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Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth: 12 Questions Christians Should Ask About Social Justice Paperback – December 22, 2020
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God does not suggest, he commands that we do justice.
Social justice is not optional for the Christian. All injustice affects others, so talking about justice that isn't social is like talking about water that isn't wet or a square with no right angles. But the Bible's call to seek justice is not a call to superficial, kneejerk activism. We are not merely commanded to execute justice, but to "truly execute justice." The God who commands us to seek justice is the same God who commands us to "test everything" and "hold fast to what is good."
Drawing from a diverse range of theologians, sociologists, artists, and activists, Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth, by Thaddeus Williams, makes the case that we must be discerning if we are to "truly execute justice" as Scripture commands. Not everything called "social justice" today is compatible with a biblical vision of a better world. The Bible offers hopeful and distinctive answers to deep questions of worship, community, salvation, and knowledge that ought to mark a uniquely Christian pursuit of justice. Topics addressed include:
- Culture War
- Critical Theory
- Identity Politics
Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth also brings in unique voices to talk about their experiences with these various social justice issues, including:
- Michelle-Lee Barnwall
- Suresh Budhaprithi
- Eddie Byun
- Freddie Cardoza
- Becket Cook
- Bella Danusiar
- Monique Duson
- Ojo Okeye
- Edwin Ramirez
- Samuel Sey
- Neil Shenvi
- Walt Sobchak
In Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth, Thaddeus Williams transcends our religious and political tribalism and challenges readers to discover what the Bible and the example of Jesus have to teach us about justice. He presents a compelling vision of justice for all God's image-bearers that offers hopeful answers to life's biggest questions.
From the Publisher
Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth brings in unique voices to talk about their experiences, including:
"I have begun the painful process of untangling my faith from Critical Race Theory. I’ve put up a good fight, but God is gentle, faithful, and kind. He walks by my side on a liberating journey out of Critical Race Theory. I am learning that God has a much better way to bring justice and unity than I do. And there’s grace for all of us."
"If we’re going to have truly productive conversations about race and other controversial social justice topics, we have to be willing to give people space to make honest mistakes. As a follower of Jesus, I am called to build up others in the body instead of shaming them."
"I know from experience how a noble desire for justice can replace love in our hearts with resentment and hate. I know because it happened to me. But by God’s grace, and God’s grace alone, I have been set free."
"Jesus has made the Jews and gentiles one, having broken down the dividing wall of hostility through the cross. Why, then, would we keep intact the dividing walls? Pray that we would truly do justice, because Jesus has turned the walls of hostility into rubble."
"Fear can’t drive out fear, nor hate drive out hate, only love can do that. And God’s love can and will heal the pains of this world a thousand times over, just as it healed mine."
"Biblical justice exposes today’s social justice as little more than a resounding gong or clanging cymbal. Lord, give us the courage to stand for your justice and against its counterfeits, no matter the threats to our reputations or livelihoods. You are worth it!"
Why Write This Book?
"Why write about social justice, especially given all the personal and political landmines buried in that word combination? It was not to win the approval of online inquisitors (because I won’t) or because I have it all figured out (because I don’t) or because it was fun (because it wasn’t). Rather, I care about God, I care about his church, I care about the gospel, and I care about true justice. Not all, but much of what is branded “social justice” these days is a threat to all four. As we explore important questions about social justice together, my co-authors and I have zero interest in the kind of individualistic, head-in-the-clouds Christianity that plugs its ears to the oppressed. If you also care about advancing the kind of social justice that glorifies God first, draws people into Christ-centered community, and champions the good news of saving grace while working against real oppression, then this book is for you."
—Thaddeus J. Williams
'As an African American pastor of a predominately African American church, I'm often asked what book I would recommend on the controversial topic of social justice. Thaddeus Williams has written my top recommendation. Thoroughly biblical, well- reasoned, and deeply charitable, this balanced book is a beacon of gospel light to every believer desiring to confront injustice armed with the truth of the Word. There are few issues of our day more important for Christians to get right than this one, and we owe Dr. Williams a debt of gratitude for his courage and skill applied to the production of this excellent work.' -- ANTHONY D. KIDD, pastor of preaching, Community of Faith Bible Church, South Gate, California
'This is the most important book I have recommended in over twenty years. I have known Professor Williams for many years as a graduate student, friend, and faculty colleague. He is recognized as a person who walks what he talks. Thus, he brings biblical rigor, fidelity, cultural sensitivity, and concern to the topics in this book. It is now the go-to resource for clear, biblical thinking about social justice. I know of no other evangelical book with such rigor, insight, biblical fidelity, ethical maturity, and breadth of coverage as this one. This is the book for you!' -- J. P. MORELAND, distinguished professor of philosophy, Talbot School of Theology; author of Finding Quiet
'If you are a Christian concerned about oppression, injustice, racism, and other moral ills that plague our culture, there may not be a more important book you read this year. Secular ideologies offer solutions to age-old problems that may act like temporary fixes, but only the Christian worldview can provide a robust and deeply satisfying action plan. Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth is the definitive guide to help Christians 'do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God . . .' as Micah 6:8 puts it, while not sacrificing one iota of biblical truth.' -- ALISA CHILDERS, blogger and podcast host at www.alisachilders.com, author of Another Gospel?
'Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth is the book I've been waiting for! This is the book that explains and analyzes the social justice movement--that treats it fairly and evaluates it critically. This is the book that prioritizes the gospel as the foundation for any true justice. This is the book that helps Christians understand why they must emphasize social justice, but why they must emphasize the right kind of social justice. This is the book I highly recommend.' -- TIM CHALLIES, blogger at www.challies.com, author of Do More Better
'Simply outstanding. Williams is fair-minded to Christians on both sides of the political spectrum while not shying away from what needs to be said. This urgently needed guide brings clarity to one of the greatest confusions Christians have in today's culture: discerning the difference between notions of justice rooted in a Christian worldview and those rooted in a godless secularism. Make no mistake--there's a critical difference, and it's one that's dangerously deceiving a great number in the church.' -- NATASHA CRAIN, blogger at www.christianmomthoughts.com; author of Talking with Your Kids about Jesus
'In our tribalized social-media age, the loudest voices are the ones that tend to get a hearing. But I'm thankful for the thoughtful voices that speak with wisdom to some of the most contentious issues we face today. Thaddeus Williams tackles them all--racism, sexuality, socialism, abortion, critical theory, identity politics--and argues that social justice, while not the gospel, isn't optional for Christians. Justified people seek to be a just people. But Williams also reminds us that not everything branded 'social justice'--the increasingly superficial, knee-jerk activism of our day is truly biblical. Whatever your starting point in this conversation, here's a book that will help inform, equip, and serve the church.' -- IVAN MESA, editor, the Gospel Coalition
'Thaddeus, without a doubt, distributed some much-needed truth to the issue of how the social justice argument is contrary to gospel truth. His section on 'Sinners or Systems' was a breath of fresh air to a critical thinker like myself. I recommend this work to anyone who desires to stand on the side of the truth rather than speculations when it pertains to how we apply the Word of God in today's cultural climate.' -- JAMAL BANDY, host, the Prescribed Truth podcast
'Wherever one finds oneself in the debate related to Christians and social justice, this important work by Thaddeus Williams and friends will offer wise guidance to these challenging issues. Williams is to be commended for his courage in offering this road map for his readers. Anyone who wishes to engage in the debate regarding social justice in the days ahead will find Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth an essential prerequisite to that discussion.' -- DAVID S. DOCKERY, president, International Alliance for Christian Education; theologian-in-residence, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
'Thaddeus Williams raises a number of good questions about justice--how the Bible defines it, what actions promote it, and what philosophies and ideologies might under-mine it. There's plenty here to challenge your presuppositions and assumptions--all with the goal of being more faithful to Scripture and clear-eyed regarding today's possibilities and pitfalls for doing justice in society.' -- TREVIN WAX, senior vice president for theology and communications, LifeWay Christian Resources; author of Rethink Your Self
'Thaddeus Williams tackles the emotional topic of social justice in a way that is simultaneously personable, compassionate, and biblically faithful. Thaddeus doesn't try to 'Christianize' secular social justice ideology with a few Bible verses taken out of context. Rather, he works toward a faithful presentation of the biblical data. As a theologian working on justice questions, I am grateful for this contribution to this field.' -- KRISTA BONTRAGER, theologian at Theology Mom, cohost of All the Things podcast
'Williams shows us how to think from the Christian faith, rather than allowing the categories and concerns of the day to rule the way Christians talk about race, politics, and inequality. This well-written, highly engaging book deserves careful consideration by every thoughtful Christian concerned about the issues of our time--not least because it allows Scripture to question some of our key assumptions about these issues, while also providing alternative ways to think about and engage them as kingdom citizens.' -- UCHE ANIZOR, associate professor of theology, Biola University; author of How to Read Theology
'Are you concerned about social justice and the church? If so, Thaddeus Williams's contribution to the discussion is a must-read. As an academic committed to justice concerns, I'm thankful for Williams's approach. He's unequivocal yet charitable and proves to be percipient and discerning as he unpacks his subject with care achieving the often elusive combination of necessary depth and broad accessibility. Join him and his cadre of diverse contributors as they address arguably the most significant issue facing today's church.' -- PAT SAWYER, professor of education and cultural studies, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
'As a parent, teacher, and Christ-follower, my heart has been so troubled by the way many Christians have been drawn into false notions of social justice. Williams's book provides the kind of courageous, clear, truth-telling that can help bring sanity and unifying, gospel-centered love and justice to hurting people, fragmented churches, and a hostile world. This book provides direction for those who would seek to do justice in a way that honors God and truly loves others without resorting to us-versus-them dichotomies that tear people apart.' -- LAURA ROSENKRANZ, mother, teacher
''Social Justice'--the very term too often quickly divides the room, resulting in rancor, uncivility, and broken relationships. This work will change that. Williams's bold contribution displays devotion to loving both God and neighbor with fidelity. Traveling beyond bogus binaries, pietistic proof-texting, and poisonous partisanship, Williams instead probes today's complex issues with riveting penetration, yet gracious patience so this crucial conversation can be continued, not censored.' -- JEFFERY J. VENTRELLA, senior counsel, senior vice president of academic affairs and training, Alliance Defending Freedom
'In the task of fulfilling a biblical vision for humanity, we must heed the cry of our generation. This book calls us to conform our minds to the truth that informs justice. With its source in God, justice must flow through the human heart in order for it to be actualized in our world. Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth attempts to clear the way to let justice roll down as waters.' -- JACOB DANIEL, founder, The Heritage Counsel
'Williams offers a needed correction to some of the excesses in today's modern social justice movement. He does so without denying the existence of many of the problems such movements hope to address. The addition of Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth to our personal libraries will help us to move closer to a holistic approach to issues tied to social justice.' -- GEORGE YANCEY, professor of sociology, Baylor University; author of Beyond Racial Gridlock
About the Author
Thaddeus Williams (Ph.D., Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam) loves enlarging students’ understanding and enjoyment of Jesus at Biola University in La Mirada, CA, where he serves as assistant professor of Systematic Theology for Talbot School of Theology. He has also taught Philosophy and Literature at Saddleback College, Jurisprudence at Trinity Law School, and as a lecturer in Worldview Studies at L’Abri Fellowships in Switzerland and Holland, and Ethics for Blackstone Legal Fellowship the Federalist Society in Washington D.C. He resides in Orange County, CA with his wife and four kids.
- Publisher : Zondervan Academic (December 22, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0310119480
- ISBN-13 : 978-0310119487
- Item Weight : 1.05 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #17,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The social justice that I was ready to reject a few years ago is what Williams calls “Social Justice B.” Social Justice B divides humanity into different identity groups and puts them into conflict with one another: the rich and the poor, black and white, gay and straight, male and female, and so on. In the sets of groups just mentioned, one group is the oppressor (for example, white people) and one group is the oppressed (for example, black people). And because the oppressor is evil, violent action can be justified to fight back against them. In order to justify such action, the oppressed group or those fighting on their behalf will develop propaganda against the oppressor. This includes revising history so that the oppressor is seen as evil, associating all individuals in that identity group as evil, and blaming all struggles of injustice the oppressed go through on the oppressor. (I found Williams explanation of this process enlightening).
Social Justice A is biblical justice. It is fulfilled by, first, seeing all humans as equal because they are created in the image of God — all of them. Second, by avoiding grouping all people into group identities. As St. Paul says: “There is no distinction, for all have fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) We are all sinners in need of God’s love, grace, and mercy. This should bring us together, Williams points out, because we all should know — whether rich or poor or whatever group we might fit into — that we are all capable of the most terrible evils. As Williams points out: “the problem of evil” is “not just a theologian’s problem, it is everyone’s problem.” The evils in the world cannot be placed on any particular identity group — evil is a problem we must fight together. However, we must fight evil in the right way — in Christ, the only true identity all humans belong to. For Christ is “our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” by his work on the cross. (Eph. 2:14).
There are several other issues in Williams’ book that are giving me clarity where I feel like I have been stuck in a fog for far too long. Thanks to his passion and love for Christ, the fog is lifting.
Darkness is being replaced with light.
I was hoping this book would help me resolve my internal conflict.
I was also leary that this book would be a hyper spiritualized and not relevant or, worse, deny the need for social justice.
The book was very relevant and addressed the theories as well as identity politics, tribalism, and collectivism, which is feeding the polarization within society. It was not written in a judgemental tone but in a way that brought clarity, conviction, and liberation.
Thaddeus Williams provides the best path forward by actually seeking justice on the very concept of social justice. With great charity and greater clarity, Thaddeus weaves together both personal testimony and established evidence to clearly separate real justice from an impostor masquerading under the name. Rather than submitting to the popular polemic practices of today’s world, Mr. Williams instead graciously explains the foundations of “Social Justice B” (as he defines it) and shows that, however well-intentioned its adherents may be, that path is fraught with as much injustice as “Social Justice B” attempts to fight. Alongside exposing such foundations, Mr. Williams makes a strong case for a better view, a better approach to justice, one that actually answers questions rather than only making accusations.
One of the unique features Mr. Williams includes that testifies to his thorough treatment of the subject is the testimonies of various individuals in their struggles with injustice. As often as not, these individuals come from their own histories of being racist or intolerant, having to learn the dangers and failures of such perspectives, growing and learning how to love their neighbor, and now standing firmly against such discrimination.
In opposing polemics and vitriol, Mr. Williams has crafted a book that guides without demanding, educates without indoctrinating, and drives for truth without driving away others. This is a book that will stand firm for years to come as a benchmark in the discussion of justice and inequality and is an invaluable resource in these times both nebulous and tumultuous.