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Why Social Justice Is Not Biblical Justice: An Urgent Appeal to Fellow Christians in a Time of Social Crisis

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Prepare yourself to defend the truth against the greatest worldview threat of our generation.In recent years, a set of ideas rooted in postmodernism and neo-Marxist critical theory have merged into a comprehensive worldview. Labeled "social justice" by its advocates, it has radically redefined the popular understanding of justice. It purports to value equality and diversit Prepare yourself to defend the truth against the greatest worldview threat of our generation.In recent years, a set of ideas rooted in postmodernism and neo-Marxist critical theory have merged into a comprehensive worldview. Labeled "social justice" by its advocates, it has radically redefined the popular understanding of justice. It purports to value equality and diversity and to champion the cause of the oppressed. Yet far too many Christians have little knowledge of this ideology, and consequently, don't see the danger. Many evangelical leaders confuse ideological social justice with biblical justice. Of course, justice is a deeply biblical idea, but this new ideology is far from biblical. It is imperative that Christ-followers, tasked with blessing their nations, wake up to the danger, and carefully discern the difference between Biblical justice and its destructive counterfeit. This book aims to replace confusion with clarity by holding up the counterfeit worldview and the Biblical worldview side-by-side, showing how significantly they differ in their core presuppositions. It challenges Christians to not merely denounce the false worldview, but offer a better alternative-the incomparable Biblical worldview, which shapes cultures marked by genuine justice, mercy, forgiveness, social harmony, and human dignity.


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Prepare yourself to defend the truth against the greatest worldview threat of our generation.In recent years, a set of ideas rooted in postmodernism and neo-Marxist critical theory have merged into a comprehensive worldview. Labeled "social justice" by its advocates, it has radically redefined the popular understanding of justice. It purports to value equality and diversit Prepare yourself to defend the truth against the greatest worldview threat of our generation.In recent years, a set of ideas rooted in postmodernism and neo-Marxist critical theory have merged into a comprehensive worldview. Labeled "social justice" by its advocates, it has radically redefined the popular understanding of justice. It purports to value equality and diversity and to champion the cause of the oppressed. Yet far too many Christians have little knowledge of this ideology, and consequently, don't see the danger. Many evangelical leaders confuse ideological social justice with biblical justice. Of course, justice is a deeply biblical idea, but this new ideology is far from biblical. It is imperative that Christ-followers, tasked with blessing their nations, wake up to the danger, and carefully discern the difference between Biblical justice and its destructive counterfeit. This book aims to replace confusion with clarity by holding up the counterfeit worldview and the Biblical worldview side-by-side, showing how significantly they differ in their core presuppositions. It challenges Christians to not merely denounce the false worldview, but offer a better alternative-the incomparable Biblical worldview, which shapes cultures marked by genuine justice, mercy, forgiveness, social harmony, and human dignity.

30 review for Why Social Justice Is Not Biblical Justice: An Urgent Appeal to Fellow Christians in a Time of Social Crisis

  1. 5 out of 5

    David Steele

    In 1969, Francis Schaeffer warned, “There’s bound to be death in the city once people turn away from the base upon which our culture was built … Death in the city will be increasingly all-consuming unless there is true reformation in the church and culture upon the foundation of God and His revelation.”1 Fifty years later, Schaeffer’s words ring true as professing Christians succumb to the spirit of the age. One example of this is the introduction of social justice. Social justice has creeped in In 1969, Francis Schaeffer warned, “There’s bound to be death in the city once people turn away from the base upon which our culture was built … Death in the city will be increasingly all-consuming unless there is true reformation in the church and culture upon the foundation of God and His revelation.”1 Fifty years later, Schaeffer’s words ring true as professing Christians succumb to the spirit of the age. One example of this is the introduction of social justice. Social justice has creeped into the church, parachurch, and the academy. The accommodation of this ideology has inflicted untold damage and is deceiving people and leading them astray. Scott David Allen’s book, Why Social Justice is Not Biblical Justice sets the record straight. At the outset, the author contrasts biblical justice with social justice: Biblical Justice: “Conformity to God’s moral standard as revealed in the Ten Commandments and the Royal Law: ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’” Social Justice: “Deconstructing traditional systems and structures deemed to be oppressive, and redistributing power and resources from oppressors to their victims in the pursuit of equality of outcome.” Careful readers will notice that the differences in these definitions are vast and wide. Biblical justice, which is an important aspect of God’s character is repeated throughout Scripture. Make no mistake: All Christians celebrate the reality of justice. The notion of social justice (what the author refers to as idealogical social justice) that many are embracing is not only unbiblical; it is anti-gospel. Scott David Allen skillfully shows why ideological social justice fails the biblical test and urges followers of Christ to steer clear from this worldly ideology. There is much to commend in Allen’s book. The author shows the dangers of the “woke” movement, not to mention the ungodly ideology that drives critical race theory and intersectionality. These matters require a more comprehensive treatment, which are beyond the scope of this review. At the heart of the book, however, is a careful differentiation between the Revolutionary Narrative and the Preservation Narrative. The Revolutionary Narrative The Revolutionary Narrative flows directly from the polluted stream of ideological social justice. This view maintains that institutional racism and systemic injustice must be upheld and emphasized. People of color, according to the Revolutionary Narrative are constantly battling systemic white oppression. The Revolutionary Narrative embraces the notion of “white fragility,” popularized by former University of Washington professor, Robin Diangelo. The notion of “white fragility” embraces the idea that white people need to “come to terms with their whiteness.” According to Diangelo, “whiteness has given them a big leg up in life while crushing others’ dreams, that their whiteness … has shielded them from growing up as quickly as they might have done had they not so heavily leaned on it to make it through life.”2 Thus, according to “white fragility,” all white people are racists, whether they realize it or not. This narrative embraces the organization, Black Lives Matter, the neo-Marxist group that is growing exponentially in America. BLM is “queer affirming” and celebrates LBGTQ+ rights and seeks to abolish capitalism and replace it with a form of Marxist collectivism, not to mention the defunding of the police. The idea that America has driven by systemic racism is at the very heart of both BLM and the Revolutionary Narrative. America, in this scheme, about oppression, not freedom. The Preservation Narrative The Preservation Narrative “affirms the goodness of America’s founding principles and seeks to preserve them while desiring to continually improve our systems and institutions to more perfectly reflect these principles.” Such a view is deeply patriotic and cherished the work of the Founding Fathers, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. In contrast to the Revolutionary Narrative, this narrative strongly emphasizes personal choice and responsibility. While racism exists and persists, it acknowledges that the ultimate evil lies in the human heart (Jer. 17:9). The author adds, “The challenges in the black community can be overcome in ways that are not dependent on the actions of white people, but the choices and actions of black people themselves.” Thus, individuals are accountable for their actions - both for good and evil. The Preservation Narrative acknowledges America’s history of racism but also acknowledges the progress made, beginning with the abolition of slavery and racial equality. “Today,” writes Scott David Allen, “America is one of the least racist countries in the world and a land of opportunity for people of all ethnic backgrounds, which is why immigrants continue to flock here in huge numbers, including many with black and brown skin.” Racism, in this view, is condemned and justice is coveted for all peoples. Non-Justice The social justice movement has skillfully and tragically redefined justice as follows: “The tearing down of traditional structures and systems deemed to be oppressive, and the redistribution of power and resources from oppressors to victims in pursuit of equality of outcome.” For Christians, it is critical that we understand the worldview shift taking place before our eyes. We have slowly moved from a Judeo-Christian worldview that provided a framework for justice and established worth among all people. “Today,” writes the author, “all this has been cast aside, as that which formerly brought order to society and meaning and purpose to the individual has been abandoned.” Ironically, then, ideological social justice does the opposite of what it sets out to do. Ultimately, the social justice movement seeks to overthrow the Christian worldview. The author reflects on the consequences of ideological social justice: “In the zero-sum world of social justice power struggle, there is no ‘live and let live; tolerance. No win-win, or even compromise. No place for forgiveness, or grace. No ‘love your enemy.’ No ‘first get the log out of your own eye’ introspection. There is only grievance, condemnation, and retribution. Bigots, haters, and oppressors must be destroyed.” Thoughtful Christians, then, need to see through the veneer of this diabolical scheme to supplant a God-centered worldview that sees all people as image-bearers of God and bestowed with inherent worth from their Creator. Conclusion Francis Schaeffer’s admonition to aim for true reformation in the church by clinging to God’s revelation hearkens our attention back to Psalm 11:3, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Day by day the foundations are eroding as ideological social justice eats away at the fabric of God’s propositional truth. The social justice movement strikes at the very core of the gospel - and is indeed, anti-gospel. Rod Dreher warns us in his most recent book, Live Not By Lies that the “social justice” machine is one that must be opposed at every juncture: “Far from being confined to campuses and dry intellectual journals, social justice warrior ideals are transforming elite institutions and networks of power and influence.”3To be clear, this movement is worming its way into the church at an alarming rate. Therefore, we must resist it with all our might and focus our attention on loving God, loving people, and working to assure that people of every color and creed are accepted and loved as image-bearers of God. We must return to the cross of Jesus where justice and mercy meet and promises eternal life to each person who trusts in an all-sufficient Savior. Why Social Justice is Not Biblical Justice is a landmark book. It should be devoured and discussed by Christians. The net gain will be a renewed interest in biblical justice and a reinvigorated passion to reach every person with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Corey Ely

    Revisionist History Went in with an open mind. The explanation of the ideological social justice movement is adequate as well as the explanation of biblical justice, and that was actually very helpful. Beyond that, this book is full of half-truths and surface-level analysis. Of most significance is his explanation of the Preservation Narrative focusing on the evils of the Left. Absolutely zero historical understanding of these political parties and how they shifted over time in response to issues Revisionist History Went in with an open mind. The explanation of the ideological social justice movement is adequate as well as the explanation of biblical justice, and that was actually very helpful. Beyond that, this book is full of half-truths and surface-level analysis. Of most significance is his explanation of the Preservation Narrative focusing on the evils of the Left. Absolutely zero historical understanding of these political parties and how they shifted over time in response to issues of civil rights and the role of government. I would recommend the first half of the book. I would not recommend the second half.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mike Fendrich

    This is a book every Christian should read. Author Allen not only critiques "Social Justice" for what it is, an alternate religious worldview with no grace, forgiveness or redemption (or love) but only division, polarization and destruction, but establishes the Biblical Worldview of redemption in Christ and the church working in the world to fight for a biblically defined justice, common humanity and love for neighbor. It is so sad to see many Christians absorb Critical Theory in its many manife This is a book every Christian should read. Author Allen not only critiques "Social Justice" for what it is, an alternate religious worldview with no grace, forgiveness or redemption (or love) but only division, polarization and destruction, but establishes the Biblical Worldview of redemption in Christ and the church working in the world to fight for a biblically defined justice, common humanity and love for neighbor. It is so sad to see many Christians absorb Critical Theory in its many manifestations. The reasons are legion but the fear of man surely is at the top. God forgive us. This issue is ripping churches apart, tearing brother from brother, sister from sister where the saving gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ should unite us. But instead of grieving us, we thump our chests and say WE are the true body of Christ. So sad. At a time when the church should be a beacon of light and hope in this fractured world, we have sold our prophetic voice for a bowl of red stew and have allowed the world to define terms, set the agenda and establish the means of engagement. This should not be. But we would rather have our personal peace and prosperity. Watch as the Lord takes this away!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ned

    Much needed rebuttal Thank you, Scott Allen, for adding your voice to those pushing back against the hateful, graceless, evil social justice movement. May churches across America truly awaken to respect and love for the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Barry

    Christians have always been concerned about justice. The Christian concept that we are all created in the image of God has led to the nearly universally accepted notion of human rights and the inherent dignity of all people. Throughout history, where these ideals have taken root, justice has increased – ending infanticide, abolishing slavery, promoting women’s rights, helping the poor. These ideas, and many others taken for granted today would have been considered nonsensical by the classical Gr Christians have always been concerned about justice. The Christian concept that we are all created in the image of God has led to the nearly universally accepted notion of human rights and the inherent dignity of all people. Throughout history, where these ideals have taken root, justice has increased – ending infanticide, abolishing slavery, promoting women’s rights, helping the poor. These ideas, and many others taken for granted today would have been considered nonsensical by the classical Greeks and Romans. But here Allen argues that some of today’s concepts of Social Justice owe more to the influence of Marx and Critical Theory than to Biblical Christianity. And because of their proper concern for justice, some Christians are falling for what amounts to an entirely different worldview. The author details the differences between the Biblical worldview and that of Ideological Social Justice. This is an abbreviated account of the core tenets of each worldview: Who are we? Ideological Social Justice: we are creatures whose identity is wholly socially determined. Biblical Justice: We are created in the image of God, and have inherent dignity and immeasurable worth What is our fundamental problem? Ideological Social Justice: Oppression, from white male hegemonic power structures Biblical Justice: Rebellion, against God, resulting in broken relationships with God and with fellow man What is the solution to our problem? Ideological Social Justice: Revolution, to overthrow these power structures Biblical Justice: The Gospel. Christ opened the way for the reconciliation of our broken relationships What is our primary moral duty? Ideological Social Justice: To stand in solidarity with, protect and defend the oppressed Biblical Justice: To love God with all our heart, mind, and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves How do we know what is true? Ideological Social Justice: The notions of objective truth, reason, logic, evidence and argument are discredited tools used by oppressors to maintain their hegemony Biblical Justice: Divine revelation, human conscience (the law written on our heart), God-given reason and logic Who has ultimate authority? Ideological Social Justice: Victims; their claims must be believed without question Biblical Justice: God, and his revealed Word in scripture I’ll just drop in a couple of quotes: 'If your story tells you that your primary identity is “victim,” your life will be marked by bitterness, resentment, grievance, and entitlement. If your story tells you your primary identity is privileged oppressor, your life will be marked by guilt and shame. However, if your story tells you that your identity is “sinner, yet loved by God and saved by grace,” your life will be marked by gratitude and humility.' 'The line between good and evil doesn’t run between racial groups, or males and females, or any other group, class, or party. It runs right through every human heart. We are all sinners. We, equally, are in need of grace and forgiveness. . . At the very heart of the biblical story is justice, but also mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Without these qualities woven into a culture, it will disintegrate.'

  6. 5 out of 5

    Will Dole

    Read this book on the recommendation of a friend. I was severely underwhelmed. Let me begin by saying that I have a lot of sympathy with his basic premise that social justice ideology as a totalizing worldview is incoherent, dangerous, and not what we want governing our society. As Christians we should want justice, and want it defined on God's terms, not the world's. Having said that, this book doesn't have a lot to recommend it. The explanation of Biblical justice is very thin, and basically cam Read this book on the recommendation of a friend. I was severely underwhelmed. Let me begin by saying that I have a lot of sympathy with his basic premise that social justice ideology as a totalizing worldview is incoherent, dangerous, and not what we want governing our society. As Christians we should want justice, and want it defined on God's terms, not the world's. Having said that, this book doesn't have a lot to recommend it. The explanation of Biblical justice is very thin, and basically came to a classical liberal idea of negative rights without addressing the biblical concepts of corporate responsibility and the positive responsibility of the who have to those who don't. On the flip side, I don't think he did a great job of articulating the very Social Justice mindset he was seeking to critique. I wouldn't feel comfortable handing this book to someone and suggesting that they would understand this worldview-far better to just hand them to the link to vox.com and tell them to read a half dozen articles. They'll have a better grip on what's going on. I also was frustrated by his distortion of historical events, for example, portraying the American and English revolutions as somehow unrelated to the French revolution. The tone through the middle/latter parts of the book was pop-level apology for America/the West rather than a Biblical interaction with the prevailing cultural ideology of our day. In all, I just don't see enough substance here to warrant your time reading it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gareth Davies

    This could have been an excellent book. There is much I agreed with especially in the first couple of chapters. The overview of Biblical justice was good but could have done with being more positive - its not solely about stopping bad things like racism and abortion. The author helpfully laid out the basics of Critical Theory (as an aside - it would have been more helpful if this was clear throughout rather than calling it social justice). Both these sections really engaged my brain and helped m This could have been an excellent book. There is much I agreed with especially in the first couple of chapters. The overview of Biblical justice was good but could have done with being more positive - its not solely about stopping bad things like racism and abortion. The author helpfully laid out the basics of Critical Theory (as an aside - it would have been more helpful if this was clear throughout rather than calling it social justice). Both these sections really engaged my brain and helped me think through the issues. I found the rest of the book less helpful. The author sections on the church and how Christians should respond were full of generalisations and often refused to acknowledge that some of the issues raised by proponents of CT are actually true even if their response is fundamentally flawed. Whilst telling us to offer a better worldview, there’s nothing beyond that, no help in how to do that practically or even how to love those who disagree with you. It could have been excellent. It’s a shame it isn’t.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Scott Allen has done us a service by writing a book-length comparison between what he calls ideological social justice and biblical justice. Well-grounded in scripture, it also references a good variety of sources. His passion will occasion some to write him off as an ideologue, but his arguments are not easily dismissed.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Michael Philliber

    You can feel it in the air and taste it in the water. Something is afoot, and it’s hard to put your finger on it. Like a virus spreading from community to community, it seems to be creeping along and then suddenly come the symptoms of infection, and one wonders where they picked it up from and how to shield their loved ones from it. Scott Allen, president of the Disciple Nations Alliance and author, has sought to diagnose the ailment and how it spreads in his 256-page paperback “Why Social Justi You can feel it in the air and taste it in the water. Something is afoot, and it’s hard to put your finger on it. Like a virus spreading from community to community, it seems to be creeping along and then suddenly come the symptoms of infection, and one wonders where they picked it up from and how to shield their loved ones from it. Scott Allen, president of the Disciple Nations Alliance and author, has sought to diagnose the ailment and how it spreads in his 256-page paperback “Why Social Justice Is Not Biblical Justice: An Urgent Appeal to Fellow Christians in a Time of Social Crisis”. This very accessible work presents a map through the various ideas and types of justice without getting lost in juridic language. Since “Why Social Justice Is Not Biblical Justice” is endorsed by Wayne Grudem and has received an abundance of reviews and analysis from others, including Tim Challies, I’ll leave the details to them. I found the book strong in definitions, distinguishing between various types of justice and views on justice. That was helpful in its own right since much of the obvious trouble comes from folks using the “justice” terms but meaning different things. The author also does a nice job in detailing important presuppositions and underlying assumptions that shape communities and countries. As he observes, “Societies are built in the image of the God or gods, that they collectively worship” (39). I also appreciated a sense of perspective and patience, such as when he is tackling the temptation many are faced with to bring the Day of Judgment into the here-and-now, “By not forcing this judgment into the present, Christians have the space to extend grace and mercy in the face of the world’s evil, even as they try to redress injustice when possible” (41). And finally, as Allen addresses “the right way to respond to ideological opponents” (191-202) he brings in a set of soberminded approaches that I wished more Christians engaged in cultural warfare would take to heart. I have a few criticisms of the work, of which I’ll list two here. First, in chapter 7, while the author is taking on a plethora of damaging viewpoints, he sometimes quotes from original sources, which makes his case strong. But then at crucial moments he cites sources that are being quoted in other works. When that happened, it made me pause and wonder if his references were in context or out of context, were they being quoted fairly, and was he only echoing the printed perceptions or prejudices of other authors on the original source. This left me with uncertainty about his case at these points. The other concern I had was how the author lumps together people – by name – almost in a “call-out” kind of way. For example, while criticizing Eric Mason’s book “Woke Church” he points out the endorsers (John Perkins, Ligon Duncan, and Tony Evans) and leaves the impression that these men are all on board with that specific work in all of its analysis and assertions. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not, but it left me with a bad taste in my mouth. In the end, “Why Social Justice Is Not Biblical Justice” can be a useful resource, especially to help readers get oriented as to what is happening in American society, and inside the church. Readers will also find useful the author’s definitions of justice and how Biblical justice looks in contrast to other versions. And if one will take up Allen’s patience and perspective while pursuing gracious interactions with others, they will likely have more fruitful discussions and watch their interlocutors at least pause and reassess. With some reservations, I still recommend the book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Reader

    There are some books I just go crazy with highlights. This is one of those books. There is so much good information here!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amy Brown

    This book is a great - and dare I say important - read for Christians who are seeking ways to Biblically respond to the social justice moment in America. I wouldn't say that it's a perfect book or that I completely agree with all of his conclusions - for example while the author repeatedly alludes to the fact that there really are racist/oppressive/problematic social structures in Western society he doesn't really engage in unpacking their reality and how we can respond. When he does do so he al This book is a great - and dare I say important - read for Christians who are seeking ways to Biblically respond to the social justice moment in America. I wouldn't say that it's a perfect book or that I completely agree with all of his conclusions - for example while the author repeatedly alludes to the fact that there really are racist/oppressive/problematic social structures in Western society he doesn't really engage in unpacking their reality and how we can respond. When he does do so he also tends to be limited in scope. For example, he places a huge emphasis on the horrors of abortion but doesn't do much to acknowledge other very real issues that the church needs to engage with (i.e. rape culture, prison systems, etc.) and ways that we really may be in need of some education or awareness of issues we've missed out on because of our own limited perspectives. In general the first half of the book is excellent but the second half half sometimes draws conclusions that I find lacking or in need of further clarification/nuance/depth. However his goal is more to question the foundations of the social justice movement as a whole, provide a rebuttal to critical theory, and to present alternative frameworks - and in this I really am thankful for the important points that he is raising and concerns that he addresses and I do feel like he raises many extremely valid and important points about the church's embrace of secular institutions, the failure of the church to engage culture, and the need to critically evaluate the foundations of the social justice ideology and critical theory's marxist origins. Whether you end up agreeing, disagreeing, or partially agreeing with his conclusions, I'd encourage everyone to engage with his dialogue in order to critically examine you own biases, presuppositions, and conclusions in this very critical topic. I will absolutely be looking at some alternate takes from within the church, but this was a VERY eye opening read for me!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ronald J. Pauleus

    Wow, Scott presents good truth that’s needed in our day. My thoughts were challenged greatly as I read about what our society now calls “social justice” and what God calls justice. I have seen the importance of truth even more now. “Christians should never allow anything other than God and the Bible to be our ultimate authority on what is true.”

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dan Waugh

    My review of this very bad book: https://godentranced.com/2021/04/07/b... My review of this very bad book: https://godentranced.com/2021/04/07/b...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    An excellent compare and contrast book between a biblical worldview and the modern "social justice" outlook. This book should be in the hands of every believer from the pews to the pulpits. As attractive as the term "social justice" sounds, the philosophy behind the term is unbiblical, contrary to the gospel and damaging to a free civilization. An excellent compare and contrast book between a biblical worldview and the modern "social justice" outlook. This book should be in the hands of every believer from the pews to the pulpits. As attractive as the term "social justice" sounds, the philosophy behind the term is unbiblical, contrary to the gospel and damaging to a free civilization.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ebookwormy1

    I read several reviews that landed this title on my to-read list. The most helpful were from: Barry https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... and Gareth Davies https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... I read several reviews that landed this title on my to-read list. The most helpful were from: Barry https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... and Gareth Davies https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  16. 4 out of 5

    John-Jennifer Divito

    In the midst of our nation's ongoing debate on social justice, I have been looking for a biblical analysis of this growing contemporary movement and its beliefs and practices. Scott David Allen's book is one of the first book-length responses to appear. In it, he provides a strong defense of biblical justice against many popular claims that are made today. As a result, he has written a helpful resource for Christians to more carefully assess social justice in light of God's Word. As the book begi In the midst of our nation's ongoing debate on social justice, I have been looking for a biblical analysis of this growing contemporary movement and its beliefs and practices. Scott David Allen's book is one of the first book-length responses to appear. In it, he provides a strong defense of biblical justice against many popular claims that are made today. As a result, he has written a helpful resource for Christians to more carefully assess social justice in light of God's Word. As the book begins, Allen summarizes what true justice is according to God's Word. He rightly recognizes God's authority and holds to the sufficiency of Scripture in building a biblical worldview. It is only after justice is properly understood that Allen shifts to looking at the ideology of social justice in order to evaluate its concepts. Then the author finishes by writing about how Christians should respond to this controversy. I appreciate how Allen compares and contrasts biblical justice with ideological social justice (as he refers to these contradictory worldviews). In doing so, he demonstrates the problem of uncritically adopting the beliefs and practices of social justice, which will hinder the accomplishment of actual justice and ultimately undermine our gospel hope in Jesus Christ. All too often, I have heard Christians arguing for social justice positions which are inconsistent with a biblical worldview. They need to be confronted with the problems inherent in this new "religion" of social justice. At the same time, I would have appreciated more interaction with arguments from ideological social justice advocates. Many of his quotes and references come from critics of today's social justice movement rather than directly from those whom he is arguing against. Additionally, almost all of his references and resources were online. His case would have been strengthened by responding to the best of those holding to social justice rather than regularly pulling together negative evaluations to make his argument. With this in mind, it seems as if Allen paints with a rather broad brush in his criticism. Having spent much of the last year reading and listening to various views and perspectives, more nuance would have served Allen well. I could easily see those holding to social justice saying: "This doesn't accurately represent me!" And while a lot of his criticism and critique is valid, I think this book is more likely to further convince those who are already skeptical of social justice rather than leading those who have been influenced by ideological social justice away from its falsehoods and problems. Furthermore, Allen is a strong proponent of transformationalism, dismissing those who prioritize the spiritual nature of Christ's kingdom as gnostic fundamentalists. As one who holds to two kingdoms theology, I found his sweeping condemnation unconvincing. I am also not sure that he has adequately taken into account the dangers of transformationalism. Still, I appreciate his overall desire to live with a biblical worldview and not simply be anti-ideological social justice. But don't allow my criticisms keep you from reading Allen's important insights. He has provided us with a useful resource to better understand biblical justice and to recognize many of the dangers in the contemporary social justice movement.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marco

    I recently read an essay by Tim Keller entitled "A Biblical Critique of Secular Justice and Critical Theory." Keller brilliantly explains different secular theories of justice and what is known as Critical Theory which has grown wildly popular in today's culture. Keller compares these theories to biblical justice. The problem? There are many, but of most importance is the fact that Critical Theory is not simply a theory, but a worldview. A worldview at odds with Christianity. Scott David Allen pi I recently read an essay by Tim Keller entitled "A Biblical Critique of Secular Justice and Critical Theory." Keller brilliantly explains different secular theories of justice and what is known as Critical Theory which has grown wildly popular in today's culture. Keller compares these theories to biblical justice. The problem? There are many, but of most importance is the fact that Critical Theory is not simply a theory, but a worldview. A worldview at odds with Christianity. Scott David Allen picks up where Keller leaves off, explaining how Critical Theory has hijacked the definition of social justice with something other than what we think it means. Because of this, many Christians have jumped on the critical theory bandwagon unknowingly. Not realizing the dangers of this secular worldview. Critical Theory or social justice is NOT the same as the justice we read about in Scripture. Biblical justice is first rooted in a transcendent moral law giver. It then means to live in right relationship with God and then others: giving people their due as image-bearers of God. Distributive justice is impartially rendering judgement, righting wrongs and meting out punishment for law breaking. Critical Theory (sometimes called intersectionality or cultural Marxism) rather is a worldview which views the world as a struggle between oppressed groups and their oppressors. How do you move out from being oppressed? Overthrow the traditional structure and system by any means necessary, commonly violence. In fact, the aim is to free groups of oppression no matter the means and consequences. In Critical Theory, individual identity is overshadowed by corporate identity. Class, race, gender and sexual orientation are the defining characteristics of personal identity. There's also a focus on redistributing wealth and power to the victim (oppressed). The goal being equality of outcome for everyone. Allen, not only explains Critical Theory in great depth, he also shows how this new justice movement has made significant inroads into mainstream evangelicalism, influencing many Christians today. We should understand that worldviews determine how we behave—how we function within our family, in our workplace, and in the broader community. Our worldview determines the type of society we create with others. Dallas Willard says our worldview determines the orientation of everything else we think and do! Allen is concerned that if we try to hold on to both Christianity and Critical Theory, it will eventually erode core biblical truths. We will be forced to side with one or the other. Many are already unknowingly doing this. This is an important and relevant read for our cultural moment! I'm considering putting the rest of my thoughts/research into a paper for an eventual teaching.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hopson

    Anyone who has sat under my preaching for more than a year knows that racial justice is a deep burden in my heart. For nearly a decade I have preached a sermon against racism at least once a year in the churches I have pastored. That said, Allen’s book on social justice was perhaps one of the most insightful works I’ve read on the topic. Allen clearly and carefully demonstrates how much of what we call justice today is actually rooted in a comprehensive worldview that is antithetical to Christia Anyone who has sat under my preaching for more than a year knows that racial justice is a deep burden in my heart. For nearly a decade I have preached a sermon against racism at least once a year in the churches I have pastored. That said, Allen’s book on social justice was perhaps one of the most insightful works I’ve read on the topic. Allen clearly and carefully demonstrates how much of what we call justice today is actually rooted in a comprehensive worldview that is antithetical to Christianity. Rather than thinking critically, many Christians (at times myself included) have bought this worldview hook, line, and sinker without carefully weighing its truth claims. This book is a much needed corrective if evangelical Christians are going to resist the dangerous and deceptive lies embedded in the cultural cries for social justice.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    A storm has been gathering over the better part of the last decade, and is now bearing down on Christianity. That storm is the intrusion of social justice doctrines into the church and the uncritical acceptance of them by often well-meaning Christians. This is the problem Scott David Allen sets out to address in Why Social Justice is not Biblical Justice. At the beginning, and throughout the book, Allen affirms his genuine concern for the oppressed, so this is no flippant disregard of injustices A storm has been gathering over the better part of the last decade, and is now bearing down on Christianity. That storm is the intrusion of social justice doctrines into the church and the uncritical acceptance of them by often well-meaning Christians. This is the problem Scott David Allen sets out to address in Why Social Justice is not Biblical Justice. At the beginning, and throughout the book, Allen affirms his genuine concern for the oppressed, so this is no flippant disregard of injustices in society. Rather, Allen believes that the definition of justice now predominant in American society does not match the biblical definition of justice, and in fact reflects a worldview that is antithetical to basic biblical principles. Christians cannot, Allen thinks, embrace what he calls "ideological social justice" without ultimately compromising biblical orthodoxy. Early in the book, Allen defines biblical justice, noting that at root it describes what is consistent with an objective standard of morality, God's moral law. In this way, justice is less about what human beings do to each other and more about the standard by which their actions are judged. Allen breaks down justice further into communitive justice (the command to live peacefully, harmoniously, and generously with each other, ensuring that all are given their due) and distributive justice (impartiality and equality by those in authority over others in homes, churches, and government, and their responsibility to correct and punish injustice). This two-fold definition of justice has a long pedigree, though Allen includes some of what other writers have called distributive justice in his category of communitive justice. Nevertheless, he notes that while God hates injustice, and will judge it perfectly, that perfect judgment will not come until the return of Christ, a return in which not only God's justice but also His grace and mercy will find their culmination. Allen adds, contra F. A. Hayek, that there is a sense in which it is appropriate to talk about social justice, stating that some societies are marked by high, though still imperfect, degrees of earthly justice. He adds that such societies are almost universally those that have been influenced by a biblical view of justice, and on this point I am reminded of an early statement by the Catholic Church that social justice is defined as the ability of "associations or individuals to obtain what is their due, according to their nature and vocation," and is "linked to the common good and to the exercise of authority." Allen also offers a brief overview of the development of ideological social justice ideology, placing the blame for its rise on the departure from a God-centered world of ideas before the Enlightenment, progressing through the secularizing effects of the Age of Reason (and science), and then to the postmodern world in which Marxism and similar ideas have provided a substitute for the Christian religion in a post-Christian age. This leads to Allen contrasting the "core tenets" of ideological social justice with biblical Christianity, much of which is a fairly standard explanation and critique of social justice ideas. Allen does, however, hit on deeper points, including that social justice is incompatible with Christianity because it has no account of the equality of the sin nature of individuals (and thus the the groups they are a part of), and because social justice allows no room for forgiveness or grace in its scheme, leaving one group as a kind of perpetual debtor to another. Here, Allen reiterates the Christian's duty to fight injustice, but clarifies that we cannot adopt the world's definition of the term, particularly when its definition flies so flagrantly in the face of biblical truth and God's moral law. In addition to refuting its definition of justice, Allen challenges the social justice interpretation of equality and diversity, noting that they also are inconsistent with the biblical definitions of those terms, in which equality means the equal dignity we all have as creations of God, and diversity means the diversity that He built into the world and us, His creations. Allen further notes that diversity and equality in the social justice regime eventually demand conformity to their definitions, or exclusion from society. Allen adds an interesting treatment on how the biblical and social justice worldviews understand poverty, its causes, and the Christian's duty in response, writing that the Christian's duty is to aid the poor not by advocating leveling social and government programs, but rather by giving charitably, encouraging the right perspective on wealth and poverty, and inculcating the attitudes and conditions that lead to greater prosperity for peoples and societies. He also pushes back against the anti-American and anti-Western spirit of the social justice movement, accurately founding it in the leftist theory of history that focuses on vices and ignores virtues. He adds that conservatives are also beginning to criticize America, though his criticism of Patrick Deneen's thesis in Why Liberalism Failed seems to indicate that he might not fully understand the right's critique of American and Western history, which though by no means unassailable is considerably more nuanced than the left's. On the topic of how Christians should understand our history in its combination of both good and evil, Allen supplies a more or less Burkean answer: we try to understand that historical figures, like us, are flawed and imperfect people who, like us, should be extended the grace that attends our realization that fallibility is the common lot of humanity. We accept the inheritance our ancestors have left us with appreciation for the good (and there is much good) and a commitment to preserving that good and improving where we can. Allen adds that the social justice movement's "values and disvalues," what it reveres and what it reviles, leads to an inverted system of morality in which evil is recast as the sole domain of oppressor groups or the traditions they are said to uphold, while evil actions become neutral or downright virtuous when undertaken by the oppressed. Such thinking presents a challenge for Christians, many of whom are now tempted to revise the biblical system of morality to include social justice concepts (he cites Andy Stanley and the Episcopal Church as examples, but there are sadly many more). Moving to how social justice has become mainstream, Allen observes that such cultural changes elicit one of three responses from the church: conformity to the prevailing doctrine with an attendant departure from biblical orthodoxy; accommodation of the new ideology, often unintentionally, such that biblical teaching changes subtly to reflect the culture; or it resists the ideology, which can take the form of engaging or disengaging from the culture, the former of which Allen believes is the biblically-correct method. He goes through some history of how the church has responded in each of these ways, noting most interestingly its response to and adoption of radical leftist and unbiblical views on feminism, LGBTQ issues, and race. On the topic of race, Allen distinguishes two frameworks through which history, the present, and the future are understood. The "Revolution Narrative" views America as uniquely stained by racial sin, understands all current disparities as due to continued racism, denies that black Americans have any substantial degree of influence over their own outcomes, and views social revolution that overturns existing institutions as the remedy. The "Preservation Narrative" does not deny the troubled history of race in America, yet nevertheless understands that the basic principles of the Declaration of Independence were a key component in first ending slavery and then working towards the achievement of equal civil rights, proposes that the outcomes of black Americans are well within their ability to influence through their choices and actions, and sees the path forward not as tearing down institutions but continuing their improvement while preserving the good. Allen evaluates how both narratives treat several prominent issues, including police brutality and incarceration rates, and finds the Preservation Narrative not only closer to the truth, but more nuanced in how it approaches the problem - and such nuance, unsurprisingly, is often necessary in getting closer to truth. Allen criticizes (and names) evangelical Christians who have either adopted social justice ideology and attempted to syncretize it with their Christianity, or who accurately discern the dangers of the social justice vision for Christianity and society, but who view engaging the culture on these issues and presenting a biblical worldview as "mission creep" and therefore not relevant to the Christian's task. He is correct to criticize both camps, though his latter point warrants emphasis: Christians' failure to understand cultural issues and work against those spinning falsehoods is a real and enduring problem. Allen closes by calling Christians to clearly and boldly communicate the biblical alternative to ideological social justice, proclaiming the truth of God-endowed, true equality, true diversity, and true identity. These challenge the counterfeit equality, diversity, and identity of the world, revealing the beauty of God's created world over the stultifying ideologies of a godless philosophy. Allen further encourages Christians who oppose ideological social justice to avoid falling into a reactionary posture toward their task, advising them instead to: remember that, though identity politics is mistaken, men are not isolated individuals, but were made by God to live in communities; to realize that, though the social justice movement's conspiratorial views on racism are wrong, racism does exist and Christians need to remain committed to exposing and removing it, no matter who is practicing it; be ready to oppose actual instances of systemic injustices, provided injustices can be provably attributed to a system (he cites the pornography industry and government-approved abortion as examples) and not to other causes (as in the cases of mere statistical disparities); avoid responding to social justice advocates' uncritical anti-Americanism and anti-Westernism by adopting an uncritical pro-American and Pro-Western attitude; and, finally, to respond to the increasingly censorious political correctness of cancel culture neither by adopting the culture's combative rhetoric nor by being cowed into silence, but by proclaiming with boldness, humility, and graciousness the truth. Allen calls Christians to move from criticizing culture to creating culture, realizing that culture is not something set apart from our duties as Christian witnesses, but the vehicle by which worldviews and philosophies get shaped. Retaining a biblical view of justice, defined by adherence to God's moral law and the impartial pursuit of truth, Allen believes that Christians should stand ready to influence the arts, business, government, and education - and to suffer the consequences of bucking the powerful in their pursuit of ideological hegemony. Overall, Allen has contributed much to the ongoing discussion among Christians about the verities and falsehoods of the social justice movement. Some of Allen's arguments could have benefited from exposition and from the infusion of more sophisticated political and social theory (see American Awakening: Identity Politics and Other Afflictions of Our Time), but as an introduction to the topic that exposes error and encourages Christians to exercise discernment, Why Social Justice is not Biblical Justice succeeds at its goal.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    The author gets the gospel right, lots of scripture references. So that was the good. I also don’t disagree with everything. I do see myself as conservative, but found his presentation and historical evaluations lacking. However, This book presupposes that Christianity was what our country was founded on, and therefore to move away from it is wrong by virtue of rejecting the foundational beginnings of America. This was annoying. At multiple times the author references our Judeo Christian backgro The author gets the gospel right, lots of scripture references. So that was the good. I also don’t disagree with everything. I do see myself as conservative, but found his presentation and historical evaluations lacking. However, This book presupposes that Christianity was what our country was founded on, and therefore to move away from it is wrong by virtue of rejecting the foundational beginnings of America. This was annoying. At multiple times the author references our Judeo Christian background, and like someone else mentioned ~ this is a revisionist history. No the founding fathers were not Christians. No, the civil laws and our system are not inherently Christian. It’s not sinful or bad, but it was not designed as a Christian theocratic institution. It’s like putting blinders on and acting as though Christianity ( as in truly saved people) has been dominant in our culture. Americas behavior is a stain in history we have truly wronged people. It simplifies so many of the true and objective issues that many have. SJW are not just concerned about issues revolving around sexuality, race, and economic status in just today’s context and I have met few people who are truly SJW based on the authors description. I know they exist, but I wouldn’t argue it’s the main argument in our culture. I’m not naive to this topic and it’s many nuanced views. This book was an oversimplification and more of a personal complaint about political ideals not conforming to Christianity and lumping one idea with many. Wouldn’t recommend as a whole, but found the second half vehemently opposed to reasonable and rationale objective historical fact... I’m shocked, honestly.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    First sentence: In recent years, a powerful ideology has made deep inroads into the very heart of the evangelical church. To its mainstream advocates, it is called “social justice” and is nearly always coupled with a commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion. There are probably dozens--if not hundreds--of reviews that will do this book on justice actual justice. Reviews that may break down the book chapter by chapter and analyze its contents and provide readers with clues as to whether thi First sentence: In recent years, a powerful ideology has made deep inroads into the very heart of the evangelical church. To its mainstream advocates, it is called “social justice” and is nearly always coupled with a commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion. There are probably dozens--if not hundreds--of reviews that will do this book on justice actual justice. Reviews that may break down the book chapter by chapter and analyze its contents and provide readers with clues as to whether this is the book for them--or not. The premise of this one is simple: justice has been coupled--for better or worse--with social justice. Coupled by people without the church (outside the church) certainly, but also coupled by people within the church. Social justice is eclipsing biblical justice. People looking for justice are turning not to God, not to the church, not to the powers that be, but to society, to specific sections of society. The truth of the matter is that ANY definition of justice that discounts, discredits, ignores, belittles, twists, or distorts God's definition of justice is wrong. Plain and simple. God is Just. God is Righteous. God is Good. God is Wise. God is Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent. (In other words, all-seeing and all-knowing. He doesn't just know the outside actions--but the inward thoughts.) God is also the ULTIMATE (final) Judge. For Christians--those who profess to be Christians--to give more authority or credit to outside theories or world views when it comes to justice--or when it comes to anything really--is just all kinds of wrong. For example, Critical Race Theory, or CRT. CRT should not be used as a tool to reinterpret or "interpret" Scripture. (Neither should feminism or intersectionality). This book isn't written to persuade unbelievers--those outside the Christian faith--of the dangers of jumping on the social justice bandwagon. It is written primarily for those who profess to be Christ-followers (aka Christians, believers) to think biblically and with discernment about injustices in society. In other words, let the Word of God reign authoritatively in their lives--yes, even when it comes to living real life in a messy, messy super-fallen, soul-bruising world filled with tears, pain, and anguish. The truth is the Bible has a lot to say both in the Old Testament and New Testament about injustice and justice, about sin and righteousness, about right and wrong, about good and evil. The Bible gives us guidelines and principles, certainly, but it also gives us promises upon which we can base our hope. The book could have just focused on biblical justice--how the Bible treats the subject or doctrine of justice--but it also chooses to engage directly with the competition. It is all about comparing and contrasting the two: biblical justice AND social justice. It looks at them both from plenty of angles. It presents the flaws of social justice that Christians should be aware of before they open up their hearts and minds and embrace social justice. I would say one of the most important things is to be aware that even though both groups use some of the same words, the two groups mean very different things by those words. So though on the surface the two groups may appear to have much in common--a common goal that is of utmost important--there are major differences in play. People can with completely good intentions fall for it. Especially if they are more tuned into the news--TV, internet, radio--than the Word of God. The author does mention--and readers will already be aware--that both sides tend to resort (not even as a last resort) to name calling and label-throwing. This isn't a kind, friendly debate--an exchange of ideas--but all out war. So the book is about dangers from the world, to a certain degree, but also about dangers within the church. It is the dangers within the church--coming from within--that prove costliest and feel like a betrayal. The Bible-believing Christian faces warfare from within and without--the church and the world. There isn't a quick solution. It isn't as easy as saying, well, we'll just skip this hot topic altogether and focus on the essentials. No, the author urges justice--BIBLICAL JUSTICE, justice on God's terms--is essential to a right practice of the faith. What we need is preaching and teaching on biblical justice. I definitely loved some of the chapters. I did. I found almost all of the chapters thought provoking. If I could change one thing about the book, however, it would be his historical discussion of Republicans and Democrats. I think he has perhaps intentionally left this vague and confusing. Instead of pointing out the labels "Democrat" and "Republican" have changed, transformed, evolved through the past hundred plus years, he acts as if they are still the same. For example, he goes on about how it was Democrats that were racists, that were pro-slavery, that were pushing all these racists laws, that founded the KKK, and that it was always Republicans who were the good guys, who stood in opposition to the hateful, despicable Democrats. If you are at all familiar with history, you know that you can't do that. Or perhaps you shouldn't do that. If you were to go back in time, what passes today for "Republican" and "Democrat" today would be unrecognizable and completely foreign. Policies, ideologies, beliefs, practices morph and change. The issues we argue and debate today would be completely foreign if not horrendously shocking to the past. And that's not because we're "better" people. The truth is the past would shock us and our values just as much as our "values" would shock the past. It works both ways. Anyway, to sum it up, the paragraphs were the author explores this argument weaken his argument--in my opinion. I did appreciate his argument not to conform to the world, not to accept the world's world views as your own, to cling to the Word of God, to fight the good fight, to live rightly by God's standards, to be the salt and light, the city on the hill. I was torn between four and five stars. I wish they'd been more focus on what biblical justice is--what it looks like. I did like the engagement with the other side. But all his arguments weren't equally strong. Even if you don't agree 1000% with every paragraph, I think he gives plenty food for thought.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sean McGowan

    Very good book! This work puts its finger on much of the stuff that we see infiltrating the modern church. The author makes the case for why “ideological social justice” that is influenced by critical theory, specifically critical race theory, is not biblical justice. I remember first being exposed to critical theory in my early college years and remembering just how toxic it was. Highly recommended for anyone that is concerned about this trend.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Briana Seegers

    I have to say, this is probably the most important book I will read this year, other than the Bible of course. In this book the author disciples and lays out very clearly for the reader what the differences are between Social Justice and Biblical Justice. As Social Justice continues to gain popularity here in the West it is now more crucial than ever to understand what the word of God says about justice. Is it merely a defining of people based on the groups they belong to or is it so much more? S I have to say, this is probably the most important book I will read this year, other than the Bible of course. In this book the author disciples and lays out very clearly for the reader what the differences are between Social Justice and Biblical Justice. As Social Justice continues to gain popularity here in the West it is now more crucial than ever to understand what the word of God says about justice. Is it merely a defining of people based on the groups they belong to or is it so much more? So what is justice according to a biblical worldview? Scott David Allen writes, "Justice means a lot more than checking off a list of rules. It means living in right relationship with others --with God, and with human beings made in His image. It defines how we ought to treat others--what kind of behavior is good and right, and what is not. Justice requires recognizing what it means to be human--that we all possess inherent dignity and worth. To "do justice" is to treat others as uniquely valuable, and to respect their God-given rights. It is "loving your neighbor as yourself." "Justice is also the handmaiden of truth, and when truth dies, justice is buried with it." "In our fallen nature, we want to be autonomous--a law unto ourselves." But only God's truth has stood the test of time, so is it not about time that we started proclaiming God's truths again? So what are some truths of God? Allen continues to write, "God is our redeemer. He not only redeems us by his grace but calls us to participate with Him in reconciling all things to Himself. We are to be engaged in culture as ambassadors of Christ's kingdom. We are to work in the power of God's Spirit to bring truth, goodness, and beauty into every domain of human existence--into the arts, law, education, business, and government." N.T. Wright explains, "The gospel is that the crucified and risen Jesus is the Lord of the world. And that his death and Resurrection transform the world, and that transformation can happen to you. You, in turn, can be part of the transforming work." Allen continues, "All positive cultural change includes gospel proclamation and inward spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit. Evangelism is the major instrument of social change. For the gospel changes people, and changed people can change society." But let this be a warning. Allen goes on still, "Biblical Christianity and ideological social justice are incompatible worldviews. They are diametrically opposed on matters of epistemology, human nature and identity, morality, and authority. Our increasingly postmodern culture tells us that we--not the Holy Scriptures--are the supreme authority." Tony Campolo admits, "I passed through every stage of heresy. It starts with sovereignty going, then biblical authority goes, then I'm a universalist, now I'm marrying gay people. Pretty soon I don't actually believe Jesus actually rose from the dead in a bodily way." We need to stand firm in the truth of God's word and remember that although our world is fallen and is broken, we do not lose hope because we have a God who wants and will redeem it all. I encourage you to deep dive into this book yourself. It was eye-opening and encouraging and hopeful to me. And as we, the body of Christ, move forward and create culture where God is at the center of it all, let us remember,only by the power of God can wrongs be made right and can people experience true Biblical justice as God intends it to be. Let us love God first with all our minds, hearts, bodies and souls and let us love our neighbors as ourselves. These are the greatest commandments of all time.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Marcás

    Why Social Justice Is Not Biblical Justice is a good book to draw the lines between Biblical justice and what has been called euphemistically, 'social justice'. Allen rightly recognises that this ideology is a secularist imposter. He critiques its central characteristics by contrasting them with the Biblical worldview and treats those who have been taken in by it, with reasonable charity. Calling them to refrain from bearing false witness and settling for half truths or true-sounding platitudes. M Why Social Justice Is Not Biblical Justice is a good book to draw the lines between Biblical justice and what has been called euphemistically, 'social justice'. Allen rightly recognises that this ideology is a secularist imposter. He critiques its central characteristics by contrasting them with the Biblical worldview and treats those who have been taken in by it, with reasonable charity. Calling them to refrain from bearing false witness and settling for half truths or true-sounding platitudes. Moreover, Allen also critiques those fundamentalists who retreat from social justice, because of its perversion. He notes that the sacred-secular binary that many fundamentalists adopt is part of why so many in the church have been taken in by the woke faith in the first place. I would add as a non-American that an unwarranted faith in the state amongst many of the same folks in the US has been and will remain catastrophic- especially pertaining to 'public education' there. (See John Taylor Gatto, Zak Slayback, Susan Wise Bauer, and co.) Allen does reference some great and sensible scholars: from Nancy Pearcey to Neil Shenvi, N.T. Wright and Voddie Baucham. However, I would like to have seen more exegesis, citing the scripture to make his case for what Biblical justice involves and how this can be carried out by the church in the 21st century. Not just for justice, but for mercy and justice, as they are often paired in the Bible. How are Christians to communicate them in person, online, via education, etc? The author is most often correct in his analysis but his ideological opponents are unlikely to be convinced because he often doesn't cite the sources under which 'social justice' ideologues are operating. He does reference specific books, such as Mason's, that got wrapped up in woke woo woo. But doesn't sufficiently interrogate the secularist dogmas upon which such books are built. Although, even if he did, they would often deny it anyway. There is a constant tendency within this parasitical new religion to beg the question and ignore contrary evidence. At the macro level: Highlighting in depth the logical and theological folly of conflict theory, cultural hegemony, the perversity of reifying 'whiteness', 'heteronormativity', and commensurate neo-dogmas such as intersectionality, would have sharpened his critique. At least for those with ears to hear. At the micro level: More statistical analysis, with clear evidence of causation, would have been a nice supplement. However, Allen does deal with the problem of social justice and the mission of the church at personal and societal levels, cite some solid sources, and does follow much of the big picture of the Bible. This is a good book all round. Not unlike Dr Voddie Baucham's book. Not as good, but still a welcome contribution. Like Baucham's book, even as it is focused heavily on American affairs, it is lamentably relevant to us elsewhere. With dreadful thanks to the cultural colonialism of this 'Social Justice' faith. Books like this are a silver lining in America's dark cloud as we suffer the torrent of this biting and banal ideology's reign around the world. You may want to follow this up with Voddie's book and Dr Carl Trueman's Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ben K

    Social justice. Racism. Black lives matter. This language has become ubiquitous in our conversations today. Our culture has become woke - that is, alert to injustice in our society. Many Christians, rightly concerned about justice, have jumped on board with movements that use these terms. Yet words can be deceiving. A group may use a word to mean something that it doesn’t mean to others. In this book, Scott David Allen pulls back the curtain to examine what “social justice” has come to mean in t Social justice. Racism. Black lives matter. This language has become ubiquitous in our conversations today. Our culture has become woke - that is, alert to injustice in our society. Many Christians, rightly concerned about justice, have jumped on board with movements that use these terms. Yet words can be deceiving. A group may use a word to mean something that it doesn’t mean to others. In this book, Scott David Allen pulls back the curtain to examine what “social justice” has come to mean in today’s mainstream usage. His thesis is that this definition, along with the worldview that underlies it, is profoundly unbiblical. In fact, the ideology behind what many call “social justice” is diametrically opposed to a biblical worldview. As this ideology has become mainstream and continues to gain momentum, this is a timely and important book for Christians who want to engage with this cultural trend. Allen offers an excellent comparison of biblical justice with what he calls “ideological social justice.” He first outlines the biblical view of justice. Broadly, biblical justice is “conformity to God’s moral standard” (p.30). Crucial to this definition is that this standard is transcendent and objective, coming from God as revealed in the Bible. This means that it cannot be defined by man, which inevitably would change with whoever holds power. In contrast, ideological social justice is an application of postmodern thinking, where truth is internal and subjective. Each person becomes a law to themselves, having the ability to define their own existence. Wedded to this way of thinking is a modern take on Marxism introduced by academics in the domain of “critical social theory.” Marx’s thinking stemmed from the notion that people can be divided into two basic groups: oppressors and innocent victims. His focus was on eliminating oppression by removing class distinctions in society, but this new movement expands this initial focus to other distinctions, such as race, gender, and sexuality. This postmodern way of thinking combined with neo-Marxist social theory results in a radically different view of justice, which Allen defines as “the tearing down of traditional structures and systems deemed to be oppressive, and the redistribution of power and resources from oppressors to victims in pursuit of equality of outcome” (47). Allen emphasizes that this redefinition of justice reflects a comprehensive worldview. He proceeds to examine some of the “big questions” that worldviews attempt to answer. For example: What is ultimately real? Who are we? What is our fundamental problem as human beings? What is the solution to our problem? For each question, Allen offers answers from the perspectives of a biblical worldview and that of ideological social justice. This is the best chapter in the book, as it clearly reveals the stark contrast between these two worldviews. For example, according to ideological social justice, the fundamental human problem is oppressive power structures erected by white, heteronormative males. In this schema, the solution is revolution to overthrow these unjust systems. According to a biblical worldview, the fundamental human problem is rebellion against God (which applies to both oppressors and victims), and the solution is the gospel, which results in reconciliation with God and with fellow man. These distinct worldviews give rise to two distinct narratives that seek to explain what is happening in the world around us. Allen calls these the Revolutionary Narrative and the Preservation Narrative. The Revolutionary Narrative, rooted in ideological social justice, emphasizes systemic injustice, sees America as fundamentally racist, and is politically left-leaning. The Preservation Narrative emphasizes personal choice and responsibility, has a more positive view of America, and is politically right-leaning. Allen largely embraces the Preservation Narrative. He comes across as very critical of the Democratic party, and at times he underemphasizes some of the truths embedded within the Revolutionary Narrative. Yet he does acknowledge the reality of systemic injustice, and he emphasizes that in resisting the Revolutionary Narrative, the church should not abandon all social engagement. Allen advocates for a comprehensive biblical worldview which includes both gospel proclamation and social engagement. Allen rightly argues that biblical justice necessarily involves social concerns, but he undermines this argument with the very title of his book by pitting biblical and social justice against each other. He is keen to defend the notion of “justice” as he considers it our “home turf” (p.122). But because others have redefined the “social” variety of justice, he suggests that the church should distance itself from the term so as not to lead people to think we agree with the ideology. He is critical of Joe Carter, who said, “Social justice, as a biblical concept, is not a term we should abandon without a fight. To paraphrase Colson, we should not shrink from the term nor allow the secular world to distort its biblical meaning” (p.121) But I agree with Carter. Why, according to Allen, is “justice” our home turf but “social" justice is not? If social concerns are part of the biblical definition of justice, why do we have to let that part of it go in our terminology? I agree with Allen that we need to be careful with the terms that we use so as not to confuse, but this book could have been a great opportunity to take back the term “social justice,” demonstrating how biblical justice is concerned with righting social wrongs but in a better way. In distancing ourselves from “social” justice we are only adding to another kind of confusion, one that misrepresents Christianity as being unconcerned about social change. These are certainly issues that require discernment and careful thought. I didn’t find myself in agreement with all of Allen’s conclusions, but I heartily commend his critique of the worldviews underlying the competing narratives we are hearing today. Allen says in his introduction, “Ideological social justice can be recognized by its bitter fruit. The lives and cultures shaped by it are marked by enmity, hostility, suspicion, entitlement, and grievance" (p.11). This is not the kind of justice we see in the Bible. While we need to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, we need to think deeply and use discernment so that our efforts truly fall in line with a biblical justice that results in true peace and unity.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cambri Morris

    I came to this book open to the argument, but this is not it. The author fails to present a satisfactory picture of "biblical Justice" by using fragmented bible verses to support his own reasoning rather than exegeting the text. In the main chapter (ch 2) where he tries to accomplish this, he manages to quote people more than scripture itself and has a suspicious number of comments that don't seem necessary yet pander to a very Christian nationalistic perspective. After establishing this flimsy f I came to this book open to the argument, but this is not it. The author fails to present a satisfactory picture of "biblical Justice" by using fragmented bible verses to support his own reasoning rather than exegeting the text. In the main chapter (ch 2) where he tries to accomplish this, he manages to quote people more than scripture itself and has a suspicious number of comments that don't seem necessary yet pander to a very Christian nationalistic perspective. After establishing this flimsy foundation, he explains the definition of "social justice" with sweeping generalities of the most extreme version that most, if not all, people that I'm aware of that value social justice would not agree with. He has good though not original things to say about worldview that become self condemning as he fails to exhibit any awareness of his own worldview (not realizing his very culturally biased version of "biblical"). He references the Declaration of Independence as an example of biblical Justice then later critiques modernist philosophers that ignore spirituality and uphold reason, ironically the same values of the Deist authors of the D.O.I. that he just praised. When explaining Marxist theory, he leaves a huge hole by failing to acknowledge what makes it attractive and misses the whole heart of a movement. Why is this attractive? What could it implicate that the church is missing or failing at? Could we have blind spots, similar to when the church protected slavery for over 200 years? Is there any room for social justice to fall under the umbrella of biblical Justice? To what extent? Maybe his answer to all of these is "No," but his argument appears all the more insecure by not even considering them. One last thought. It doesn't damage his argument necessarily, but it was incredibly difficult when he quoted Ravi Zacharias saying roughly "Truth is the handmaiden of justice. When truth dies, justice dies with it." This book was published 4 months after Zacharias' death and this quote itself is particularly difficult in light of his confirmed sexual abuse allegations and would be worth the publishers reconsidering.

  27. 4 out of 5

    David Sharp

    Is there any hotter topic in the culture and the church than Social Justice? Allen does a really effective job of synthesizing the strengths, and weaknesses, of the tsunami that has become social justice in the US. The strengths of the cultural social justice movement are at the heart of Jesus' love for all people and should mark the lives of Christians and our churches. Sadly, our track record in imaging Christ in his fight for justice for all people is, at best, checkered. Allen urges the churc Is there any hotter topic in the culture and the church than Social Justice? Allen does a really effective job of synthesizing the strengths, and weaknesses, of the tsunami that has become social justice in the US. The strengths of the cultural social justice movement are at the heart of Jesus' love for all people and should mark the lives of Christians and our churches. Sadly, our track record in imaging Christ in his fight for justice for all people is, at best, checkered. Allen urges the church to take up the mantle of justice and be at the front of the line of those fighting for it. If we were at the forefront, BLM may never have arisen. Kind of like the rise of unions in the early part of the 20th Century. If businesses had treated their workers fairly, unions would never have been necessary. While acknowledging what is good about the movement, Allen effectively synthesizes the many weaknesses of cultural social justice. He pulls no punches in calling out not just weaknesses but clear and present dangers for Christians, especially their church leaders, who not discern and reject these weaknesses. Now, I don't believe we need to be afraid of these dangers. We all called by God and his word to recognize and work for the correction of ongoing harm due to racism and discrimination of all kinds. I especially appreciated how he carefully assessed Eric Mason's "Woke Church." He took the time to point out where Mason may go a bit overboard in his terminology yet acknowledged the many strengths of Mason's book. As a pastor in North Philly, Mason deserves a key place at the table on this issue and we need to learn from him. But he too, and I'm sure he would agree, does not get a free pass on all he says. In summation, Christians cannot - indeed must not - signal lockstep agreement with the movement. To do so, even inadvertently, is to risk losing the gospel out of misplaced and misapplied compassion. If you're looking for a quick helpful read on how to be informed of and engage with the social justice movement, this is a really important read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jim Strasma

    Excellent and fair comparison of the tenets of the social Gospel with those of the Bible Growing up, as I did in the United Methodist Church, and attending the same UMC seminary as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I've been soaked in the Social Gospel my whole life. However, I've also increasingly noticed its flaws, and become a supporter of Sola Scriptura, the idea that only the Bible is authoritative for Christians. This book does an excellent job of not just explaining what both today's culture and Excellent and fair comparison of the tenets of the social Gospel with those of the Bible Growing up, as I did in the United Methodist Church, and attending the same UMC seminary as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I've been soaked in the Social Gospel my whole life. However, I've also increasingly noticed its flaws, and become a supporter of Sola Scriptura, the idea that only the Bible is authoritative for Christians. This book does an excellent job of not just explaining what both today's culture and the Bible have to say about justice, but also compares them, head to head and point by point, both where they agree and where they differ. This is essential work, especially for pastors, who on the one hand want to be responsive to popular culture, using it wherever possible to help folks become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ, yet without ignoring any important part of His teachings, even though covering some of them now draws a massive, and harsh pushback from popular culture. Highly recommended! Note: Amazon did not allow me to post this review at Amazon.com, possibly because it doesn't think I bought it from them. I read it via my wife's Kindle Unlimited account.

  29. 4 out of 5

    C.S. Wachter

    What's in your worldview? Scott David Allen has done an excellent job in comparing ideological Social Justice with true Biblical Justice. They are not the same and whichever one you choose to follow will become part of your worldview and impact your Christianity. Many churches today do not understand this fact. God’s justice is eternal; man’s justice changes with the whims of society. This is a book every Christian should read. What's in your worldview? Scott David Allen has done an excellent job in comparing ideological Social Justice with true Biblical Justice. They are not the same and whichever one you choose to follow will become part of your worldview and impact your Christianity. Many churches today do not understand this fact. God’s justice is eternal; man’s justice changes with the whims of society. This is a book every Christian should read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Smallwood

    Definitions are important. I found this work to be very helpful. The author worked masterfully to be fair and balanced with a rather volatile subject. It is really hard to argue about what is right when we define the terms according to the Word of God. As Christians, we have to let God be the final authority in all matters, no matter how emotionally charged the issues can be. You will be benefitted by the reading of this book.

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