As we engage the great issues of our day, I am primarily concerned about the actions of the Church. What will my local church do, for example, when a family is facing a financially crippling medical emergency without health insurance? Will their small group, missional community, or Sunday School be able to help them? What if their bill is thousands of dollars? Can the church’s benevolence fund handle that? Should we pool X% of our income and designate it for emergency medical issues? What about the widows, orphans, and extreme poor of our local community? Are churches and local ministries in your town doing anything at all at this present time to even attempt to answer any of these questions?
Merely debating how the federal government is supposedly reforming healthcare is not really taking responsibility as the people of God to live out our faith as we ought. Trusting the federal government to live out “kingdom values” by enacting this or that legislation is a pipe dream. Christians must live them out ourselves.
Let’s face it – our power-hungry government confiscates the fruit of our life’s blood and seeks to continually expand its control over every area of our lives. The less they are allowed to do this, the more we will be able to do for ourselves what big government cannot. The less Leviathan intervenes where it shouldn’t, the less it will make things worse. The more we can keep of our own resources, the more we will have to help others. At least that’s the theory.
Progressive Christians are wrong when they delegate their responsibilities to the government. They are wrong for remaining satisfied with their good intentions even when the legislative and regulatory actions they favor actually make things worse. If you believe in redistribution of wealth, no one is stopping you. Set up a system where money and other resources are voluntarily redistributed among the members of your community and stop advocating that the federal government confiscate other people’s money in order to do what you do not do yourself. Show us by example what this looks like. Give us a model to emulate.
Thankfully, there are some Christians who are, in fact, doing this.
Conservative Christians are wrong when they do not use the wealth they already have to help others at the same time they are complaining about the government taking too much from them and doing too much on their behalf. Conservatives are also wrong when they rely on government programs while refusing to take direct action themselves. For example, agitating for pro-life judges and lawmakers while not even considering adopting a baby from a young, unmarried mother or supporting those who do. Or calling for illegals to be kicked out of the country while hiring them at cut-rates to do their landscaping or home repairs. They are wrong when they cry that more government is not the answer but refuse to become the answer themselves.
I believe we should say, “Big government, get out of the Church’s way and leave us free to act.” However, the problem with this approach is that one side refuses to quit relying on big government while the other side won’t make use of the freedom they already have to help others. Christians of all political persuasions are wrong for, in their own ways, relying on the government to act while not taking direct, personal action.
What would it look like for progressive and conservative Christians to focus on being the Church and following the teachings of Christ directly and personally instead of either farming it out to someone else or turning a blind eye? What if the time and energy we spent debating legislation and political contests were spent on the strategies and actions of Christian cultural development? What if Christians spent as much time living out kingdom values as we do electing government officials hoping they will do it for us? Let’s find out.
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