1 & 2 Chronicles on Social Justice?

In my quest to eventually make available materials I have used in teaching over the years, I have upload another set of materials.  1 & 2 Chronicles does not usually seem like a place to go for theological and contemporay studies, but I do believe it is quite relevant.  Indeed, I would credit my study of Chronciles as a significant moment in my own theological development.  Perhaps over time, I will seek to explain that previous sentence.  But for now I offer some notes on Chronciles in connection with social justice.

In 2001 I participated in the Sermon Seminar at Lipscomb University.  I was asked to present some material from my newly published commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles. The general topic was already chosen–“Social Justice.” At first I was a bit perplexed as to how I could make that work, but a little thought reminded me of several key themes in Chronicles that play into and offer a theological ground for social justice.

One theme is the role that the “heart” plays in Chronicles. The emphasis on the heart is greater in Chronicles than in any other book of the Old Testament except the Psalms (e.g., the term itself appears more often in Chronciles except for Psalms). In addition, there is a consistent theme of testing the heart throughout the work, especially testing the wealthy.  I thought that was a significant theme for contemporary American social justice.  Another theme in Chronciles is social inclusive.  In particular, the Chronicler offers a theological basis for the inclusion of the alien and exiled Northern Israelites into the renewed community of God in the postexilic setting.

I have uploaded to my General Materials page both the lecture outlines offered at the seminar and the chapters that were subsequently published in the book edited by John York and Gary Holloway entitled Unfinished Reconciliation: Justice, Racism and Churches of Christ.

4 Responses to “1 & 2 Chronicles on Social Justice?”

  1.   Philip Says:

    There are many good finds in Chronicles. But my favorite is II Chron. 30. People are always amazed when I teach that text to them for the first time. They’ve been drilled with Nadab & Abihu so long that it is a complete paradigm shift for them to see what happens in that story. I just love it.

    Thanks for contributing so much to the on-line community & blogosphere recently. It is outstanding to hear your thoughts on a more regular basis.

  2.   John Mark Hicks Says:

    I hope to contribute something on 2 Chronicles 30 soon…after a look at Uzzah.

    Thanks for your kind remarks, Philip.

  3.   Mac Says:

    John Mark,
    I first heard you in person in that 2001 seminar. Then later in the fall I took my first course under you. That was an outstanding seminar; as good as the book is, it doesn’t do justice to the actual event. Thanks for the years of teaching, and thanks for the memories.
    Grace and peace.

  4.   John Mark Hicks Says:

    Mac, I don’t remember much about that seminar actually. I was in the midst of learning about my coming divorce and it was difficult to function at times. Being in that group of saints, however, was helpful even if it was hidden from all but a few.

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