Welfare and the Bible (4)

The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! A lion is in the open square!” As the door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed. The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is weary of bringing it to his mouth again. The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can give a discreet answer (Prov.26:13-16).

The Bible is very blunt about sin, so we should be. The sluggard is an unrepentant sinner. He has 101 excuses why he doesn’t need to work, especially today. In fact, even the onerous task of getting food from his plate to his mouth, can seem to be too much for him; could you do it for him? He’d like you to spoon-feed him, and we in the church have permitted this to happen now for generations. Who has opposed it?

The sluggard doesn’t deserve welfare, and shouldn’t get it. He needs to face the consequences of his actions, and that may include starvation, in the same way that the Prodigal Son (see Luke 15) had to face the consequences of his actions.

Sluggards are notoriously short-term thinkers. They’ll refuse to face the consequences of their actions if they can, when in fact facing the consequences of their sin is what would be the first step towards positive change for them.

As long as there is free money, present-oriented people will remain trapped. Only the threat of poverty and real suffering can persuade the lowest-class people to reach for a lifeline and not let go.[1]

But the socialist refuses to acknowledge there is such a thing as a sluggard. He hates God, so he pretends there is nothing the matter with human nature. Men’s problems you see, are caused by their external circumstances or their environment. Original sin doesn’t exist for the socialist. Oh no, that couldn’t be the problem!

So, the socialist starts with a foundation that is atheistic, and moves from that base to lots of failed conclusions. His original assumptions or premises are wrong; is it any wonder that the rest of his assumptions continue in the same category?

Actually, the ideal solution for a person with socialist views is conversion to Christ. He has to throw out all the failed ideas that have plagued him, and then start with a clean slate that is based in scripture. And that’s a work of God.

We have to face up to what the Bible says about the poor:

You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute (Ex.23:2-3).

But the socialists have worked havoc in the West politically, and the church has largely been silent. Sometimes, we’ve had the temerity to encourage more of their behaviour. “Yes, more  money for the poor!”

This has been both unbiblical and terribly destructive, and has contributed to the millions of sluggards we have about us in the West, who have formed the opinion that it’s OK that they behave the way they do, and so they continue to do so.

This has meant that the sluggard and an unbiblical church have been quietly colluding. The sluggard seeks the continuation of his immoral welfare payments, and the church, avoiding the notion of Biblical responsibility, has implicitly supported this evil. “Let the government care for these people. Then we won’t have to bother with them. Who cares if they take our taxes?”

This has only perpetuated the continuation of theft by government, and our Christian testimony has disappeared. Is it any wonder we are ignored, laughed at and trodden underfoot by unbelievers? That is God’s way of reproving His people (see Mat.5:13), and we deserve every ounce of it.

Those who prefer to be ruled by the laws of men rather than the laws of God shall be given their heart’s desire: tyranny and high taxes (I Sam. 8).[2]

Conclusion:

Growth only ever comes when God’s people face up to what the Bible says. It does not stem from the evasion of moral and Christian responsibility.

Rolling back the tide of evil, atheistic socialism in the world today, will begin with the church returning to scripture and obeying what its laws are, including its multiple requirements in relation to welfare, found initially in the law given to Moses at Mt Sinai.

Any other way of dealing with welfare in the church, will not result in the glory of God, but more rebuke for the church, being trodden under foot, and judgement.

What’s it to be?

 

 

 

[1] Gary North (www.garynorth.com), “A Lifeline out of Ghetto Poverty,” 20/10/2016.

[2] Gary North, “Tools of Dominion,” 1990, Vol.3, p.672.

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