The Gospel Declared and Demonstrated

A False Dichotomy


Is there a connection between personal evangelism, discipleship, and works of social justice? Some fear that much of today's generation has overemphasized social reform without adequately preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Stephen Um joins Mark Mellinger to discuss how our convictions about the mercies of Christ should leads us into lives marked by engaging issues of justice. While the gospel is not the same as that of social justice, works of justice demonstrate the redemptive work of Christ.

Mark Mellinger is the Indiana Public Affairs Director for Bott Radio Network and talk show host for 1090 Today, a radio program that showcases local ministries and encourages Christian living. Stephen Um (Ph.D., University of St. Andrews) is the Senior Minister of Citylife Presbyterian Church in Boston, Massachusetts.


When you think about social justice, what comes to mind? Do you feel the need to separate social justice efforts from evangelism and discipleship? If so, why?
Log In to Continue

Stephen made a distinction between social justice and the gospel, but tied them together. While social justice is not the gospel, it does evidence the finished work of Christ. What was your reaction to this portion of Stephen's discussion? What level of concern do you have for social justice issues? Are there ways in which your perspective needs to change? If so, how?
Log In to Continue

Part of the difficulty in discerning our level of involvement is deciding to what extent we ought to disadvantage ourselves for social justice in the midst of personal responsibilities (debt, mortgage, family, etc.). Have you dealt with this challenge in your own experience? What do you think it looks like to pursue wisdom when discernment is needed?
Log In to Continue

Stephen suggested what he referred to as the "moral proximity" principle, as a way of looking for opportunities to serve in the immediate context where God has placed you. What are some justice issues in your area (neighborhood, workplace, city, etc.)? How could you enter into them in a way that demonstrates the mercy of Christ? Who could you ask to participate with you?
Log In to Continue

Have you ever felt a call to global missions? If not, how could you begin to participate in other ways today (prayer, giving, training, etc.)?
Log In to Continue


As Stephen said, we cannot simply preach. We must care for people as well. The declaration and the demonstration of the gospel go hand in hand. God calls His people to preach the finished work of Jesus Christ and display its transformative effects through the ways we give of ourselves to others. May your life be marked by mercy as you look for opportunities to engage issues of social justice where God has placed you today.


For more information about The Gospel Coalition, click here.