On the Question of God and Justice
On Tuesday, March 27th, Charles Marsh and PLT contributor John M. Perkins presented a feature entitled “Does God Care About Justice?” at the Veritas Forum at Pepperdine University. The Veritas Forum is an organization that facilitates conversations between students and faculty on a range of beliefs and life’s hardest questions in pursuit of truth.
Marsh spoke of Bonhoeffer’s reflections on the church while in prison, comparing the Nazi’s appropriation of the Christian church to the way white southern churches of his youth distorted the word of God in their own prejudice. In his talk, he noted:
“My own culture and my own taste had constructed a God that had very little to do with the gospel… the church… exists fundamentally beyond national boundaries, political boundaries, social boundaries, racial boundaries… Those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord are quite necessarily… members of the global fellowship.”
Perkins reflected on the great societal changes he had seen in his life, particularly in the church, and how those related to the historical changes in the church started by Martin Luther and Bonhoeffer. In his discussion of of the current state of society, he expressed his conviction that the church, and indeed society as a whole, could become more equal and accepting, explaining:
“We might be at a sacred moment in history… I believe that we can form multicultural churches. I believe that we can be intentional in our love.”
John M. Perkins is a leader and major figure of the civil rights movement of the 1960s who founded Voice of Calvary Ministries, a Christian community development ministry, with his wife, Vera Mae.
Charles Marsh is the Commonwealth Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia and the director of the Project on Lived Theology. His research interests include modern Christian thought, religion and civil rights, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and lived theology.