Social justice and the poor - and the Calvinist

Discussion in 'Evangelism, Missions and the Persecuted Church' started by Pergamum, Oct 29, 2007.

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  1. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    The Bible speaks a lot about helping the poor.

    BUT....

    Everytime the subject comes up on the PB, two things happen;

    (1) Someone links the book Productive CHristians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators that was written against Ron Sider,

    or

    (2) They quote, 'The poor are always with us..."


    WHY IS THIS?

    And what should we be doing to help the poor? How and why? OUr local poor? The poor in other lands? Is gov't funding permissible to be used to relieve the poor?
     
  2. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Here's some Bible verses to sctructure the argument (from www.home.snu.edu):


    Old Testament passages

    "Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan." Exodus 22:22

    "Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits." Exodus 23:6

    "During the seventh year, let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what they leave. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove." Exodus 23:11

    "Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God." Leviticus 19:10

    "Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly." Leviticus 19:15

    "When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God." Leviticus 23:22

    "If one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells some of his property, his nearest relative is to come and redeem what his countryman has sold. . . . If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you. . . . If one of your countrymen becomes poor among you and sells himself to you, do not make him work as a slave." Leviticus 25:25, 35, 39

    "If an alien or a temporary resident among you becomes rich and one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells himself to the alien living among you or to a member of the alien's clan, he retains the right of redemption." Leviticus 25:47-48

    "He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing." Deuteronomy 10:18

    "At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year's produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied." Deuteronomy 14:28-29

    "However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you." Deuteronomy 15:4

    "If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother." Deuteronomy 15:7

    "Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near, so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin." Deuteronomy 15:9

    "There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." Deuteronomy 15:11

    "Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy, whether he is a brother Israelite or an alien living in one of your towns." Deuteronomy 24:14

    "Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge." Deuteronomy 24:17

    "When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow." Deuteronomy 24:19-21

    "'Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow.' Then all the people shall say, Amen!'" Deuteronomy 27:19

    "He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor." 1 Samuel 2:8

    "as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor." Esther 9:22

    "When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up and kills the poor and needy; in the night he steals forth like a thief." Job 24:14

    "because I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist him." Job 29:12

    "Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor?" Job 30:25

    "If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary." Job 31:16

    "The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble." Psalm 9:9

    "But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish." Psalm 9:18

    " Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise, says the LORD, I will protect them from those who malign them. " Psalm 12:5

    "You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the LORD is their refuge." Psalm 14:6

    "This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles." Psalm 34:6

    "My whole being will exclaim, Who is like you, 0 LORD? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.'" Psalm 35:10

    "The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright." Psalm 37:14

    "Yet I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay." Psalm 40:17

    "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5

    "Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, 0 God, you provided for the poor." Psalm 68:10

    "The poor will see and be glad-- you who seek God, may your hearts live! The LORD hears the needy and does not despise his captive people." Psalm 69:32-33

    "Yet I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD , do not delay." Psalm 70:5

    "He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor." Psalm 72:4

    "For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death." Psalm 72:12-13

    "Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name." Psalm 74:21

    "Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." Psalm 82:3-4

    "But he lifted the needy out of their affliction and increased their families like flocks." Psalm 107:41

    "For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save his life from those who condemn him." Psalm 109:31

    "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor." Psalm 112:9

    "He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;" Psalm 113:7

    "I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor will I satisfy with food." Psalm 132:15

    "I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy." Psalm 140:12

    "He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free" Psalm 146:7

    "The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked." Psalm 146:9

    "I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy." Proverbs 13:23

    "He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy." Proverbs 14:21

    "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God." Proverbs 14:31

    "The LORD tears down the proud man's house but he keeps the widow's boundaries intact." Proverbs 15:25

    "Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud." Proverbs 16:19

    "He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished." Proverbs 17:5

    "He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done." Proverbs 19:17

    "If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered." Proverbs 21:13

    "A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor." Proverbs 22:9

    "He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich -- both come to poverty."
    Proverbs 22:16

    "Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court." Proverbs 22:22

    "A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops." Proverbs 28:3

    "He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses." Proverbs 28:27

    "The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern." Proverbs 29:7

    "those whose teeth are swords and whose jaws are set with knives to devour the poor from the earth, the needy from among mankind." Proverbs 30:14

    "Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." Proverbs 31:9

    "She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy." Proverbs 31:20

    "If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still." Ecclesiastes 5:8

    "Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow." Isaiah 1:17

    "The LORD enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people: It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the
    poor?' declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty." Isaiah 3:14-15

    "to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless." Isaiah 10:2

    "With righteousness he will judge the needy; with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked." Isaiah 11:4

    "The poorest of the poor will find pasture, and the needy will lie down in safety. But your root I will destroy by famine; it will slay your survivors." Isaiah 14:30

    "You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall." Isaiah 25:4

    "Once more the humble will rejoice in the LORD ; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." Isaiah 29:19

    "The scoundrel's methods are wicked, he makes up evil schemes to destroy the poor with lies, even when the plea of the needy is just." Isaiah 32:7

    "The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them." Isaiah 41:17

    "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?" Isaiah 58:6-7

    "If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday." Isaiah 58:10

    "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners." Isaiah 61:1

    "On your clothes men find the lifeblood of the innocent poor, though you did not catch them breaking in. Yet in spite of all this you say I am innocent.'" Jeremiah 2:34

    "I thought, These are only the poor; they are foolish, for they do not know the way of the LORD, the requirements of their God.'" Jeremiah 5:4

    "(They) have grown fat and sleek. Their evil deeds have no limit; they do not plead the case of the fatherless to win it, they do not defend the rights of the poor." Jeremiah 5:28

    "if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm," Jeremiah 7:6

    "This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place." Jeremiah 22:3

    "'He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" declares the LORD." Jeremiah 22:16

    "Sing to the LORD! Give praise to the LORD! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked." Jeremiah 20:13

    "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy." Ezekiel 16:49

    "He does not oppress anyone, but returns what he took in pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked." Ezekiel 18:7

    "The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice." Ezekiel 22:29

    "This is what the LORD says: For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. They sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed. Father and son use the same girl and so profane my holy name.'" Amos 2:6-7

    "Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, Bring us some drinks!'" Amos 4:1

    "Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land." Amos 8:4

    "Buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat." Amos 8:6
    "Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other." Zechariah 7:10

    " So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,' says the LORD Almighty." Malachi 3:5
    New Testament passages

    "Jesus answered, If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'" Matthew 19:21

    "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in." Matthew 25:35

    "They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely." Mark 12:40

    "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed." Luke 4:18

    "So he replied to the messengers, Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.'" Luke 7:22 [ E-book: The Kingdom strikes back ]

    "Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys." Luke 12:33

    "But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind." Luke 14:13

    "When Jesus heard this, he said to him, You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'" Luke 18:22

    "Beware of the teachers of the law . . . They devour your widows' houses . . . Such men will be punished severely." Luke 20:46-47

    "'Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages.' He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it." John 12:5

    "In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor." Acts 9:36

    "Cornelius stared at him in fear. What is it, Lord?' he asked. The angel answered, Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.'" Acts 10:4

    "After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings." Acts 24:17

    "On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.'" Romans 12:20

    "For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem." Romans 15:26
    "All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do." Galatians 2:10
    "Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need." 1 Timothy 5:3

    "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

    "Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, 'Here's a good seat for you,' but say to the poor man, 'You stand there' or 'Sit on the floor by my feet,' have you not discriminated among yourselves and becomes judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him? But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?" James 2:2-6

    "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:17-18
     
  3. etexas

    etexas Puritan Board Doctor

    Good question. When I was in the Episcopal Church, we had a soup kitchen and a number of other things.I am interested in hearing a Reformed answer to this as a fairly new Reformed man myself.
     
  4. Simply_Nikki

    Simply_Nikki Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks for this topic, It's been a struggle dealing with the subject of social justice and poor people. I'm taking a poverty and policy class at the moment and have been doing volunteer service work with the poor and homeless. It seems though when I criticize and abhor the policies that keep them there, I'm thought of as anti-capitalist or something. I don't understand...:um:
     
  5. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member


    I can't speak to the first option, but I have quoted the second. But that was in response to the question of whether we should spend all of our resources on the poor. My use of the quote was to indicate that no matter what we personally did, under our own power and with our limited resources, it would not solve the problem.

    Notwithstanding that, as the scriptures you quoted point out, the poor should not be oppressed nor should justice be kept from them. Even so, scripture also tells us that justice should not be arbitrarily in favor of them either.

    I'm with you completely if confronted with an instance, or a system, that wrongs the weak and oppresses the poor. On the other hand, I have a hard time getting on board some of the social justice agendas in my local area: free needles for poor addicts, free housing for alcoholics (complete with free booze), free access to ****, etc. Especially when I personally deal with people who have suffered at the hands of institutionalized injustice by a warped legal system.
     
  6. etexas

    etexas Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes! This the problem I have had....when I talk about social justice with some Christians they look at me as if I am a Communist or an advocate of a humanist social Gospel.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2007
  7. Simply_Nikki

    Simply_Nikki Puritan Board Junior

    I'm just glad i'm not the only one :chained: I'm careful about wearing red LOL
     
  8. etexas

    etexas Puritan Board Doctor

    I understand....Comrade.:lol:
     
  9. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Many of those OT passages don't work because they were addressed to Israel, which was a theocracy. They were done away with when Christ came.

    Is it really helping the poor to threaten the middle-class with fines and imprisonment, backed by gunpoint, if they don't give their money to some bureaucracy? Socialism is the gospel at gunpoint.

    Thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote. And Chilton was never answered, by the way
     
  10. etexas

    etexas Puritan Board Doctor

    I am not so much talking about the given OT passages or Goverment involvement, what I am really after (myself) is an understaning of Reformed Christian duty towards the needy.:detective:
     
  11. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    i was responding mainly to Pergamum. He critiqued theonomy on an earlier thread and is now using theonomic arguments in this thread.
     
  12. clstamper

    clstamper Puritan Board Freshman

    1.) Maybe we can be more clear about the issue. I don't like to talk about "social justice," because it infers that wealth redistribution schemes are necessary. I find the Biblical category more helpful: that God opposes those who oppress the poor, the fatherless and widows. Slumlords, sweatshop owners, slavers and people who trade in undocumented labor may fit in this category.

    2.) Actually, I do support taxing middle-class with fines and imprisonment, backed by gunpoint, if they don't give their money to certain bureaucracy. I'm thinking of border protection, civil defense, emergency services, disaster relief, law enforcement and whatnot. We can throw out the welfare statist bathwater without losing the baby of civil society, police, justice and defense.
     
  13. Answerman

    Answerman Puritan Board Sophomore

    Biblically speaking helping the poor is a command for individuals and the Church. So no, government funding, though done, should not be permissible. We should do all in our power to end this massive theft ring.

    I think we ought to do like Ron Paul does to his patients that are on some sort of government health care. That is to refuse any kind of government payment on moral grounds since that money must be stolen by the government from somebody in order for that patient to pay. All he asks is that they pay what they can. If we all did this the government theft ring called the welfare system would eventually go out of business.

    My wife has asked me a few times why when she tells me about some government hand out, I refuse to participate. I explained to her that since I criticize this form of theft, it would make me a hypocrate if I made an exception in my case. I have explained this a few times and she has finally come around to see things the same way I do. She has also learned alot about the a more Biblical form of government should work by listening to Ron Paul.
     
  14. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

  15. etexas

    etexas Puritan Board Doctor

    Ron Paul should be King.:judge:
     
  16. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior


    Pergy: I am not speaking for this board or what you have witnessed. The reason being is we always look to the extreme and what the result can be. That is "liberation theology". This is a tremendous heresy and should be avoided at all costs. That said, there is a big difference between social justice and a "Social Gospel" We as "calvinists" make the mistake of not seperating salvation of the individual and care for others in the sphere of God's economy. There is NO preferential treatment for the poor from God in regards to Salvation. He is no respector of persons. But, He expresses an overwhelming burden on those who have, to care to the have not's. This is not socialism or communism. We must also not forget we are ALL POOR in Spirit. We are bankrupt prior to the new birth. And without grace, we would all be there.

    Those 2 atrocities say "What yours is mine"

    Chrisitanity says "What is mine is yours"..

    BTW, i have no clue who Ron Sider is....
     
  17. clstamper

    clstamper Puritan Board Freshman

    He was the 1970s answer to Tim Keller. :)
     
  18. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Actually, Pergamum, I quoted Jesus' statement because you said that poverty can be abolished, not because I want to dodge helping the poor and am a cold-hearted miser.

    Now those things may be true because of my laziness and selfishness...but it wasn't why I made the comment in the other thread. ;) So you can get off your soap box.

    The real question is: why do people like to speak so generally and across-the-board? Does one of those two things really happen every time you bring that subject up? Or did you just use the deceitful generalization in order to make your argument sound stronger?
     
  19. k.seymore

    k.seymore Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't understood why people think Jesus was stating some sort of eternal truth or prophesying about the poor when he said, "you always have the poor," although I heard that interpretation plenty of times growing up. The passage isn't even about the poor. It is about Judas and the others insulting a woman for doing something they think is stupid, and Jesus defending the woman. (And John tells us that Judas' pockets were full of stolen money as he criticized her.)

    "Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could" (Mark 14:6-8)

    Jesus is not saying this to us, we never criticized her. He is telling the hypocrite Judas and the others that they can give their money to to beautiful things for the poor at any time because, as the gospels tell us all through, there were masses of poor physically around the disciples all the time. If Judas really cared about the poor he wouldn't have pockets full of stolen money. But they couldn't do beautiful things like what this woman did for him all the time because, contrary to the poor that were physically around them all the time, he wouldn't be. Jesus isn't telling us we should let the woman pour out this gift because we always have the poor with us. The "you" that he is referring to not only have the poor with them, but are said to have Jesus' physical body with them for a short time.

    Judas should have went out right there, bought a gift with his own earned money that was worthy a king, came back, bowed down and laid it at Jesus' feet himself. Helping the poor could wait a few days.
     
  20. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)


    Wow, deceitful generalizations? Soapboxes? Apparently a nerve was touched.



    Yes, I agree, vast gov't redistributions of wealth in a commie scheme would not be the answer.

    I also know the dangers of liberation theology.

    Yes, I know that much poverty is due to sin and oppressive gov'ts. Aid in these cases may further evil regimes.

    And just because I quote OT passages does not mean I am using theonomic passages to prove my point (the theonomists are not the only ones who can use the OT).

    Yes, we CAN help the poor and do much good within our small spheres of life.


    But,


    Again, what is the Christians and the church's duty towards the poor?

    And I assert again that I have experienced a general neglect towards the poor or a justification against helping them because they are bums, alcoholics, etc, among some of the Reformed I know. This is not to point any fingers at anyone here, though I do get tired of hearing the two tired out responses that I first posted, that (1) The poor are always with us, and (2) getting a lecture on communism or a link to a rebuttal of Ron Sider.


    Do any of the churches here have a way to look after widows and orphans or the poor in a deliberate manner? It would appear that there are many Scriptures that would justify a planned and deliberate approach to this.
     
  21. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    I am not saying that giving and covetousness is not a struggle for me. However, I think one reason there is this ‘knee jerk’ reaction that sometimes occurs amongst Christians when appeals to help the poor go out is because many (certainly not all) of such appeals do not properly identify the objects of biblical charity.

    I have yet to see ‘the poor are always with us’ quoted in response to an appeal to help someone within the local church, or an appeal to help needy Christians in another country. However, I do not believe the bible teaches a general duty to the poor of the world in distant countries. And it is normally appeals of this kind that evoke the kind of responses described in the OP. In the NT the Apostles and churches primarily raised money for other churches and Christians. Most of the collection of money was to be brought to other places to relieve the poor Christians there. I am not aware of any instance of distributions being made to the general society.

    Under the OT, the nation and the church were very closely linked, so instances of taking care of the poor in Israel the nation are really similar to the practice of taking care of the poor in the church today. Again, there is no instance (that I am aware of) of OT Israel making collections to send to the poor in other nations.

    Christians have a duty to help those outside the church when God in his providence causes their paths to meet. I believe this principle is thought in the story of the Good Samaritan where the Samaritan helped the wounded Jew he met on his way. And it is this story that Jesus told to answer the question: “Who is my neighbour?”, the answer being anyone who you met in the normal course of your life who is in need. The Samaritan did not go around looking for wounded Jews to help, which is consistent with what we have seen about the practice of the OT and NT churches.
     
  22. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Satz; Very well thought response....I am stilll chewing on it...It seems very Biblical.

    What about Sudan or other countries where Christians are located and they are poor. Does it then become a responsiility to help out those of "Israel" across the world?
     
  23. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    If this is the case, there should be a great amount of repentance. Again Christ was not a socialist or communist. The early church shared what THEY HAD, not what others had. Perhaps the reason for this reaction is due to the perversion of the thought that poverty means God's judgment, and bountiful crops means God blessing. (New England colony thought).
     
  24. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    If we gave it to Sudan then the military would take it away. It would be far more merciful to the Sudanese to kill the slavers, then give them the aid.
     
  25. AV1611

    AV1611 Puritan Board Senior

    Seeing that we believe in total depravity which means people are naturally wicked, selfish etc I am suprised that many Calvinists have a laissez-faire attitude.

    In the UK we have a free-at-the-point-of-use National Health Service and free-at-the-point-of-use education. Yes the poor will always be with us but we have a moral duty to care for them and the state ought be involved! :cheers:
     
  26. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    That pretty much sums it up for me. Support those brothers and sisters in need, not just with prayer, but works (physical, material means) as well. Giving it into the maw of the gov't or an NGO just doesn't fit; while we must pay our tax as bidden, there is no reason to give to nonsense like makepovertyhistory.ca

    BTW - I truly disdain the term 'social justice'. Just makes my skin crawl. :2cents:
     
  27. puritan lad

    puritan lad Puritan Board Freshman

    Here is where I fall off the train...

    The answer is "no". There is no such thing as "government funding" is regards to helping the poor. Instead, it is nothing more then theft via the strong arm of the state. In reviewing the many scriptures already listed in regards to helping the poor, I dare day that you will not find one that mention the state.

    If one is concerned about policies that keep the poor poor, State welfare is the first to go.

    The Bible commands charity, not state-supported theft.
     
  28. AV1611

    AV1611 Puritan Board Senior

    We will just have to agree to differ :)
     
  29. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    No. It is theft by the civil government. Taxation is only to be collected for the state's legitimate functions (crime, defence etc), not for welfare: an activity which it is not authorized to get involved in.
     
  30. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    Richard

    It is true that the Bible teaches people are selfish and wicked; however, it is fallen sinners who make up civil governments and they use their coercive power for selfish and wicked ends (i.e. stealing, restricting our liberty). When Calvinists adopt laissez-faire economics it is because we believe in freedom from state intervention, not freedom from God's providence.

    The state ought not to be involved since God has not told it to be involved in welfare. Moreover, not all sins are crimes; as God has not categorised selfishness as a crime, then the state has no right to take people's money off them and redistribute it.

    Furthermore, state welfare does not really help the poor at all, as most of the money goes to fund the bureaucracy needed to carry out the redistribution. I used to work in a dole office on the Shankill Road in Belfast, so I know from first hand experience what Statist welfare leads to. :2cents:
     
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