gospel
by John MacArthur
Monday, August 13, 2018
Scripture says earthly governments are ordained by God toadminister justice, and believers are to be subject to their authority. Thecivil magistrate is “a minister of God to you for good . . . an avenger whobrings wrath on the one who practices evil” (Romans 13:1–4). But it isalso true that no government in the history of the world has managed to beconsistently just. In fact, when Paul wrote that command, the Roman Emperor wasNero, one of the most grossly unjust, unprincipled, cruel-hearted men ever towield power on the world stage.
As believers, “we know . . . that the whole world lies inthe power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), so worldlypower structures are—and always have been—systemically unjust to one degree oranother.
Even the United States, though founded on the preceptthat all members of the human race “are endowed by their Creator with certainunalienable Rights,” incongruously maintained a system of forced slavery thatwithheld the full benefits of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness frommultitudes. Many generations of people from African ethnicities were thuslegally (but immorally) relegated to subhuman status. According to the 1860census, there were about four million in the generation of slaves who werebeing held in servitude when Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Civil War and the abolishment of slavery did notautomatically end the injustice. A hundred years passed before the federal governmentbanned segregation in public places and began in earnest to pass legislationsafeguarding the civil rights of all people equally. Until then, freed slavesand their descendants in Southern states were literally relegated by law to theback of the bus and frequently treated with scorn or incivility because of thecolor of their skin.
I got a small taste of what it felt like to be bulliedand discriminated against in the American South in the 1960s. I spent a lot oftime traveling through rural Mississippi with my good friend John Perkins, awell-known black evangelical leader, preaching the gospel in segregated blackhigh schools. During one of those trips, as we drove down a dirt road, a localsheriff—an openly bigoted character straight out of In the Heat of the Night—tookme into custody, held me in his jail, and accused me of disturbing the peace.He also confiscated (and kept) all my money. He ultimately released me withoutfiling charges. I suppose he considered the money he took from me an adequatefine for doing something he disapproved of.
In those days any appeal to higher authorities would havebeen fruitless and possibly counterproductive. All I could do was try not toantagonize him further.
I was again ministering in Mississippi with John Perkinsand a group of black church leaders in April 1968 when Martin Luther King Jr.was assassinated in Memphis. One of the men leading our group was CharlesEvers, head of the Mississippi NAACP. (His brother Medgar had been killed in1963 by the KKK.) When news of Dr. King’s murder broke, we drove to Memphis—andliterally within hours after Dr. King was assassinated, we were at the LorraineMotel, standing on the balcony where he was shot. We were also shown the placewhere James Earl Ray stood on a toilet to fire the fatal shot.
I deplore racism and all the cruelty and strife itbreeds. I am convinced the only long-term solution to every brand of ethnicanimus is the gospel of Jesus Christ. In Christ alone are the barriers anddividing walls between people groups broken down, the enmity abolished, anddiffering cultures and ethnic groups bound together in one new people (Ephesians 2:14–15). The blackleaders with whom I ministered during the civil rights movement shared thatconviction.
The evangelicals who are saying the most and talking theloudest these days about what’s referred to as “social justice” seem to have avery different perspective. Their rhetoric certainly points a differentdirection, demanding repentance and reparations from one ethnic group for thesins of its ancestors against another. It’s the language of law, not gospel—andworse, it mirrors the jargon of worldly politics, not the message of Christ. Itis a startling irony that believers from different ethnic groups, now one inChrist, have chosen to divide over ethnicity. They have a true spiritual unityin Christ, which they seem to disdain in favor of fleshly factions.
Evangelicalism’s newfound obsession with the notion of“social justice” is a significant shift—and I’m convinced it’s a shift that ismoving many people (including some key evangelical leaders) off message, andonto a trajectory that many other movements and denominations have taken before,always with spiritually disastrous results.
Over the years, I’ve fought a number of polemical battlesagainst ideas that threaten the gospel. This recent (and surprisingly sudden)detour in quest of “social justice” is, I believe, the most subtle anddangerous threat so far.
In a series of blog posts over the next couple of weeks,I want to explain why. I’ll review some of the battles we have fought to keepthe gospel clear, precise, and at the center of our focus. We’ll see why biblicaljustice has little in common with the secular, liberal idea of “socialjustice.” And we’ll analyze why the current campaign to move social issues likeethnic conflicts and economic inequality to the top of the evangelical agendaposes such a significant threat to the real message of gospel reconciliation.
I hope you’ll see that “the foolishness of God is wiserthan men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25)—and that’snever more true than when we are talking about the strategy God has chosen forthe spread of the gospel and the growth of Christ’s kingdom.