Adventist Journal Online | Social Justice Congress opens with call to act in God’s restoring mission

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At Andrews University, lawyers are challenged to engage when they identify God’s ideal.

Scores of Seventh-day Adventist leaders, academics, students, and advocates gathered at Andrews University (AU) in Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States, for a congress on social justice from 14 to October 16.

The hybrid event at the school’s Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary connected presenters and in-person attendees with many others around the world as it sought to draw attention to global issues of imbalance and Bible solutions that answer it, organizers said.

“The biblical account of Creation informs us that mankind was created in the image of God and was given authority to rule over other living beings that God created during the fifth and sixth days of this first week, ”the organizers wrote in the welcome program booklet. “Unfortunately, the entry of sin has caused an imbalance in all relationships and disturbed the ecological balance,” they added. “Mankind longs for renewal and restoration, and Christianity claims the promise of recreation.”

At the same time, the organizers reminded participants, we are not called to sit idly by while waiting for the divine fulfillment of the promise. Bible prophets call for immediate action to remedy existing injustices in order to bring people back to God and live in his image. The event, which garnered support from the Lake Union Conference and the North American Division, aimed to highlight the “intimate connection [that] exists between caring for creation in its fullness and beauty and proclaiming the Message of the Three Angels[s] of Revelation 14, ”the organizers said.

Describe social justice

The term social justice evokes responses that are often opposed to each other, acknowledged Willie Hucks II, associate professor of pastoral theology at the AU and coordinator of the event. For this reason, he chose to describe the term rather than trying to define it.

“Social justice asks us to actively assert that everyone is created in the image of God,” Hucks said in his opening address. “He recognizes that everything God created during the first week of this planet’s existence was very good, [and it] Also strives to improve others and this world by actively living God’s mission on behalf of his creation.

Hucks explained that each presentation was designed to lay the scriptural foundation for social justice. “This is proving essential in an era often defined by political ideologies ranging from left to right,” he said. “These presentations also aim to establish the holistic direction of social justice; that is, its biblical principles positively impact the mind, body, interpersonal relationships, finances, and care for the environment.

  • Dean Jiří Moskala of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary welcomes in-person and online participants to the Social Justice Congress on October 14. “The truth of God, entrusted to us, must always have practical results,” he said. [Photo: Marcos Paseggi, Adventist Review]

  • The Hybrid Social Justice Congress brought together Seventh-day Adventist leaders, academics, students, and advocates in person and online to discuss how to be better hands and feet of God on this earth. [Photo: Marcos Paseggi, Adventist Review]

  • Willie Hucks II, associate professor of pastoral theology at the AU and coordinator of the Congress on Social Justice, said in his opening address at Andrews University on October 14, 2021: “Social justice asks us to actively assert that everyone is created in the image of God. [Photo: Marcos Paseggi, Adventist Review]

In this context, Hucks pointed out that the three-day event aimed to establish the global reach of social justice and “how Adventism can be distinctly missiological in its approach while caring for God’s creation in the same way. that Jesus did.

“Our prayer is that you will be equipped, empowered and empowered to reimagine ministry as we anticipate the return of our Lord, impacting His people in a way that allows the love of God to shine brighter than ever before,” a- he declared.

A divine imperative

The dean of the seminary Jiří Moskala confessed that when told to imagine a world where social justice is respected, he imagined the new earth because this earth is full of social injustice. He reminded participants that today confusion, tension, self-centeredness and hatred are the dominant characteristics of human relationships. “We live in a post-Christian, postmodern, post-truth world,” he acknowledged.

But that was not God’s original plan, Moskala pointed out. “It is God’s intention that we cultivate an attitude of love, benevolence and kindness towards one another despite our cultural, economic, religious, gender, educational, color, language and social differences” , did he declare. “As the prophet Amos said, righteousness can flow like a river, but only when we treat others as we would like to be treated if we were in their shoes.”

Jesus made it clear in the Golden Rule: Do to others what you want others to do to you, Moskala said. In this context, he added, the Social Justice Congress seeks to inspire and challenge each participant to be more sensitive to the issues around us and to be moved by what our fellow human beings are going through. “The truth of God, entrusted to us, must always have practical results,” he said. “May each of us be attentive to the needs of our neighbor and engage in specific actions of benevolence so as not to be a spectator but to be part of the solutions to the problems of suffering humanity.

For Huck, social justice is an essential part of discipleship. He prayed, “Lord, you have called us to be your disciples. Part of this discipleship is being your hands and your feet in this world. Being the hands and feet of the Lord is what will allow God’s children to reveal his character in a suffering world, organizers said. And that’s something that will bring people back to the ideal of God.

“Just imagine a world,” Moskala said, “where all biblical advice is heeded. “


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