As we approach the close of 2016 and reflect on the current state of affairs in regards to racism in the US I think it is important to consider what is the role of Christians in regards to injustice. In consideration of John DeGruchy’s survey of Christianity in his book Christian Humanism, his perspective of salvation is tantamount in terms of developing a “New Social Gospel” for the works of peace and justice. DeGruchy explains in his book that the definition of “salvation” in modern day Christianity has become perplexed from its intentional means of liberation.
Modern interpretations of salvation have become entrapped in the constraints of oppressive deliberations that do poorly in the area of rectifying a social gospel. According to DeGruchy, Jesus came, lived and died on the cross not so we could be saved from eternal damnation, but rather so we could return to God and regain our humanity.
Humanity in its essence, consists of being “humane”. Therefore, as we reconfigure and align ourselves with the spirit of God, we are returned to our “full humanity” in which we are then removed from our ego, henceforth drawn into a right relationship with God. In turn our reflection of self has a greater capacity to look beyond the constraints of self-fulfilled interests therefore creating a greater capacity for the works of peace and justice.
John DeGruchy, in his book Christian Humanism describes this possibility:
But if we are concerned about the common good of humanity, as well as the good of those poor living cheek by jowl with us, then those of us who are privileged in the world have to find ways whereby we can share our resources better.
It is not a question of philanthropy; it is a matter of justice and ensuring genuine peace in the world. Such justice demands more than individual charity as important as this may be; it requires reparation. Making reparation for past injustices is not just politically expedient; it is a spiritual obligation that has very practical outcomes.
This is a global challenge that goes to the heart of the relationship between the so-called developed and developing worlds. No amount of theologizing can water down Jesus’ call to costly discipleship. “If any want to become my followers” he said, “let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who love their life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:23-24)” (DeGruchy).