"Social Justice vs. Biblical Justice" by E. Calvin Beisner. A Short Review

Social Justice vs. Biblical Justice: How Good Intentions Undermine the GospelSocial Justice vs. Biblical Justice: How Good Intentions Undermine the Gospel by E. Calvin Beisner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This wee booklet is an updated version of an earlier one. E. Calvin Beisner, Founder and National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, and one-time professor at Covenant College and Knox Theological Seminary, has compiled a handy little dossier on what is biblical justice and what is its relation to society and culture. It is simple and straightforward, readable by those who have technical legal education as well as those who have moderate schooling. Older adults and mid-teens could profitably digest this pamphlet.

Beisner has thoughtfully culled Scripture, answering those who have all-too-easily misused the Bible to foster this or that economic program or egalitarian plan. He is correct to see that "the poor" in Scripture are not necessarily the economically impoverished as much as it is those who are vulnerable to injustice and oppression (30-33). Further, he takes on the different types of "social justice" concepts, parsing out what each means and which types are biblical and which are more radical-progressive. I found that his definitions and observations about equality of opportunity and equality of outcomes jive well with Jonathan Haidt in both of his recent works, "The Righteous Mind" and "The Coddling of the American Mind". The author makes a clear case.

The only subject addressed by the Beisner that I have doubts over have to do with the seventh year (Sabbatical Year) simply being a temporary suspension of debts to be continued after the year is over (10-11). For reasons to do with other seventh-year releases, I think it more likely that the Sabbath Year was a more permanent situation. Beyond that one disagreement there are plenty of other details that will give the Christian reader good reasons to pause and take account of God's social/economic plan to see how healthy it was intended to be. This tiny manual is ideal for a short class or discussion group. I highly recommend the booklet.

To obtain a copy you can go here: Social Justice vs. Biblical Justice

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