Guest Post: Bent Towards Justice

Every one of us is involved in a myriad of minute conversations. Going past in the blink of an eye, caught up in the zeitgeist and rendered into nothing but the onrushing pace of the universe. Sometimes, thought, the spirit and words and phrasing of something that someone says catches the eye, provokes the heart, and deserves wider speaking. Today’s blog post, originally a comment by my friend Doug Erickson in an irrelevant internet forum, sits in that category, even as it looks beyond, to the Kingdom of God.

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Before you read this blog post, listen to the talk that Doug linked to:

The Fragrance of Justice

What does it mean to follow Jesus? What does it mean to be fully invested in the Kingdom of God? What does it mean to be a part of the church? What does it mean, in any sense, to be part of the Vineyard? I posted this in response to various comments by several posters in an internet forum that questioned the legitimacy and value of both the Vineyard Justice Network and the Race and Reconciliation Conference. Several posters were highly critical of these efforts, and questioned why they were supported in the Vineyard. While the conference was going on, btw.

Talk of Justice is loaded with different things. And it is something that echoes throughout everything, as Martin Luther King hinted at:

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In response, I posted the Wimber talk from the Justice Conference in Winnipeg because all of the talks there are treasures- including those by Jackie Pullinger and David Ruis, but also to show that this emphasis on justice, caring for the poor, and racial reconciliation is not a “new thing” that certain Vineyard folk thought up in response to recent events. Justice, reconciliation, and serving the poor have been intrinsic to our DNA from the very beginning. As John Wimber states in his two talks, his entrance into faith came via a Quaker church, and the Society of Friends have long been associated with justice issues. John also spoke of his own journey in justice ministry at the Anaheim Vineyard from the early days.

This emphasis is reflected in the Vineyard Core Value of “Reconciling People with God and All Creation” which states:

we are committed to becoming healing communities engaged in the work of reconciliation wherever sin and evil hold sway. We seek to be diverse communities of hope that realize the power of the cross to reconcile what has been separated by sin.

Now of course, you can argue, as some have in many ways and many places, whether it is right for this to be a core value of the Vineyard movement, but you cannot argue that this is a new thing invented by Marxists or leftists bitter about the election results. “Justice” the term, and the concept, are rooted in the First Testament, not in Marx and Engels.

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I wrote in Living the Future:

A Vineyard theology of justice would find its foundation in the Old Testament conception of the kingdom of the “Lord that loves justice” (Isa. 61:8), which looks forward to the final triumph of righteousness. 

The Vineyard retelling of the Exodus story is that it is the first major revelation of the kingdom of God; thus it is clear that the working of justice and release from oppression lie deep within the story of the Hebrew people. The demands of justice within Hebrew society and most specifically, on its kings, religious rulers, and persons of wealth are brought to the front in the major and minor Hebrew prophets; but these protests are grounded in a picture of the eschatological kingdom of justice that acted as a standard to which the current rulers could be held.
Have a great day everyone. Let Justice and Mercy reign in your workplaces, families, and churches today.
Why not pray that old prayer, ‘Come, Holy Spirit’, and see what the God of Justice (Isaiah 30:18, etc.) will do…

 

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