I am part of the younger generation of pastors.  One blogging pastor has commented that we must hold to three things or we will be charged with heresy: the centrality of the gospel; community; and social justice. 

I smile as I read his conclusion because I resonate with and hold dear these three elements of the Christ-centered life.  Greg Gilbert, writing at the 9 Marks blog, examines the critique of social ministry and evangelism that is so dear to me and many in our generation.  Read his opening paragraphs:

If you give someone a cup of cold water and then share the gospel with them, are you guilty of pulling a bait-and-switch tactic in evangelism?  That argument is often made against Christians who engage in social ministry while they are sharing the gospel with the people they’re ministering to.  You’re doing “kind” things for them, the argument goes, so you can share the gospel with them, and that’s not real compassion.

How much weight does that argument carry?  I suppose it could be true—and maybe even is often true—but only, I think, among Christians who think of their evangelism as a way to put notches in their religious belts.  When that’s the case, it means that neither that Christian’s kind act nor his evangelism is founded on care for the other person.  The kind act is grounded on a desire to get to the evangelism, and the evangelism is grounded in a desire to make himself look good.  Compassion doesn’t figure in there at all.  

Read the rest of his blog here.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled, without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 2:14-17

Lord, please give me a heart that is compassionate for the least, the left out and the lepers of our day and age.  Please give me a burning passion for justice.  Please, King Jesus, come quickly and rule in true peace.  Amen!