As I study the Minor Prophets, I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion that the Social Gospel is an integral area of the churches ministry. I am also coming to the conclusion that if the church doesn’t actively pursue and particapate in this area of social concern, there is a risk that Gods hand of judgement will be upon the church.
By and large in the past and its even true for today, the Church has considered its Gospel priority in demanding society to repent, turn to God, accept forgiveness of sins, then every thing will be hunky dory and society will change for the better.
However I’m increasingly seeing that there is no New Testament focus on telling society to repent. I challenge you to show me any where in the New Testament period where the focus of the early church was in telling society to repent?
By this I’m talking the Acts side of the cross. Yes it is true that in the first recorded sermon Peter told the crowd to repent…but this was only after he had shared the Gospel message with them and they asked him, what must be they do to be saved… His answer was…Believe on the Lord Jesus.
It seems to me that the church looks upon society as being them. Making a distinction between us and them…Us meaning we usually take the high moral ground.
Yet through out the Old Testament there is so much teaching about the need for society to take care of its self and look out for the poor, the orphans, the widows and assylum seekers and if it didn’t then their religious festivals, prayers and sacrifices and times of worship were destestable to God.
Take the book of Amos for instance. In it we read how the wealthy élite, religious and national leaders were looking upon the poor with disdain, with the thoughts… look at us, we are those who are blessed by God and its so obvious you are not!
Jesus draws upon this history of Gods rebuke because of the lack of social justice by saying, If you give someone a drink. If you clothe the naked. If you visit those in prison. If you look after the orphans and widows. If you look after the asylum seekers. If you care for the sick and the needy, then you also are doing those things for me.
He then rebukes the religious people who are all into signs and miracles and preaching and teaching without any working within the social justice areas, that he will tell them to go, that he never knew them.