Social Justice and the Social Experiment in Action

by on August 26th, 2010

My wife, Joy, is ½ Danish. While working on our family genealogy, which she has online, a cousin who lives in Denmark contacted her. She and her family came to the states about a month ago and we had a wonderful time getting to know them. We had some interesting discussions because Denmark is a socialist liberal nation and has been since 1929. She has never known anything other than Socialism and is trying to understand the split in America as we grapple with the rising Socialism and claims for social justice as its outworking as opposed to capitalism and personal responsibility. This system worked in Denmark for about 50 years. As we talked she mentioned that it worked because it is largely a homogenous system in a relatively small population with a shared history and pride in their nation. They are having problems these days. An excellent article done in August of 2007 looks at the history of the experiment in Socialism and the result when new population doesn’t play by the same rules. Salute the Danish Flag! – It’s a Symbol of Western Freedom The article is long but well worth reading. A few paragraphs grabbed my attention immediately:

Denmark was also most generous in its immigration policies – it offered the best welcome in Europe to the new immigrant: generous welfare payments from first arrival plus additional perks in transportation, housing and education. It was determined to set a world example for inclusiveness and multiculturalism. How could it have predicted that one day in 2005 a series of political cartoons in a newspaper would spark violence that would leave dozens dead in the streets – all because its commitment to multiculturalism would come back to bite?

By the 1990′s the growing urban Muslim population was obvious – and its unwillingness to integrate into Danish society was obvious. Years of immigrants had settled into Muslim-exclusive enclaves. As the Muslim leadership became more vocal about what they considered the decadence of Denmark’s liberal way of life, the Danes – once so welcoming – began to feel slighted. Many Danes had begun to see Islam as incompatible with their long-standing values: belief in personal liberty and free speech, in equality for women, in tolerance for other ethnic groups, and a deep pride in Danish heritage and history.

The New York Post in 2002 ran an article by Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard, in which they forecasted accurately that the growing immigrant problem in Denmark would explode. In the article they reported:

• “Muslim immigrants…constitute 5 percent of the population but consume upwards of 40 percent of the welfare spending.”
• “Muslims are only 4 percent of Denmark’s 5.4 million people but make up a majority of the country’s convicted rapists, an especially combustible issue given that practically all the female victims are non-Muslim. Similar, if lesser, disproportions are found in other crimes.”
• “Over time, as Muslim immigrants increase in numbers, they wish less to mix with the indigenous population. A recent survey finds that only 5 percent of young Muslim immigrants would readily marry a Dane.”
• “Forced marriages – promising a newborn daughter in Denmark to a male cousin in the home country, then compelling her to marry him, sometimes on pain of death – are one problem…”
• “Muslim leaders openly declare their goal of introducing Islamic law once Denmark’s Muslim population grows large enough – a not-that-remote prospect. If present trends persist, one sociologist estimates, every third inhabitant of Denmark in 40 years will be Muslim.”

As I pointed out in What of “Social Justice”? that those who promote “social justice” begin from the premise that life ought to be perfect, it isn’t perfect and capitalism is the reason. Once we establish a socialist society where all workers and non-workers share equally in the benefits of the workers, then all will be well. It eliminates the idea of personal responsibility or the demands of the uninvested. The uninvested are those who contribute little or nothing to the whole but make the most demands. We see it in the Danish statistics. 5% of the population is Muslim but consume 40% of the welfare spending. The increasing insistence on not mixing with the native Danes and demand for the introduction and imposition of their on the Danish population.

We have a similar problem here in America. Not just Muslim but those in the entitlement state. A large voting bloc are those on welfare. They too are not invested and yet derive their support from those who are working. No demands are made on them to contribute or take responsibility for their lives. If such stipulations as, say, drug testing or work fare are suggested, it is decried as unfair and immoral. Several years ago there was a split over food stamps in congress. Conservatives tried to ban their use on cigarettes, alcohol, or potato chips. The next part of this saga is breathtaking in its utter lack of logical thinking. The liberals were adamant that we cannot legislate anyone’s morality. When conservatives tried to take a firm stand the liberals said it would be immoral not to pass the bill. In other words, it is perfectly fine to legislate the morality of wage earners by forcing them to fund this charitable food program but wrong to legislate how the uninvested recipient uses the program. Voila! Social Justice in action. No personal responsibility for the non-contributor but extreme legislation and controls on the wage earners making care of the entire population their responsibility.

Biblically, we find that the world is not perfect because all humans are sinners (Romans 3:23; 5:12). Sure we can do good things. Jesus even pointed this out within the context of our sinfulness we can still do good things:

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?(Matthew 7:11)

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:13)

He also pointed out that there may be ulterior motives in why we do things:

And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. (Matthew 14:12)

What this demonstrates is that as humans we tend to do good things for those we know and care about our family and close community or for what we may derive from it. Such is the plight of sinful human nature. As believers, we can be more altruistic because we realize that He provided salvation for us who could not gain acceptance from God on our own merits. Out of thankful hearts we in turn serve others as a way of serving and glorifying Him. But even in that we find biblically that there is an expectation of personal responsibility on the one receiving.

As Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 3:10:

“For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.”

While either avoiding Scripture altogether or simply reading into the text (eisigesis) things that are not there, the rising Evangelical left, including such notables and Brian McLaren, Rick Warren, Don Miller and many others, take the position that the existence of poverty, hunger, sickness and illiteracy proves the church has failed in its mission since its inception. In other words, the gates of hell did prevail against the church which in turn would mean that Jesus Christ is a false prophet for He declared that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church. The problems here are manifest and apparent. The mission of the church has not been to Christianize culture, force unbelieving leaders and dictators to behave according to biblical morals or to fix the unregenerate to behave more like regenerate believers which simply gives you better behaved unbelievers content in their own self-righteousness. Christians and other charitable folks send literally tons of food, medicine and other supplies as well as provide medical care and even education to many nations around the world The biggest hurdle is getting past corrupt national leaders who leave the food, medicine and supplies sitting on the dock with no intention of distributing or allowing distribution and in some cases they sell it for personal profit. In what way is the church responsible for this? The emerging left doesn’t say, they simply waggle the church lady finger and accuse faithful believers of being unfaithful for not meeting the demands of the emerging left. The proclamation of the gospel is less or even not at all important to this group when, biblically speaking, that is the mission of the church according to Matthew 28:18-20 and 2 Corinthians 5:20 is to be ambassadors, proclaim the gospel and make disciples. It isn’t eliminate poverty, hunger, illiteracy and help unbelievers be the best behaved unbelievers we can muster.

I wonder if Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV) has anything to do with the differences between the rising Evangelical Left and Conservative Evangeklicals see the world?:

“The heart of the wise inclines to the right,
but the heart of the fool to the left.”

2 responses to “Social Justice and the Social Experiment in Action ”

  1. Well said Don. I am so tired of some in the Emergent church movement pointing a self righteous finger at the entire Evangelical church accusingly judging our hearts with hyperbolic accusations of not caring a whit for the poor and needy of the world. We are also accused of being “Bible pigs”, busily gathering Bible knowledge for knowledge’s sake (presumably instead of helping the poor and needy). The founders of the movement must have had some seriously bad church experiences growing up. Their solution? Stop having so many Bible studies groups but rather have “life groups” where people’s needs are met as if the two were mutually exclusive. Nonsense.

    The enemy of our souls is gleeful to have us chasing after a form of godliness instead of chasing after Jesus. A long time ago I learned to be suspicious of any thing in religion that points exaltedly to something other than Jesus as where we should fix our eyes.

    Downplaying people’s need for salvation found in Jesus Christ alone and instead promoting a social gospel is nothing new. Just Liberal Theology repackaged with hip new lingo it seems to me. Don’t you like how Brian McLaren, Rick Warren, Don Miller and others like them, applaud the idea of secular government forcibly taking other people’s money to do “good works” for the poor? Did they forget the 8th commandment not to steal? And Paul’s inspired teaching that God loves a cheerful giver? The ends never justify the means.

    I think the Emergent church movement sprang out of a sincere desire to be doers of the word and not hearers only. But you have to “hear” the word to be able to “do” what it says. The Evangelical left needs to examine socialism and see that it replaces God with the state and can’t be embraced as a tool to “do good”. They also need to understand that violating God’s commandments to achieve “good” is never acceptable and philosophical ideas contrary to God’s truth have consequences so you need to know what God’s word teaches about God, man, government, society, salvation, etc. And what about me? I need to continue to work out my salvation with fear and trembling. I need to seek God on how He would have me live which includes giving a cup of cold water in His name to the least of these today. I do know one thing. He would have Me personally give the cup to whom He directed and the water would be Mine not water taken from my neighbor.

  2. Lynn says:

    “[M]utually exclusive” – that’s exactly how some emergents come across, creating a false dichotomy between doctrine and practical Christian living, when you are right, one springs from the other.

    I’m slowly reading through a book by a Michael Wittmer called Don’t Stop Believing, which portrays some of the legalisms that have been part and parcel of the evangelical church, and the postmodern innovaters’ (as he calls them) solutions to these legalistic notions (church attendance as a barometer of spirituality, for example).

    Wittmer considers himself to be a postmodern Christian, but he rejects the extremes the emergent church has taken, and one of these is the emphasis on just living the way Jesus would want us to live, and a nearly complete de-emphasis on teaching and preaching the message of the cross. The two are not mutually exclusive.

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