Neglecting Evangelism in Your Passion for Social Justice?

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Recently Relevant Magazine printed 3 open letters by Ron Sider addressed to the younger generation.  I am not familar with Ron Sider but the article states his credentials in social justice circles this way:  "Many would consider Dr. Ron Sider the father of the modern Christian social justice movement." 

One question that caught my eye deals with the subject of evangelism and social justice.  Sider asks: Are you in danger of neglecting evangelism in your passion for social justice?

I think his article makes a good point and is a good reminder for us all.

Here is one challenging point from Sider:  

Evangelism and social action are inseparable. They are two sides of the same coin. But they are not identical. Working for economic development in poor communities or structural change to end systemic oppression is not the same thing as inviting persons who do not now confess Christ to embrace Him as Lord and Savior. If we only do social action and never say we do it because of Christ, our good deeds only point to ourselves and make us look good.

So I am curious what other social justice advocates think about the question Sider raises:

Is there danger in neglecting evangelism in a passion for social justice?

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Our goal on working with returning felons and their families is not just social justice but to bring them to salvation in Jesus Christ. I lead a Celebrate Recovery group for Allen County Community Corrections. We are helping returning felons work on their recovery from drug, alcohol addictions and their hurts, hang-ups and habits that are destructive. We have a family ministry for their spouse and children plus we provide a meal. BUT our main goal is not just to help them re-enter society from prison but to bring them to faith in Jesus Christ. As is it written in Romans 10:9-15, "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” We must be intentional on sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with those we are helping re-enter society from prison. As we do, they will say (and they have said to us) how beautiful you are for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with us and for bringing us to salvation in Jesus Christ!

http://www.delightingod.com

I am a social justice "advocate" at a personal level but on my own, not representing any organization whatsoever. I think the Christian faith is enough reason to fight (in a peaceful way) for social justice in our societies.

From my point of view, the church (we as believers and the institutions as a whole) have not done enough work trying to seek justice for the opressed and needy. And this, looking for justice, is a Biblical position. People vote for people and parties whose only goal is to acomplish economic interests and pursuing the goal of rich becoming richer, without caring for the poor. Middle class often stands in-between for political agendas. Not to mention about places where there are acute extreme poverty issues.

Activism will be the key for the chuches to awaken and be truly concerned about social issues of justice. Theological arguments and works of motivation and encouragement to care for the environment, as God's stewards, for instance, have been successful for many congregations and Christian people. But not too much is said or published within the Church's context about society. And what's published comes from a politically conservative view which is not too concerned about opression proper, but about military, mainly the issue of "Just war" in the U.S./Canadian context.    

"If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this." - CS Lewis.