The False Dichotomy
– Brian Lee (Adapted from EDGe’s weekly newsletter, April 7)
With the recent social events that happened in the past 2 years, life as a North American Asian Christian has become more overwhelming than the decades prior. From the issues with social injustices to environmental stewardship or economic equity, the world is looking at the Evangelical Christian community in varying degrees of emotions and suspicion. Are Christians meant to engage and play a prominent role in society to become the agents of social change, or are we to focus on salvaging and caring for our community and put more of our emphasis on ushering others to the future Kingdom that God promised us?
It is quite likely that the answer is not one or the other. Instead, both are equally prominent in our Christian calling. A frequent challenge is the tribalism culture in which the society is making us choose a side to align with. Many Christians are often led to make a choice and an overemphasis to align with either extremes: we want to be active in fighting against social issues and siding with the oppressed but end up compromising and diluting the call of the Gospel, or we put too much emphasis on other’s repentance of sin and the attention of the spiritual and neglect the physical and present needs of those suffering.
In reality, such is a false dichotomy and God. In the Gospels, all 4 authors make deliberate emphasis that Jesus is both the bringer of a future heavenly kingdom and the one teaching social transformation for the oppressed by reinterpreting the Scriptures. He actively engages in the ministry of healing and the manifesting of miracles, just as much as he brings forth the ministry of forgiveness of sin and the reconciliation and eventual salvation between humanity and God. As a church, our primary goal should of course be the spiritual redemption, growth, and revival of the physical and/or spiritual poor alike, but we will not be truly followers of Christ if we don’t make sacrifice to extend compassion and advocate for their dignity and fair treatment as well.
We are saved by faith and we are sanctified by our physical, emotional, and spiritual response to Christ’s salvific grace.
As we journey into April, we would like to invite you explore what it means to pursue God together. You may join us in the new SLG modules to engage directly in God’s word in the Gospel of John and see how His Gospel remains true and relevant to us to this day. Alternatively, you may also join us in exploring various practical ways in which we as Christians may engage our faith with the various issues that are prevalent in our 21st century society. In the mean time, here is some resource for us to familiarize with the topic:
Innovating to be a better neighbor (with Eugene Cho)
Walking in Justice without Walking Away from the Gospel (from Save Our Sisters)
Justice, Restoration & Wholeness in the Kingdom of God by Michelle Ami Reyes
A Video Responding to Recent Anti-Asian Incidents