Although I am a massive, massive fan of Jeremy Corbyn -and my socialism and faith are very interlinked- I am passionate about social justice, fighting inequality and poverty irradiated I belive that Jesus Christ offers people more than socialism ever can.
Theologian, Karl Barth, once suggested that CHristians should read the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other, and I agree that the word of God needs to rooted and grounded in everyday reality, yet I worry whether sometimes whether we sometimes ignore scripture and just stick to the newspaper.
The current bishop of Manchester was asked what his priorities were to which he said something like housing, immigration and someother important social justice issue… and although it is fantastic that Bishops are fighting passionately over issues of justice, but I did wonder surely our highest priority is proclaim Gods awesome message of Salvation through Christ.
Although I love liberation theology, we need to realise that our gospel is so much bigger than just liberation theology.
There have been times when I have sat in the pew and although I feel fired up to make a difference in Gods world I worry that sometimes Jesus isn’t mentioned much, nor the cross, or redemption from sin.
The Church is more than a social justice club, or a toothless spin off from the Green Party, important though these issues are we have a hope to proclaim that is beyond the grave, transformation that is not just of our external circumstances but of our hearts.
I once heard someone say “You have fed me, clothed me, loved me and listened to me…and yet you let me go to hell because you never told me about Jesus!”
Shane Claiborne said to the American Evangelicals that Jesus had plenty to say about life here and now rather than beyond the grave, I wonder sometimes whether in the West we need to remember the vital importance of eternity won for us with his blood soaked broken body on the cross.
Social Justice is a massively important part of the advance of the Kingdom, it’s obidience to the commands of Christ and I am delighted that the Church of the 21st Century has grasped its importance, but this can not be at the neglect of Gods Salvation message.
The Gospel, I believe needs to be proclaimed by words and needs, Paul tells the Church in Phillipi that “we hold out the word that gives life”.
I love the Salvation Army they realised that God was calling the stuffy, pompous and smug Victorian Church to roll up its sleeves and meet the people God loves who were in the gutter, but they didn’t just recognise their physical needs, people are whole people with a spiritual hungers, they needed to know about Christ, his death resurrection, forgiveness from the past and power to live a transformed life in the future.
Danielle Strickland, a Salvation Army Officer, who spoke at New Wine about how there are prostitutes coming out of their old lives, living free from drugs in flats and yet they keep returning to destructive past behaviours because although their external circumstances have changed, but God is into internal change, transformation and healing on the inside.
Let’s continue to be Christians passionate about Social Action, but don’t let out works become a replacement for seeing the eternal Kingdom of God breaking into real people’s lives.
I love Jeremy Corbyn and think he could be the best Prime Minister we have had, but let’s not get confused with with which JC it is actaully all about!