Why theonomy matters: charity versus justice

The Aquila Report has recently reposted an article by Jacob Brunton entitled, “How The Gospel Coalition is Killing The Gospel With ‘Social Justice.'” I decided to give it a read, finding the title to be entirely intriguing. Brunton’s critique is that TGC is confusing the terms “justice” and “charity.” By doing so they are muddying the Gospel. I think this is spot on, but I would like to take this in another direction.

To be frank, I am interested in social justice . But likely not the “social justice” you are thinking of, especially not the type that is being addressed in the above post. Because that type of justice is not justice at all.

The man who speaks to you of social “justice” – and what he really means is commonly called “welfare” – is actually promoting, interestingly enough, injustice. How do we know this? Because God’s Law says so.

And this is one reason why theonomy matters. God’s Law gives us clear definitions of what justice looks like, what charity (or grace) looks like, and what injustice looks like.1

God has given us his Word to direct us in glorifying and enjoying him, and it teaches us what duty God requires of us (WSC2 & 3). This applies to “social justice” and public matters just as much as it does to corporate worship, theology, and all things “sacred” and private.

The logical conclusion of denying the standard and authority of God’s Law to all of life will be this type of definition confusion that TGC has given its readers. Theonomy matters because charity and justice matters. And if we don’t have God’s standard to tell us what those are than the end result will not only be a confused Gospel, but also severe injustice.

For a great introduction to theonomy, see Joel McDurmon’s Bounds of Love. Joel’s work is available for free online reading or for purchase at American Vision. You can also listen to a free audio reading of this work at Reconstructionist Radio.


  1. I am not suggesting that applying these standards to every situation is easy as cake. I am naïve, but not that naïve. But this is a topic for a future post.

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