When we are finished redressing old wrongs to benefit people who have suffered but not the wrongs that we are redressing and when we have completed the mission of removing everything that offends from the hearing or sight of people who are offended, then we can get back to preaching the Gospel. . .
When we are finished advocating for every social justice cause, affirming every sexual orientation, celebrating every gender identity, and shaming every cis gendered person for their hegemony and insensitivity, then we can get back to preaching the Gospel. . .
When we are finished giving voice to every oppressed group, giving place to every person and group once denied place, pushing to the head of the line everyone who was once at the end, and opening doors to everyone who faced a closed door, then we can get back to preaching the Gospel. . .
When we are finished fixing the police or eliminating them, guaranteeing an income to all people, making sure that no one has to do a job they don't like with people they don't like, and keeping everyone from having to deal with things that make them feel uncomfortable, then we can get back to preaching the Gospel. . .
When we are finished removing every offense from Scripture, updating its language and focus to meet the stringent standards of our current culture of victimhood and offense, and eliminating every purported fact that conflicts with current science, our worldview, or our prejudice free world, then we can get back to preaching the Gospel. . .
When we are finished eliminating sin as a category, making friends with death (as long it comes on our terms), and setting free the power of desire and self, then we can get back to preaching the Gospel. . .
But, of course, that will never happen. We will never have time to preach the cross and resurrection as long as there are ills to be confronted and corrected in the world around us. Even Jesus admitted this. The poor you will always have with you. He was certainly not telling us to ignore the needy and those who are oppressed but the Jesus who suffered for our sins and died for our justification and rose to bestow upon us eternal life will certainly not countenance the choice between social justice and the preaching of sin and forgiveness. Some churches have decided to redefine the Gospel so that doing what they are doing is preaching the Gospel. It would certainly be easier and more popular. But it is certainly not being faithful. Moses and Elijah, the Law and the Prophets, and the Psalms all point to Jesus and how He must suffer, die, rise on the third day, ascend to the right hand of the Father, and how the preaching of forgiveness would begin from Jerusalem and extend to the far reaches of the earth.
No, I am NOT suggesting that we should not be in the business of advocating for the poor and the oppressed. I am NOT saying that we should ignore those who have been marginalized by the powerful maintaining their power. I am NOT saying that racism or prejudice or white supremacy or anything else should be given a pass because the worst of it was in the past. What I am saying is this. If the Church does not preach sin and repentance, Christ crucified and risen, the gift of the eternal to a people who are in a world passing away, and grace on which to stand before the judgment seat, who will? We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted from the central message of Jesus Christ. This is the weakness of modern Protestantism, of liberal Roman Catholicism, and of progressive religion as a whole. The ills of yesterday and today and the pursuit of a better world and a better life now have become the only agenda and Christ crucified and risen has become an asterisk instead of the central focus of the Church. A gospel which is only social is no Gospel at all.