What does it look like to pursue justice as a Christian?
Kristen Deede Johnson tackles this question and more in her recent lecture at Southeastern Seminary, “Justice and Our Callings: Exploring a Biblical Theology of Justice from Genesis to Revelation.” In it, she explains how God calls Christians to care for people who suffer from injustice. In addition, she explains how we must allow Scripture to define justice and guide our pursuit of it.
Kristen Deede Johnson is Professor of Theology and Christian Formation at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. She visited Southeastern to deliver the “Evangelical Voices in the Academy” lecture for the Society for Women in Scholarship.
Watch her lecture below, or read key excerpts below.
From the beginning of Scripture to the end, we see a God who longs for justice and righteousness in the world and who calls us as his people in seeking it.
Christians are like trees.
“Trees don’t only offer life-giving oxygen to fellow trees. The oak tree doesn’t say, ‘I’m only going to do good for other oak trees.’ They actually make everything around them a better place. So as we think about what God wants from us as Christians, could it actually be something like this? [We are] a people of God, invited into God’s family, rooted in Christ, reconciled to God, connected to one another for the sake of the life of the world to offer oxygen, life, beauty and goodness to the world.”
On the importance of justice.
“From the beginning of Scripture to the end, we see a God who longs for justice and righteousness in the world and who calls us as his people in seeking it. And that’s part of what it means to be God’s people, woven all the way through [scripture].”
How do we define justice?
“It is very hard to say what justice is. For all the passion around justice, I think it’s hard to put into words. What is justice? What is it that we’re seeking? Maybe injustice is a little bit easier to recognize; not always, but sometimes you see things and think, ‘That’s clearly wrong. That’s now how it’s supposed to be.’ But how do we articulate what is supposed to be? For Christians, this is where we need to look very closely at Scripture and Jesus Christ.”