Responses to Justice: OT and NT Perspectives
By Joshua Ford
CIU Student Writer
For Old Testament Professor Dr. John Crutchfield and New Testament Professor Dr. Michael Naylor, finding the material to present the Bible’s viewpoint of justice was difficult. Not difficult in the sense that there wasn’t enough information but quite the opposite.
“We had an embarrassment of riches,” Crutchfield said. “Which of the 20 awesome passages do we pick?”
In the third session of a series of seminars devoted to justice, Crutchfield and Naylor looked at what the Old and New Testaments had to say about the topic in order to better live in today’s society.
Crutchfield talked about how the concept of justice in the Old Testament is based on the character of God and it’s tied to truthfulness and integrity.
“If you’re skewing justice for the poor, who’s not getting justice? The rich,” Crutchfield said. “It’s very important to root justice in integrity and truthfulness, not in skewing to the group in society that you think needs more help. That’s not justice according to Torah.”
Naylor highlighted how the New Testament shows justice through Jesus’ life and that being followers of Christ will result in facing injustice.
“In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul challenges (the church) on their failure to live out and hear what God has called them to do,” Naylor said. “The implication is we’re living in the context here, relating to those outside of the body of Christ, but the call to fidelity is within the body of Christ that we’re challenging each other to faithfulness while still living in the midst of the first century world with Pagan culture.”
Both speakers noted that while we live in a world of injustice, aggressively calling for cultural change is a sensitive area.
“I have friends that are more willing and able to do ‘Christian nastiness’ than I’m capable of,” Crutchfield said. “There are some people that are better at being nasty and when it’s called for, you need those people.”
“Every ruling authority is under the rule of God,” Naylor said. “The charge (made in Romans 12:21) is to live out the good that God calls us to in the context of the world that we find ourselves in.”
“It’s definitely a wide topic to say the least,” said Daniel Wogari, a first semester student in Columbia Biblical Seminary at CIU. “It’s something that we as Christians should be concerned about and learn more about. After this session, I really want to learn more.”
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