According to Shane Idleman, founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, CA Christianity has shifted away from the Gospel and instead of being the light of the world, the church is beginning to look just like the world. “The present condition of the church and America leaves one to wonder if this lack of fearing the Lord is contributing to her spiritually dead condition. A healthy respect of God is what our culture, and the church desperately need.”
Unfortunately the majority of mainline denominations have replaced the Gospel with the Social Gospel, a pseudo humanistic movement more ideological than altruistic. Several years ago Glen Beck did a segment on the social gospel that riled quite a few churches. One such purveyor of the social gospel, Wantagh Memorial Congregational of New York actually called for a boycott of Beck’s show and posted a sign outside of their church that read: “Sorry Mr. Beck, Jesus Preached Social Justice.” This was also the message pushed by Obama’s ‘spiritual’ advisor, Jim Wallis, of Sojourners. Pastor Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University responded to the attacks against Beck by saying Jesus wasn’t interested in politics and pastors who preach it “are trying to twist the gospel.”
Beck and Falwell were right in several respects. Social Justice is nothing more than the long arm of Socialism pushed by the far-left and the liberation theology pushed by Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor for twenty some odd years, before Wright became a liability.
The left’s emphatic opposition to intermixing church and state rarely precludes recitation of Scripture for progressive causes. They suggest it’s unchristian to deny lavish benefits for illegal aliens, or equate socializing medicine with Moses freeing Israel from Egyptian slavery. It is fascinating how far they will actually go to remake the image of Christ to justify socialism, highlighting descriptions in the book of Acts to prescribe permanent, coerced communism under a distant Godless government. They use Matthew 25:40 to justify redistribution when in fact Christ was teaching spiritual lessons on remaining faithful to Christ and our Christian brothers and sisters during the end time tribulation, which was, after all, the subject of Matthew 24.
Bill Flax, in his article Was Jesus a Socialist, Capitalist, or Something Else? wrote that Christ’s mission wasn’t to elevate our physical status, but to redeem mankind. Christ came to ransom sinners, not to cure cancer and extend voting rights.
The left expand their power by sowing discontent, what the Bible calls covetousness. Demagogues encourage jealousy to justify looting taxpayers. They violate the eighth and tenth commandments through programs enabling recipients to avoid the fourth commandment’s requirement of work. To aid in this deception, Washington employs counter-productive policies that arguably violate Scripture: progressive taxation which distorts incentives; exploding public debt; and debased currency. Nowhere in Scripture are states (or churches) tasked with leveling wealth.
God’s justice is eternal. Divine justice doesn’t flutter by public opinion. God prescribes impartial justice, sound money, sanctions property and Scripture advises limited government, all the foundations of free markets. Egalitarianism rarely lifts the “least of these.” Instead, it deprives their right to rise beyond their circumstances. Even the poorest in America generally have more than anyone, save perhaps the dictator’s inner circle when governments enforce equality.
Benevolence is best done privately through evangelistic outreach. Charity ought not to enable those who could, but won’t provide their own needs. Neither can voting others’ wealth into your coffers be supported scripturally. Paul warned against idleness (2 Thessalonians 3) and in 1Timothy 5 Paul says that anyone who doesn’t provide for their family has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Under socialism, greed shifts from productivity into consumption. Without property rights or opportunities for profit, men quickly descend into mutually destructive envy. If nothing can be acquired, advantage is only feasible by consuming beyond one’s share of public good. Without freedom to elevate one’s family, production falls forcing government to become oppressive.
Socialism renders workers slaves to the state. As Adam Smith said of slavery, “A person who can acquire no property can have no other interest but to eat as much and to labor as little as possible.”
Contrary to the ‘social gospel’ and Obama’s ‘transformation’ agenda, Biblical teaching does not sanction involuntary socialism by secular government. Christ was not a socialist nor did he teach socialism. Christ was the Author and Finisher of faith.
“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.” Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816