Friday, September 14, 2007

The Church is a Soul Expert, Not a Social Agency

HERE is an excerpt from Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the purpose of the church posted on OldTruth.com:

"... the business of the church is to deal with the real problem of men and women--not to give alms, but to offer a cure for the paralysis. This is the unique message of the church, and this is what differentiates it from every other institution under the sun. The church is an expert on the soul. It is not a cultural center or a psychological clinic or a social agency. No; her calling, her commission, is to deal with the souls of men and women"
--Martyn Lloyd-Jones

This doesn't fit so well with the social gospel advocates running rampant through the churches today.

21 Comments:

Blogger Patrick said...

It also doesn't fit so well with the Bible which encourages us to save souls AND feed and care for the poor.

I'm not sure why anyone would try and make it an either/or proposition.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Don't mistreat widows or orphans. If you do and they cry out to me, you can be sure I'll take them most seriously; I'll show my anger and come raging among you with the sword, and your wives will end up widows and your children orphans.
Exodus 22:21-23

Look around you: Everything you see is God's—the heavens above and beyond, the Earth, and everything on it. But it was your ancestors who God fell in love with; he picked their children—that's you!—out of all the other peoples. That's where we are right now. So cut away the thick calluses from your heart and stop being so willfully hardheaded. God, your God, is the God of all gods, he's the Master of all masters, a God immense and powerful and awesome. He doesn't play favorites, takes no bribes, makes sure orphans and widows are treated fairly, takes loving care of foreigners by seeing that they get food and clothing.
Deuteronomy 10:13-15

And there you sat, strong and honored by everyone, surrounded by immense wealth! You turned poor widows away from your door; heartless, you crushed orphans. Now you're the one trapped in terror, paralyzed by fear. Suddenly the tables have turned! How do you like living in the dark, sightless, up to your neck in flood waters?
Job 22:1-3

Doom to you who legislate evil, who make laws that make victims— Laws that make misery for the poor, that rob my destitute people of dignity, Exploiting defenseless widows, taking advantage of homeless children. What will you have to say on Judgment Day, when Doomsday arrives out of the blue? Who will you get to help you? What good will your money do you? A sorry sight you'll be then, huddled with the prisoners, or just some corpses stacked in the street. Even after all this, God is still angry, his fist still raised, ready to hit them again.
Isaiah 10:1-3

"'Clean up your act—the way you live, the things you do—so I can make my home with you in this place. Don't for a minute believe the lies being spoken here—"This is God's Temple, God's Temple, God's Temple!" Total nonsense! Only if you clean up your act (the way you live, the things you do), only if you do a total spring cleaning on the way you live and treat your neighbors, only if you quit exploiting the street people and orphans and widows, no longer taking advantage of innocent people on this very site and no longer destroying your souls by using this Temple as a front for other gods—only then will I move into your neighborhood. Only then will this country I gave your ancestors be my permanent home, my Temple.
Jeremiah 7:2-4

God's orders: "Go to the royal palace and deliver this Message. Say, 'Listen to what God says, O King of Judah, you who sit on David's throne—you and your officials and all the people who go in and out of these palace gates. This is God's Message: Attend to matters of justice. Set things right between people. Rescue victims from their exploiters. Don't take advantage of the homeless, the orphans, the widows. Stop the murdering!
Jeremiah 22:1-3

"There's nothing new to say on the subject. Don't you still have the message of the earlier prophets from the time when Jerusalem was still a thriving, bustling city and the outlying countryside, the Negev and Shephelah, was populated? [This is the message that God gave Zechariah.] Well, the message hasn't changed. God-of-the-Angel-Armies said then and says now: "'Treat one another justly. Love your neighbors. Be compassionate with each other. Don't take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, and the poor. Don't plot and scheme against one another—that's evil.'
Zechariah 7:6-8

"Yes, I'm on my way to visit you with Judgment. I'll present compelling evidence against sorcerers, adulterers, liars, those who exploit workers, those who take advantage of widows and orphans, those who are inhospitable to the homeless—anyone and everyone who doesn't honor me." A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
Malachi 3:4-6

[ The Word of God Prospered ] During this time, as the disciples were increasing in numbers by leaps and bounds, hard feelings developed among the Greek-speaking believers—"Hellenists"—toward the Hebrew-speaking believers because their widows were being discriminated against in the daily food lines. So the Twelve called a meeting of the disciples. They said, "It wouldn't be right for us to abandon our responsibilities for preaching and teaching the Word of God to help with the care of the poor. So, friends, choose seven men from among you whom everyone trusts, men full of the Holy Spirit and good sense, and we'll assign them this task. Meanwhile, we'll stick to our assigned tasks of prayer and speaking God's Word."
Acts 6:1-3

Take care of widows who are destitute. If a widow has family members to take care of her, let them learn that religion begins at their own doorstep and that they should pay back with gratitude some of what they have received. This pleases God immensely. You can tell a legitimate widow by the way she has put all her hope in God, praying to him constantly for the needs of others as well as her own. But a widow who exploits people's emotions and pocketbooks—well, there's nothing to her. Tell these things to the people so that they will do the right thing in their extended family. Anyone who neglects to care for family members in need repudiates the faith. That's worse than refusing to believe in the first place.
1 Timothy 5:2-4

Sign some widows up for the special ministry of offering assistance. They will in turn receive support from the church. They must be over sixty, married only once, and have a reputation for helping out with children, strangers, tired Christians, the hurt and troubled.
1 Timothy 5:8-10

Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world. James 1:27 (The Message)

External [a]religious worship [[b]religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world. James 1:27 (Amplified Bible)

12:56 PM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Dear Anonymous,

The church's PRIMARY function is not social justice. That may occur but in church's today it is becoming the MAIN focus. Does that make sense to you, and do you not see that?

1:15 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Kenny, the problem might be that your quote doesn't say "primary." It says it's not the business of the church to give away alms. The implication is that spreading the gospel is the church's only concern. And that's totally unbiblical.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Hank said...

Perhaps the key is found in two locations. Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." I believe the answer lays in the realization that God's glory can not be compromised. Man truly appears to be free to reject God but when he rejects God as the only source of truth and righteousness his attempts at goodness always lead to destruction. Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 both say the same thing, "There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death." Perhaps that is why Jesus says in Luke 14:26 and 27 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." Later on John writes in I John 2:9-11 "He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes." It may be well to consider and perhaps all of you have but have not articulated it yet, love of God is necessary for a true love of man. I am reminded here of Ephesians 2:8-10 "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." I think Patrick that was what you were alluding to in your first comment.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

You got it, Hank.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous dPazos said...

Kenneth and others:
Since the days of Karl Marx, there have been those who promote their socialist agenda, using whatever institutions, be they municipalities, parks, churches, political parties, synagogues, businesses. There is that leftist urge to undertake 'social engineering', and they use all organizations to accomplish that. Not surprising that they also use churches. I do not buy the theological arguements above, because I know the Left uses all texts and religions to push their Marxist agenda: reform society to benefit women, non-whites, handicapped, homos, and other 'oppressed' people groups. I am trying to gain 'oppressed' status myself so I can quit working and live off welfare at the expense of the hardworking White Male taxpayer! Ha!
Seriously, other religions like Jewish and Muslim are also used by leftist members to push the same crap. Don't spiritualize it too much!

3:09 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Now there's an attitude that's bad for the church.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Okay, so I shouldn't have just made that comment without expounding. Sometimes my emotions get the better of me.

I think it's dangerous to dismiss scripture for any reason - but to dismiss it because some political movement has used it in the past to further their goals is a ridiculous rationalization.

Political parties (liberal and conservative parties alike) have misrepresented scripture for centuries. As Christians it's our responsibility to hold up the truth, not ignore it because someone else might misuses it.

I assume the bit at the end of the post about living off welfare at the expense of the hard working white male taxpayer was a joke. It wasn't a very funny one, though. There are plenty of white males in my area on welfare. And there are plenty of hardworking non-whites, and women paying their taxes just like you.

Somehow you think being white and male makes you put-upon, though, and gives you the right to act like a martyr. Frankly, that kind of attitude is insulting to people who aren't like you physically but still go to work every day and pay their taxes.

Also can anyone imagine Jesus referring to homosexuals as "homos?" Honestly? Don't defend it with the actions of other mens, gay or straight. Just answer the question. Do you think Jesus would call a homosexual a "homo?"

3:24 PM  
Blogger Hank said...

I doubt He would of called him a homo, but I feel confident He would have called him a sinner needing to repent.

10:47 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Obviously. Calling a homosexual a "homo" is an attempt to diminish them. Jesus reaching out to sinners is an act of love. What in the world do the two things have to do with each other.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Hank said...

Perhaps we can ask the question, "will God send an unrepentant homosexual to Hell?" Is a practicing homosexual by nature of the fact the he or she is having sex with someone of his or her own sex an unrepentant person? Is a God truly loving that will send anyone to Hell? I don't think calling homosexuals , homo is very wise and yet I would rather question the pain in brother dPazos as to why he reacted as he did. I heard frustration and anger in his words and that does concern me. We are to be concerned for all men but first to the family of God. I think it is appropriate to question the brethren when they react incorrectly, (may I use the word sin?) Paul told the Galatians to correct the sin in a brother a certain way, 6:1, and truly that could include the sin of homosexuality or unloving behavior of any type, but why are we to be gentle with the sinner who is a homosexual and not the one who is judgmental? Is hypocrisy more serious than homosexuality? I realize Jesus was more judgmental of the Pharisees than anyone but a reason was they ".... have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered." Luke 11:52. What is the key? Christ Himself and they resisted His claims to the lives of His people. If Christ has called the homosexual man or woman, He has also called them to repent of that sin as well as all sin. If we do not include that as sin because of the social climate that says this is not sin, are we hindering those who 'are' entering? I fear there is a move to place question on interpretation above the reality of rebellion. I believe this is a good debate, but am convinced it is the debate on what God has in fact said and does say.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous dpazos said...

Dear Hank and Patrick:
Excuse the choise of words. I suppose some vocabulary is taboo in this age of Political Correctness. I am not sure about PC terms in general, since I am not liberal.
Jesus would not have used humorous or demeaning terms, that is obvious. My sense of humor obviously does not sit well with our liberal brother Patrick.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

What part made me a liberal? The fact that I pointed out that non-whites and women pay taxes or the fact that I don't think Jesus would use the word, "homo" to describe a homosexual?

11:52 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Hank, I appreciate your concern for dpazos, but it falls on the heels of a post where he implied that white men were bearing the tax burden created by lazy non-males and non-whites - and referred to homosexuals as "homos."

Maybe he is motivated by pain and frustration like you suggest, but his words seem to imply that he's not willing to allow people different from him to suffer from similar pain. If you'll notice we shouldn't use the word "homo" not because it might cause someone else pain, but because people are being oversensitive and "politically correct."

Oh yeah, and he was trying to be funny.

I don't find hypocrisy to be a more serious sin than homosexuality, but when the hypocrisy comes from a Christian I do find it very personally offensive. Who I'm gentle with most likely has a lot to do with the mood I'm in, how offensive I find the sin I'm confronted with, and the receptiveness of the sinner to what I have to say.

In a case like this, where a Christian brother is being hateful for humorous effect, it makes me angry. Homosexuals, just by nature of being gay, don't make me angry. That doesn't mean I don't recognize or respect what God says about their behavior. It just means I don't get pissed at them for being gay. Not like I do at people who say ridiculous things when they should know better.

12:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patrick is a flaming LEFTIST!

2:36 PM  
Blogger Hank said...

Gentlemen, I hope we are not responding to the adhominum argument here. Left, right, conservative and liberal are handles given to categorize people and although they say something they are not sufficient to expose the heart. Are we judging hearts here? Will our anger serve us? James 1 says. "19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God." I believe some of the finest people can do some pretty foolish things. The fool says in his heart there is no God, perhaps because he denies what is obvious. (another discussion) But foolishness abides in the heart of a child and the rod of discipline removes it from him, hopefully before he becomes an old fool. A child thinks he is the center of life and that all should please him, which is obviously false and foolish, and any who reinforce that notion exacerbate that foolishness. It is here that we all seem at times to be most foolish. Or at least I can speak for myself here. I do not justify any mans heart nor am I the one to judge it. The Spirit does through the Word. Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." My prayer is that those who are true believers and truly the Body of Christ or His Church will begin to exemplify Christ’s love for His own by truthful yet merciful hearts toward each other. I do not say by being accepting of sinful behavior but by being merciful. In the same sense that I must be merciful of a brother that is struggling with his feelings toward homosexuality I must also be merciful toward the brother that struggles with an unforgiving heart. Paul says to the Galatians, “….if a man is overtaken in ANY trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” Perhaps when Peter says that God resists the proud it is because if we think we have no sin when in fact we do, we hinder the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says it is the truth that sets us free. I consider myself for the most part a conservative. Yet I resist mudslinging that demeans a man because of his convictions. The word tell us to be angry but to not sin and to not let the sun go down on our wrath. I pray we can reason together and as Scripture says our scarlet sin can be made white as snow.

9:51 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

You're right of course, Hank. Unfortunately, we all have our bugaboos that drive us to anger quicker than others. I will strive to be slower to anger in the future.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Hank said...

Patrick
Know Him above all else and He will use you as He does all His own, in spite of us and in love with us. II Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PATRICK,
I think you want attention.
Stop trying to take up for all the wacked out stuff out there dude!
I think you like hearing yourself talk.
How long have you been a Christian?

11:53 PM  
Blogger Hank said...

Is that a word from the Lord, Anonymous?

11:27 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home