grace & truth: entering in – social justice.

i’m fairly certain that about 4 seconds after i hit the “publish” button on the post introducing the grace & truth series, i was stripped of all knowledge, wisdom and insight i’ve ever had on any topic at any time. i don’t know anything anymore.

ok, probably not.

it’s perhaps more likely that i was simply stripped of the confidence to engage and wrestle and think, and maybe to be wrong (gasp). i’ve thought for 10 days now about what this initial post should discuss, how to phrase things in such a way that would compel you to get involved in the discussion and not just sit back and absorb (or repel) it, how to tackle a topic with some sort of originality, and to be honest, i haven’t gotten very far. i’m not sure i can propose anything new to any of you, but maybe the newness isn’t quite as important as the opportunity to re-engage. are we ever really finished thinking through something that matters after our first encounter with it? i know i’m not. so here’s to rehashing and hoping for progression of thought and belief. 

Grace & Truth: Social Justice
during our time at seminary, i was invited to a bible study that, cliche as it sounds, completely changed my life. the women there were fellow seminary wives with deep passion for the things of God, community, bearing one another’s burdens and building one another up. recognizing the intensity of four years alongside our ever-studying husbands, these traits were absolutely invaluable, especially when sickness, the tumultuous nature of all things motherhood, work hardships, sin struggles and even death touched our lives. we studied the Word together, convinced that the Spirit would guide and that there was great depth to be found, and i remember so clearly one night a few years in to the study, when some had graduated and left an indelible mark on our theology and lives and some had just begun their seminary journey, we were struck by the frequency and intensity of God’s call to care for “the least of these” throughout scripture. we were so floored and convicted that we made a Kiva micro-finance loan that night and signed up to volunteer at an apartment community for previously incarcerated women who were being reunited with their children. we were gripped. all in and head first we held high the banner of on earth as it is in heaven
. “social justice” became a real, living, breathing part of our lives, and i think back on that night, as well as those leading up to and following it, as an incredibly formative moment and season.

those nights and the actions we took because of them taught me:

1. Loving God leads to loving others.
2. Love works hard.
3. We are called to seek the welfare of the city.
4. It is not enough to speak the gospel with our mouths while living lives that extend no grace toward those who need it.
5. It is not enough to offer a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name but never open our mouths and speak the gospel.
6. We can’t do it all. But, God ordained, Jesus exemplified, Spirit guiding, we can do a lot.

i hope to use these six big ideas to open up a discussion on social justice in the coming weeks. join me?

what does “social justice” make you think of? feel?
does loving God lead to loving others? (
i’m not asking this as a question of salvation. i’m asking if the normative, active Christian life naturally leads to loving others.)
what place does social justice have in the theology and life of the Christian?
how do Christians engage the humanitarian, secular social justice movement?

Author: Abby Perry

Abby has written for The Gospel Coalition, Christ and Pop Culture, Upwrite Magazine, and The Influence Network. She is the communications coordinator for a nonprofit organization and co-facilitates two community efforts—one promoting bridge-building racial reconciliation conversations and one supporting area foster and adoptive families. Abby graduated from Texas A&M University and currently attends Dallas Theological Seminary. She and her family live in College Station, Texas.

10 thoughts on “grace & truth: entering in – social justice.”

  1. I’m with you on this! Love your thoughts about extending grace AND speaking the gospel. We live a bold AND mercy-filled life if we want to make a difference for the Kingdom. Great stuff. Subscribing to your blog now so I can keep up with the convo!

  2. Excited to follow along with this series, Abby!
    “…struck by the frequency and intensity of God’s call to care for ‘the least of these'” – and yeah, THAT. These days I’m still getting that into my brain/heart and figuring out how to act on it. So much to learn.

  3. Okay. This is going to be great! I know I tend to shrink away because I struggle sincerely with speaking in a merciful/loving way…Especially in the areas of social justices. I’m right. You are wrong and here are all the reasons why…So, to preserve the grace of the Gospel, I just keep it quiet. I so want to engage and have conversations about these important and powerful issues. We need to be talking about these things. Proud of you for bringing up the conversations!

    1. I’m probably not going to be extremely helpful in terms of how to speak mercifully/lovingly, but hopefully we can try to sort through that together ;). Glad to see you here, friend!

  4. Great topic for a series. I have always struggled back and forth with several issues surrounding social justice. God has really brought me to a place where I am beginning to feel comfortable regarding my thoughts on the issue. He is at work, He brings change, and He has ordained us to be a part of that change. As we are seeking him, yeilded to him, we will naturally be about doing his work. I think that this will always be connected to the gospel that is not only shown in deed, but given through his word. I just watched a great discussion between John Piper, David Platt and Matt Chandler on the issue! Check it out! http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/08/29/social-justice-and-young-evangelicals-encouragement-and-concern/

    I look forward to following along!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! It’s clear that you’ve been really diligent to seek God’s heart on this issue, I so respect that. I’m glad you’ll be contributing to the conversation.

      I just saw that video as well! I’m sure I’ll link to it in a future post.

      Thanks again for sharing!

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