January - April 2022, Issue 99
Reconciliation Report

Inequality vs. Inequity

Inequality vs InequityInequality refers to different outcomes, while inequity refers to unfair outcomes. Inequality can be an outcome due to following God’s principles or due to ignoring God’s principles. Due to myriad inputs or causes, it is unrealistic to expect equality either in potential or in outcomes. The fact that people are not equal, in family of origin, in gene pool, in opportunity, in education, in income, and in culture, does not necessarily equate with inequity. The only way for complete equality to be expected would be for us all to be exactly the same in our genes, upbringing, environment, culture, opportunities, and performance. God made us all different, but He is not unjust (Rom. 9:14-15; Heb. 6:10).

From a Christian perspective, God loves all people so much that He isn’t willing for anyone to perish (John 3:16; 2 Pet 3:9).  God does not respect one person more than another (Dt. 16:19; 2 Chr. 19:7; Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11). Those from every tribe, language, people, and nation will be in heaven (Rev. 7:9). Every human being is made in God’s image (James 3:9), and we are all immortal (Matt. 25:32). The Church is to go to the ends of the earth with the news of Christ, again indicating the value of every human. Yet each person is uniquely gifted and unduplicated in all attributes.

The doctrine of election does not indicate that some people are more valuable to God than others, since the elect are not chosen due to merit. Israel was not chosen due to her “righteousness or integrity” (Dt. 9:5, NIV), and the nation had no intrinsic superiority (Dt. 7:7). The elect are so simply because of God’s unmerited mercy (Rom. 9:15-16). However, there are individuals whom God esteems (Noah, Daniel, Job—Ezek. 14:14). Jesus had an inner circle of Peter, John and James (Luke 8:51; 9:28), and the apostle John was the person Jesus especially loved (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2).

Inferences about inequality can be drawn from Jesus’ parable of the talents, where resources were entrusted according to different abilities (Matt. 25:15). Unequal returns, as long as there was a return, were given the same commendation. Equal outcomes weren’t expected. The parable of the wise manager demonstrates that God entrusts responsibilities differently (Luke 12:48).  Spiritual gifting differs among Christians, also implying differing ministry outcomes (Rom. 12:6). All Christians aren’t given the same work to do, obvious in the variety of services performed by Christians (Eph. 2:10). That this is OK is imbedded in Paul’s statement that comparing one’s self with someone else is “without understanding” (2 Cor. 10:12, ESV). It can lead to pride or envy.

While salvation is totally a gift of grace, God provides us with principles which lead to good outcomes in this life, many of which are taught in the book of Proverbs. Essential among them is building intellectual capital—wisdom, knowledge and understanding--whatever the cost (Prov. 4:7; 8:10-12; 17:16; 24:14). Care of assets and saving are important (Prov. 27:23-26; 21:20). Diligence and hard work normally lead to profit (Prov. 10:4; 12:11, 24; 14:23; 21:5). Skill leads to recognition and honor (Prov. 22:29). In at least 16 passages the negative outcomes of laziness are detailed, including hunger and poverty (Prov. 10:4; 21:25; 24:30-34).

Poverty is a relative term, and to be poor is not necessarily to be lazy, as It could be caused by such factors as disease, injury, family, and place or time of birth. We are all sinners, which degrades our personal stewardship of potentials (Rom. 3:10-18). Discrimination and oppression can limit outcomes (Rom. 5:12; Eccl. 4:1; James 5:4, 6; Gen. 39:19-20). Structural sin is real, including sinful laws, corrupt agencies, crime cartels, and unjust or unwise governmental and religious policies (Ex. 1:8-11; Eccl. 5:8; Matt. 2:16; Mark 7:8). Sin limits human outcomes.

There is not even equality in heaven. Salvation is by faith in the substitute sacrifice of Jesus Christ alone, not through good works (Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-6). However, Christians will receive different rewards (outcomes) in heaven, in addition to the free gift of salvation, when their lives are assessed by God. For example, if we love our enemies, and do good, or if we endure persecution for the sake of God, our reward is great (Matt. 5:12; Luke 6:35). Each receives a reward according to labor, including the possibility of getting no reward, apart from barely making it into heaven—”saved but singed” (1 Cor. 3:8-15).

Dr. Thomas Sowell, a prolific American scholar, requires and also provides empirical evidence in matters of ethnicity, economics, and discrimination. His books Culture and Race, and Discrimination and Disparities are revelatory. He simply asks for evidence of discrimination, rather than the assumption that disparity indicates discrimination. He illustrates, by the academic achievements of first-borns among siblings, how just one variable can result in unequal outcomes. Everything else in that nuclear family is the same except birth order, yet this explains inequality of academic outcomes (Discrimination, p. 8). Having studied cultures, circling the globe three times in the process, he makes this informed observation concerning inequality of outcomes among social groups (Discrimination, p. 216):

In what country, or in what kind of endeavor, or in what century out of the vast millennia of human history, has there ever been a proportional representation of various groups in any activity where people have been free to compete? One can read reams of arguments that statistical disparities imply biased treatment without finding a single empirical example of the even distribution of social groups in any endeavor, in any country or in any period of history.

Jim Sutherland

2022 Ministry Plans

  1. We plan to continue ministry on a weekly basis at College Hill Courts, Chattanooga, Tenn.
  2. We’ve received project proposals for 2022 submitted by ministry partners in Juba, and plan to fund those most strategic. These include development of Grace Theological College and project support of Agape Mission, a diaconal ministry.  We’re working on how best to train and send missionaries to Sudan from Juba through the new Equatoria Presbytery, led by the brothers in Juba. Other proposals include promoting continued distance learning from Juba. Recruitment and planning continue for the June 2-14 trip to Juba, for which we’ve enhanced security precautions.
  3. We intend to continue partnership with partners in Mongolia and elsewhere, as resources allow.

2021 Ministry Overview

Here is a brief summary of what your partnership with us accomplished in 2021.
Westside Workers May 2021
  1. College Hill Courts—Once again this year up to 12 volunteers came on a Thursday afternoon (we currently average 3 each week), on 49 occasions. Bob Wooten (far right) headed up distribution of 28 turkeys at Thanksgiving and 38 smoked turkeys at Christmas. Your gifts provided emergency food and rent relief,  Bibles and other Christian literature, assistance with funeral costs, and support to ministries that assist us. A total of $8,342 was invested. Additionally donations in kind of $25 food cards, furniture, clothing, kitchen items and even cherry wood for residents to smoke meat were distributed.
  2. Mission mobilization—Jim finally completed research on African American missionaries, and with 2 co-authors, submitted the summary article to a missions journal. They required us to edit it so that no pressure would be put upon the Black church to engage global Refugee resettlement help at Labijo, S. Sudanmissions, so we withdrew it and recently submitted it to a different missions journal. $998 was spent, primarily in support of an Atlanta mobilization event.
  3. S. Sudan—The October 2021 trip was cancelled due to Covid-related uncertainties, but is rescheduled for June 2-14, 2022, with a team of 6 to date. RMNI spent $43,606 on ministry in S. Sudan. This includes $17,700 for Agape Mission’s poultry and agriculture ministry. $17,144 was provided to Grace Theological College for motorized rickshaws for income-generation, for radio programs and for shipping 9 cases of theological books. Two scholarships totaling $3,500 were provided to an MDiv and PhD student and $1,800 to staff of Hope Secondary School at the UN refugee camp in Juba. $1,000 was sent to S. Sudanese missionary Ellen Fox.
  4. India—RMNI donors provided $3,028 for emergency food relief primarily for pastors and Christian workers in India through a longtime partner there. An additional $2,000 was given to a very effective church planting network in northern India, also previous ministry partners.
  5. Mongolia—The Maclellan Foundation provided $5,000 for VBS outreach next summer through longtime ministry partner Tsendee. RMNI donated $2,500 toward winter clothes for students served by Genesis AOM in Mongolia. The total sent to Mongolia was $8,740.
  6. Uganda—$1,000 was given through a ministry partner for Covid-related food relief, and another $300 was provided to a pastor’s widow.
 Mongolian Kids in new Winter Outfits

Prayer Power

  1. Our first priority is to understand God’s mind, having His wisdom for every decision.
  2. Our second need is to walk in the Spirit, being led of the Spirit, and filled with the Spirit.
  3. Wisdom is needed in funding development proposals from partners in Juba for the maximum spread of the Gospel. Please pray that partners there will find and adequately train missionaries to Sudan.
  4. Covid and weather have reduced the average number of weekly urban ministry workers to 3. Please pray for workers, divine appointments each week, and more professing Christ. Please ask that murderers in a Nov. shooting will be brought to justice and repentance.
  5. We’re grateful that Dr. Jim Guzek is developing an ongoing free cataract surgery ministry in S. Sudan. He led an eye team with RMNI in 2018 to Malakal. He is funding a S. Sudanese ophthalmologist to do this work from Wau, S. Sudan.
  6. Please pray that the African American church will send and support new AFAM missionaries. Our research located less than 300 serving overseas for at least 2 years, within a period of 15 months, ending in 2021.
  7. Ask God to allow us to return to Juba June 2-14, 2022, after 3 cancellations due to Covid. Please pray that all whom God wants on the team will fly, for maximum ministry of team members, and that they will be kept safe and Covid-free.
  8. Donors provided motorized 3-wheel rickshaws for income generation for Grace Theological College and for Agape Mission. One belonging to Agape was stolen in November, was recovered by police weeks later, but has not been released back to Agape. Please pray for its release.
  9. We’re grateful for Keri, our bookkeeper, and for Walt Robertson, webmaster!
RMNI income $72,598 & expenses $78,740
RMNI is a 501c-3 ministry  (# 62-1781061), founded in 1999, and is a member of Missio Nexus and Technical Exchange for Christian Healthcare.
Thank you for your partnership in ministry! Excess expenses in 2021 were covered by previous giving.

The Reconciliation Report is a publication of

Reconciliation Ministries Network, Inc.
PO Box 2537 Chattanooga, TN 37409-0537

Phone: 423-822-1091

Jim Sutherland PhD., Director