IS SOCIAL CHANGE A CHRISTIAN CONCERN?
Is it normal or acceptable for Christians to have Bible-based convictions on their private matters such as marriage fidelity, but no Bible-based convictions on the socio-economic situation of the world he or she is living in?
As Christians, our world tends to revolve around things like the mechanics of how we are saved and the relevant doctrines that explain it; our Christian character and personal holiness; our relationships in the family, at work and career; serving in church such pastoral ministry, the music ministry, flower arrangements, providing refreshments, and getting new and more responsibilities in the life of the church; and sharing the Gospel cross culturally.
We have quite a stereotypically safe picture of how to order our Christian lives, and we have much literature and resources that aid us in improving the personal or “private” aspects of our individual life.
But how about matters relating to broader society and public life?
What is a Christian’s contribution in the political, social and economic realms? From where do Christians draw our ethics to inform our activities in the public sphere?
Does our life in Jesus inform only the private life but not the public life? Is it normal or acceptable for Christians to have Bible-based convictions on their private matters such as marriage fidelity, but no Bible-based convictions on the socio-economic situation of the world he or she is living in? Is it normal for Christians to hold the highest standards on sexual sin, but be lax on racial discrimination?
The example of Jesus Christ shows His boldness in confronting the social issues of his time as a prophetic voice, yet Christians seem to have many reasons not to be involved in such matters.
Join Debbie in gleaning insights and reflections from the experiences of two of Malaysia’s foremost social activists, Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria and Eugene Yapp.
Eugene Yapp was an advocate and solicitor practicing in Malaysia, before serving in the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) as Secretary-General. He has played a consultative and advisory role to the Malaysian church in cases revolving around the usage of the word Allah by Christians, as well land rights issues that impact indigenous Christians. Today he is Director of Kairos Dialogue Network which focuses on fostering Christian-Muslim dialogue. He is also involved in research on Christian-Muslim relations, Islamic history and has given lectures on these topics at public universities.
Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria
Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria start out as a Methodist pastor. After a stint in Malaysian Care, he obtained a PhD in sociology which began his vocation in public advocacy. He is currently Principal Research Fellow at the Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. He is best known as a commentator on political, social and economic issues in Malaysia. His areas of work are the empowerment of the Indian community in Malaysia, policies for B40 households. Being a former human rights commissioner, he also comments on human rights violations. In October 2017, he received recognition from the United Nations for his work in sustainable development. He published an autobiography, Faith in Society, in 2016.