Social justice, the term, has been officially banned from all literature and communications from the US/Canada Regional Office. At least, that was the directive given by the Regional Director under whom I served.
It seems that such a drastic move should demand a referendum of sorts. Such a move from one world mission region only serves to nurture divisiveness in the global family. The term social justice, it was explained, evinces concern by segments of the Nazarene tribe in the United States and Canada.
In no other world area has such a drastic step been taken. The Church of the Nazarene Manual makes reference to the term, but it has been quarantined from official literature from the UCRO department.
• The Manual reference is: 903.19. Value of Children and Youth
“Thus, holistic and transformational ministry to children and their families in every local church will be a priority as evidenced by:
• providing effective and empowering ministries to the whole child—physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually;
• articulating Christian positions on current social justice issues that affect children;
• In a Grace and Peace article, (“What Makes a Nazarene a Nazarene”, May 22, 2010, Jeff Barker stated, “Let me just put it out there. As I’ve read, wondered, and reflected . . . I’ve tentatively concluded that part of what makes a Nazarene congregation Nazarene and helps to form “Christlike disciples in the nations” is a shared commitment to holiness, education, social justice and compassionate ministry and being an international church.
• In a Holiness Today, The Ancient-Future Generations, (March/April 2008) Keith Schwanz stated, “Evangelism shifts from a method to a journey as they share life with others moving closer to becoming Jesus followers. Their concern for social justice and environmental issues emerges from their identity in Christ.”
• At Trevecca --- “The J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice is named in honor of the Rev. James V. Morsch, a former pastor of First Church of the Nazarene in Nashville, a lifelong church leader, and the founder and national volunteer liaison coordinator for Nazarene Disaster Response.”
• At Nazarene Theological Seminary --- “Students for Social Justice (SSJ) is a student organization that exists to be a resource for understanding issues of social justice around our world and in our community. It seeks to engage and implement the holistic message of the gospel in both compassionate practices and theological reflection as Christains seek to extend the love of Christ in the world.”
I hope the day would come soon when we would not be a house divided against itself.