Recognizing that we are called to seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with the Living God, we as Christians affirm God’s commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves (Micah 6:8; Matthew 22:35-40).
WE BELIEVE in the message of reconciliation as adopted by churches around the globe  that we are called to be peacemakers (Psalm 34:14; Colossians 3:15), salt of the earth, and light of the world (Matthew 5:13-14). We believe that God’s will is for humankind to be reconciled to Godself and to each other. We believe that the actions of Jesus Christ were a reversal of oppressive systems and that Christ provides us with a framework for undoing the harm they continue to cause today (Matthew 25:34-46; Mark 12:38-44).
WE BELIEVE that the pursuit of social justice is essential to a life of faith in Jesus and is a present-day calling of the church. The credibility of reconciliation is obstructed when Christian communities proclaim it in a way that perpetuates the separation of its members. In this document, we specifically name discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexuality, and class  as perpetuating alienation and enmity to God and between members of humankind. We deny any teaching that appeals to the Gospel to legitimize discrimination, and we proclaim that such separation denies in advance the Gospel’s reconciling power. (Leviticus 19:18; Romans 13; Galatians 5:1-15; James 2:8-9; James 4).
- God placed us in families and in communities. Our God-created nature depends on being connected with and cared for by others (Ruth 1:16-17; Romans 12:5; Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 10:24-25).
We are inherently social beings.
- God wills that things are restored, repaid, made whole, and made new here on Earth (2 Corinthians 5:17; Revelation 22:1-7).
This is the spirit of justice.
- God’s will is manifested in societies where the needs of those that don’t have enough are fulfilled by those who have more than enough (Acts 4:32-35). When God walked among us, Jesus taught and lived by this principle (Luke 6:17-26; Luke 19:1-10; Matthew 14:13-21).
Things are made right through communities of people.
In other words, God’s will is social justice.
Therefore, we affirm the following…
WE AFFIRM the centrality of holy Scripture in our lives as Christians called by Scripture to mission in the world. It is inspired by God and handed from community to community through the ages as a living document. The Living God, through the written Word, commands us to love God and our neighbors, which includes combating injustices such as racism, xenophobia, sexism, misogyny, ableism, transphobia, and homophobia.
WE AFFIRM that the fundamental truth of the Christian faith is “whether we live or whether we die,” we are God’s (Romans 14:8). “If Christ has not been raised, [our] faith is futile and [we] are still in [our] sins … But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:17, 20).
WE AFFIRM that Scripture proclaims without error the resurrection of the Risen Savior, the salvation gained, and the character of God, whose gracious love, unending mercy, and infinite compassion are the foundation of our salvation and the ongoing expansion of the kingdom of heaven.
WE AFFIRM that Scripture proclaims without error that all the law and all the prophets are subject to the foremost priorities of loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:40).
WE AFFIRM that biblical inerrancy is theologically untenable and becomes a moral evil when it allows Scripture to be weaponized against women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and people of other faiths.
WE REJECT the use of Scripture, which has passed through generations of imperfect human hands, to marginalize other children of God. But God is unchanged and perfect, so as flawed beings, we seek to emulate God’s character: perfect justice and grace.
WE AFFIRM that colonialism and empire are forms of domination, violence, and control that run contrary to the teachings of Jesus. The Gospel was born in Roman-occupied Judea and the Galilee region, where Jesus lived as an imperial subject among a conquered people. Threatening the ideological foundations of the Roman Empire, Jesus said “Blessed are the poor” as he challenged those with power and wealth to forfeit their possessions (Luke 6:20; Matthew 19:21; Luke 18:22). As God delivered the Israelites out of Pharaoh’s rule in the Exodus Narrative, protected Daniel and his friends from the violent rule of King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire in the book of Daniel, and cast judgment on Emperor Nero and the Roman empire for their persecution of the early Christians in the Revelation of John, we understand that God does not stand with the conquerors, but the conquered.
WE AFFIRM the anti-imperial sentiments of the early Christians, who called Jesus “Lord,” a politically-loaded term that was typically reserved for Caesar. In spite of Roman persecution, the early church flourished underground. The willingness of early Christians to die for their faith inspired others to take up the cross.
WE DECRY the collusion of Christian faith leaders with state power, which began during the time of the emperor Constantine and continues today. In North America, early European settlers who stole Native lands and launched the African slave trade did so in the name of Christ. Jesus wept. This colonial legacy continues, and we call on all Christians to work to end all forms of racism, white supremacy, exploitation, and forced assimilation. During the last century, U.S. military action and economic policy has spread U.S. power throughout the globe at the expense of many of the world’s people. As the world’s leading superpower today, the United States holds a position similar to that of Rome during ancient times. We call on Christians to advocate for the victims of U.S. imperialism by working for demilitarization and peace.
WE AFFIRM women of all experiences and those of marginalized genders as having necessary roles in teaching, professional, and spiritual authorities for all (Judges 4:4; Acts 2:17; Acts 18:26; Romans 16:1-7).
WE AFFIRM the advances of contemporary feminism that seeks to empower the marginalized and combat patriarchal sentimentality.
WE AFFIRM that men must also bear the responsibility of dismantling sexism, gender inequality, and gender-based violence, regardless of what social, economic, or cultural power that may be forfeited (Matthew 16:26).
WE CONDEMN not only sexism and gender-based violence, but the aiding, mitigating, or protection of acts of sexism and gender-based violence. We acknowledge that a disproportionate level of such violence is inflicted upon our sisters and our queer, non-binary, and transgender siblings —especially toward those individuals of color. We understand that we are in a world that disproportionately enables men to commit and reinforce this culture of violence.
WE CONDEMN complementarianism in all forms. We understand that gender norms and mores are constructs of society, not divine command.
WE REJECT the notion of the immutability of gender. Knowing that the “last shall be first, and the first shall be last” (Matthew 20:16) as well as Christ’s prioritization to “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40), WE AFFIRM the divinity that breathes through the gender and/or sexual identities of our queer, non-binary, and transgender siblings.
WE AFFIRM the Gospel as anti-colonial, anti-imperial, and anti-supremacist. The condemnation of racism is godly and necessary. Pursuing justice by resisting and dismantling oppressive structures is not only righteousness but our responsibility. (Psalm 33:5; Psalm 37:27-29; Proverbs 21:15; Proverbs 24:24-25; Isaiah 1:17). God calls us to love not just the foreigner but the “enemy” (Leviticus 19:34; Matthew 5:43-48), defend the defenseless (Psalm 82:3), care for the destitute (Proverbs 31:8-9), and uphold the cause of the oppressed (Isaiah 58:6-7). Creating systems that accomplish these goals is our Christian duty, not a denial of it.
WE ACKNOWLEDGE the Church’s diversity, believing we are called to affirm a multitude of cultures, languages, and traditions (Galatians 2:14; Revelation 7:9) rather than forcibly assimilate communities into supremacist structures, a process that only divides us into a “dominant vs. subjugated” binary. We affirm that our racial identities do not exist in opposition or subordination to our Christian one, but are instead a facet of how we experience the world.
WE CONDEMN the racialization and systemic racism that communities of color experience. We denounce the racial hierarchy  that continues the enslavement of Black peoples (through disenfranchisement, the prison-industrial complex, and specifically anti-Black policies that devalue Black lives), the dispossession of Native and indigenous peoples (through genocide, continued settler-colonialism, and occupation of sacred lands), and the Othering of the foreigner from Asian to Latinx to Middle Eastern (through dehumanization, positioning foreigners as threats, and using foreigners as wedges to further a black-white racial binary). We find these actions to be antithetical to the Gospel, which is a message of love (Ephesians 4:2), acceptance (Matthew 8:38-39; Deuteronomy 10:18), peace (Leviticus 26:6), and liberation (Luke 4:18-19).
Sexuality and Gender Identity
WE AFFIRM the beauty in our diverse gender and sexual minority identities. We recognize the image of the Divine reflected by each of our LGBTQIA+ siblings, who are loved unconditionally (1 John 4:7-12) as they are.
WE CELEBRATE LGBTQIA+ individuals as fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) in their particular sexual orientation and gender identities, and we stand together in pursuit of full equality in the eyes of the church and of the law (Galatians 3:28).
WE AFFIRM the need to repent for the behavior of the church, which has caused and continues to cause harm specific to the LGBTQIA+ community (Isaiah 6:4-7; Jeremiah 3:12-14; Amos 4:1-5; 5:21-24), which we recognize as integral, invaluable parts of the Christian body (1 Corinthians 12).
WE AFFIRM the autonomy of our LGBTQIA+ siblings to enter into marriage as they see fit, blessed by God, and the blessedness of relationships otherwise labeled. We also affirm the worthiness and the identities of LGBTQIA+ individuals who are single.
WE AFFIRM the right of self-identification to those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and/or questioning (Acts 8:26-40). We affirm there is no contradiction in also identifying as Christian.
WE REJECT the notion that gender and sexual minorities should aspire to being cisgender and heterosexual. We reject mandatory celibacy and conversion therapy as ineffective psychologically and physically harmful practices with potentially fatal results.
WE AFFIRM a deeply biblical concern with both spiritual poverty and material poverty. Much as God is dedicated to the eradication of spiritual impoverishment, God has also revealed unwavering dedication to those suffering as a result of economic inequity (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:16-21). God not only promises justice for individuals experiencing poverty but rebukes those who have contributed to their oppression (Amos 6; Proverbs 22:22-23; Psalm 12:5). Jesus goes so far as to identify himself with those experiencing poverty (Matthew 25:34-40), clarifying that their lives are of utmost importance in the kingdom of God.
WE AFFIRM the inherent value of all people and the need for economic justice. While individuals living in poverty experience segregated and substandard housing, unlivable wages, and a grossly meritocratic healthcare system, the rich are doubly rewarded. Rather than being complacent and complicit in their oppression, we must come alongside and lift up those most affected by economic inequity. They are critical participants in and recipients of the peace, the shalom, the wholeness that God is ushering in (Luke 6:17-26).
WE AFFIRM the active pursuit of economic equality as an expression of God’s love in truth and action (1 John 3:17-18). Such a pursuit is carried out in giving and sharing of our material possessions (Mark 10:21-22), defending the rights of those experiencing poverty through our speech and activism (Proverbs 31:8-9), and treating all people with dignity (Genesis 1:27, James 3:9-10). These biblically mandated actions go against the priorities and logic of capitalism. Therefore, we affirm our dependence on the Holy Spirit to resist the temptations of seeking our own material comfort, sustaining the oppressive status quo, and worshiping money.
A Refutation of the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel
For the sake of Christ and God’s church, we—as ecumenical, God-loving, Progressive Asian American Christians—are deeply concerned with the state of the church as depicted in The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel because it stands against God’s greatest commandment: “To love God and love your neighbor (Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Leviticus 19:9-18; Matthew 22:35-40; Mark 12:28–34; John 13:31-35).”
WE REFUTE the views espoused therein as inconsistent with God’s justice (Exodus 22:21; Deuteronomy 10:18; Isaiah 1:17; Psalm 82:3; Proverbs 29:7, 31:8-9; Jeremiah 22:3; Zechariah 7:9-10; Luke 10:30-37; 1 John 3:17-18). All theological frameworks stem from the perspectives of people from a certain time and place. The theology in The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel grants authority to and glorifies not God, but privileged White men who stand in the contexts of Empire, Authoritarianism, and Patriarchy. As a community of people whose knowledge of God has been dismissed as peripheral and self-seeking, in solidarity with other communities who have experienced the same, we challenge any claim to objectivity and consider each framework one of many incomplete perspectives of God.
The beliefs espoused in this Statement originate in a very human emotion: Fear. Specifically, they are rooted in fear of uncertainty, fear of loss of autonomy, fear of not belonging, and fear of a changing world. We understand these fears. They are universal. We all feel them. However, the ways we respond to these fears say more about people than they do about God.
In response to these particular fears, the affirmations of The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel remove faith by creating a false sense of certainty in the unknowable (Psalm 145:3; Job 11:7-9, 26:14; 1 Corinthians 13:12), remove choice by creating no room for complexity or nuance, and remove connectedness by drawing exclusionary lines in the sand (John 3:16; Romans 15:7; Revelation 3:20).
These affirmations leave no room for any god but a small one hidden beneath the suffocating statements of frightened men. This is not the Good News. (Isaiah 61:1; James 1:27).
Instead, we affirm unity in Christ. We believe in a God who occupies all the inner and outer spaces of the universe, (Isaiah 66:1) and a God who is the energy and matter that brings unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ (Ephesians 1:10). The God we believe in is immeasurably expansive, and whose essence is love (1 John 4:7-12).
Every wrong that we make right brings God pleasure, as we, together, are bending the arc of the universe towards justice.
Things are made right through communities of people.
WE BELIEVE AND WE AFFIRM: Social justice is the will of God. This is Good News.
Sign to Affirm
While this statement was crafted by Asian-American Christians, we welcome people of all backgrounds to sign to affirm this statement.
We welcome signatures from those who may disagree with portions of our statement. Our desire is not ideological purity but to unify around the very good news that social justice is of God.
1 The preamble is inspired by the Belhar Confession (1982), created by a post-Apartheid church seeking repentance and truth, and for an international body of Christ that recognizes the lasting consequences of colonialism on the global South. The church intended for the Confession to span social issues and warned against the future weaponization of social constructs.
2 We acknowledge that the church has historically marginalized many more communities than those that we name, including, but not limited to, those of physical disability, mental health and disability, neurodivergence, non-native citizenship status, illiteracy, and non-Christian religions and spiritualities.
3 Smith, Andrea Lee. “Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy: Rethinking Women of Color Organizing.” [Disclaimer: We disagree with Smith’s decision to take away space from Native women scholars by claiming ancestry, but we found her framework to be concise and useful in this space.] In Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology, 68-73. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.
Edward Walrod and Symphony Chau
Update from 9/11/2018 from the Statement on God’s Justice Team:
The Statement on God’s Justice (SOGJ) is a response by a core team of over 30 individuals who refuse to let false witness stand unchallenged. The Gospel is justice, and the Gospel is social. The Gospel demands social justice as a legacy of Jesus’ ministry.
The core team behind SOGJ consists of members of Progressive Asian American Christians (PAAC), a community for socially, politically, and theologically progressive Asian American and Asian diaspora Christians (of East, Southeast, South, and West Asian descent, as well as Pacific Islanders, Native Hawaiians, and mixed-race individuals) to support each other and discuss faith, identity, and current events. PAAC is an LGBT-affirming, feminist, justice-oriented, anti-racist, anti-classist, anti-ableist space that holds a wide range of theologies. The SOGJ core team is deeply indebted to PAAC for bringing them together and is excited to move our statement forward as an affirmation and call for all who dare to imagine a kin-dom of heaven beyond the false promises of white supremacy, corporate greed, gender-based violence, homophobia, and other forms of oppression. The world that God so loves deserves Better News than what a culture of oppression has to offer.
Disclaimer: While the SOGJ and its core team are affiliated with PAAC, they do not represent the views of all its members.