Justice and co-belligerence

One issue not really discussed by Tim Keller in his book Generous Justice is that of  ‘co-belligerence’ – how Christians from different traditions can work together on justice issues of common concern. See here for a good article on this from the Jubilee Centre.

It would have been interesting to hear stories of how Redeemer Presbyterian have addressed this issue in New York.

Recently I was at a evangelical-Catholic dialogue group and a very good presentation was given on Catholic teaching regarding Social Justice. Below are just my sketchy summary of 10 themes listed on the day.

My reason for outlining them here is to pose an observation and a question:

Observation:- I suspect that one would be hard put to find much disagreement between evangelicals and Catholics on these 10 themes.

Here they are:

1. Human Dignity – all humans have an innate dignity as bearers of God’s image.

2. Community and the common good – we are made for relationship and community

3. Rights and Duties – humans have innate civil, political, economic and social rights and associated duties

4. God’s option for the poor – and the church’s special calling to care for the marginalised, weak, vulnerable.

5. Participation – society is for all to participate in – in culture, economics and so on

6. Economic Justice – economy to serve people not vice versa. Rights of private property but within limits.

7. Creation – humans are stewards of creation.

8. Solidarity – All have responsibility for the common good.

9. Peace – calls all to work for justice and conditions that maximise peace.

10. Government – the state has a positive moral function to promote human dignity, rights, the common good and local accountability.

The Evangelicals and Catholic Together initiative of 1994 onwards developed proposals for finding common ground for mission. Without getting into the details of how successful this has been or into debates about the level of common understanding (or not) on justification – it does seem clear that it is in the area of ‘doing justice’ that there seems the greatest overlap and most obvious potential for working together.

So a question:

Do you know of any good examples of ‘co-belligerence’ happening between evangelicals / Protestants and Catholics – in Ireland or beyond?


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