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A group of self-described “progressive” Christian evangelicals calling themselves “Red Letter Christians,” and led by the left-oriented Sojourners magazine and left-oriented religious pundits like Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo, has recently emerged in the body politic. These self-proclaimed “progressives” have been making a lot of noise recently complaining about the ties that other Christian evangelicals have long held with the conservative movement in the United States, including the conservative movement in the Republican Party.
One policy under attack by these “progressives” is the conservative effort to “cut programs to the poor.” They say that such a policy goes against Jesus Christ’s commands in chapter 24 of the book of Matthew to feed those who are hungry.
These “Red Letter Christians” are making a lot of noise, but they are just a bunch of clanging cymbals – and the love that they claim to spout has no truth in it whatsoever.
What these misguided religious zealots conveniently fail to note is that nowhere in the New Testament or the other books of the Bible do Jesus Christ, His apostles, God the Father, the Holy Spirit, Moses or the Hebrew prophets command the government to take money from its citizens and transfer it to poor people. In fact, the Bible says just the opposite.
God presents us with 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 Deuteronomy 14:28, 29, Numbers 18:24, Matthew 6:1-4 and 1 Timothy 5:3-16.
Now, the first two ways are pretty clear. People’s first obligation is to the needy, poor, widowed and orphaned in their own families. Only after they do this do they have any obligation to help the needy, poor, widowed and orphaned through 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 his great book “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. 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 the Apostle 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 other words, Jesus is not a socialist. Nor is he a liberal. In fact, in none of the Bible passages just cited, nor in any others I know of, does Jesus, God or even Moses 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 “Red Letter” words of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, clearly shows that the American welfare state is anti-Christian and unbiblical. Any Christian who advocates such a government welfare system (including clergymen or women) should be harshly rebuked. Furthermore, any members of any political party, including Republicans, Democrats, Reform Party members, Libertarians or whatever, who advocate such a socialist 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 or place them in positions of authority and leadership. Of course, all Christians should encourage families to take care of their own. And they should also encourage their churches to give at least one-third of their gross income to help the poor, needy, widowed and orphaned.
On that note, it is interesting to recall that the 10th Commandment in Exodus 20:17 actually protects private property by commanding people not to covet their neighbor’s house or belongings. That commands applies to the average citizen as well as the elected official, the judge and all other government officials.
Furthermore, the Bible condemns laziness and praises hard work. Proverbs 10:4 says, “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” Proverbs 14:23 says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”
Finally, it is interesting to note that, in Mark 7:20-23, not only does Jesus Christ declare that all sex outside of heterosexual marriage, including homosexuality, pre-marital sex and adultery, is evil, he also declares that both greed and envy are evil. Thus, Jesus Christ condemns both the greed of the rich man as well as the greed of the poor man, and the envy of the poor man as well as the envy of the rich man.
Thus, God condemns the politics of envy of the left, and he extols the virtues of hard work and capitalism, not just the value of charity!
Liberals and socialists like the “Red Letter Christians,” Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Ted Kennedy and former Vice President Al Gore are violating the commands of Jesus Christ, who is God in the Flesh. They are also violating the commands that God gives all of us in the Hebrew Scriptures as well. If they truly want to follow the words of Jesus in the New Testament, they should stop their opposition to the real Christian movement in America and join it. One of the first things they should do immediately is help cut government programs for the poor.
Christians must stop the ungodly, immoral rape of American citizens with the totalitarian, socialist welfare state! They must establish a proper and godly system of family, church and private charity. Not just Christians, but all true Americans should follow God’s clear guidance in this matter. God will reward us mightily for our obedience in these matters.
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Tom Snyder is an experienced journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. He is vice president of Good News Communications, a non-profit Christian ministry based in Los Angeles, Calif.