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What Does God Say About Helping the Poor and Needy?
By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher, and Dr. Tom Snyder, Editor
Neo-Communism is sweeping the world.
At the same time he is shutting down TV and radio stations, Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez attended the Venice Film Festival with his entourage, to be praised by those who haven’t suffered under his dictatorial regime. A big splash in the news media followed this despicable event.
Time and again, history has shown that Communism does not work.
When the Mayflower landed, as historian Dr. Marshall Foster has pointed out, the Pilgrims tried a primitive form of Communism. All the fields were owned in common, and so the industrious got upset that, while they worked, lazy scoundrels just sat around and watched them. Eventually, everyone stopped working, and the Plymouth Colony was on the verge of starvation. William Bradford became governor, and he quoted the Bible that those who don’t work won’t eat, so he gave everyone their own private plot of land to work. Suddenly, there was a resurrection of the crops. Still, it was not enough until people praised God and thanked him, at which point there was a cornucopia, which led to the very first Thanksgiving in America.
In Communist Romania, dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was intentionally starving his own people. Leading one small church was Pastor Josef Tson, who preached the Gospel every week. Wondering why he wasn’t arrested, since he knew the KGB had infiltrated his church, he realized something was wrong with his preaching. So, he started preaching that the church, not the government, was responsible for widows, for orphans and for the care of the poor and the needy. Suddenly, they arrested him, because they were afraid he would reveal the truth, that the State had usurped the role dedicated by God’s Providence to His followers in the Church. When Pastor Tson would not relent, they let him go and Romania eventually was freed from the iron grip of Communism.
Of course, Pastor Tson was completely right about how to take care of the poor and needy. God presents the world with only three general ways in the Bible to take care of the poor and needy:
1) Through the family; 2) Through the church; and 3) Through individual charity. The applicable passages for these three ways are Deut. 14:28, 29, Numbers 18:24, Matthew 6:1-4, 1 Timothy 5:3-16, 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12, and 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15.
Now, the first two ways are pretty clear. People’s first obligation is to the needy, poor, widowed, and orphaned in their own family, especially their immediate family. Then, they have an obligation to the needy, poor, widowed, and orphaned through private charity, including their support of their local church organization.
God established the pattern for this kind of church giving in Numbers 18:24 and Deuteronomy 14:28, 29. As David Chilton points out in “Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators,” the bulk of Christian giving to the local church should be geared toward financing professional theologians, experts in biblical law and church discipline, teachers of God’s word and leaders skilled in worship. It was only every third year that all the giving was set aside to help the needy, poor, widowed, and orphaned.
Even then, the money was not given just to anyone who showed up. As Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 and 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15, people should work for their own living and not be dependent on others. Those able to work but don’t, do not qualify for help. Also, those who have families to take care of them don’t qualify, nor do widows under age 60 qualify, according to Paul in 1 Timothy 5:3-16:
Jesus Christ, who is God in the flesh, talks about the third way in Matthew 6. He tells His listeners that they should give individual charity. He also says they should give such charity secretly: “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”
In none of the Bible passages just cited (nor any others we know of), does God cite the government as the means by which the poor, needy, widowed and orphaned are housed, clothed and fed. Thus, a simple, straightforward reading of the Bible, God’s Word, including the words of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, clearly shows that the American welfare state is anti-Christian and unbiblical. Any Christians advocating such a government welfare system, including clergymen or women, should be harshly disciplined by the people in their church congregation or its church/denominational hierarchy.
Furthermore, any members of any political party, including Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, etc., who advocate such a system yet claim to be Christian should be reprimanded by their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and by all church leaders. If any such party members refuse to repent and change their ways, then their names should be posted at their church and throughout the whole land so that all Christians in the United States can know not to vote for these people and not to place them in positions of authority and leadership. Of course, all Christians should also tell their churches to give at least one-third of their income to help the truly poor, needy and orphaned.
We must stop the ungodly, immoral rape of American citizens by the welfare state. We must establish a proper and godly system of family, church and private charity. All Americans should follow God’s clear guidance in this matter; He will reward them mightily for their obedience in this matter.