Why Gentrification is a Beautiful Picture of the Gospel
The Social Justice movement in evangelicalism is a political movement, not a theological one. This is why the theology of those who are ‘woke’ into a life of endless virtue signaling suffers so terribly. The worldly philsophies and vain deceits that have taken them captive (Colossians 2:8), chiefly Liberation Theology and Critical Race Theory are cultural spins on classical Marxism. Social Justice is not designed to help poor people. Social Justice is designed to keep impoverished people impoverished so that they vote Democrat in the next election.
To accomplish this goal, the Social Justice movement uses all the same tools of classical Marxism. This includes convincing the impoverished that they are victims of others, provoking class envy, teaching the successful to be guilty of their success and the blessed to feel shame for their blessing. These keeps subordinate class subordinate and steals from them their self-respect, work ethic, and self-honor, thereby keeping them in the leftist voting block that uses them every two to four years and ignores them the rest of the time.
Being a socialist, in other words, is not loving your neighbor.
Little else better describes this shameless poverty-mongering than the movement against “gentrification” by the ‘woke’ Social Justice advocates in evangelicalism.
Although the definition is provided above, gentrification is the process by which investors go into primarily downtown and inner-city areas with high crime, ghettos, housing projects, barely livable HUD shacks, and places where most successful and hard-working people have fled to better their condition, and then rennovate neighborhoods and improve them.
What the dwellers of gentrification get out it is (1) increased property value as the nieghborhood becomes ‘livable’ again, even if their own property isn’t improved (2) less crime (3) more services that include medical care, better schools, and more commerce or at the very least (4) a handsome buy-out of their property which they can use to move to a better area so others can invest and improve their homes, which they are unable to do.
While that seems like the short end of the stick, those who do not own their homes but live in deplorable, delapated apartments will likely have their rent raised and cost of living increased and the law of supply-and-demand increases the amount of people who want to live in the improving neighborhood. The worse-case scenario is that these under-preforming people have to find a different decrepit neighborhood to live in to stretch their welfare checks.
Those who are working and have an ownership in the community, however, will only see their lives improve as the missionaries of capitalism come to improve the neighborhood. By the time gentrification is
So why are woke evangelicals so upset about gentrification? After all, they’ve been telling us to move into the inner cities and make a difference there for years.
The Gospel Coalition ran an article on Wednesday lamenting gentrification in Washington D.C. (a city that needs gentrification if ever there was one
The article centers on the church of Mark Dever, the founder of 9Marx, which started as an organization focused on ecclesiology but now fixates on Critical Race Theory and Cultural Marxsim. The article quotes Dever’s protege, a Black Nationalist change agent named Ron Burns, who prefers to be called ‘Thabiti Anyabwile’ (he chose this name to identify with the Black Nationalist Movement.”
After pointing out that the property value in their neighborhood has quintupled (a wonderful thing for property owners), Anyabwile says:
“When we moved here, our community was 92 percent African American. We were known in D.C. as the community with all the bad statistics—high crime, low unemployment,
highnumber of single-family homes, low educational attainment…”
As you can suspect, the problem for Thabiti and other pastors quoted in the article, Mike Kelsey and Duke Kwon, generally lament improvement on dilapidated areas. The article takes exception with (common sense) laws like putting in bike lines (to prevent traffic conjestion and encourage different forms of mobility), disallowing double-parking on streets and establishing noise ordinances (you know, stuff that First World nations do).
But the theological perverseness of their position on gentification is that it’s somehow a “Gospel issue” (when you don’t understand the difference between law and Gospel, everything is a Gospel issue). Duke Kown, who is quoted in the article, tweeted the following:
Of course, the Great Commission is not best illustrated by bringing people Good News only to let them live in squalor and filth. The Gospel will, because of the transforming of our mind, improve the lives of people around us. The Gospel is not best illustrated by letting the ghetto be the ghetto, but transforming the ghetto.
And yes, people who refuse to capitalize on newly available jobs, construction work, and higher-paying employment may have to leave to find government projects elewhere. And the Gospel will no doubt cause separation as well, and eventually, that separation will be eternal.
In terms of “displacing the nations” (as though capitalist improvements of the lives of most people in the neighborhood equates to some kind of refugee exodus from an African warlord), I’ll remind you of the conquest of Canaan.
Our sovereign God sent his Covenant people into Canaan and ordered them to remove the Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, and all the other parasites in the land. That was God’s decree. They would “drink from vineyards they planted not, and live in houses they built not.” This was a sign of God’s blessing. And for those native Canaanites not displaced, their lives improved among the vastly superior body politic of Israel. Eventually, many of those who remained in Canaan became God-fearers who worshipped in the Courtyard of Gentiles.
As this Desiring God article pointed out, the conquest of Canaan and the displacement of the nations was emblematic of the Great Commission as a “part of God’s redemptive story.”
Why then all the Social Justice organizations hating on gentrification?
This social justice site, DoJustice.org, writes about The Gospel of Gentrification.
The liberal Sojourner’s wrote about Church Planting and the Gospel of Gentrification.
The Gospel Coalition wrote about this earlier in a post entitled, When Church Planting Hurts the City.
I could go on and on. Why do these Social Justice organizations hate improving the inner city? It’s simple. Thabiti Anyabwile, Mark Dever, Jim Wallis and other leading Social Justice advocates want to keep black people poor, uneducated, and unemployed.
To them, the inner cities are a human vote-trafficking red-light district in which – if they can keep people poor and ignorant – they can count on their vote during election season. If you can keep people just impoverished enough they have to rely on the government, liberals win.
Be a good capitalist. Be a good Christian. Help the poor and impoverished. Don’t hold them down in poverty. Don’t hate your neighbor. Help them.
God bless gentrification.
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