The Christian and Social Justice

“The doctrine of grace must also be found unacceptable by humanitarian-based theological pragmatists, because grace allows one to accept without guilt what is not deserved. To have something that another does not have, or to have something that is not earned, by inheritance, by ‘luck,’ by gift—in other words, by grace—is unsupportable for those theorists and requires the imputation of guilt. Only grace can expunge guilt. Social justice advocates are hostile toward Christianity precisely because the latter stands on grace, which the former hates. Christians taken in by the social justice argument have a social ethic at war with their deepest convictions and are, therefore condemned to futility. The only theology consistent with humanitarianism is works-righteousness, or Pelagianism.”

Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, p 240

Duty is Subordinate


Baxter on duty

“2. It is not a note of a legalist neither: it hath been the ground of a multitude of late mistakes in divinity, to think that ‘Do this and live,’ is only the language of the covenant of works. It is true, in some sense it is; but in other, not. The law of works only saith, ‘Do this,’ that is, perfectly fulfil the whole law, ‘and live,’ that is, for so doing: but the law of grace saith, ‘Do this and live’ too; that is, believe in Christ, seek him, obey him sincerely, as thy Lord and King; forsake all, suffer all things, and overcome; and by so doing, or in so doing, as the conditions which the Gospel propounds for salvation, you shall live. If you set up the abrogated duties of the law again, you are a legalist: if you set up the duties of the Gospel in Christ’s stead, in whole or in part, you err still. Christ hath his place and work; duty hath its place and work too: set it but in its own place, and expect from it but its own part, and you go right; yea, more, how unsavoury soever the phrase may seem, you may, so far as this comes to, trust to your duty and works; that is, for their own part; and many miscarry in expecting no more from them, as to pray, and to expect nothing the more, that is, from Christ, in a way of duty: for if duty have no share, why may we not trust Christ, as well in a way of disobedience as duty? In a word, you must both use and trust duty in subordination to Christ, but neither use them nor trust them in co-ordination with him. So that this derogates nothing from Christ: for he hath done, and will do all his work perfectly, and enable his people to do theirs: yet he is not properly said to do it himself; he believes not, repents not, &c., but worketh these in them: that is, enableth and exciteth them to do it. No man must look for more from duty than God hath laid upon it; and so much we may and must.”

Richard Baxter and William Orme, The Practical Works of the Rev. Richard Baxter, vol. 22 (London: James Duncan, 1830), 32–34.

Not In Our Power


Horton on Spiritual warfare


Some mystics today think simply by turning within and drumming up an intense spiritual experience, they will at last attain union with God. Some spiritual warfare schemes sound more like science fiction than redemptive history, attempting to identify specific demons over particular regions and vices, breaking generational curses, and finding the devil under every rock. But this misunderstands the nature of spiritual warfare. It is not a battle between nature and grace, but between sin and grace, and it is not in our power to conquer.[1]

[1] Michael Horton, The Gospel-Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2009), 176.