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Gamaliel's Desk
Friday, September 13, 2002
Social Gospel
I have been criticized for a lack of social activism. Some have even accused me of being insensitive to the needs of hurting people. Nothing could be further from the truth for I have a heart of charity befitting any truly Spiritual Christian. I do feel, however, that I am seriously misunderstood.

First of all, as wise stewards of the limited resources that God has entrusted into our care we need to exercise spiritual discernment with regard to the poor. There are two distinct classes of poor. Some are poor because the circumstances of life have worked against them and brought them into their low estate. These are the poor who deserve our sympathy, our love and concern and we should lift them up in prayer before a generous and gracious God. On the other hand, there is a sizeable contingent of poor who are lazy, irresponsible and downright contemptible. These poor are undeserving of our sympathy, our prayers and certainly our financial support.

It is a sad fact of life that if we give our financial support to these sorts of folks, we are actually subsidizing sin. We cannot afford to waste the scant resources that God has given us in irresponsible support of iniquity. Let me ask you this, have you ever offered work to those who stand on the street corner with their “Will work for food” signs? Well I have. I have handed job applications to these lazy shiftless folks, only to see them standing there the next day with the same sign. If they really wanted to work, there are jobs aplenty out there for them.

But even the deserving poor need something other than our money. Which will benefit them more - bread for life or the Bread of Life? Should we give them the filthy lucre of this world, which will only profit them in this lifetime, or should we give them the gospel message of Jesus Christ, which will profit them for all eternity? In the eternal scheme of things, which is more important clothing and shelter that will perish with this life or a robe of righteousness and a heavenly mansion that will never perish?

No, I am not socially irresponsible and insensitive. I prefer to spend my time emphasizing the important things of life, the eternal verities of sin, salvation and sanctification. I do no service to my fellow man if I provide him with the things of this life and then fail to provide him with the gospel message. I much prefer to cover him over with the truth of God’s word and the prayer of faith. How much more socially responsible can one be?


What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? . . Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
James 2:14-16 (NIV)

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