Sometimes it seems like some evangelical friends of mine get angry when I talk about Fairtrade and social action. They start think that I am going to stop being passionate about mission, evangelism, the plight of the lost, the centrality of the cross, the need of regeneration and the reality of our fallen world. But that is not the case at all.
The other response I’ve had is this, ‘Jon, just preach the gospel and get people converted. Then they will change and naturally do social action.’ This sounds good. Until you realise that once those people are converted they are told exactly the same!
So, can you be involved in social action and still love the gospel? Is there a way of doing ministry of mercy, without corroding the ministry of reconciliation?
This is a key theological issue to grasp for us on Fairtrade Friday, as evangelical Christians need to buy Fairtrade and realise it is a godly and vital thing to do. You may say ‘Isn’t Fairtrade just about giving some people better pay? A fair trade? That isn’t an important thing for Christians…’ . No, actually it is much more.
Through buying Fairtrade, the producers not only get a consistently fair trade, but the local community also get’s a lump sum that they decide how to use (on things like schools, etc). Therefore, Fairtrade is a massive social action issue.
But the question remains: can you get passionate about Fairtrade/ social action, and still have a heart for people’s spiritual condition?
Well, let’s hear what the big three think: John Piper, Don Carson, and Tim Keller. They tackle some of these issues (in probably the worse ‘studio’ ever…).