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Social Justice: Biblical Principle or Progressive Plank?

By Ricki PepinBarbWire guest contributor

Will the real social justice please stand up? How do you find truth within the two very conflicting camps pervading America today on this hot topic? A principle approach comparison of modernism/progressive thinking versus biblical/principled reasoning is in order. Definitions and historical applications will prove to be far more accurate than just parroting some pundit’s opinion.

Wikipedia is self-described as a free, internet encyclopedia, written collaboratively by mostly anonymous volunteers who can also make changes to its content at any time. This is progressivism at its best: their biggest standard for truth is that they have no standard. Anyone’s opinion can be expressed or altered as desired, at any time. Their most recent definition of social justice is – “…progressive taxation and regulation of markets to ensure fair distribution of wealth

Contrast this with America’s very first dictionary written by founding father Noah Webster in 1828. As a master of 27 languages, he defined words by using their etymology (origin). His opinion did not come into play. This is principled thinking at its best: Words matter and their definitions do not change. He defined justice as “…practical conformity to the law; giving to every one what is his due; merited punishment, repayment accommodated to the action…”

Since the modern/progressive definition is absolute only in its elasticity, there is no point in evaluating it, as it may change later today. Webster’s 1828 dictionary’s unchanging definitions, on the other hand, should be more deeply examined to clarify what social justice really is. We need to ask:

  • Conformity to what law?
  • What is it that is “due” to everyone?
  • What outcome would merited punishment or repayment bring?

A quick look at the Declaration of Independence answers the first two points.

First, in setting up a new government/law system, the founders declared there is “…a separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them.” Once again, using Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, we find that the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God are simply defined as the “…10 Commandments and man’s God-given conscience…” This is the American definition [or foundation] of law, to which justice conforms.

Second, the Declaration of Independence also clearly sets out what is “due” to everyone: “…[all] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…”

Third, anyone who violates the God-given rights of others is due merited punishment and must repay the one whose rights he violated or goods he stole.  This is called restitution and would greatly discourage aspiring thieves.

This is the summation of Biblical/American justice—at least, what it is supposed to look like. The word “social” simply relates to society, which are our communities, cities, or states. True “social justice” is, therefore, achieved as true “justice” is implemented: Protecting individuals, their rights and their property, and properly punishing any who violate these boundaries.

Incredibly, the progressive re-definition of social justice is actually a violation of law, therefore, the antithesis of biblical social justice. Modern, so-called social justice, requires theft – taking money by force from one (through progressive taxation and free market manipulation) and giving to another.

So the bigger question becomes: Who gave permission to re-write definitions? The principle remains: Words matter and their definitions do not change! If, tomorrow, an enlightened, Ivy League, progressive professor declares, and the mainstream media concurs, that “Red is green and green is red!,” should all Americans now stop at green lights and go on red ones? Ridiculous, you say? I agree. Language and principles are meaningless if definitions can be randomly altered.

Push back! It’s time to stop progressives or anyone else from hijacking our language and re-defining who we are as individuals, as Christians, as Americans. Social Justice is just one example of revisionist definitions that have altered the course of America. What other words can you think of that have been re-defined to suit an agenda? If it’s true that “he who defines the terms wins the debate,” then it’s time to re-claim our words, win the debate, and re-establish true Biblical, American social justice.

Something to think about.

Ricki Pepin is a former employee of the FBI. She is a published author and international lecturer. Her primary passion is teaching citizens how to work together to restore America’s foundations. To that end, she has been leading courses on the U.S. Constitution, in collaboration with the Institute on the Constitution, for over 17 years and recently produced three teaching DVDs to assist others in the duplication of these efforts. Her ultimate desire is to bring a return to limited, Constitutional government where everyone has the FREEDOM to discover and walk out their own God-given destinies of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Ricki is married to retired Air Force Colonel Michael Pepin. She has two children and four grandchildren. Her website is

Learn more about your Constitution with Ricki Pepin and the Institute on the Constitution and receive your free gift.


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