We run our website the way we wished the whole internet worked: we provide high quality original content with no ads. We are funded solely by your direct support. Please consider supporting this project.

homeless

Revolting Against Classism

All fallen societies and religions have a tendency to rank people according to class. All have ways of separating the insiders from the outsiders, the holy from the unholy and the more important people from the less important people. Jesus revolted against classism by the way he lived, a way defined by the Kingdom.

Now, neither Jesus nor any New Testament author provided us with instructions on how to fix the destructive classism of society as a whole in a political way. There have been many theologians who have tried to enlist Jesus and the New Testament in support of Marxism or Socialism, but they are as misguided as those who try to enlist the Bible in support of Capitalism or Libertarianism. The Kingdom is not of this world, and it’s vital we honor this fact by keeping the Kingdom holy.

Rather than trying to fix the world by tweaking Caesar’s program, Jesus revolted against classism by establishing a counter-cultural tribe who manifests the beauty of a people who are free of class as they relate to each other the way God relates to them. As in all matters, the way this tribe is to transform society as a whole is by providing it with a beautiful alternative that exposes the ugliness of class while revolting against the principalities and powers that inspire it.

This beautiful alternative was embodied in the way that Jesus treated those enslaved to classism in first-century Jewish culture. For instance, disabled people were seen as being cursed by God and were often treated as misfits and outcasts. Lepers were viewed as unclean an untouchable. Condemned criminals and impoverished people were generally looked down upon as scumbags. Certain kinds of sinners were deemed an untouchable class. And women were, on the whole, considered second-class citizens and were generally viewed as property owned by men.

Jesus revolted against classism by touching lepers, healing the sick, treating beggars as equals, treating women with respect, identifying with the poor, and befriending those judged as the worst of sinners.

Jesus revolted against every social judgment that separated people into classes and revolted against the powers that fuel it.

The revolution of Jesus calls the church to manifest the truth that the typical way that people are judged by a class system has been completely abolished. The Kingdom of God has a center—Jesus Christ—and he demonstrated that there are no walls composed of class distinctions that should divide us. This is a beautiful alternative.

Whether people are “normal” by social standards, upper class or lower class, intelligent or cognitively-challenged, educated or uneducated, attractive or unattractive, decent or indecent, able-bodied or disabled, male or female, talented or untalented, famous or unknown, young or old—our primary job is to manifest the truth that each and every one of us has unsurpassable worth, just as Jesus did. And we manifest this truth by how we welcome and embrace people, just as they are.

Photo credit: holacomovai via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC

Related Reading

Beyond Theoretical Salvation

Profession of Christ’s lordship in our lives isn’t a magical formula. It’s more than a theory about how we can get saved if we confess the right doctrines. The confession has meaning only when it’s understood to be a genuine pledge to surrender one’s life to Christ. (See yesterday’s post.) But I want us to…

Aslan Roars: The Atonement as Spiritual Warfare

Greg begins to unpack the Christus Victor view of the atonement by comparing it to the Chronicles of Narnia.

The Cruciform Trinity

As paradoxical as it sounds, if God is supremely revealed when he stoops to the infinite extremity of becoming his own antithesis on the cross, then we must conclude that stooping to this extremity out of love must, in some sense, be intrinsic to who God eternally is. And rendering this coherent necessitates that we…

Topics:

Violent Parables?

Some try to argue that Jesus did not make loving enemies and refraining from violence an absolute mandate. They make their case on the basis of several passages from the Gospels. The first concerns the cleansing of the temple which we addressed here, while the second is about how Jesus spoke harsh words to the…

Love is a Beautiful Way to Live…and Die

 Hartwig HKD via Compfight Richard Beck posted a reflection this last week called Love is the Allocation of Our Living and Dying. Greg has a regular practice of imagining his own death in order to live rightly while he’s alive. In this reflection, Richard discusses the idea of “giving our lives away” and what that really…

Lighten Up: Um…

Don’t hurt the people.