Twitter Notes: Is Ethnic Reconciliation a Social Gospel Pursuit?

By: Kyle J. Howard Topic: Biblical Theology, Ethnic Conciliation/Reconciliation

Is teaching ethnic reconciliation and speaking or against racism and white supremacy giving into the social Gospel?

The only way one could believe that is if they have both a truncated understanding of the true gospel and a poor grasp of the “social gospel” & it’s false ideas.

Social Gospel – Holds to modified versions of the following atonement theories:

1. Christus Exemplar
Jesus’ work was to be an example to the nations.

2. Christus Victus
Jesus’ work died obtained victory over the demonic powers

3. Ransom Theory
Jesus’ work buys back humanity

The social Gospel modifies these theories in the following way:

1. Christus Exemplar
Christ’s example is one of an oppressed & marginalized minority.

2. Christus Victor
Christ’s obtained victory over oppressive social systems

3. Ransom Theory
Christ’s bought back liberation.

Now, the non-modified versions of these ransom theories are all true to some extent & have been held throughout church history.

The social gospel modifies these by stripping away the centrality of the spiritual realities of Christ’s atonement & replaces them w/ social agendas.

The biggest problem with those who seek to criticize people like me who are engaging in ethnic reconciliation is that we all hold to a Penal Substitutionary model of Christ’s atonement. None of us hold to a social gospel view, & as far as I can tell none prioritize other views.

To claim that sound theologians are embracing a social gospel requires two things up front.

1. It requires proof that they embrace one of the other atonement models as primary work of atonement.

2. It requires proof they have embraced modified version of that specific model/s.

The fact that neither of these things are true, that all those being criticized hold to a primarily Penal model removes both pillars necessary to hold up any charge of “social gospel” compromise. there’s no basis whatsoever behind charge of me or others embracing social gospel.

Now, here is my pushback.

The people charging others with the social Gospel are not only misinformed regarding what the social gospel is, they themselves hold to a modified gospel. A gospel tailored to fit and thrive comfortably within a racialized society.

Christians throughout the centuries and millennia have understood that the gospel is cosmic in scope. That Jesus’ penal substitution whereby he has justified & imputed righteousness to people by faith; has made way for the cosmic unification of all things compromised by The Fall.

Jesus’ people, his church, are pressing against the gates of hell which rule this present age & the gates of hell will not prevail against said onslaught. Some have gone 2 far w/ this truth & developed Postmillenialism. But, the truth has been a constant throughout Xian History.

Christians, through their various Spirit empowered gifts & alongside biblical conviction are pressing against this present age of darkness. They are light shining forth the beauty of love, charity, & compassion & thru their influence sinners are saved & cosmos transformed.

The modified gospel is a gospel fashioned by oppressive regimes that have used Christianity to oppress and marginalized others. It is a gospel that removes the cosmic impact & refashions Christ’s work into spiritualized individualism. The Gospel is ONLY about saving individuals.

This modified gospel allows for oppressive systems and groups to maintain spiritual authority and influence while at the same time oppressing people and maintaining power.

Christendom used it to oppress laity, Slave mastery I oppress slaves, segregationism, & list goes on.

Hear clearly, THE GOSPEL IS ABOUT THE SALVATION OF SINNERS. Jesus Christ is saving sinners, this is Good news! But it’s only part of it. The grand good news is Jesus Christ is reconciling the entire cosmos! All That is broken is being made new! The entire unverse is being saved!

The crown and glory of God’s creative order are his Image bearers. The greatest miracle and the most valuable transformation within the cosmos is the regeneration of a sinner. A single soul is more valuable than all the stars in universe… but the universe is being transformed!

Twitter thread below…

Kyle J. Howard currently serves the church as a Christian counselor. He is a student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he received his associate degree in biblical/theological studies and a bachelor’s degree in biblical counseling. He currently lives in Atlanta & is finishing an advanced M. Divinity in Historical Theology and ultimately desires to pastor.