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Response to: The Anti-Gospel, Anti-Christ Activist

This is a response to another blogger’s post here on WordPress at
http://christsimplicity.wordpress.com/2008/09/29/activist/.  Comments were closed on this post, so I am posting it here instead…

This blogger posted (emphasis mine):

Has anyone told Warren or perhaps he hopefully has read it somewhere (the Bible) that Allah, the Muslim god, is not the true living God of the Bible? That “the church”, the one Warren says he belongs to, does not include false religions who worship false dead gods? That Jesus Christ never commanded us Christians to combat poverty, to erradicate poverty, only to “preach the Gospel to the poor”?

Let me get this straight.  Jesus NEVER commanded his followers to help the poor?  Never?  That’s interesting considering the following passage from Matthew, chapter 25, verses 40-46:

40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

In this passage of scripture, Jesus is speaking about the judgment.  In the above quoted verses, He speaks of those who claim to be followers of himself but apparently their works are not in accordance with those of whom they claim they follow, namely himself.  If they were his, they would have done things such as feeding the hungry, ministering to prisoners, helping the poor, etc., etc.  He makes it a bit more personal by saying (paraphrase mine) “If you aren’t doing these things for the lowest among you, then you would not even do so for me.”

Now I’m no apologist for Rick Warren.  I know little about him other than that he’s the author of “The Purpose Driven Life“, that he’s the pastor of a large church in California, and that he had a forum during the recent Presidential campaign with Barack Obama and John McCain.  I cannot comment on his theology and, to tell the truth, it has no impact on me.  He is free to teach what he wishes and, for that matter, you are free to criticize him in return.

That being said, it cannot be accurately stated that Jesus never said to Christians that they are to help the poor.  While it is true that poverty will never be eradicated (see Matthew 26:11), at least until Jesus himself returns, it is not true that we as Christians have no responsibility to help the poor as we are willing and able to do so.  If all we ever do is preach the gospel to the lost, which is a good thing in and of itself, what good is it to then leave them in their current condition?  That doesn’t mean we should provide ALL their needs.  What it means is for us to respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit as He has enabled us to do so and meet them where they are  This means sometimes providing meals, clothing, shelter, assistance with finances, etc., until they are able to do so for themselves.  This is why many missionaries go to foreign countries first as doctors and later, as they have used their skill to assist the needy, to present the gospel to them.

At my home church, BridgeWay Community Church in Fishers, Indiana, we are endeavoring this Christmas season to do just such a thing.  I was moved to tears yesterday as an outreach opportunity was extended to our congregation to minister to the needy in our own community.  I never imagined that the extent of the problem in a wealthy area of the country such as ours was as it is.  The need is there and it is imperative that the church is involved in it for the sake of the poor AND for the sake of the gospel.


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