Social justice and biblical justice are not the same thing because society’s view of justice does not always reflect God’s view of justice. We want to be a church that reflects God’s view of justice, which is really a reflection of His character. God’s view of justice, or biblical justice, means the interwovenness and interdependence of all humans who are created in His image. The Bible teaches that God expects powerful and wealthy people to be concerned about the condition of humans that are less powerful or poor. When the Bible describes justice, the description is rooted in God’s character. His mercy, His generosity and His compassion are some of the ways that God is described as “just.” The ultimate act of God’s justice was to offer his Son, “as a ransom for many.” We can say that biblical justice is characterized by extravagant generosity, equal respect for all image-bearers, life-changing advocacy for the poor and the oppressed, and an upside-down kingdom where the top of society serves the bottom (“the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve,” Matthew 20:28). In short, it can be said that justice in the Bible is human flourishing.

In response to the ongoing racial unrest in our country, it stirred the question, “what is our response?” And not just to individual situations, but to injustice as a whole. What is our response to God’s people experiencing injustice, not only as a church family, but as individuals – as followers of Jesus.

This led church leadership to start a sermon series called Love in Response. This series began a journey toward Bay Area’s Biblical response to racial discrimination and injustice that prevails in our world. Both the individual and church journey begins with prayer, listening, learning and lamenting. As Pastor Greg pointed out in the sermon series last June, we must recognize that our God loves all His children, does not discriminate, and stands up for the oppressed.

The next step in our church’s journey toward racial reconciliation was to hold several forums on Racism, Justice on Faith at the end of the summer. Both black and white congregants were able to share their experiences regarding racism, telling stories that had gone unheard by so many for so long. Everyone who participated gained a new level of awareness from hearing different experiences. We also learned more about our county and its history, recognizing that so much of this area has been built up by both black and white business owners (read more about this history and other conversations at the forum in the Fall 2020 issue of GO&MAKE).

At the end of the forums, participants had the opportunity to share recommendations to pass along to church leadership. The recommendations included developing a position statement on Biblical Justice, forming a long-term committee to keep the congregational dialogue open, and advising leadership on racism and justice initiatives. Thus, the Biblical Justice Committee was born.

The purpose of this committee is to help our church family learn about God’s perspective on justice that is communicated through His word and respond to current issues in a way that reflects the kingdom of heaven. The committee has met five times and sent our first update to the elders in April. We are continuing to learn and share resources with each other, some of which are listed here as suggest resources for your own personal learning. We are also capitalizing on the relationships that some committee members have with other like-minded churches who are a few steps further ahead, such as Tim Keller’s Redeemer in New York.

The forefront of our learning is the discussion about the differences between social justice and biblical justice. While the two may overlap, the critical worldview for our church body is Christ- centered. We need to move forward with that in mind because it renders God as the one true giver of justice. Our actions as a committee are to also take a deeper look at Bay Area’s core and identifying where some of our culture needs to be modified to include an undercurrent of biblical justice, keeping Jesus’ teachings at the forefront of our preaching, initiatives and our individual journeys.

Please pray for the Biblical Justice Committee as we continue on the journey as it says in Micah 6:8 to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God.