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Longing for God Longing for God

Structural or Systemic Injustice

I have been hearing a lot about structural or systemic injustice. As Christians, how should we respond to the current critiques of our social and government structures?

As Christians, we are called to think biblically about all of life, and we should not restrict our biblical thinking to our personal and corporate church life. I will not answer this question directly, but I will offer a biblical framework for our thinking and a practical conclusion. First, because of the sin of Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:14–24), the entire universe is alienated from God (Rom. 8:18–21; Col. 1:15–20). We live in a fallen world marked by death, mourning, crying, and pain that will not be removed until the creation of the new heaven and the new Earth (Rev. 21:1–4). Sinful and fallen people live under the power of sin in our fallen world (Rom. 3:9–18). Consequently, all human structures—social, cultural, and governmental—are fallen. Even our best systems and governmental structures bear the taint of sin because fallen people established them. Therefore, all structures stand in need of assessment, evaluation, and reform. It is a form of idolatry to think that any system that we set up is beyond the need of God’s repair and reformation. The practical conclusion is this: In the power of the Spirit, based on the gospel, Christians should seek to be healing agents of redemption, salt, and light, in our broken world (Matt. 5:13–14), leading men and women to Christ, and working to bring reformation and healing in every area of life, including the ongoing reformation and healing of fallen structural systems.

BY Dr. Winfred O. Neely

Dr. Winfred Neely is Vice President and Dean of Moody Theological Seminary and Graduate School. An ordained minister, Winfred has served churches across the city of Chicago, the near west suburbs, and Senegal, West Africa. He is the author of How to Overcome Worry (Moody Publishers) and a contributor to the Moody Bible Commentary and Moody Handbook of Preaching. Winfred and his wife Stephne have been married for forty years and have four adult children and nine grandchildren.

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