Why Social Justice?

The Office of Social Justice works to develop a deeper understanding of and response to God's call to let justice flow like a river in both our personal and communal lives, as well as in the structures of our societies.

When we talk about social justice, we mean God's original intention for human society: a world where basic needs are met, people flourish, and peace (shalom) reigns. God calls us, the church, to participate in the renewal of society so that all—especially the weak and vulnerable—can enjoy God's good gifts.

To do this, the church rightly emphasizes the administration of mercy. But this also involves identifying the root causes of what keeps people poor, hungry, and powerless. The vast web of structural factors that perpetuates these social injustices cannot be overcome without broad systemic reform, and so we witness and work to remove these barriers.

If we avoid the issue of structural change, Christians would consign themselves to fighting the symptoms of poverty and hunger instead of getting at the disease itself. While the church is unable to provide relief to the hungry masses of the world, it can certainly advocate for systemic reforms that would significantly improve the lot of millions in poverty. Moreover, if the church would avoid calling for changes to unjust structures, then it would be guilty of proclaiming a truncated gospel. A message that fails to proclaim our radical liberation through Jesus Christ from every configuration of sin greatly limits the stature of our Deliverer (For My Neighbor's Good, Synod 1979, p. 41).