By Dr. Tom Snyder, Editor
One of the more interesting facts about the papal election of Pope Francis was the reason he took the name Francis, per the famous priest, St. Francis of Assisi. In deciding to pick that name, the new Pope said he recalled a fellow priest telling him to remember the poor, as the apostles instructed St. Paul in Galatians 2:10.
In December, according to CNS News, Senator Bernie Sanders, the leading Democrat candidate running for president in 2020, told the New York Times Editorial Board, “I was just actually in a church in South Carolina on Sunday, and what I said is that if you look at the Bible, what is the major provision that Christ and religious leaders all over the world talked about? Not that complicated. Do unto others as you would like them to do to you. All right? I believe that. And in many respects, that’s exactly what our campaign is based on. It is based on, on justice. I believe in justice. That is the core of what our campaign is about” (https://www.cnsnews.com/blog/cnsnewscom-staff/bernie-sanders-says-his-campaign-based-these-words-jesus-christ).
This brings up two important questions that probably should be occupying America’s political leaders as they engage in vigorous debates during this election year:
What is the right way to “remember the poor”? What is the right way to “do unto others as you would like them to do to you,” especially when it comes to helping the poor and needy?
Well, nowhere in the New Testament documents, 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.
Thus, 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 Deut. 14:28, 29, Numbers 18:24, Matthew 6:1-4, and 1 Timothy 5:3-16. See also God’s warning to the Hebrews in 1 Samuel 8:1-20 about big government and high taxes, which God says leads to tyranny and destruction.
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, the Bible, 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 wasn’t given just to anyone who showed up. Those able to work, but who refuse to work, don’t qualify for any 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: “Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”
In other words, Jesus isn’t a socialist. Nor is He a liberal. In fact, in none of the Bible passages just cited, nor in any others, does Jesus, God, or even Moses cite the government as the means by which the poor, needy, disabled, widowed, and orphaned are housed, clothed, and fed.
In fact, it seems clear that Jesus Christ and the first Christian leaders who met him support individual private charity and personal responsibility, not government handouts!
Therefore, 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 Anti-Biblical. 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, Libertarians, Communists, or whatever, who advocate such a socialist system yet claim to be Christian should be reprimanded and disciplined 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 in this matter, 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 family members. Also, they should also encourage their church congregations to give at least one-third of their charitable donations to help the poor, needy, widowed, and orphaned.
On that note, it’s interesting to recall that the Tenth Commandment in Exodus 20:17 actually protects private property by commanding people not to covet their neighbor’s house or belongings. That command 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’s instructive 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, the government should not be encouraging homosexuality, adultery, or same-sex “marriage.” Finally, 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. In fact, if He were to appear to us now, Jesus probably would condemn the “politics of envy” of the left, including President Obama’s multiple “class warfare” attacks on private property. He would also extol the virtues of hard work, thrift, and capitalist empowerment, not just the value of charity!
Liberals, leftists, and socialists like former President Barack Obama, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Party leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are clearly 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 wanted to follow the words of Jesus in the New Testament, they should stop their opposition to the conservative movement to reduce unwarranted government intrusion into our private lives and join that movement. One of the first things they would do immediately is begin to eliminate ALL government programs for the poor, probably through a systematic process of privatization.
Government aid to the poor isn’t only Anti-Christian and Anti-Biblical. It’s also Anti-American and unconstitutional. This is exactly what the future President, James Madison, the “father” of the constitution, told Congress on Feb. 6, 1792:
“If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress. . . . Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundation, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.” – James Madison, The Papers of James Madison, Vol. 14 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1983), pages 223-224.
Christians must stop the Anti-Christian, Anti-American, ungodly, immoral, and unconstitutional financial rape of American citizens by the totalitarian, socialist welfare politicians and fatcat bureaucrats! They must establish a proper and godly system of family, church, and private charity divorced from government. Not just Christians, but all true Americans, should follow God’s clear guidance in this matter. God will reward them mightily for their obedience in these matters.