Freedom and Justice
The church, through its traditions and practices is interdependent on the state and the rule of law. If rule of law is to be maintained, it must be applied fairly and equally with an overabundance of transparency. Where such a situation does not exist, it becomes the church’s responsibility to become a conduit of transformation for the legal system. The church, in a prophetic role, speaks truth to power and brings about cultural regeneration where oppression ruins lives.
In the absence of the rule of law or a broken system of governance, injustice thrives, and crimes grow in increasing depravity. Unfortunately, a majority of states operate outside the rule of law due to corruption and abuse of power. Grave crimes are committed against people in these nations. According to Article 7 of the treaty articulated by the International Criminal Court (ICC), ‘crimes against humanity’ include:
- Murder, genocide, torture, mutilations, forcible transfer of population by the state
- Enslavement, debt bondage, adoptions in which children are forced to work as slaves, child soldiers, and forced marriage
- Imprisonment, illegal detention, hostages, political prisoners
- Rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization
- Persecution on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, or other grounds
- Other inhumane acts such as acid throwing, bride burning, dowry death, honor killing, female genital mutilation, forced abortion, feticide
This is not an exhuastive list.
What do ‘freedom’ and ‘justice’ mean to our neighbors against whom these crimes are being committed? The Lausanne Covenant defines ‘evangelization’ as ‘the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world’. Freedom and justice is an integral part of the ‘whole’ gospel as foretold in the Old Testament and quoted by Jesus in the New Testament.