The Carl Henry Center at Trinity International University recently held a debate on the question of whether “social justice is essential to the mission of the church.” Taking the affirmative was Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, a noted evangelical activist for social causes. On the negative side was Al Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, and a well-known voice on Christianity and the public square. Both are in basic agreement when it comes to the question of whether Christians should engage in social justice causes–they both say yes. The difference is that Wallis sees social justice as essential to the mission of the church itself (note: not merely individual Christians), while Mohler says that the church exists to equip Christians in the the gospel and the “whole counsel of God” to empower them to live out their faith in the world. It may seem like a slight distinction, but it’s not. The church, as an institution, is not to be involved in politics, but Christians are. Thus the church should not define itself as a place of social justice; Christians, however, should be deeply involved in it.
Check out the debate here: http://www.henrycenter.org/media/player_video.php?id=318