By L. Sharp (Guest writer and researcher)
I want to share some thoughts regarding Jim Wallis’ recent June 24, 2021 “farewell” to Sojourners: the magazine/movement he began 50 years ago. I was made aware, spiritually, of the dangers of Jim Wallis through the excellent articles and booklets of Lighthouse Trails author Mary Danielsen. So glad for those materials, as Jim Wallis (and those associated with the “social justice warriors,” including Tony Campolo, Ron Sider, and many others) has drawn in many evangelicals into the lies and confusion of the “social justice” gospel. If you aren’t familiar with Jim Wallis and what he stands for, please know that while he may be retiring from Sojourners, his so-called “gospel” isn’t going anywhere and has imbedded itself deeply into today’s evangelical church.
JIM WALLIS BIO
According to Sojourners’ website (see link: https://sojo.net/about-us/news/reverend-jim-wallis-joins-georgetown-inaugural-faith-and-justice-chair), Wallis is described as a “Global Respected Justice Advocate,” who is:
. . . the founder of Sojourners, author of 12 books including American’s Original Sin [Racism, White Privilege and the Bridge to a New America, 2017]; God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get it  ; The Great Awakening [Reviving Faith and Politics, 2009]; The Call to Conversion [Why Faith is Always Personal, but Never Private, 2005]; and Christ in Crisis: Reclaiming Jesus In A Time of Fear, Hate, and Violence  ; and host of the popular podcast The Soul of the Nation. He served on President Obama’s White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and has taught faith and public life courses at Harvard and Georgetown University.
The Sojourners’ website defines who they are (see: https://sojo.net/about/about-sojourners):
Sojourners are Christians who follow Jesus, but who also sojourn with others in different faith traditions and all those who are on a spiritual journey. We are evangelicals, Catholics, Pentecostals and Protestants; progressives and conservatives; blacks, whites, Latinos, and Asians; women and men; young and old. We reach into traditional churches but also out to those who can’t fit into them. Together we seek to discover the intersection of faith, politics, and culture. We invite you to join, to connect, and to act. Welcome to the community. (emphasis added)
The Sojourners vision is “Faith in action for social justice.” Piggy-backing on its vision, they claim to “sojourn with others in different faith traditions,” which is not biblical. The Bible makes it clear that we are to love and engage with others (of different faiths), but we do not share the same faith in the Jesus Christ of the Bible, nor do we “sojourn” together with those who do not believe in the biblical Jesus, and the biblical Gospel.
Jesus is the only way to God. There is no salvation but by Jesus Christ.
The Bible makes this clear:
John 14:6 says: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
1 Corinthians 3:11 says: “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
1 John 5:11-12 says: “11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
Jim Wallis’ attempt to influence evangelicals with his “social justice” agenda:
—See link about the April 16,17, 2018 “invite only” meeting held at Wheaton College:
Wallis wrote an article on his Sojourners website, that he had attended this April 16-17, 2018 “invite-only” meeting of 50 evangelical scholars, pastors, and activists (organized by Doug Birdsall, honorary chair of the Lausanne movement of evangelicals, and Darrell Bock, executive director of cultural engagement at Dallas Theological Seminary).
Here is what Jim Wallis said in his April 26, 2018 blog/article posting on the Sojourners website—
What is an “evangelical” is a question now at stake on a global level. Last week [April 16-17, 2018] at Wheaton College, a historic evangelical site, 50 fairly diverse leaders met to pray and discern together the future of evangelicalism in the U.S. When Fox News, Breitbart, and CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) launched coordinated coverage of the meeting as “Trump bashing,” featuring the Trump evangelical advisers to the president, you knew the meeting hit a nerve.
I was there. The stated purpose of the gathering at Wheaton, with people across the political spectrum, was, according to the co-chairs of the event:
. . . to have an honest dialogue about the current state of American evangelicalism and to discuss the movement’s future . . . includ[ing] a reaffirmation of [our] shared commitment to the Greatest Commandment to love God and [our] neighbors (Matthew 22:36-40), and [our] belief in the dignity of all people as created in the image of God. The group also repented for areas in which evangelicals have not been faithful to biblical teaching, and examined how the public witness of American evangelicals has, and has not, reflected the life and teachings of Jesus.
The best word to describe the environment of [sic] Wheaton event wasn’t “bashing” — rather, it was deep embarrassment and deep concern about the future of evangelical faith.
History is very important to understand here and very few people do — even many of those who were at the meeting, and certainly those in the media who lack religiously [sic] literacy and too often are hostile to religion…
Jim Wallis then goes on to summarize his history of Sojourners (beginning in 1971). He said the “movement” began at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago, and in 1973, he worked with “Evangelicals for Social Action” (in a meeting convened by Ron Sider), where a document was generated called: “Chicago Declaration of Evangelical Social Concern.” That 1973 “declaration” was read during the Wheaton College meeting.
That declaration included much “social justice” rhetoric, and included an apology, on behalf of the church in America, for their “historic involvement” with racism.
Wallis’ comments on reading that 1973 document again, in 2018:
That was 45 years ago. Reading it again at the Wheaton meeting was heartbreaking—realizing how far in the wrong direction “evangelicalism” has now gone, so diminished and distorted. In my tradition, we would call that spiritual “backsliding.”
Jim Wallis’ attendance at this “invite-only” meeting of prominent evangelical leaders in 2018 at Wheaton College shows how much the evangelical church has “compromised” the truth of the Bible and has opened the door to its slide down the path of “social justice” delusion.
Even though Jim Wallis is saying goodbye to the magazine/website he founded, the social-justice themes he pushed have successfully invaded society. The “church” has also been distracted and diverted from preaching the biblical Gospel. For instance, Critical Race Theory (see Lighthouse Trails booklets exposing this deception), and other social-justice themes, are continuing to influence the minds of the world, and sadly, the church.
Jim Wallis’ new position at Georgetown University (beginning July 1, 2021):
So, all this background leads us to Jim Wallis’ June 24, 2021 announcement that he is leaving his position as president of Sojourners and pivoting to his new position at Georgetown University. According to Georgetown University’s official June 16, 2021 announcement, Wallis will have a new position as chair of a new “Faith and Justice” center, all made possible by an $8.5 million gift from an anonymous donor. Wallis joined Georgetown on July 1, 2021.
Jim Wallis’ June 24, 2021 “Farewell to Sojourners” Blog:
So, we finally come to the specifics of Jim Wallis’ “Farwell to Sojourners” Blog, posted on June 24, 2021 (see link: https://sojo.net/articles/my-farewell-sojourners-jim-wallis-georgetown)
[Wallis writes, regarding his new position and “work” at Georgetown University]
“Our (Faith and Justice Center at Georgetown University) key programmatic areas will focus on racism, poverty, peace, and justice — in all their religious, moral, personal, and systematic dimensions. It will bring together students, scholars, practitioners, religious leaders, policymakers, and members of the media to reshape how faith is discussed, understood, and enacted in relation to our civic life . . .
In this new work, I will not be leading an organization, but bringing many together; not starting campaigns, but lifting them up; not just lobbying politicians, but helping them solve problems; not just naming the issues, but helping change the narratives about them. We will have many trusted advisors including scholars, practitioners, elected leaders, activists, theologians, journalists, preachers, pastors, contemplatives, and artists. We will teach and learn prophetic politics with the perseverance that comes from a long-term commitment to change and with the patience to act, wait and see, then act again with the faithful persistence that was shown to me by another one of my mentors, Dorothy Day.
I once told Dorothy that Sojourners was supposed to be to an archetypal community that would change both the church and the world; she told me that was what she intended the Catholic Worker to be when she cofounded it. Instead, she said, the Worker became a school that many people would go through, learn from, and that would change their lives and their parts of the world. And that is indeed what Sojourners became, too. . . .
Since then, I have often told folks that Sojourners’ legacy would not be the things that we have accomplished as a community, publication, or organization, but rather what we inspired others to do including the changes they made in their lives, churches, communities, and movements—and the many transformational things which would come from that.
As I leave Sojourners, I am saying farewell to the faith and life school that I helped to start. But I will never leave it behind; I will always support Sojourners and I will continue to be shaped for the rest of my life by its mission. (emphasis added)
Concluding Comments About Jim Wallis:
Jim Wallis (among other so-called “social justice warriors”) has successfully left a dark legacy of inspiring misguided “social justice warriors” to “change” the church and the world. Did you notice how many times he emphasized “change” in his “farewell blog”?
He has enticed Christians to leave behind the true faith of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the spoils of a so-called social justice theology (that will supposedly change lives and society). But, in fact, what Jim Wallis has offered fails to save or truly change, for the better, anyone spiritually in the only way that matters: individual salvation from our sin through a personal belief/faith in the death and resurrection of the biblical Jesus Christ. [LT Note: The emergent/progressive/ New Spirituality leaders have detested the idea of a personal, individual relationship with Christ and have vigorously propagated an ecumenical “community” of social justice warriors in its place.]
Jim Wallis has led a movement that has intentionally omitted the main “offense” of true biblical Christianity, which, in essence has presented a cross-less “Christianity” and a powerless substitute.
God has given us His Word, which is living and active . . . and powerful. God’s Word (the Bible) will expose the lies of the enemy and help open the eyes of the spiritually deceived and blind. Although Jim Wallis has left a dark legacy, God’s Word continues to shine in the darkness, and His people will continue to shine forth and proclaim God’s truth in the midst of the current “social justice” darkness . . . and as His people faithfully preach the Gospel, God will be glorified, and God will be honored, and He will continue to rescue souls as He always has for the past 2000+ years . . . one life at a time . . . and all glory will go to Him!
What the Bible says about “social justice” issues/themes:
- Christians are commanded to preach the Gospel to individuals, not “Transform” communities
- Matthew 28:18-20—And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
- Acts 9:20—And straightway he [the apostle Paul] preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
- Acts 14:21-22—And when they [the apostle Paul and Barnabas] had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
- Acts 16:9-10—And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, “Come over into Macedonia, and help us.” And after he had seen the vision, immediately we (the apostle Paul, Silas, and Timothy) endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.
- Acts 16:17-18—Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoics, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.
- Acts 17:2-3—And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
- Romans 1:14-16— [The apostle Paul] am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
2 ) Christians should be wary of “change agents” (who want to “change” or “transform” the world, etc.)
- Proverbs 24:21-22—My son, fear thou the Lord and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?
We proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, which spiritually changed us. We do not implement “change” externally which only results in temporary and natural results, not eternal results. We do not “change” people through fleshly, worldly means, or societal “group-think.” God brings about true spiritual change of heart, internally, in an individual’s own mind, soul, and heart. This is God’s Spirit working His salvation, through the truth of the gospel, changing an individual, from the inside out.
God loves people and changes people, one person at a time, through the preaching of the biblical Gospel. And the glory and credit goes to God alone, because it is His Gospel, and it is His Word, that spiritually saves a person who is spiritually dying of the spiritual disease called sin.
Where in the Bible does it say that the goal of Christians is to “change the church and the world”? We are to preach the Gospel. The Gospel, preached to individual people, can have the ultimate result of changing a city, changing a state, changing a nation, and, yes, changing the world. Look at the book of Acts. Humble believers were faithful to preach the Gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit, and the world was never the same!
Read Acts 17:1-34 for a powerful example of the impact preaching the Gospel has on a community where it says the apostles “turned the world upside down.”