For our purposes here, “snowflake” or “snowflake generation” are young adults more prone to taking offense and less resilient than previous generations, or too emotionally vulnerable to cope with views that challenge their own.

About a week ago, I saw a post on Facebook from my son regarding Donald Trump’s immigration executive order and was concerned about the volume of vitriol and hatred in the comments. I sent him a private message expressing my concerns and will say that I was so proud of his response to me. He told me that he privately messaged all the offenders and didn’t appreciate the way they acted and that he did not want to see that again. That was the perfect way to handle it, and I am so proud of his action.

The discussion got me to thinking about how so many people today have no background in legitimate debate and only react to everything they hear before they take the time to form cogent arguments. The modus operandi seems to be “You hurt my feelings. Obviously, you are evil and therefore, I am going to shout you down until you shut up! Whatever offensive language or tactic it takes to do it!”

I expressed my thoughts in my message to my son and here are some of the highlights.

“…I am highly concerned that many millennials so quickly resort to highly offensive language, logical fallacies, and overly aggressive behavior. You and I have had many discussions regarding issues, and I hope that you have not seen me resort to attacking people personally for their views. I am only a sinner saved by the amazing grace of God, which I hope directly affects how I behave.

What I see happening in most of these discussions is that people get so worked up before they have taken the time to consider their response thoroughly and they end up trying to shut the opposition down before they even give it any consideration. On all of these issues, there are rational people on every side, and when the issues are discussed on the merits of a person’s argument for or against the policy and not just flying off the handle, they have a much better chance of persuading the other person to their point of view. Dropping f-bombs and insulting a person’s character only builds any wall of division much higher.

As I have tried to teach you over the years, we must deal with logic and emotion in a specific order. Just like a potter who takes a lump of clay and forms it into a vessel for a definitive purpose, the same holds true for how logic and emotion creates a person’s worldview. Think of a person’s worldview as the lump of clay, the potter fashioning it as applying logic to the worldview and emotion as the fire that galvanizes the worldview. After the worldview is formed and proven by logic, then the flames will forge the worldview into something that is permanent.

What I see happening today is that too many people (both on the right and on the left) are too eager to put their worldview on display that they forget to fully form it before the fires of emotions harden it into an ugly monstrosity. That is like a potter ignoring the fashioning process altogether and just tossing the lump of clay into the fire. That benefits no one.

The other consideration is that every person with whom you come in contact has some level of galvanized worldview and when someone opposes them, the person often reacts as if they must protect their worldview at all costs. In this scenario, no one is working toward solutions to the problem, just how they can “feel better” about themselves. So, it ends ups in a war of words, which, once again, benefits no one.

My counsel here is to be the calming voice of reason when the discussion starts. If a person starts using bad language gently ask that they refrain from doing so because that does not demonstrate their views in a favorable light. The goal of any discussion should always be to foster solutions, not just boost our ego.”

I could not be more pleased with his reaction. That does this cold-hearted, right-wing, conspiratorial, conservative nut-job of a father such a world of good.

What's A Little Snowflake To Do?

I recently heard a message from Phil Johnson, Executive Director of Grace to You, where he said, “How about we agree to argue until one of us actually refutes the other?” If you watch these protests and talking head shows, there is no facilitation of any cogent arguments, which is an intellectual process intended to form a proposition, not just “contradiction,” which is the automatic gainsaying of every statement the other person makes. (Yes, that is from “The Argument Clinic” by Monty Python. A perfect illustration that truth is true, no matter where you find it.).

It is no wonder that Millennials are sometimes referred to as the “snowflake generation,” when they wear their emotions on their sleeves. They equate being offended on the same level as being physically attacked. So, my response is similar to Tim Hawkins in his song “Snowflakes.”

“One day one of my children came up to me,
He said, “Daddy, I got a question,” I put him up on my knee.
He said, “Which one of us children, do you love the best?”
I let out a chuckle and held him to my chest,

And I said, “Snowflakes, you're all like snowflakes,
Some are different sizes; some are different shapes.
And some snowflakes love to kick and punch and bite the other kids,
So get back in the closet, little snowflake!”

While I certainly am not suggesting that any of you Millennials “Get back in the closet,” I am suggesting that for your credibility, stop flying off the handle, kicking, punching, and biting those who disagree with you every time your fragile little feelings get hurt. Not everyone who disagrees with you wants you just to shut up. We want to hear your disagreements in a civil and respectful manner. Then, maybe, one of us can convince the other one that our proposition is the correct and valid argument. Even if we don't, we can still respect each other as a fellow human being.

The-twisted-case-of-Donald-Sterling-and-a-few-other-racists-I-know

Social Media is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing of humanity and a revealer of the thoughts and intents of our lives. And no creature is hidden from its sight, but all people are naked and exposed to the eyes of our big brother to whom we all must give account.

At 2PM EDT, April 29, 2014, Adam Silver the NBA commissioner, announced his decisive action against Donald Sterling’s alleged racist comments that were released to the press the previous weekend.

Sterling was fined 2.5 million dollars and banned from the NBA for life. There was also an appeal from Silver to the board of governors to make a move to force Sterling to sell his business, the Los Angeles Clippers.

This latest media conflagration around public scandal has gripped my thinking this week. And I am not a news guy. I have never been interested in the news because it is not how I am wired.

The LORD gave me the end of the news reel a long time ago (Revelation 21:1) and I typically leave the in-between details up to Him. My thinking has always been if it is really important somebody will tell me about it.

I heard about the Oklahoma City bombing ten days after it happened. Someone told me about flight 370 being missing three days after it was lost. It seemed the LORD wanted me to give some thought to this Sterling fiasco. So I have.

There were five things that troubled me about what happened. I’ll list them for you here and then interact with them in order.

  1. Donald Sterling’s comments.
  2. Public dissemination of a private conversation.
  3. Sensationalized racism.
  4. The harshness of the penalty.
  5. What if they catch me for my racism?

Comments

What Sterling said was wrong. It appears to no longer be alleged, but factual. I listened to several minutes of the audio recording and there is no doubt about the wrongness of the comments. They were harsh, unkind, mean-spirited, and unacceptable. There should be no place in our hearts to foster that kind of thinking, but sadly we all have been guilty of his sin.

As my soul settled down and my mouth closed, the Spirit of God came around to reveal to me how I’m not any different from Donald Sterling. There is a kind of racism in all of our hearts.

Racism is the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. – Google

If you or I are different from him, it is because of the grace of God and nothing else. Looking at Donald Sterling is in some way looking at me. I have hated people.

Through the course of our marriage, I have said some shameful things to my wife, as well as to my children. In moments of disappointment or impatience, I have used hate speech.

I am not going to sugarcoat my hatred in a way to convince you that I am better than Donald Sterling–for by grace I have been saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). Speaking unkindly in times of elevated self-importance is not outside the range of possibilities for me.

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” – Jesus

It would be intellectually dishonest to set myself apart from him, while speaking against him. It does not mean I should refrain from speaking out against his sins; it means before I pick up my rocks to toss on the pile, I need to realize how I have carried hate in my heart toward other people.

This kind of self-imposed modulation is one thing that is not forthcoming from the media screamers. Christians know better. We can see Donald Sterling through a biblical lens, which gives us a threefold advantage.

  1. We can speak against his hatred of blacks because those views are sinful.
  2. We can be humble enough to acknowledge our own sin, while we speak against his views.
  3. We can intercede for him, asking our kind Father to show mercy on him, as He has shown mercy on us (Matthew 18:33).

Dissemination

There is something wrong with the dissemination of Sterling’s comments. While I could never condone what he said, I also cannot condone someone recording a private conversation and making those comments available to TMZ.

There is more deviousness going on here than his racist remarks. Suppose you worked for a company and during one of your lunch breaks a colleague engaged you in a conversation about gays.

Let’s further suppose your friend recorded the conversation. During your lunch break you are asked leading questions that reveal your anti-gay lifestyle views. (Though you are not against gays, only their lifestyle, it is a moot point to those who have no tolerance for people like you.)

Your “friend” then shares the recording with the owner of the company and you are fined, fired, and banned for life from the company. This is, essentially, what happened to Donald Sterling. Follow the sequence here:

  1. Donald Sterling does not like black people.
  2. Someone records his views about black people.
  3. Those views were shared in the public arena.
  4. Donald Sterling was fined, fired, and banned for life, with the future possibility of losing his business.

Dear Christian, welcome to your future. You are now Donald Sterling. You and I can agree that disliking blacks is heinous and unwarranted. We can further agree that the process of exposing Sterling was wrong. But there is more.

Because public media is the means through which moral agendas are established and punishments are demanded, you and I are also considered to be of Sterling’s ilk. We are standing in their line-of-sight.

Sensationalized

There is a difference between sensationalize racism and racism. What has just played out in our culture the past few days is sensationalized racism. This is what is alarming to me.

To sensationalize something is to make much of an event. Donald Sterling was caught on tape and that one event was sensationalized. The hypocrisy of this is that Sterling has a well-documented history of racism. If the issue was only about racism, they had him dead to rights years ago. But there is irony here.

The local chapter of the Los Angeles NAACP gave Sterling a lifetime achievement award in 2009. He has been a major donor to their organization. In 2011 the NBA awarded Donald Sterling, along with the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA All Star Game, their showcase event for the league.

His long history of racism was permitted until this one event was swept up into the vortex of Social Media. What the country has witnessed this week is the power of Social Media.

It became apparent how I am caught between two worlds. In one world I despise sin, which can manifest as racism. In the other world I hear people yelling at me, “Crucify him, crucify him.”

When the herd mentality ramps up to a fever pitch, there is no turning of the tide. I have listened intently this week because I know this kind of swarming hatred of another person is going to be turned on me some day.

Penalty

The NBA is a business that is free to operate how they see fit. As a fellow business owner, I am glad they have this freedom to manage their affairs in broad and unhindered ways. It is one of many things I love about America.

Still yet, it seems to be the NBA was caught between a rock and a hard place. The penalty for hating someone is $2.5 million dollars and a lifetime ban from the company you own, with a future aim to make you sell your company. (I praise God some of the private conversations in our home have not been recorded.)

The mass hatred for what Sterling did was so unabated that the NBA had no choice. There was no way they could put themselves on the side of racism. They needed a sacrifice. The only way they could win was to levy the stiffest penalty allowed, which is what they did.

“This has all happened in three days, and so I am hopeful there will be no long-term damage to the league and to the Clippers organization,” Silver said.

Silver had to make a big time power play to quell the uproar. There was talk of a boycott. This was a highly charged political nightmare that, from a business perspective, could have only one outcome–Sterling had to be offered up.

I am not sure we fully realize the power of our media culture. This case, like no other before it, has clearly shown how the new morality maker is Social Media. One of the most popular and powerful organizations in America could not stand against it.

Some would argue that $2.5 million is chump change for Donald Sterling. Maybe so, but that is not my point. The point is the new morality makers in our country. When disgust for a person and his views swell to the level it did this week, then even the mighty are not willing to go to war.

My racism

While I’m sure you don’t want your most sinful thoughts displayed for public scrutiny, what about your religious views? This kind of reverse hatred is already part of our culture’s right to body slam anyone who thinks differently from them. They will not tolerate anyone hating on anybody, unless you disagree with them. Then they will hate you with all of their force.

  • Do you realize how closely aligned you are to Donald Sterling?
  • What do you think about homosexuality? (If you are a biblicist, then you are opposed to that lifestyle.)
  • Are you aware there is a label already created for a person like you?

If you are against the gay lifestyle, then you are a homophobe. If you believe homosexuality is a deviant behavior, then you have a mental disorder according to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual. You are closer to the Sterling camp than you might be aware and they have science to support their hatred of you.

A homophobe is a gay racist and people like you and me have no place in the public arena. What if the current of our massive media culture bent its way toward you or me? What if they targeted your employer?

What if your comments regarding your views of the gay lifestyle were recorded? What if they made their way to the public square? I’m somewhat confident your employer would sell you down the river for the sake of capitalism.

You would be fined and banned for life because of your bigotry. When the culture is allowed to determine our morality, all Christians are in the soup. This is why I am watching the Donald Sterling saga play out with mixed emotions.

I don’t agree with his position or his attitude toward black people, but I sense a dark shadow falling over my soul as the culture condemns him. The Sterling story has put me on both sides of the fence. I’m against his views, but I’m soaking in, as much as one can, what it must be like to be him—because I am him.

Many of my views are condemned by our culture—the new gatekeepers to what is right and wrong. I suppose some Christians could read this and say, “Damn the torpedoes, we’re pressing on.”

Well, that is what I plan to do by the grace of God, but I don’t want to be naive about what I have just experienced this week. Today, I am pointing my finger at Donald Sterling. Tomorrow, I’m getting the finger pointed back a me.

And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand.

And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him. – Matthew 27:27-32 (ESV)

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. – Mark 8:34 (ESV)

Gary DeMar
Gary DeMar

The liberal folks at Sojourners have put together a Poverty and Justice Bible that’s being published by World Vision and Bible Society:

“The publishers of the Poverty and Justice Bible went looking and highlighted almost 3,000 verses in the scriptures to show that God has something to say about injustice and oppression. With bright orange highlighting, a quick glance is all you need to see that God cares about the poor — a lot.”

True enough, the Bible has a great deal to say about poverty and justice. Unfortunately for the folks who put this Bible together, there isn’t a single verse that says that civil governments should tax the prosperous so the money collected can be given to the poor. The Bible does not support the idea of a welfare State. This is not to say that the Bible is indifferent to the poor. Not at all. It’s just that there is nothing to support the transfer of wealth through confiscatory taxing policies. There are biblical gleaning laws, but gleaning required work, hard work:

“When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 23:22).

Private charity is the biblical model. The modern-day welfare State has made more poor people and made those who are poor even poorer, and this doesn't say anything about what government anti-poverty programs have done to everybody else. Biblical justice means equality before the law.

“You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly” (Lev. 19:15).

Jesus told the Rich Young Ruler to sell all he had to give to the poor (Matt. 19:16-22). Jesus did not tell him to vote for Caesar to tax the rich to redistribute their income to the poor. Notice that Jesus told the rich man that one of the commandments was “You shall not steal” (v. 18). That includes voters who elect people to tax the prosperous so poor people can get some of their income. If a person has made an idol out of money, like the Rich Young Ruler, then that’s a sin problem not a political problem. Notice that the apostle Paul encouraged personal giving to help those in need:

“Near the end of Paul's ministry he took up a collection for the poor of the Jerusalem church. Why the Jerusalem church had so much poverty is not clear. The Jews in Jerusalem may have isolated Christian Jews from the economic system. Paul and Barnabas promised to help (Galatians 2:1-10 ). This money was collected by Paul from the Gentile churches which he administered. These included churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth, and Galatia. He mentioned this offering on three occasions in his letters. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 , Paul indicated that he wanted the church to put something aside on the first day of each week. In 2 Corinthians 8-9 , Paul wrote that the churches of Macedonia had given liberally and Titus would oversee the completion of the offering in Corinth. Finally, in Romans 15:25 , Paul stated that at the present time he was going to Jerusalem to deliver the gift.”[1]

There was no petitioning of the government; no appeal to Caesar. The Poverty and Justice Bible will only increase poverty and pervert biblical justice if the justification of the highlighting of certain biblical texts is designed to empower the State.


Notes:

  1. Terence B. Ellis and Lynn Jones, “Collection for the Poor Saints,” Holman Bible Dictionary.

The post Beware of the ‘Poverty and Justice Bible’ appeared first on Godfather Politics.

HeathcareLast week, Todd Friel of Wretched TV and Wretched Radio addressed the healthcare debate in the most unique fashion I have heard to date, and I must admit, it is the most powerful and most of what I will discuss here will draw from those discussions. He gave seven arguments in favor and seven against. Many of those who support the Democrats plans for healthcare reform have raised the question about how Jesus would have handled the healthcare debate? I agree that is a fair question. As Christians, the basis upon which we build our worldview should always be the standard of The Bible for as the writer of Hebrews has rightly said in chapter 4 verse 12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Apostle Paul exhorted the young pastor Timothy to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:2) This is why doctrine and expository Bible study are so critical in all areas of life. Even Christ Himself in his Gethsemane prayer gave credence to the power and sanctifying power of the Word of God in John 17:17. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

As such, let’s approach the healthcare debate from a Biblical worldview. The fundamental question is whether or not it is the part of the function of government to provide universal healthcare coverage for all of its citizens and if so, how is that universal coverage to be provided? Let’s take a closer look at both sides of the debate.

First let’s look at seven arguments in favor of universal healthcare:

  1. Jesus and the Apostles were involved in healing the sick.

That is absolutely true. What we need to understand is the reason why Jesus healed the sick. Matthew 9, Mark 2, and Luke 5 record the story of the man sick with the palsy, but notice that the first thing Christ did was not to heal the man. He told him that his sins were forgiven. When the ones around thought that he blasphemed the name of God when He declared the man’s sins forgiven, Christ said in Matthew 9:6 “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.” The healing miracle was to demonstrate Christ’s identity as God Himself more than the temporal physical need of the man who was healed. Christ, not man, is the focus of the miracles in order to support the message of salvation. Christ’s miracles of healing also demonstrate His compassion for the poor and the infirmed, but are not in any way a mandate in support of universal healthcare.

  1. Jesus said, “Love the poor.”

Absolutely! Not doubt about it! This is why every church should have some sort of benevolence ministry, first to its members, and then for the community at large. Todd posed the question, do you really know of any Christian who says, “I hate the poor! Let them all die in the street and stop being a burden to society!” Of course not! But when you understand the Biblical definition of who are the poor in reality, it does change the perspective on who we are called to help. The poor are those who are actually on the streets maybe living in a box due to circumstances beyond their control, such as illness or calamity and are totally unable to care for themselves, the truly destitute. It is not people who may be living in a small apartment with a microwave, air conditioning and a car and just want a higher standard of living.

  1. Romans 13 promotes “general welfare.”

This is actually an excellent point. Romans chapter 13 defines the role of government. But I challenge you to read it and find any reference to universal healthcare. Government is established to protect its citizens from attack and to punish those engaged in crime. This includes establishing justice, ensuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense and as stated above, promoting the general welfare. But even the Federal Government with all of it’s power and influence is not big enough to solve a problem the size of healthcare and run that industry with the efficiency that the healthcare industry can run itself, if it were allowed to do so.

  1. Justice.

The problem here is in how that those who are in favor universal healthcare define justice. Literally, Justice, according to the Bible, is punishment for breaking the law not getting people things so they can have a nice quality of life or even equality for all. Solomon said in Proverbs 21:3, ”To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” The Lord is most glorified in execution of justice, but we must understand that justice is not based on our comfort, convenience, or cost of living! It is in the conviction of the guilty.

  1. The Kingdom of God.

This is an eschatological argument of bringing the Kingdom of God to this earth. As I stated in point number 2, every church needs to be involved in some sort of benevolence ministry, but when you read the Bible and how it describes the end times, it is clear that things are not getting better, but are getting worse and will continue to do so until Jesus Himself comes to make all things new and fully redeem them to Himself. Our job is not to make this world a better place to go to Hell from! Jesus’ last words to His disciples were not to go into all the world and provide better healthcare! They were to preach the Gospel to every creature and it is of utmost importance to know what that is and to do it!

  1. Equality.

Equality and fairness are not Biblical principles. If they were, all of us would have no hope of salvation and God should have incinerated Adam and Eve as soon as they fell. The Biblical concept is that all of us were born into sin and only because of the grace and mercy of God do we even have the opportunity to even draw a breath!

  1. Greed and dishonest gain of the healthcare industry.

If any company is reaping their profit dishonestly, they should be prosecuted and punished accordingly (all part of that justice thing!). But the problem with painting with such a broad brush impugns the character of individual providers of whom the majority are honest people who chose this line of work to help their fellow man live a better lifestyle. It also promotes the idea that any company making a profit has done so by shady means and is not entitled to it. If a company cannot make a profit, it has no means of expanding and therefore cannot take on new business. Since every business is either in the process of growing or shrinking, the inevitable result is that if the company is not making a profit, it is shrinking. Shrinking business leads to layoffs, overworked employees who do remain, and in many cases, an implosion of the business itself. The Bible in Ephesians 4:28 teaches “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” It is out of the abundance of profit from where all charity flows.

Now let’s look at seven arguments against universal healthcare:

  1. Do not steal.

In order to pay for universal healthcare, the government must take wealth from one entity and give it to another. No matter how you slice it, that is stealing and the Bible is clear on it. Again, Ephesians 4:28 teaches “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”

  1. The Apostle Paul taught the principle “if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

The full reference is found in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” This also applies to insurance. If a person is not willing to work for it, he should not receive it. The Bible is clear on this matter and teaches that work brings about wages. It’s the old sowing and reaping principle. Healthcare is not a “natural right” as enumerated in either the Bible or our founding documents.

  1. End of life issues and Abortion.

Under this legislation, those facing the possible end of life are not going to get the care that they may receive now and even those who have a curable condition may not in fact be deemed viable enough to warrant care by the system. The other issue on the table is that taxpayer funded abortions are in fact not excluded from the bill. Psalm 139:13 (English Standard Version) tells us, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” Each one of us was fashioned by the hand of God and therefore has great worth. Because of this, God is serious about life and any issues of life and death are His alone.

  1. Rationing.

Closely related to end of life issues is the issue of deciding who gets healthcare and if they do receive it, limiting a person and their doctor’s ability to choose what is best for them. There is no possible way that a universal system can equally give the best possible care to every covered individual. Therefore, some criterion must be put in place in order to determine where those benefits are better spent. This would in effect deny an ill person the care he may truly need because he does not meet some arbitrary standard. The Bible teaches that each people group is of equal value to God Himself. Paul in Galatians 3:28 teaches, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Rationing deems a particular people group as more deserving of healthcare based on an arbitrary bureaucratic standard.

  1. The Old Testament pattern is ownership (personal property rights) with mercy and safety nets for those who meet the Biblical definition of “poor.”

With ownership comes responsibility. The Bible is clear on it’s teachings of stewardship (and that is much more than just tithing, my Fundamentalist friends!). God has entrusted us with what we do have and we are to manage that to His glory and that includes charity! God has allowed us to “own” (I use the term very loosely because the Bible teaches that all of creation is the Lord’s) our possessions and as such we are responsible for managing them to the best of our ability. Luke chapter 16 is a great example of an unjust steward and a great discussion of stewardship in general.

  1. Debt.

Closely related to ownership is the concept of debt. In Romans 13:8, Paul teaches, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” The healthcare plan on the table will add in excess of 1 trillion dollars to the national debt, the likes of which our grandchildren will still be dealing with, which leads to the last point,

  1. Inheritance.

Proverbs 13:22 “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.” After the stimulus bill we have already endured this year, if this healthcare bill passes in its present form, there will be very little left for our grandchildren to inherit except the debt for our own irresponsibility.

In conclusion, what must be done to solve our healthcare problems? While I have ideas on the matter, a workable solution will only come from a civil discussion on the merits of the issues and not from hyperbolic fear mongering from either side of the aisle. There do seem to be a few reasonable voices on both sides and I can only hope that somehow these voices will be heard, but given the track record of politicians in Washington, I choose to place my hope in the Sovereign God of the Bible. And whatever plan emerges from all that is happening today, we can rest assured that He is the one who has allowed it and will work all things together for good to them that love Him and are called according to His purpose! (Romans 8:28)

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“Then 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.” – Matthew 25:45

Brian McLaren and many of the emergent persuasion (whatever THAT happens to be today!) are very fond of quoting this particular verse to justify their social Gospel (née liberal politics, which all of a sudden has become ok to discuss since it's not us right-wing conservative Christian Coalition nut jobs! But I digress!). But in order to accomplish that noble aim (at least it is on the surface), does it not take some sort of fiscal and economic responsibility in order to properly fund the efforts? And who is ultimately responsible for taking care of the poor anyway? As with everything in life, the first place we need to go for the answer is the Bible with a good understanding of Biblical theology. Next, we need to gain a firm grasp on the principles of economics and how they interact with theology.

While there are those who through no fault of their own have great disabilities, such as handicaps, illness, and temporary setbacks of all sorts, the primary responsibility for each person's well-being is ultimately their own. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). But beyond this, the Bible does teach in Matthew 25 that we should give as though we are giving ultimately to Him. This is a solid case for benevolence ministry within the church (and every church should have a benevolence ministry).

Where most of the left-of-center brethren miss the mark is when they assume that government should be involved in benevolence. (I also find it interesting that the same brethren who created the Matthew 25 Network are the same ones who would downplay the encouragement to investment (Oh no! Not CAPITALISM! OH THE HORROR!) in verses 14-30 and the references to a place of eternal torment referenced in verses 30 and 46) According to the Constitution of The United States, the federal government is instituted primarily to “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” Notice that it does not “provide” any welfare, just “promote” the “general” welfare. Welfare is not the job of government because once that Pandora’s Box is opened (as it now fully IS open!) people realize that they can obtain basic sustenance from the government and then there is no incentive to get off of the dole. It is a catch 22 because many who attempt to get off the dole end up making less money at a job than they were on the government program they were on previously. This is a true disincentive to finding work and gaining independence from the government.

Also, when the government tracks programs by how many people are on the program, there is also no incentive to actually help the beneficiaries get off the program and fend for themselves. Ultimately, these welfare programs, while they may have had some who pressed for them with a pure motivation of compassion for those in need, end up as a source of power and control for those creating and running them. With economic education so inept in our schools and universities, it’s no wonder that so many people fall for the lie that government can actually do it better than the private sector. The information is available, however, in works by Thomas Sowell (Basic Economics), Thomas W. Hazlett (Public Policy Toward Cable Television), Friedrich Von Hayek (The Road To Serfdom), Ludwig Von Mises (Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis), Adam Smith (The Wealth Of Nations), and Milton Friedman (Capitalism and Freedom).

But how are charity, economics and theology reconciled? There is a book that has just been released (it is definitely on my wish list) that appears to fill the bill. Author Jay Richards has authored “Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem.” and was interviewed by one of my new favorite authors, Kevin DeYoung, co-author of “”Why We're Not Emergent, by Two Guys Who Should Be” (By the way, I highly recommend this book!) and quoted on the “Between Two Worlds” blog (one of my favorites!). Here is a direct quote from the interview:

“KD: On page 35, you write “Spiritually you're better off a little mixed up about economics than indifferent to human suffering. Economically, though, only what you do is important, whatever your reason.” This seems to be a very important point for the book. What are you trying to say in these two sentences?

JR: When I wrote: “Spiritually you're better off a little mixed up about economics than indifferent to human suffering. Economically, though, only what you do is important, whatever your reason,” I was trying to balance but capture Gilson's “Piety is no substitute for technique.” To me, this is one of most important points I've tried to make. Motivation IS important when we're considering our spiritual state before God. It's just that our motivation for a policy has nothing to do with the real world effects of the policy. I think that Christians often weight our (and others') motivations far too heavily on economic matters. It's as if we think feeling bad about poverty is more obligatory than actually doing something that helps the poor. For instance, several times in churches I've pointed out why minimum wage laws don't really help the poor in the long run. I've never had anyone try to debunk the argument, but several times I've received the complaint that my argument shows that I'm not really concerned about the poor. It doesn't of course. But even if it were evidence that I weren't concerned about the poor, the argument's validity (or lack thereof) would remain the same.”

Read the entire interview here.

This is a great point. I have struggled with the motivation question all of my life. “Why” do we do anything? As Christians, we should be concerned for the poor and help in any way we can. But this will take fiscal discipline that is glaringly absent from the minds of most Americans today (especially politicians, from both sides of the aisle, I might add!)

“Money, Greed, and God” promises to be a beneficial read, at least from the reviews that I have read. I am looking forward to it!