Opening a Window on Social Justice: Black History Month Study Guide and Oakwood University’s New Series Focus on What It Means
- New Black History Month Study Guide looks at social justice from a biblical point of view.
- Oakwood University has new broadcast, Windows in the Word, that uses new study guide in its debut.
- Isaiah 58 discussed during first episode.
05 February 2022 | What IS social justice?
The Adventist church’s response has been one of confusion. “Adventists historically have flipped-flopped on their engagement with social justice,” wrote Nelson Fernandez, the pastor for administrative and evangelism pastor at the Miami Temple church in Florida, US, in his article, “5 Reasons Adventists Stink at Social Justice.”
A new Black History Month study guide, “Social Justice in the Word of God,” aims to answer the question with more clarity; it’s designed for churches and schools that want to learn about social justice within a biblical framework.
The format models the Sabbath school quarterly with four weekly lessons on “Social Justice in the Old Testament,” “Social Justice in the Ministry of Jesus,” and “Social Justice and the Book of Revelation.” The final lesson, “A Prophet Among You,” discusses Ellen G. White’s views on social justice through her writings.
Oakwood University’s president and co-author of the Bible study guide, Leslie Pollard, is leading a 4-part series on the study guide on the university’s new weekly broadcast, Windows in the Word.
The first segment aired on Feb. 4, 2022, with guests Ifeoma Kwesi, Professor of Religion at Oakwood University School of Theology, and Debleaire Snell, senior pastor at Oakwood University Church and Speaker/Director of Breath of Life Ministries.
“What I see in these lessons, in particular, justice is not simply a private, personal issue that we need to embrace for our own salvation, but it is an imperative of God for all people,” said Kwesi. “We as Christians need to embrace it — as Seventh-day Adventists, we need to embrace it.”
Snell noted that young adults in the Adventist church have been “crying out, especially in the tensions of the last couple of years, for the church to address these things in a meaty and intelligent and direct way.”
The episode focused on social justice in the Old Testament, with special attention given to Isaiah 58.
“One of the things that really overwhelmed my senses as I was reading this was how little concern God has for our outward expressions of worship when we ignore human suffering within our sphere of influence,” said Snell.
“Really righteousness, the expression of it, is seen in how we relate to and care for the least, the lost and the left behind.”
The new study guide is available at AdventSource in bulk or single copies. A pdf version is also available for a small fee. The Black History Month study guide complements but does not replace the regular Sabbath School lesson.
Windows in the Word can be seen on Oakwood University’s YouTube channel as part of its OU Block. The program aims to be an inspirational and informative weekly broadcast designed to highlight voices and contributions to mission and faith from communities around the world.
(Photo: Debleaire Snell, Senior Pastor, Oakwood University Church and Speaker/Director, Breath of Life Ministries (left), and Ifeoma Kwesi, Professor of Religion, Oakwood University School of Theology (center), discuss social justice in the Old Testament with Leslie Pollard, president of Oakwood University, on the new show, Windows in the Word. Photo via Oakwood University website.)