The Bible gives a very clear perspective of what the church should be. In the New Testament book of Acts, the church is pictured as being concerned with the complete (holistic) state of humanity. There is a definite emphasis on spiritual issues, but the physical, emotional and relationship concerns of individuals are not concerned.
Jesus, and his first followers were very interested in the needs and concerns of the whole person. So we see Jesus feeding hungry people. The earliest church shared their resources so that all could be taken care of. No one was without because everyone voluntarily pitched in. The church has been, and still should be, concerned with the physical needs of all people, whether they claim to be followers of God or not.
The church has failed, however.
Sometime along the line, I am not sure when this happened, the church quit fulfilling its obligation to the whole person. In fact, many within the church now neglect- and even reject- any responsibility for caring for anything more than the basic spiritual needs of the community. We do not want to be bothered with the sick, poor, imprisoned, homeless... (well, you get the picture).
There have been periods in our history, and now may be one of them, when there were serious social, economic and emotional needs in communities. When there are needs to be met, someone must meet them. Unfortunately, when the church has not stepped in to do its job, the government has been forced to do it. We have a huge government because the church has failed in caring for the needs of the community.
I do not have a solution for this situation. It would be great if the church if the church could resume its rightful place in society and care for these needs. At this point, however, I cannot see this as feasible. The church is unprepared and unable to serve at the same rate as the government is currently. But something needs to happen. If the church did what it was supposed to we would have...
- larger churches
- a greater percentage of people committed to Christ
- lower taxes
- smaller government
- a more positive perception of the church.
Isn't it time that the church did something good, for a change?