Pass the Mic

On “Social Justice and the Gospel” Part 1 (PTM 218)

Abigail Murrish

Jemar and Tyler are back from their summer hiatus to discuss “The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel” from John MacArthur and other pastors.

Quotes and Notes for this PTM episode:

Jemar Tisby: On this issue of social justice, where injustice affects different groups differently, one must be very careful to pay attention to one’s own social, cultural, and historical location, which makes the absence of any historical input in the statement very noticeable.

Jemar Tisby: The reason why there was a Black Church and continues to be a Black Church to this day can largely be attributed to different views on justice and how to approach it as the Church and as Christians. This isn’t something new that’s happening. It may be something new on [John MacArthur’s] radar, but that’s a fundamentally ahistorical statement to make.

Tyler Burns: American Christianity has a very low understanding of what it means to right a wrong.

Tyler Burns: If something has been done that wrongs a person (i.e., a sin committed against a person), what is the extent to which we should go to correct said sin? And, what is the fallout of the sin and how does our response to the fallout of the sin and the sin itself line up with the character and nature of God?

Jemar Tisby: Having a social, cultural, historical location is not necessarily a negative. It’s a negative if you don’t recognize that you have a culture, then you proceed to make pronouncements as if your standards are the transcendent norms and as if you can analyze Scripture apart from any bias.

Jemar Tisby: If there’s no lament in the statement about injustice, why would I trust it?

An Open Letter To John MacArthur About Social Justice by Rasool Berry at The Witness

A Better Statement on Christianity and Justice: The Chicago Declaration of Evangelical Social Concern by Jemar Tisby at The Witness

Battle lines form over social justice: Is it gospel or heresy? by Jemar Tisby at Religion News Service

John MacArthur’s series on social justice: Part 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

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Show Hosts: Jemar Tisby + Tyler Burns • Producer: Beau York + Podastery Studios • Pass The Mic: Website + Twitter  • The Witness: Website + Twitter

4 thoughts on “On “Social Justice and the Gospel” Part 1 (PTM 218)

  1. Thomas W.

    After listening a couple days ago and thinking on the podcast, a few comments. I appreciate that the podcast takes the time to address some of the actual statements. I do think there is some room for criticism of how the statement was handled.


    1. Yall still fail to address the context from the definition they used.

    2. This leads to a lack of understanding on why and what is meant, while a quick descent into cognitive dissonance begins with the presumptions of motives that you both opined about. (but which you can’t know.)

    3. One Example is when jemar reduces the statement on culture to ethnocentric so that he can knock it down. Culture is not limited to ethnicity. And it would be entirely true that it’s the Bible that informs us that the culture of nazism is wrong. Cultures that have rejected that are better.

    Instead of recognizing the actual statements inclusive context, the presumptuous assertions of their motives and the ignoring of the context produce logical fallacies.

    4. If you aren’t sure of what they mean, what the purpose is, or their motives, why not call MacArthur on the phone? As Christians and leaders, why is it so hard to engage so that you understand their position better?

    5. I understand and appreciate that y’all took the time to discuss that your focus isn’t on debate at the witness. However, never engaging fellow Christians, esp leaders, is producing an echo chamber. Such engagements do not have to be debates. Why not ask MacArthur to join your next podcast? I’m even happy to discuss.

    6. Requiring a lament or a historian to meet your ambiguous criteria, are examples of cognitive dissonance. You’re placing greater demands, rather than dealing with the content itself. If they gave you both of those, would you still make excuses? Probably, as we all do it. Asking for those things hedges on persuasion, but not to the logic of the statement. If a 12 year old tells you that the Bible is true, a request for someone older with a degree doesn’t negate the truth in what they’ve spoken.

    7. Y’all have not talked yet about the statement regarding generational sin. I expect you’ll do this in part 2? As this helps or should help you understand where the break is.

    8. Y’all do realize that at least in MacArthur’s case he spent the 50s and 60s doing more for civil rights than just about anyone else, including yourselves? Does this not give him more than a charitable assumption of his motives? Speaking of which, giving other Christians the benefit of their motives should not take charity. Your default there is highly judgmental. Our experiences are not enough to let that become a blanket, group view of others.

    9. For me, having read the statement, his articles, and yours as well as some from the TGC, the fulcrum this all swings on is restitution for the past sins of others. I’m glad yall talked of that on the podcast. I think it certainly shows the difficulty in moving forward at least in the church as we talk past that, presuming motives of others.

    The statement acknowledged generational sin when future generations continue to carry on past sins, at least purposely. I think your distinction of non implicit,ignorance, and not purposely promoting on sin is valid, though I imagine they would agree with that extention and distinction.

    However gentlemen, is restitution for past sins of others truly, biblical? As Tyler asks questions (quoted above) to the immediate and direct impact of those we’ve effected, there’s no argument. If I am at fault for a car accident, I pay to fix the other person’s car. But if my grandfather failed to pay for an accident he caused 30 years ago, by which others and his family benefitted in some way, where is the biblical precedent I owe something? More so, where is the precedent that someone from 30 years ago can make demands of me, beyond the recognition of that wrong?

    Further, once you extend into this assumption, how do you balance it all out? America, for all its failures has also provided: welfare, human aid to foreign, 3rd world countries, job training, and ending slavery, Jim crow, red lining, etc. Meanwhile, African Americans have by and large voted Democrat, which that party has purposely promoted the degradation of the family and the slaughter of over 60 million in the last 45 years, including almost 20 million of their own. How much have we benefited from that? Where is and what is your suggestion for your own restitution for how you’ve contributed to this, presuming support of at least the previous president and the continuance of a platform that includes that. (Yes, Republicans at least in their legalism of God intentions have contributed to systemic issues too).

    It goes both ways, and you lack persuasion toward the MacArthurs and other white Christians because that level of restitution to a blanket group has been poorly defined, articulated, and biblically backed, while you can’t see it on your own side to pull out your own log.

    If you were honest about leaning on your brothers and sisters for insight to your own bias and how it blocks you, please consider not just what I’m saying, but take the time to pursue relationships with those like MacArthur.

    10. Forgive me if grammar is bad, I’m posting from a phone. Love you guys. I really do. Hope y’all can mature in wisdom on the matter ax we all need to.

  2. Jeremy

    Hillary, this may help clear things up on the origins and what the current “social justice” movement is about.

  3. Jeremy

    Hi Hillary,

    Sadly your’e not likely to get a responce back. At all. I agree that some of the terms create situations where people end up talking past each other. “We’re not going to do YOUR work for you!” is the typical responce.

    I think the worst part is, during this very episode Tyler says multiple times, “I would love to hear them explain…”, “I don’t know what they mean by….”, “why didn’t they say/do…”, etc., and then at the end the podcast effectively say “We’re NOT going to discuss these issues with people we disagree with and post it.” If listeners could hear an actual back and forth discussion it would help allot!

  4. Hillary

    Not sure if this could get answered in this comment thread but in my listening there was a phrase Tyler said that stuck out to me. “Black Christianity”. Explain this category to me. I do not see biblical roots for this.

    I am reading material on both sides of this issue and seeking to listen intently as possible. I need some terms defined and I’m sorry if you guys have already done that on an older podcast but as a new mom…I just don’t have the time! ?

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