Tim Keller: “A Biblical Critique of Secular Justice and Critical Theory”

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Which justice? There have never been stronger calls for justice than those we are hearing today. But seldom do those issuing the calls acknowledge that currently there are competing visions of justice, often at sharp variance, and that none of them have achieved anything like a cultural consensus, not even in a single country like the US. It is overconfident to assume that everyone will adopt your view of justice, rather than some other, merely because you say so.

Pastor and theologian Tim Keller (Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City) gives a thoughtful and biblical critique of secular justice and critical theory. 

This is an additional article in the series on justice and race by Timothy Keller that includes: “The Bible and Race” (March 2020), “The Sin of Racism” (June 2020), and coming in September 2020, “Justice in the Bible.”

The Problem We Face

Which justice? There have never been stronger calls for justice than those we are hearing today. But seldom do those issuing the calls acknowledge that currently there are competing visions of justice, often at sharp variance, and that none of them have achieved anything like a cultural consensus, not even in a single country like the US. It is overconfident to assume that everyone will adopt your view of justice, rather than some other, merely because you say so.

Biblical justice. In the Bible Christians have an ancient, rich, strong, comprehensive, complex, and attractive understanding of justice. Biblical justice differs in significant ways from all the secular alternatives, without ignoring the concerns of any of them. Yet Christians know little about biblical justice, despite its prominence in the Scriptures. This ignorance is having two effects. First, large swaths of the church still do not see ‘doing justice’ as part of their calling as individual believers. Second, many younger Christians, recognizing this failure of the church and wanting to rectify things, are taking up one or another of the secular approaches to justice, which introduces distortions into their practice and lives.

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The History of Justice

The traditions. No one has done a better job of explaining our current predicament over justice than Alasdair MacIntyre, especially in his book Whose Justice? Which Rationality? He shows that behind every understanding of justice is a set of philosophical beliefs about (a) human nature and purpose (b) morality, and (c) practical rationality—how we know things and justify true beliefs. In his book he traces out four basic historical traditions of justice. There is the Classical (Homer through Aristotle), the Biblical (Augustine through Aquinas, whose accomplishment was to incorporate some of Aristotle), the Enlightenment (especially Locke, Kant, and Hume)—which then set the stage for the modern Liberal approach, which has fragmented into a number of competing views that struggle with one another in our own day …

The entire article can be found here

 

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8/6/20 Cru, Intervarsity, Navigators ministering together – “Back to School” night

Thursday evening August 6th Cru, Intervarsity, Navigators, and multiple other campus ministries will be working together to host “Every Campus: A Virtual Back-to-School Gathering” – a nation-wide, one hour, free event for incoming and returning college students. 9pm Eastern/6pm Pacific. 

Every Campus 8-6-20

We’re especially excited to have our faculty friends Dr. Heather Holleman (Penn State University) and Dr. Josh Swamidass (Washington University, St Louis) included in the speaker lineup. More info can be found at https://bit.ly/3jbsqVz.

Please join us in praying for this event. And, of course, feel free to pass along and invite any college or college age students you know. 

 

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6/4/20 “We Are Done Dying” event

Please consider joining Cal Poly faculty, staff, and members of the community for the “We Are Done Dying” event Thursday June 4th at the San Luis Obispo County Courthouse from 5-6pm.

6-4-20 ACTION RALLY

This peaceful and safe action rally is organized by NAACP San Luis Obispo County Branch, with the support of RACE Matters SLO County and Cal Poly Black Faculty and Staff. Please respect social distancing guidelines and wear a mask.

In addition, a couple of area churches will be sponsoring a community prayer gathering 4-5pm a few blocks away in Mitchell Park. 

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Please feel free to join us for either event. 

 

 

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The Beauty of Agenda-Free Relationships

As I reflect back to when the COVID-19 crisis started, it saddens me to realize that the crisis did NOT have a profound impact on my relationships. “Missional Moments” are short, weekly updates sent out during the year by Faculty Commons. As we finish up the academic year, here’s an outstanding recent example by Professor John Chen. If you’d like to begin receiving Missional Moments, you can do so here.

As I reflect back to when the COVID-19 crisis started, it saddens me to realize that the crisis did NOT have a profound impact on my relationships. 

Yes, it impacted the group gatherings I enjoyed. 

I felt intensely the loss of meetings with my church, my small group, the faculty luncheons, and my classroom. 

But that’s not what I am talking about.  

 

Being isolated at home made me acutely aware that my personal relationships are more arms-length than I cared to admit. 

This realization hit me like a lightning bolt.

In the normal course of my life, I video-conference with my co-authors since almost all of them are at other universities.  And I even sometimes video-conference with the co-author sitting two doors down from me. My interactions with most of my acquaintances are largely through texts and emails.  

The COVID-19 crisis had no impact on those relationships.

Yet, Hebrews 10:24-25 admonishes us:

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

As the crisis worsened, I noticed something interesting taking shape in me. 

I wondered when was the last time that I had an agenda-free time with someone? 

To just be with them, to fellowship, to minister or be ministered to? 

So I asked God to reveal to me which people to call to say “How are you?”

I tried to forget my pre-crisis protocol of “when would be a good time to connect, three weeks from now at 2:43 for five minutes? Glad we could work it out.”

Now, I am going old-school and just picking up the phone and calling. 

As I write this, I just got off the phone with a friend.  Before we hung up, we both remarked what a deep, rich time we had. I had in my mind maybe a fifteen-minute call. It turned into nearly an hour and a half.

Why in the world did I wait so long to re-connect? 

COVID-19 has provided me the wonderful opportunity to reverse this trend of  “impersonal text preferred, call only if necessary, and avoid meeting in person at all costs.” I’m trusting God that I can be fully present with people, beginning with my family, but also my colleagues, my students, my friends, and extending to those on the fringe of my social circle. 

So why not think of at least three people with whom you rarely interact but know in (or outside) the academy and just call them?

If you feel the need to text or email first, that is OK. In our current situation, they are almost certainly at home, probably free, and, at least with everyone I have called, eager to hear another’s voice given our unprecedented circumstances.

While it took a crisis to awaken me, I pray for transformation towards a new normal where I replace agenda-driven interactions with Spirit-directed conversations to touch another with the love of God.

Dr. John Chen (Management, Warrington College of Business, University of Florida)

 

 

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4/23/20 Delve: C.S. Lewis’s thoughts on truth

Join us Thursday 4/23/20 11am as the Cal Poly Veritas Forum hosts a virtual “Delve” –  featuring Dr. Marc Horney (Animal Science) discussing C.S. Lewis’s thoughts on truth from Mere Christianity

https://calpoly.zoom.us/j/801540692   Meeting ID: 801 540 692

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Virtual Veritas Forums: Coronavirus & Quarantine links

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This past month, faculty and students from Cal Poly participated in the first ever virtual Veritas Forums. Panelists from Harvard, Columbia, Wake Forest and elsewhere interacted with students, answered questions, and presented outstanding responses to the COVID19 pandemic. One professor at Cal Poly was so impressed with the quality of the discussion he’s planning on integrating some of the content into his class this quarter.

If you’d like to listen to watch any of these three Forums, here are links (below) to each one. Enjoy. 

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3/24/20 “Coronavirus and Quarantine: What Big Questions Can We Be Asking?” with David Brooks (New York Times), Andy Crouch (Praxis), and Lydia Dugdale (Columbia University Medical School). YouTube or Podcast.

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4/2/20 The “Economy, Career, and Jobs” edition with Arthur Brooks (Harvard), Andy Chan (Wake Forest), and Alfa Demmellash (Rising Tide Capital). YouTube or Podcast.

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4/8/20 The “Lament, Hope, and Creativity” edition with Lecrae (musician), Alissa Wilkinson (film critic) and Mako Fujimura (artist). YouTube or Podcast.

Founded at Harvard University in 1992, the Veritas Forum works to “engage students and faculty in discussions about life’s hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life.” 

 

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Faculty/Student Prayer Tuesdays 1:30-2pm

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Please join us as faculty and students pray together 1:30-2:00pm every Tuesday this Spring Quarter. Please contact us for the Zoom code. 

 

 

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4-8-20 Virtual Veritas Forum: The Lament, Hope, & Creativity Edition

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Wednesday evening April 8th, the Cal Poly Veritas Forum will again be co-sponsoring the final installment of a three part series on COVID19, featuring panelists Lecrae, Alissa Wilkinson, and Mako Fujimura. 7pm Eastern, 4pm Pacific. To watch or listen, you can register here.  

The April 2nd virtual Veritas Forum, focusing on the economic impact of COVID19 and featuring panelists from Harvard University, Wake Forest University, and Rising Tide Capital, can now be viewed on YouTube here

 

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4/2/20 Virtual Veritas Forum: Coronavirus & Quarantine — The Economy, Career, and Jobs Edition

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Tomorrow, the Cal Poly Veritas Forum will again be co-sponsoring a 2nd Virtual Veritas Forum, featuring panelists from Harvard University, Wake Forest University, and Rising Tide Capital. To watch or listen, you can register here

If you missed it, last week’s virtual Veritas Forum, which was EXCELLENT, can be viewed – or just listened to – here on YouTube. 

 

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3/24/20 Virtual Veritas Forum

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Within the span of a week, things have changed quickly, unexpectedly, and uncomfortably. Over 250 colleges and universities have gone virtual overnight. What now?

What if this disorienting season of quarantine is not simply isolating and inconvenient? What if it provides a space for reflection to ask some of life’s biggest questions and reorient ourselves around the truth to be discovered?

Join us with students from colleges and universities around the country as we ask big questions. We will hear from David Brooks (NY Times), Andy Crouch (Praxis), Lydia Dugdale (Columbia Medical), and Andrew Schuman (Veritas Forum).

Tuesday, March 24
7:00-8:30pm ET
Live Q&A

Register here: bit.ly/VeritasForumLivestream

 

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