‘Social Justice’ is biblical justice and a helpful connecting point for the gospel today

‘Social Justice’ is biblical justice and a helpful connecting point for the gospel today
John Stevens National Director of FIEC and elder at Christ Church, Market Harborough.
01 March, 2024 8 min read

In the February edition of ET Matthew Seymour raised concerns about equating biblical justice and social justice. John Stevens (National Director of FIEC) asked for the opportunity to respond. John’s article reflects his personal views, not an official view of FIEC. FIEC churches and pastors are free to hold a diversity of views about social justice.

An ET editorial on the question of social justice is published here:

Shaped by Scripture not by culture
This is one of the defining issues of the early 21st century for evangelicals in the western world. The editorial position of this newspaper is that, while there may be elements of the social justice movement which accord with biblical truth, overall it is not – and can never be – the same thing.

One of the most controversial issues among evangelical Christians at present concerns our response to the contemporary ‘social justice’ movement. Some, particularly in the USA, have dismissed the idea of ‘social justice’ as unbiblical, and rooted in false philosophies of Marxism and Critical Theory. They do not regard the concept of ‘social justice’ as a useful point of connection for the gospel.

Voddie Baucham takes this view in his book Fault Lines, as does Owen Strachan in Christianity and Wokeness. My fellow FIEC pastor Matthew Seymour supported this approach in his recent article for ET, highlighting his theological concerns with the language and concepts of contemporary social justice.

I understand these concerns, and share some of their critique, but think that social justice remains a helpful category that we should not abandon. There is a danger of a knee-jerk reaction against the unbiblical philosophy of Marxism and Critical Theory while upholding an equally unbiblical philosophy of capitalist individualism.

New: the ET podcast!