New Book! Stand: Christianity vs. Social Justice

Stand header

The following is Owen Strachan’s foreword to the upcoming G3 Press book by Jon Benzinger. You can pre-order at a special discounted rate here.

The Bible is not a boring or tame book. It’s actually pretty wild. It contains an epic war between good and evil, and this war unfolds through numerous dramatic face-offs between the people of God and the people of Satan. Moses before Pharoah; David against Goliath; Christ against Satan; and Elijah against 450 prophets of Baal. It was the worst of times, Elijah’s day. Yet he did not go silent. He saw that the nation of Israel was being taken over by godlessness. He watched the people drift into idolatry. So, in God’s providence, Elijah called a show-down between Baal’s priests and himself. A conflict and confrontation for the ages, this was.

Two offerings would be prepared, one to Baal, and one to God. The people would have to choose their way depending on which being answered. This is what we hear Elijah saying in 1 Kings 18:21, a passage that echoes in our day:

And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.

We know the rest of the story. The Baal-followers heard nothing from Baal, while fire fell from heaven as the Lord answered righteous Elijah. The truth won out that day. Elijah had taken his stand, and the Lord God vindicated him.

We are in no less a convulsive moment today. As Jon Benzinger’s excellent short book Stand shows, we are in a time for standing. The false gospel of wokeness and social justice is advancing everywhere around us. Few know what is happening; fewer still speak against this godless ideology. Like a shadow creeping over a sunlit mountain pasture, Marxist social justice is now overtaking true biblical justice. People are being told they’re complicit in “white supremacy” based not on their actions or words, but the color of their skin. The entire public order, we are told further, is infested with “systemic racism,” a terrible poison that is at once everywhere and nowhere.

This sounds new, but it is not. It is the old “social gospel” with a software update. It is no gospel at all, but an anti-gospel. It teaches as Jon makes clear that minorities in our society are inherently and inescapably oppressed. Then, having diagnosed a false problem, it changes the good news of Christ to focus on social liberation, not spiritual salvation. All must mobilize in this struggle for “social justice,” or else suffer for their unwillingness. How confusing this is, for it is absolutely true that every believer must hate evil, and that our doctrine of justice—as Jon shows in spades—is rich and textured in extremity. True biblical justice fights evil, makes way for compassion, and collides head-on with ungodly systems like Marxism. (Marxism is history’s most successful bad idea, having led to the deaths of some 100 million people globally).

But true biblical justice is not at all the same system as Marxist social justice. The two are incompatible, as Jon argues. Sadly, many evangelicals hear that this sort of clarity is unnecessary; in a good number of cases, the sheep in fact do not want clarity, but ear-tickling words (2 Tim 4:3–4). Many today thus limp between two opinions, and actually think this is ideal. Better not to be right or left; better to play the middle, never choose sides, never act decisively. But thankfully, not every pastor or church or Christian takes this approach. Some men—with many believers across the world—still stand on God’s Word. Some pastors call the people not to limp. They summon them to the solid rock of truth. This is what Jon does in Stand. It is not too much to say it this way, switching the metaphor: you have in your hands the antidote to the spirit of the age.

Whether you are a believer or not yet a Christian, I urge you: feast on this book. Read it slowly. Gather your family, or your college roommates, or even total strangers (!) as you read it. Vocalize paragraphs out loud, then discuss them. Watch as God uses this book to first help you see clearly, then help you strategize effectively, then help you go and bear witness. This is what the world needs: a flooding of all markets, all channels, with divine truth. You do this best, of course, when you stand with a body of believers, a local church that adores and proclaims sound doctrine.

The days are evil, and none of us knows what we have in store. But God’s people are called in every age to emulate Elijah and stand. This is what Jon Benzinger has done. This is what his fellow pastors—and the church’s members—at Redeemer Bible Church have done, with Kyle Swanson and Dale Thackrah in particular holding up their friend’s arms as he wages war on the devil and his schemes (2 Cor 10:3–6). This now is what you must do. Whether you have been shepherded or not toward God’s Word in the past, do not limp between two opinions for a moment longer. The hour is late; the time for choosing is upon us.

As you do so in Christian faith, know this: if Satan attacks you, if the outcome of your witness is not victory as in Elijah’s day, God has you in his hands. You can take your own Elijah-like stand because you know that even if the forces of evil take you down, even if they destroy your reputation and dox you publicly, even if they disown you, even if they push you off the ledge, you will only fall into the everlasting arms. You are never alone, and you will be rewarded on the last day. As a Christian, you know what Elijah knew, and more: Christ will never let you go (John 10:28).

With this confidence, even as many have inexplicably gone mute and left the battlefield, let us not shrink back. Let us speak. Let us tell the truth. In love, let us preach the gospel. The Lord is God; let us follow him, come what may.

Dr. Owen Strachan
Provost, Grace Bible Theological Seminary
Author, Christianity and Wokeness and Reenchanting Humanity
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