"I think the gospel mandate is pretty clear on this…that's how we're all to live our lives, that's how we will be judged, we're told…it's exactly the role of Christians to hold that up and do something about it," he says.
But while CPJ draws its values from the teachings of Scripture, no specific passages are referenced in any mission statements found on the website, which raises the question, what role should the gospel play in the mission of all Christian organizations that strive for social justice?
Does Jesus need to be mentioned explicitly for "Christian social justice" to occur?
Boge worries that many Christian organizations have a tendency to downplay the name and message of Christ, especially in public settings where matters of funding come into play.
"Sometimes we make the terrible concession that if we agree to tone Christ way down, it will make getting money easier from a pluralistic culture. I simply don't buy that," he says. "Be genuine. Listen to Christ. And get out there and reach your audience in a tactful, meaningful way."
KAIROS executive director Jennifer Henry is no stranger to the pressures of funding setbacks. In 2009, KAIROS, based out of Toronto, lost all funding from the (now-defunct) Canadian International Development Agency. As a Christian-rooted organization that campaigns on matters of poverty, ecological, and indigenous justice, among others, KAIROS now relies on funding from its member churches, and doesn't receive any government support whatsoever.
Henry says some critics have seen organizations like KAIROS as "too secular," and not explicit enough about its Christian connection. Henry doesn't buy that argument.
"I think about this often in our work, this notion of 'do the gospel and use words if necessary.' I think that's how we would understand it," she says.
At times however, Henry does admit that speaking a Christian perspective does entail challenges and can be inconvenient, particularly in settings where there may be mixed feelings about the way Christians have acted in the past, such as in indigenous settings.
"The explicitness of it is what we do. And the words are not essential to that, especially in a history of colonization [and] missionary zeal…the words have got in the way," she says. But, she adds, "there's much that can be said about how the words can be inspiring to others."
She also notes the challenges of speaking the Christian message on behalf a wide variety of churches, many of whom would articulate their understanding of Christian expression differently.
"In an ecumenical situation you have a particular challenge in saying those words in ways that are faithful to every group. That's why we tend to let the actions speak," something that Henry feels is reflective of Christ's example.
"I don't think that Jesus spent a lot of time explaining—He spent more time living His faith than He spent explaining His faith."
Greg Stetski, executive director of Union Gospel Mission (UGM) Winnipeg, has a decidedly different approach, and in fact doesn't view UGM as a social justice organization. While UGM Winnipeg provides meals and addictions counselling (among other programs), Stetski says that approach doesn't go far enough in caring for the impoverished and afflicted.
"I couldn't just feed people," he says, a sentiment that is shared by the organizations' financial supporters.
"Some of our supporters are very clear," he says. "They say, 'Look, if you just feed people, you're not helping them.' They understand that."
Stetski says that for UGM, their mandate is clear—preaching the gospel and loving neighbours goes hand in hand.
"I believe God can call different people to do different things. For example, He may call Christians to just do good, so I'm not a judge of that. But certainly for myself, I would not and couldn't respond that way. Without the gospel…I couldn't see myself doing it. I don't see the endgame."
Those in leadership at Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), say it should come as no surprise that MCC is, first and foremost, a Christian organization. Still, that hasn't stopped some churches from taking issue with some of the finer points of MCC's statement of faith.
In 2012, the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church ended its participation on MCC boards. Issues of dispute pertained to MCC's adoption of the Mennonite World Conference's shared convictions as its faith statement in 2009.
One issue of concern included a line in the statement that "God is known to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit…" which the Sommerfelder felt was not definitive enough, thus prompting its separation.
Executive director Don Peters says he still regrets what happened. "That was a difficult and complex set of circumstances… I don't think that we had the dialogue that we needed to have," he says.
Despite that, MCC has pressed on. Peters believes the organization is visibly representative of the gospel in its work.
"It's not as if anything that MCC is doing is clandestine, we're very up front about who we are—that this is a church-based organization and that we serve in the name of Christ. So it's in everybody's face, and people know it."
MCC requires all of its workers to be of Christian faith, though Peters says in some parts of the world, such as Bangladesh, they do have staff that come from different backgrounds. Still, all are expected to be able to explain and articulate the gospel effectively.
When organizations like MCC receive funding from the government, one major concern is that government assistance will play too heavily in how the ministry presents itself—that is, that it might force them to minimize the gospel message. Peters says that is not the case.
"We need to make sure that the objectives that we have in our work, first of all, match the government's in order to get those resources, but we need to make sure that the government's intentions of those resources, for those resources, match our objectives. Because what we don't want to do, is chase after money and create a program."
The wide variety of opinion on how Jesus factors into the justice work of Christian organizations speaks to the diversity in the Kingdom of God, says Christian musician Steve Bell, an occasional contributor to Sojourners, a publication dedicated to exploring the relationship of faith and social justice.
"Jesus taught us that the Kingdom of God works much like yeast in dough... action does not require proclamation to validate God's loving work in history," he says. "Sometimes it's appropriate and good to voice it as well, but sometimes it's best to leave things to speak on their own. That's discernment, not obligation."