"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « Five Solas T-Shirt Now in White & Blue | Main | My Sin Makes Me Worry If I am Really Saved »

    Are We Trusting Gov't for Social Justice

    The weak, the fatherless and single women are especially vulnerable to being overpowered by the faceless arbitrary powers around them, especially in our present fragmented society. The defenseless are subject to the greatest creulty. And while the law of the land usally does something to protect the weak, it does so imperfectly. In fact it woefully falls short in what must be done to help and without any personal touch. That is where the church comes in since the government cannot substitute sufficiently. Just as God has freed us from our captivity from the savages of sin and given us great dignity so we are to treat the weak and helpless. The government can never really substitute for a father and likewise the church should consider these things when it go out to help others, to be a father to them. Do not simply rely on a government bureaucracy to take care of these things for you. Our personal involvement in them will make a much greater impact in their lives than a system for their good.

    The fatherless are without someone who was intended to be in their lives. There was no one there to point the way, to nurture, protect and provided for them. Do not simply count on your tax money to help from a distance but get involved with the most vulnerable in your community. The weakest among us are due the greatest protection and consideration by the caring community. In Deut 14:29 & Isa 1:17 the law required that the fatherless orphan be looked after and needs taken care of, that is, their physical and spiritual well being. In this our Lord is glorified as what we do for them we do for Him.

    Posted by John on May 13, 2008 12:05 PM


    This is ever so true. Scripture commanded that that we protect those who are fatherless and widowed because they are have the least influence and are exposed to the most injustice. Nobody would listen to them or care for them otherwise. This is the great failure of Israel in the days of Isaiah and in our own country today. They (Israel) made themselves out to be hypocrites in defacing His worship and glory for their own gain, yet claiming to be the nation of God. Calvin's commentary on Isa. 1:17 sums this up wonderfully.

    I would just add that the plight of the poor and indigent is not at all helped by economically conservative evangelicals who subsribe to the sort of libertarian ideas put forward by the likes of Rand, Hayek and Friedman. Where the individual is king and what matters is only what you want to do. Of course you might say that this does not rule out altruism (although Rand pretty much does rule this out), but it is not an imperitive as it is in the gospel. Furthermore, in built in the kind of liberalism, particularly that taught by Friedman, is this notion that by helping yourself, i.e. being selfish, you are indeed helping the poor. (this is a gross misuse of Adam Smith. No doubt there is a grain of truth to what Friedman says, people who invest do create jobs etc. But this still does not mean that all injustices will be dealt with by the market)

    And what is meant by "big government"? You acknowledge that there are some things that the government should do to protect the weak and vulnerable. But what are these things and what are the limits? Here in Australia we have universal healthcare. Yes, we have single-payer universal health care (that dreaded phrase!). It's not perfect of of course, but it seems more humane than leaving the poor to fend for themselves. More importantly, it is the will of the people that we have such a medical safety net. Not even the conservatives in Australia would ever propose taking universal health down. And, I hasten to add, that Australia is not in the fiscal mess that Americans found themselves under Bush first and inherited by Obama. I fear that for many conservative evangelicals "small government" means defense, law enforcement and (very) minimal social security. Certainly not universal healthcare or education. I fear even more that this ideology comes not from the gospel, but from nationalistic pride, a sense of protecting wealth and selfishness.

    I want to end with an excellent (extended) quote by N.T. Wright:

    "Thus when people object, as they do, to me and others pointing out the rich are getting richer and the poor and getting poorer, by commenting that wealth is not finite, that 'statist' and 'globalist' solutions and handouts will merely strip the poort of their human dignity and vocation to work, and that all this will encourage the poor towards a sinful envy of the rich, a slothful escapism and a counterproductive reliance on Caesar rather than God - when i hear this kind of thing, I want to take such commentators to refugee camps, to villages where children die every day, to towns where most adults have already died of AIDS, and to show them people who haven't got the energy to by envious, who aren't slothful because they are using all the energy they've got to queue for water and to care for each other, who know perfectly well that they don't need handouts so much as justice. I know, and such people will often know in their bones, that wealth isn't a zero-sum game, but reading the collected works of F.A. Hayek in a comfortable chair in North America simply doesn't address the moral questions of the twenty-first century."

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