Written by leading evangelical scholars, Social Injustice: What Evangelicals Need to Know about the World explores the Christian heritage of social justice from biblical, historical, and missiological perspectives.
The ten chapters will challenge Christians to consider their role in stepping into social justice issues from a distinctly evangelical position. The topic is of considerable importance to the ongoing mission of God in the world. With increasing numbers of millennials and Gen Zs focused on their contribution to global change, Social Injustice provides a solid theological foundation for engaging some of the most important social issues of our day.
“If the church preaches only divine forgiveness and does not affirm justice, she implies that God treats immorality and sin lightly. If the church proclaims only justice, we shall all die in unforgiven sin without the Spirit’s empowerment for righteousness. We should be equally troubled that we lag in championing justice and in fulfilling our evangelistic mandate. We should realize that the Great Commission is dwarfed and even maligned if one implies that God is blindly tolerant of social and structural evil, that he forgives sinners independently of a concern for justice. . . The local church should identify the most grievous injustices—local, regional, and national—and strive to rectify them, in concert with all who seek to right the wrong.“
Interview with Carl F. H. Henry, “A Summons to Justice,” Christianity Today, 1992
From the Foreword
William Moulder and Michael Cooper have done us a great service in compiling these essays on justice from an evangelical perspective. The first three essays in this timely and important book lay out the biblical, theological and historical foundations of justice. The next seven essays address the practical application of biblical principles of justice to a wide range of issues in the global context: (1) human trafficking in India; (2) bioethics and exploitation in the global medical enterprise; (3) education and freedom in Ethiopia; (4) the care of Haitian orphans: (5) literacy in Afghanistan; (6) food production and our relationship to the land as a gift from God; and (7) membership rights. The theme running through all of these essays is perhaps best summed up in these words by Boaz Johnson:
“It is the encounter with the text of the Bible, and the God of the Bible, and the Messiah of the Bible that gives true freedom from systemic injustice and slavery” (p. 89).
The ten essays in this book force us to re-examine from a biblical standpoint what it means to love mercy and act justly (Micah 6:8) in response to the needs of the poor and oppressed of the world. Again, I will attempt to illustrate this with a personal anecdote. When I was a student at Trinity College in Deerfield, IL in the late 1960s, I would go with a friend to witness to homeless people living in the flop houses along Madison Street in Chicago. This was an experience that left an indelible impression on me. When I became professor of sociology at Trinity I made it a point to take students on tours of the inner city, which included walks down the same street where I had witnessed to the homeless years before. By then the flop houses were gone, but the homeless were still there. In recent years, Madison Street has undergone a transformation. The homeless and various ministries and shelters that served them have been pushed out to make way for gentrification, or the movement of wealthier people into the community. Upscale condos and apartment buildings and large single-family homes with well-manicured lawns line newly paved streets. But over the years since my days as a college student, the problem of homelessness in Chicago has increased, not decreased. More homeless live on the streets and back-alleys of our major cities now than ever before. This is a reminder that issues like poverty and homelessness are complex and multifaceted. The desperately poor need more than a well-intentioned pat on the back and cheery “God loves you;” or a few coins in a Styrofoam cup; or a box of food from a food pantry. There must be a total restructuring of the Church and rethinking of what it means to do ministry in a broken world. This book points us in the right direction.
Ronald P. Hesselgrave, Ph.D
Author, The Supper: New Creation, Hospitality and Hope in Christ
Table of Contents
- Evangelicals and Social Justice: Setting the Global Context – Michael T. Cooper
- The Bible and Social Justice – William J. Moulder
- Christian History and Social Justice – James J. Stamoolis
- The Bible and Human Trafficking – Rajkumar Boaz Johnson
- Bioethics and Social Injustice – Michael J. Sleasman and Paige Comstock Cunningham
- Granting Freedom to Ethiopia through Education – Yelena Lopuga
- Orphans: Caring Well for Haitian Children – Sarah Bushman
- Literacy in Afghanistan – Teressa Mahl
- Toward a Theology of Food Production and Land – Alex Shaver
- Social Justice: Restoring the Rights of Membership – Stephen Paul Kennedy
About the Contributors
SARAH BUSHMAN is a graduate of Trinity International University where she earned a Master of Arts in Cultural Engagement with an emphasis in Social Entrepreneurship. While at Trinity, Sarah focused her passion and studies on development in Haiti. After an April 2010 visit to Haiti, she realized the need for creation care practices and sustainable social entrepreneurial ventures. As a result, she developed a business plan for a recycling initiative in Haiti to provide for Haitians and the environment and is currently working to implement the business.
MICHAEL T. COOPER was associate professor of Religion and Contemporary Culture and program director of the Master of Arts in Cultural Engagement at Trinity Graduate School in Deerfield, Illinois. He earned his BED from Texas A&M University, his MA from Columbia Biblical Seminary and School of Mission, and his Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has contributed numerous articles and chapters dealing with Christian engagement of Western society. He is the author of Contemporary Druidry: A Historical and Ethnographic Study (Sacred Tribes Press 2010) and editor of Perspectives on Post-Christendom Spiritualities: Reflections on Western Spiritualities and New Religious Movements (Morling Press 2010) and The Peaceable Christian: Five Evangelicals Reflect on Peace (The Timothy Center Press 2011). He is founder of the Timothy Center for Sustainable Transformation and a research fellow of the Western Institute for Intercultural Studies as well as an academic advisor for the Lausanne Committee’s Issue Group addressing new spiritualities in a postmodern world.
PAIGE COMSTOCK CUNNINGHAM is Executive Director of The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity. She is also a Fellow at the Institute for Biotechnology and the Human Future and a Trustee of Taylor University. Cunningham is Adjunct Professor of Law and Bioethics at Trinity Graduate School. She was an adjunct instructor at Wheaton College for eight years. She graduated from Taylor University (summa cum laude), and earned her J.D. from Northwestern University Law School, and an M.A. in Bioethics from Trinity International University. Cunningham lectures and has published numerous articles, editorials and book chapters in the areas of law, bioethics and public policy, and has testified before congressional committees at the state and national level, and has appeared frequently on radio and television.
STEPHEN PAUL KENNEDY received his Ph.D. in Social Ethics from the University of Southern California. He was a Congressional Fellow in the United States Senate in 1986 and for the next three years was a speechwriter in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He has taught at Georgetown University, Concordia University (Irvine), Fuller Theological Seminary, Trinity Graduate School and Trinity Law School. He is currently adjunct faculty at Biola and Trinity Law School and a leading evangelical expert on international human rights.
RAJKUMAR BOAZ JOHNSON is professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at North Park University in Chicago. He was raised in one of the slums of New Delhi, among the poorest of poor – among kids who were sold into slavery. He was trained in a radical Hindu grammar and high school. While in high school, he read the works of a Hindu Brahmin convert to Jesus, Pandita Ramabai. She had rescued hundreds of young girls from sexual slavery. He also met Bhai Bhakt Singh, an extremist Sikh whose life was radically changed by Yesu Masih (Jesus Christ). Thereafter, he was given a copy of the Gospel of John. The picture of the life and death of Yesu Masih completely captured his mind. No Hindu god or guru showed such pure and selfless love. This was a life changing encounter for him. Jesus, it became clear to him, was the only answer to poverty and slavery in India, and the complexity of issues facing the world. He alone could bring about comprehensive and radical change.
YELENA LOPUGA as a first generation immigrant from Ukraine, has first-hand experience in the transformative power of education. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Christian Ministry from California Christian College and a Masters in Communication and Culture from Trinity Graduate School in Deerfield, Illinois. As a human rights advocate, she hopes to use her knowledge to further just treatment of the poor and disadvantaged.
TERESSA MAHL is a graduate of Trinity International University where she pursued a masters degree in Communication and Culture. She received her undergraduate degree in Organizational Communications from Cedarville University, and currently works at TIU in the Office of Alumni & Community Relations as the Coordinator for Communications and Events. Teressa lives with her husband Aaron in Deerfield, Illinois.
WILLIAM J. MOULDER is professor of biblical studies at Trinity International University’s Trinity College. Dr. Moulder received the Bachelor of Arts in biblical education at Columbia Bible College, the Master of Divinity at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and the Doctor of Philosophy in New Testament languages and literature from St. Andrews University in Scotland. His areas of expertise include Bible interpretation, biblical research, and Greek. He is an occasional member of the Chicago Society for Biblical Research and Institute for Biblical Research. Dr. Moulder has a variety of teaching experiences over the last twenty-five years which include: Moffatt College of Bible, Kenya; Union Biblical Seminary, India; North Park Seminary, Chicago; Trinity Torch Graduate School of Theology, Seoul; and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. In addition, Dr. Moulder has written many articles regarding the Old Testament and the New Testament.
ALEX SHAVER originally from Wellington, Ohio, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Student Ministry from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA and a Master of Arts in Communication and Culture from Trinity Graduate School in Deerfield, Illinois. He currently serves as an Resident Director at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania.
MICHAEL J. SLEASMAN is the managing director and research scholar for The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity and an affiliate professor in the Graduate School at Trinity International University. He regularly teaches courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels in philosophy, theology, and ethics. His particular specialization is the intersection of technology and culture. He is co-editor with Kevin Vanhoozer and Charles Anderson of Everyday Theology: How to Read Cultural Texts and Interpret Trends. Dr. Sleasman serves on the Board of Reference for the Christian Institute on Disability for Joni & Friends, International. He has been interviewed on a range of bioethical issues by media sources in print and on the radio, and has delivered workshops and lectures for a variety of audiences.
JAMES J. STAMOOLIS is a consultant to educational and missionary organizations. A convert from Greek Orthodoxy to evangelical Protestanism, he was a missionary in South Africa, a Theological Secretary for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, Graduate Dean of Wheaton College, Senior Vice President and Dean of the College at Trinity International University and CEO of a mission. He has been adjunct faculty at Wheaton College, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Trinity International University and Columbia International University. Author of Eastern Orthodox Mission Theology Today (Orbis), Gen. ed. of Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism (Zondervan) and numerous journal and encyclopedia articles.