How the Church Changes Social Conditions
Kevin DeYoung has me thinking about this issue. I’m still wrestling through it, but it caused me to think of this quote by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones:
It is not the task of the church to deal directly with these problems. The tragedy today is that while the church is talking about these particular problems and dealing directly with politics and economics and social conditions, no Christians are being produced, and the conditions are worsening and the problems mounting. It is as the church produces Christians that she changes the conditions; but always indirectly…
The church cannot change conditions; and she is not meant to change conditions. And the moment she tries to do so she is in various ways shutting the door of evangelistic opportunity…My concern as a preacher of the Gospel is with the souls of men, my business is to produce Christians; and the larger the number of Christians the greater will be the volume of Christian thinking. It is the business of individual Christians to enter Parliament, as Wilberforce did, or to speak in the House of Lords as did the Earl of Shaftesbury, or to seek election to a local Council, and in general to act as good citizens. You are still citizens—act accordingly. (Life In The Spirit In Marriage Home And Work)
In other words, the church produces disciples, and disciples work for justice. The process is short-circuited when the church stops focusing on making disciples who will change social conditions, and focuses on the social conditions directly.
Still thinking about all of this. More coming on this later.