Christians & the Politics of Social Justice
2013 Zylstra Symposium examines what "rich" Christians can do
2 min. read
October 1, 2013

North American Christians have access to education, opportunity, and resources. So what can and should we do with this wealth to serve the Kingdom of God. How do we address the brokenness of our world? And how do Christians engage these issues in the public political culture? Those were the issues addressed in the 2013 Zylstra Symposium on Politics and Culture hosted by Redeemer University College on October 1 and 2, 2013. The keynote speakers for this year’s event were Ruth Melkonian-Hoover, Chair and Associate Professor of the Political Science Department at Gordon College in Wenham, MA, and Jordan J. Ballor, research fellow at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty in Grand Rapids, MI. In her Chapel address, Dr. Melkonian-Hoover explored gender roles in leadership. She noted that the leadership and service model presented in Romans 12 focuses on God, not on the roles of men or women. “We belong to each other in Christ,” she said. “Through mutual submission – a model of following – we fulfill our calling in response to God’s will.” Dr. Baillor’s keynote, “God’s Economy of Love and Justice,” used four words beginning with “P” – Procreation, Protection, Proclamation and Production – to describe and compare the role of institutions such as the family, the state, the church and the market have in responding to issues of justice. A lively question and answer session followed.The Symposium also featured three panel discussions. Each of the panels focused on how social justice was affected by the politics of a different field – education, sustainability and community poverty. The panelists were not talking about theories and grand ideas. Most of them are involved in local, hands-on initiatives, demonstrating how these issues affect all of us, here and now. The Zylstra Symposium is made possible by a grant from the Priscilla and Stanford Reid Trust. Each year, the Symposium explores a variety of topics that honour the memory of Dr. Bernard Zylstra. Dr. Zylstra (1934–1986) was the principal and the professor of political theory at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, and a key figure in the Reformational movement among post-WWII North American Christian thinkers.

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