Sunday, October 19, 2008

What's wrong with a social gospel?

I hear a bit of blowback towards a social gospel. You know, the gospel that says we should care for the poor and oppressed as part of our worship. The gospel which Jesus said was brought to the poor.

Well, some people want to sit in their religious towers judging fellow Christian brothers and sisters for actually caring for the downtrodden, they will call them heretical.

But don't tell me you're against a social gospel. It was a social gospel that ended slavery in the British Empire, and helped bring it to the social conscious of the States. It was a social gospel that granted women the right to vote. It was a social gospel that ended Jim Crow laws in the South. And it is a social gospel to speak up for the unborn. It is a social gospel to "defend marriage."

And maybe the poor Christians should look up to the rich, white folks condemning those who would help them in their misery and call them heretics. Jesus condemned the religious who were not merciful (Luke 10). He was very critical of those who didn't help the lesser-off (Matthew 25). In fact there were only two times in the Gospels where Jesus spoke of hell, and both of them had to do with those who do not care for the poor and hungry (Matthew 25; Luke 16).

And then maybe we could just love one another, for those who love know God and are known by God (1 John 4). Instead of running around trying to point fingers, accusing each other of theological heresies, maybe we should love one another. Love even your enemies. For God loves his enemies, and he has given us the commandment to love them as well (Luke 6; Matthew 5). Remember we were once His enemies, and He loved us so we should love one another. We should not just love those who love us, Christ exemplified for us that we should love even those who hate us. The Father demonstrated that he loves those who do not love Him, and He calls them into His inheritance.

The Gospel, and the social gospel, are rooted in love. God's love for us, that while we were sinners He died for us (Romans 5). Since he loves us, we should love one another (1 John 4). If we love our neighbor, we will care for them. We will have mercy on the suffering and take care of them. If we love our enemies, we will do good to them (Luke 6).

Finally, what them is lawful? To do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill? (Mark 3:4)

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