“Latin American theologian Gustavo Guiterrez speaks of God’s ‘preferential option for the poor.’ At first glance this seems to be wrong, especially in light of passages in the Mosaic law that warn against giving any preference to rich or poor (Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 1:16-17). Yet the Bible says that God is the defender of the poor; it never says he is the defender of the rich. And while some texts call for justice for members of the well-off classes as well, the calls to render justice to the poor outnumber such passages by a hundred to one.”
Comrade Tim Keller
Generous Justice — p. 7
1.) Comrade Keller here is suggesting that if we count the number of verses that teach justice for the rich and if the frequency of those verses are dwarfed by the number of verses that teach justice for the poor that means we can ignore the verses that teach the justice for the rich, or at least see their importance as diminished vis-a-vis the verses that teach the need for justice for the poor. Does that strike anybody has a sane way to do hermeneutics?
2.) Would Comrade Keller really have us believe that God is the defender of the wicked poor? While we would agree that we as Christians we should be defenders of the poor we also insist that God still hates the wicked poor and is not uniquely their defender. Those passages which speak of rendering justice to the poor have to be read in the context that God loves His own people and hates those who are not His people. God has not love or passion for the poor just because they are poor.
3.) God does not therefore have a preferential option for the poor merely because they are poor. If God has a preferential for the poor it is a preferential for the elect poor who are being abused by the wicked rich. Comrade Keller has drawn the antithesis in the wrong place and that is a major error for a “theologian” to make.
4.) Let’s be very perspicuous here. God is only the defender of the poor who are His people. God is not the defender of those poor who are in rebellion to God. Indeed, as to those people the Heidelberg Catechism clearly teaches,
“According to this testimony of the gospel,
God will judge (the unbelieving)
both in this life
and in the life to come.”
If God is judging the unbelieving (poor or rich) in this life how can we say, with a straight face, that God is the defender of the unbelieving poor?
5.) We should add here that God has not rendered to Caesar the right to determine punishments for adultery or idolatry or to neglect punishing them. There is only one lawgiver. So, the fact that the Nations don’t obey God’s law to punish adultery and idolatry doesn’t mean that God hasn’t instructed, from His law, that this ought to be done.
As to NT practices of nations vs Israel, the Roman Empire is the dominant nation spoken of in the NT and it is HARDLY one that was seeking a NT civil ethic, nor a nation to be emulated.
6.) Comrade Keller reveals that he is more than sympathetic to liberation theology and by doing so Comrade Keller reveals that if not heretical he is at the very least heterodox.