Here’s a perspective you don’t hear everyday. In this particular post, amidst his railing against false accusations of the ec movement, I found this section troubling:
2. the poor will always be here. Giving us plenty of opportunity to minister in the model of Isaiah 58. There are many emergent blogs currently linking to an organization called Make Poverty History (http://www.makepovertyhistory.ca/e/home.php)
On the surface this seems to be a noble effort, but in reality it is a work in the mode of Babel (Genesis 11,) as it only exalts man and his efforts, and not Christ. I am not saying that we do nothing. The sin and shame of the Church has been our in-action on behalf of the poor and needy. However all our work must be done in accordance with Scripture, and must glorify God (Isaiah 41:17)
I wasn’t sure of the connection with Babel. I asked the author to explain, and here’s the response:
Becky, I am not surprised that you took those statements out of the context they appear in.
I repeat, in Matthew 26, JESUS says,
“Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
This is a statement of fact. HE is not saying the poor will always be here until the more enlightened emergent/liberals come upon the scene and end world poverty.
The church was always meant to minister to the poor, needy, and homeless, without fanfare, without boasting. (Isaiah 58)
Babel is any effort to place man as the center, man as the seeker, man as the do-gooder. Where all Christendom has wrecked itself is in the mindset that like the government, we just throw money at the problem amd let the specialists do the work, while we get about our lives. I have read emergent blogs that proclaim Bono and Kofi Annan and Nelson Mandela as “prophets”
These men are only prophetic in the sense that Balaam, his donkey and Caiphas the high priest were prophetic. (Numbers chapters 22-25 and John 11:47-53)
If Jesus said we will always have the poor with us, is it not the epitomy of arrogance to believe that WE will end poverty? Notice HE didn’t say to do nothing. The make poverty history website makes no acknowledgement of a sovereign God at all.][...]Hey, I pray that these men feed thousands of people. The fact that I don’t support them financially, or by putting a “white band” on my blog, is no indicator of a lack of caring and concern However, don’t tell me that this is the Kingdom of God. Good works of men are not the eternal fruit. The good works predestined by God, performed by the people of God, are. Ephesians 2:10
Babel is man’s attempt at self-exaltation whenever and wherever it appears.
The church in America has sadly dropped the ball. So we are stuck with government agencies etc. doing the work that we are told to do.
Oy, how to respond?
I agree that we’ve dropped the ball, in many senses of the cliche. That said, I’m not a fan of using the Bible as a weapon — dropping verses and making huge leaps in my reasoning.
I don’t think by calling attention to social movements, that you’re qualifying yourself as “boasting.” I don’t think that people that do call attention to actions like Make Poverty History, Save Darfur, or Fair Trade are doing this out of a desire to brag about themselves. It’s not like these organizations are claiming to be a panacea to the problems they are calling attention to. They are just addressing a need and they’re offering help, not complete salvation from the problem itself.
While I think there’s merit in prayer, I also think actions are sometimes needed to accompany it — whether it’s sending money to agencies, volunteering your own time, or even telling others about problems in the world they may not see or know about.
I also don’t think that a relief agency necessarily needs the stamp of “Christian” on it in order to make a positive difference in the world. The Bible itself has instances where God used someone who wasn’t a follower of him at the time for his work. When the comments above say: Good works of men are not the eternal fruit. The good works predestined by God, performed by the people of God, are. I don’t buy it — and quite frankly, I think you limit God and his abilities to work in the world if you only think that.
Ultimately, we’re called to be good citizens — and that sometimes requires us to get off our knees and get our hands dirty.