This blog post by Michael Giere — Can the Gospel Survive the “Social Justice” Fad? — caught my eye. In his critique of Tim Keller’s recent book Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just, Giere refers to Galatians and points to a major theme of James: whether your lifestyle reflects what you claim to believe. He writes:
Generous Justice, some have noted, may be a reflection of the Reformed idea of a “cultural mandate” percolating to the forefront with Dr. Keller, who taught in a Reformed seminary. Indeed, he has said that, “the primary purpose of salvation is cultural renewal, to make the world a better place.” In Generous Justice, Rev. Keller goes further, co-mingling the concept of unmerited salvation by grace, with the idea that “[i]f you are not just, you’ve not truly been justified by faith.” Identifying a single trait that confirms our faith is risky business, of course, as the Book of Galatians informs us .
Dr. Keller also asserts in Generous Justice that self-indulgent materialism must be replaced by a sacrificial lifestyle of giving to those in need; in “doing justice,” and in “permanent fasting,” which he explains is to “work against injustice, to share food, clothing, and home with the hungry and the homeless.” This, he says flatly, is the real proof that you are a Christian. To others it might suggest that the assurance of our salvation is an open question. [emphasis mine]
As we study chapters 1 & 2 of James, consider the question what would James say is “real proof that you are a Christian.”