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. Anton Bruckner

    Anton Bruckner Puritan Board Professor

    preach the gospel, disciple them and provide responsible charity to its members first.

    1 27Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

    James 2 15If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

    16And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

    Acts Acts 6

    1And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.

    2Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.

    3Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

    2 Thessalonians 3:10
    For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

    Case closed. The Church of Jesus should not be a victim of freeloaders. The Church of Jesus is akin to a Hospital where people come and are made whole then are sent out to live sanctified and holy lives.
  2. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Excellent description!
  3. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    In Mexico most of the congregation is probably what could be considered "objectively" poor --no savings, no insurance, living hand-to-mouth. But they contribute generously not only to one another's needs, but even to one another's jollifications. We have a box where people put staples: when the box is full or when there's a particular need, we give it to the family. A lot of families in the church have gotten a boxful of food at one point or another.

    Paul was asked to remember the poor: and I know there was the whole specific Jew-Gentile situation going on there. But he didn't need to be asked: he was forward to do it. How many of us does that describe? Are we eager to remember the poor? Or would we rather not think about the fact that in Peru and Liberia and Cuba there are diligent, hardworking brethren who haven't the ability to get simple things that would help alleviate the violent health problems they are going through.

    It is not that any of us, individually, can do everything. But do we even understand that the beautiful line "thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift" comes at the end of a celebration of the glorious effects of people giving even beyond their ability?

    That being said, it is as well to be alert about the dangers of institutionalized charity: I have heard that much charitable aid, sent even by Christian organizations, to N. Korea goes to feed the army. I am not interested in feeding the instruments of the oppression of my brethren, and so enabling them to continue.
  4. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    One thing that should be mentioned is there is little if any example of helping the poor pagan. This is where we cross the line into liberation theology and the wrong application of social justice. I do not "give" to any who are not believers in Christ as the Messiah.. This does not mean we turn our backs and treat them as unsavable, but financial support for the heathen is not present in the NT witness.
  5. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    NOt give to any but the saved?

    What about the Good Samaritan again?

    It seems that anyone who is needy who God lays in our path is our responsibility. I am sure you would not check someone's church status if they were struck by a car and had no wallet and you had to pay to get them to a doctor.

    As a regular principle we should look after the house of God first, but kindness to all seems God-glorifying.
  6. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    I wonder is Nicholas distinguishing between the poor unsaved and the destitute (such as the case of the Good Samiritan)?
  7. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior


    Did you see where I said this: I do not "give" to any who are not believers in Christ as the Messiah.. This does not mean we turn our backs and treat them as unsavable, but financial support for the heathen is not present in the NT witness

    If one can show me a NT assembly commanded to financially help those who did not worship Christ as the Messiah, i will reconsider my point.

    The good samaritan is an example of general benevolence. Just as GOd has a special love for His own, so should we. And God 'cares' for his creation as a general benevolence as a whole, therefore so should we..

    Our church has a 'mission of the month' where we financially support a given cause. But we do not include anti Christ casues in this. We will not financially send money or whatever to a group of mohammed worshippers. Or any secular group as say the boy scouts.....
  8. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I am talking about "general benevolence" in this thread. As a church, money should be prioritized for evangelism. Outside your "giving" to the church, one gives to a great many causes.

    I see all kinds of verses in Scripture which speaks of giving to the poor, without asking their religious affiliation first.
  9. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Galatians 6 speaks of primarily helping those of the household of faith. Sure, help the unbelievers, but not at the expense of your own family or your own church.
  10. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    Exactly. AS well as in Acts also....

    Pergy, there is not one verse that says the church must actively go into pagan nations and help them.

    The verses always say, "The poor amongst you" So I will never send money to rebuild a mosque in Africa.

    But I will support a missionary bringing the Gospel to them..

    If there is among you a poor man, one of your brethren, in any of your towns within your land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him, and lend him sufficient for his need, what ever it may be. Take heed lest there be a base thought in your heart, and you say, 'The seventh year, the year of release is near,' and your eye be hostile to your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and it be sin in you. You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him; because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, you shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in the land. (Deuteronomy 15:711)

    1Tim. 5:16 "If any believing woman has relatives who are really widows, let her assist them; let the church not be burdened, so that it can assist those who are real widows.

    This is first and foremost. Then Paul also commands us to help our enemies.. By doing this, will be as hot coals on his head..

    Rom. 12:20 "No, "if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads." NRSV
  11. BJClark

    BJClark Puritan Board Doctor

    How many of our churches have a food pantry that if someone within our church body or even a visitor to our church body has such a need, it can be met?

    How many of our churches have a benevolence fund, to help assist it's members or others in our community when there is a financial need?

    Even if they don't go to your church, you can still assist if there is a can even point them in the direction of companies hiring if they are out of work...

    Or what about hiring them part-time to help w/ maintence or things around the church building that need to be done (mowing the grass) and paying them for the work they do?

    If you have a ministry such as one of these set up, maybe if they need training in order to get a job, you could use that ministry to help train them...and in essence also encouraging them to work for the assistance they recieve? (teaching them how to fish, as opposed to just giving them a fish)

    We had a pastor come by and buy my husbands old, broken down car, so that he could use to help teach men Auto mechanics...which in turn gives these men some type of skill so they could get work (even if at a local jiffy lube) it's something..

    If you need help in the church office, why not have someone in need to come in and help answer phones or file them office skills while also providing a little extra income for their families..

    Or have them come in and help the cleaning crews..

    There are lots of things we as a church could do...if there is someone who owns a construction company that you know maybe they are in need of Laborers, or clean up crews...and you could work something out with hire them even if temporary until they get on their feet and some training..

    Maybe work with local stores to see if they are hiring stock crews or whatever, and if someone comes in for assistance, send them that way...

    There are lots of ways the church can help, and show God at work...if they are willilng to put forth the time and effort...
  12. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    What version are you using, the Gustavo Gutierrez version?

    Cmon pergy. Button up your shirt, your heart is falling out.

    Support the advancement of the Gospel and believers first and foremost. Provide general benevolence for the rest. But one thing, do it in secret. Almsgiving for recognition or merit is a disgrace to the Gospel of Grace.
  13. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    It just occured to me, I am currently reading an excellent book on Christian charitable work; the volume is called The Greatest is Charity by Ian Shaw (published by Evangelical Press) and is a biography of Andrew Reed, a Congregationalist minister in London who besides preaching the gospel (though which many were saved) was actively involved in orphanages etc.
  14. k.seymore

    k.seymore Puritan Board Freshman

    So it seems like, based on the logic of a number of arguments just presented, that a family should first care for the needy in their own family, a church should first care for the needy in the church, and a country should first care for the... oh...
  15. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    Exactly. Do one without completely neglecting the other... These are not only logical arguements, but scriptural.

    Given the choice, what should a believer do?

    1) Help a Christian family who just lost their home to fire?

    2) Help a muslim family who just lost their home to fire?

    Number one is the scriptural answer..

    Acts 2:44-47: β€œAnd all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

    Acts 4:32 says that β€œ one in this church claimed that any of his possessions was his own, ...but they shared everything they had.”
  16. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    While the OP should have made explicit the question "What is the *Christian churchgoer* to do for the poor?" This is a good question, but it shifted in meaning (both in the thread and in real life).

    Now it became, "What is the Christian to do for the poor?" To which the question was clarified, "The Christian has an obligation to give to the poor." At this point, many seek the strongarm of the State to solve the poverty issue. The logic is simple:

    1) Jesus hated capitalism.
    2) Jesus loved the poor.
    3) Jesus is called "Lord."
    C1: Therefore, The Christian ought by taxpayer money support the poor.

    We now have a Clint-Eastwood style Jesus, armed with a six shooter saying, "Go ahead, taxpayer, make my day."
  17. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    Did you find this in a Gary North book? :rofl::bouncy::lol:
  18. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

  19. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    WHAT? WHo said I wanted you to help anyone build a mosque? At least represent my arguments right, brother. Straw men are easy to knock down.

    If a Muslim was sick and dying and you could help, are you going to whip out those passages to deny him help and say "Go ahead and're not of the household of faith."

    Who is our neighbor now?
  20. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    It's funny. You complain about straw men and then immediately erect the most bogus and emotional of straw men. Your position at the time seemed to support that we should help the poor in abstract. Which means giving money/supplies to them. If you give money to them, who is to say they can't build a mosque?

    As to your straw-men, of course, we should help him. I work with some Muslims and they are, civicly speaking, the finest of citizens. I would gladly aid them in even light circumstances. But institutionally, no, I would not give money to the Muslim cause.
  21. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Jacob: Ha, your sort of funny yourself...always trying to teach everyone logic here...

    This is no straw man, this is reality over here. I also don't know of any abstract poor people. Each one has a face and real needs.

    If a man is sick in a bed and has no food (not a hypothetical but a real example on a number of occasions) if you give him a bag of rice or a few bills, I am thinking that he isn't going out to support the Jihad.

    Is this man your neighbor?
  22. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Of course. Every one of we "evil" capitalists on PB would say he is. You picked an extreme example which missed everyone on the board. That being said, we do not institutionally, whether church or state, give our money to the poor in the abstract--well, we should not anyway.
  23. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Who said I was advocating this?
  24. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I sort of pretended that this is your position. It's much easier for me to knock down.

    Seriously, I thought I read a post of your's advocating something like this about 20 or 30 posts back.
  25. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I think we would agree that "the poor" is never an abstract term. We live among people and many of these people are unbeleivers and also needy. They get sick, they run out of money for medicine, etc. HOw are we to show them kindness? Again, who are our neighbors?

    And, if you want to get the wider church involved: Suppose a tribe of people (rebdundant, I know) are being persecuted in SE Asia. You don't know any of them, but have credible sources to confirm the info. Most of this people group are Christian. They are being persecuted because they refuse to accept the majority religion (Islam). That sounds like a good casue to support.
  26. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Or suppose you yourself live overseas and a dengue outbreak happens around you. Many children are sick and you have the means to help many of these Muslim children. What are your responsibilites to your loe neighbors as you live among them?
  27. BJClark

    BJClark Puritan Board Doctor

    Well, if they are in need of money...what is it they need the money for?? If they need money to help pay an electric bill..provide the electric bill and I'll see about writing a check to the electric company...that way, I know it's going there and not being spent foolishly..

    If they are in need of food...okay..I can go to the store and buy some groceries...

    We need to be wise in our giving...and if there is a need they are seeking help for..they shouldn't be afraid to provide some type of proof towards that end..
  28. BJClark

    BJClark Puritan Board Doctor


    You could pay for their medicine..that would certainly show them kindness and love..
  29. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    Lev 23:22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.

    Lev 24:22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.

    Deu 10:18-19 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. (19) Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

    Deu 24:17-22 Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow's raiment to pledge: (18) But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee thence: therefore I command thee to do this thing. (19) When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands. (20) When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. (21) When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. (22) And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt: therefore I command thee to do this thing.
  30. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Do passages from the Old testament law for the Israelite Theocracy count? Sorry, couldn't resist. :lol:
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