What is Justice? What is the Justice Conference
Justice is the single best word, both inside and outside the Bible, for capturing God’s purposes for the world and humanity’s calling in the world.
Justice is, in fact, the broadest, most consistent word the Bible uses to speak about what ought to be, and it has been used throughout the centuries by Christians and non-Christians alike to describe vital areas of human and divine concern.
To “do justice” means to render to each what each is due. Justice involves harmony, flourishing, and fairness, and it is based on the image of God in every person – the Imago Dei – that grants all people inalienable dignity and infinite worth.
Justice describes both our rights – what we are owed – and our responsibilities that we owe others and God.
Justice is broad enough to speak about truth, love, forgiveness, and grace, and it is woven consistently throughout Scripture. It conveys, through the prophetic images of Scripture, a picture of what God’s kingdom will look like, and what it can begin to look like now.
This is a small excerpt from Chapter 1 of Ken’s book, Pursuing Justice: The call to live and die for bigger things.
Ken Wytsma is a US-based church planter and lead pastor at Antioch Church. He is also the founder of the Justice Conference – an annual international conference that introduces people to a wide range of organisations and conversations relating to biblical justice and God’s call to give our life away.
Justice permeates God’s heart and purposes:
“Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue,
that you may live and possess the land which
the LORD your God is giving you.”
Deuteronomy 16:20 NASB
Ken is one of the key speakers at the Justice Conference, in Melbourne 17-18 April.
The Justice Conference: 17-18 April 2015
Brought to you by TEAR Australia
The Justice Conference has grown to become one of the largest international gatherings on social and biblical justice –
and now TEAR is bringing it to Australia for the first time!
The vision of the conference is to reach tens of thousands of people over the next decade through annual gatherings that educate, inspire and connect a generation to a shared concern for the vulnerable and oppressed. This is motivated by the driving value of the theology of justice, an understanding of God that compels love for others and engagement in justice.
The conference features international speakers including Ken Wytsma (US pastor, founder of the Justice Conference and author of Pursuing Justice) and Eugene Cho (US pastor, author of Overrated) and other local leaders in justice, including Indigenous Australian Christian leader Brooke Prentis, theologian and practitioner Barbara Deutschmann, performance poet Joel McKerrow and many others.
‘Through visiting TEAR partners and projects I’ve seen many real-life stories that illustrate justice in action, lives being transformed and a glimpse of God’s kingdom here on earth’.
TEAR’s vision is for a just and compassionate world in which all people have the opportunity to achieve their God-given potential. Together with our partners we are motivated by a belief that God is a God of justice. Biblical justice is aimed at tackling root causes of poverty and oppression to bring about social and structural changes. It is focused on changing the systems which allow injustice to occur, and I am reminded of one such example from work I saw during a recent trip to India. TEAR’s Christian partners there were putting their commitment to justice into action by helping economically poor communities ensure their rights for land, medical care, and education were no longer exploited by those in power.
Working for justice requires a commitment to long-term and often difficult work…work that is in harmony with God’s heart for redemption and restoration. Our passion for a just world motivates us to share this important message far and wide in the Australian Christian community. This is one of the key reasons that TEAR is bringing The Justice Conference to Australia for the first time on 17-18 April this year in Melbourne, in partnership with many other Christian organisations that are also motivated by a similar vision.
Matthew Maury National Director, TEAR Australia
Come along to The Justice Conference in Melbourne on 17-18 April 2015. Hear speakers like Ken Wytsma and other writers, theologians, artists and practitioners.
For more information and to buy tickets visit www.thejusticeconference.com.au
You can also read the first chapter of Pursuing Justice and download a four-week small group study guide at www.kenwytsma.com
In Psalm 146:6-9, God’s power as Creator is linked to his design for justice to be enacted in his creation, demonstrating that justice is an aspect of his character as foundational as love and truth.
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them –
he remains faithful forever
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,
the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the foreigner
And sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
If God designed us to experience true happiness and abundant life, why do so many Christians feel dissatisfied and purposeless? We try to make our lives better by chasing our own dreams, but that only makes the problem worse. Instead, the path to a just life that’s satisfying and permeated with meaning leads us alongside the orphan, the widow, and the powerless. Using clear evangelical theology and compelling narratives drawn from two decades of global ministry and travel, Ken Wytsma, the founder of The Justice Conference, shows God’s unchanging love for all His children.