Social Justice – Keller’s new book “Generous Justice”

The term "social justice" has long been controversial and means different things to different people. Earlier this year Glenn Beck encouraged Christians to leave churches that preach social justice. Should Christians heed the advice of a Mormon? That's another issue but let me say "NO"!  Kevin DeYoung has wisely suggested that Christians not use the term "social justice" without explanation. It is true that social justice has been attached to issues that are not biblical concerns or are part of a manipulative political agenda. For others, "social justice" and "social gospel" are connected. I am not prepared to drop the term social justice unless another term would be more helpful and here's why.


Tim Keller's forthcoming book, "Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just" should provide clarity in the discussion on social justice which when rightly defined should lead Christians to a better understanding of Micah 6:8 – "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"


The first chapter of Keller's book treats Micah 6:8 where we find two Hebrew words translated "justice" and "mercy/kindness." According to Keller, "When these two words, tzadeqah and mishpat, are tied together, as they are over three dozen times, the English expression that best conveys the meaning is 'social justice.'”  Keller asks this question: "If God’s character includes a zeal for justice that leads him to have the tenderest love and closest involvement with the socially weak, then what should God’s people be like?" I've attached a PDF link to the first chapter. If this chapter is any indication of the value of the book then the book's arrival may bring a greatly needed corrective to the misunderstandings and/or ignorance of social justice from a biblical perspective.

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