Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Socialistic Welfare Is An Unbiblical Concept

I often see people on the Left side of the aisle use Jesus as a basis for state welfare. This always makes me laugh, as these same people are typically the ones who scream loudest about "separation of church and state" at the first public sign of Christianity by any elected official. It also makes me laugh because it reveals that while the person may know the name of Jesus, they do not know the Word of Jesus.

Yes, Jesus did tell the rich man in Mark 10:17-31 to go sell all he had, give the proceeds to the poor, and then follow Him. He said that to one individual, because He rightly saw that the rich man's trust and faith were in his wealth, not his God. Yes, He did say that this was common to those who had wealth, that they have trouble letting go of the material to take hold of the spiritual.

Yes, Jesus did indicate in Matthew 25:31-46 that He is very pleased with those who give food, water, shelter, care for the sick and imprisoned...that is, to those who are His brothers and sisters, especially "the least of these my brothers". He was speaking to individuals, not to governments.

Some might reply that our pooling resources as a local church body is no different than pooling our resources as a government. First, I would point out that church membership is, and always should be, voluntary. On top of that, giving to your church is up to you, your pastor doesn't take 10% of your check before you ever see it. Finally, Christians are instructed to practice charity, not welfare.

What is the difference, you ask? Simple. Charity is sharing your provisions with those who through no fault of their own do not have provisions. Or with those who have realized that their previous actions are wrong, and seek assistance to change. Welfare, however, is giving to anyone who asks, regardless of how they got into the situation, regardless of their repetition of this situation, or regardless of their admission or acknowledgement that their actions are producing bad results. For example, a single woman who has sexual relations outside of marriage and becomes pregnant, then realizes how her actions will have huge consequences for her life and for her child and asks for help to support her child and make better decisions is definitely someone worthy of Christian charity. But if this same woman comes back a year later in the same situation, charity requires that the situation be evaluated to determine how she repeated the wrong action and got back into the same situation. If she were to be assisted again, then the people assisting her would need to be much more diligent in helping her not only with monetary assistance, but also with personal guidance. And it should be stressed to her that if she were to repeat the action again, then there would be no further help for her. Welfare, however, continues to cut larger and larger checks to provide for her and her growing family. That is, as long as she doesn't marry any of the fathers. Because then, her State provided welfare would be cut off.

Still not convinced?  Do you remember Ruth? She came to the fields of Boaz to glean among the rows any of the harvest that was dropped or overlooked. As a matter of fact, the Law instructed Jews not to harvest to the full edges of their fields, and to allow the poor to glean. It did not, however, order them to fully harvest their field at their own expense and then give a percentage to the poor. The poor could have charity, but they had to work for their assistance.

Oh, but that's the Old Testament. Jesus did away with all that, right? Well, not actually. But consider Paul's instructions in 1 Timothy 5. Do not add any woman to the widow's roll who had family to provide for her, then, only if she was over the age of 60.

Or Paul's instructions in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12, which says: 
Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from every brother who walks irresponsibly and not according to the tradition received from us. For you yourselves know how you must imitate us: We were not irresponsible among you; we did not eat anyone’s food free of charge; instead, we labored and struggled, working night and day, so that we would not be a burden to any of you. It is not that we don’t have the right to support, but we did it to make ourselves an example to you so that you would imitate us. 10 In fact, when we were with you, this is what we commanded you: “If anyone isn’t willing to work, he should not eat.” 11 For we hear that there are some among you who walk irresponsibly, not working at all, but interfering with the work of others.12 Now we command and exhort such people by the Lord Jesus Christ that quietly working, they may eat their own food. 13 Brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.

Christians are clearly, and repeatedly commanded, instructed, and ordered to help the needy, poor and less fortunate. To fellow Christians first, but also to those who might believe. Scripture repeatedly makes it clear that we are stewards of everything that God has given to us. Continuing to pay for people who misuse the assistance, come to expect it and eventually demand its continuance is not good stewardship. And being a bad steward is always condemned in Scripture.