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Monday, 08 November 2004

 

 

WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO END WORLDWIDE INJUSTICE AND OPPRESSION?

By Jim Jordal

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

Hebrews 11:32-34 (NASB)

Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:11-12 (NASB)

The more I understand how deeply entrenched are the forces of economic injustice, poverty, and oppression, the more I consider the situation to be almost hopeless—at least as far as human effort is concerned. With the possible exception of apartheid in South Africa, I can think of no time in history when the dominant possessors of wealth and privilege willingly surrendered their power. So why should today be different?

The world systems described by Scripture as Babylon have existed in various forms for thousands of years. Beginning with the famed Tower of Babel, when men attempted to become their own gods, these idolatrous, oppressive, tenacious world systems feast like hungry leeches upon the lifeblood of mankind. No society escapes. All bleed to some degree.

And today is no different. Politicians pontificate; interest groups advocate; but poverty, injustice, and oppression continue unabated. Powerful structures such as those oppressing the world today usually change in one of four major ways. Perhaps the most common method is through force of arms by either being conquered in war or overthrown by violent revolution, as in the World War Two defeat of Nazi Germany or the bloody intrigue that unseated the Czars of Russia after centuries of suffering by Russian peasants. You have only to visit the Hermitage (former winter palace of the Czars in St. Petersburg, now a vast museum of ostentation), to begin to grasp the depth of depravity and greed impressed upon Russian society by generations of ruling aristocracy.

More hopefully, change will come as democratic institutions develop their ability to create dissonance between unjust systems and their suffering people, thus leading to relatively peaceful political change, such as happened as the Union of South Africa overcame racial and economic oppression under apartheid. Many in the West hope—but with flagging zeal as military power fails to unseat Islamic fundamentalism--that this method may result in changing many oppressive systems in parts of the Islamic world.

Another method of change is that sometimes increasing decadence and corruption weaken the will and ability of these systems to survive, as happened in the Roman Empire over several hundred years, and as is predicted by various radical philosophies to occur in the United States.

And finally, changing market conditions or forces gradually realign power within those societies, as happened when the Industrial Revolution transferred economic power from hereditary European kings to industrialists and merchants, and as we hope will soon moderate the oppressive aspects of Communism in China. But never is this power surrendered easily.

But do you really think that any of these forces will suffice to overcome the massive global economic machine feeding upon the blood of workers, peasants, and common people worldwide? It controls rulers and nations by fomenting revolution and oppression. It subverts financial institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization through control of money and decision-making. It overpowers legislative institutions through campaign gifts and influence. It molds public opinion by influencing entertainment, the media, and higher education. And lastly, it inhibits justice by controlling national judicial systems to the extent that seldom does any court of any kind disagree with their policies.

But there remains one awesome force of righteousness, justice and deliverance yet to fully enter the struggle: the word and power of God Almighty. Some will cite history in the claim that God has never before delivered people from such economic and political oppression, so why should He now? But this position assumes that history never changes, and that the past is always the best indicator of the future.

But times are changing. The age of God’s permissiveness toward human sin is passing, and His earthly kingdom draws ever nearer. As the biblical passages quoted above indicate, God raises Spirit-anointed people to accomplish His will against those pervasive , oppressive realms of darkness that resist righteousness and justice. As Ecclesiastes says, there is a time for everything: "A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up (Ecc. 3:2b-3).

It is time for God to act powerfully to bring righteousness, justice, mercy, truth, and love to this reeling old earth. If you doubt this, consider how long we can continue on our present course of war, oppression, ecological destruction, human depravity, massive resource depletion, and endemic poverty and disease for ever-increasing numbers of the world’s people.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 17 November 2005 )