Social justice holds that man the sinner can define right and wrong and can set forth the meaning of justice. This is like asking a mule to be fertile, or appointing a prostitute to be the guardian of virtue. Every doctrine of justice set forth by man the sinner will be an attempt to present sin as a virtue, and lawlessness as law.
Social justice does not exist. It is a myth. Every effort to achieve social justice instead increases injustice, because it enacts an illusion and an evil.
God’s law, however, works to effect restitution and restoration, and it stresses responsibility. It does not express man; rather, it governs, guides, and protects man in terms of God’s calling and purpose.
Men who move in terms of God’s law are not guided by the social consensus nor by the majority. For them, God, not man, is the Author of possibilities and they move in terms of God’s calling. Stampfer tells a delightful story of a relative, an immigrant fresh from Poland, who was at once employed in his first sweatshop job in the garment industry. After half an hour, he asked the next stitcher in Yiddish, “Please, exactly how much money will buy this entire establishment?” We need Christians with the same sense of confidence in God’s possibilities. What God commands and requires is much more easily attained than that immigrant’s dream. All things shall be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ, men and nations, the arts and the sciences. The only question we face is this: will we be a part of that victorious army, or one of the defeated?
Excerpted from R.J. Rushdoony, “Autonomous Man,” 1978. (volume 2 of Faith and Action)
- R. J. Rushdoony
Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.