Often conservative Christians stop by and ask us questions. After awhile we noticed the same questions being posed over and over. We figured it was time to write an FAQ.
This FAQ will be an open work in progress. If you have a question and answer you’d like to add, please do so in comments on the Facebook Page.
We will be adding additional sections related to abortion, gay marriage, and the government’s role in caring for the least of these. These sections will take a bit more time.
1.) Doesn’t the Bible say, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.”?
No. This is a misinterpretation. It is not a command from God to let the poor or unemployed starve. Anyone who actually knows Jesus really should know better.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 was addressing ancient Christians who had stopped working to wait for Jesus’ Second Coming. The verse corrects a theological misunderstanding (i.e., don’t just wait around for Jesus, live an active faith).
Most people understand that capitalism is fickle and artificially manipulated by the rich and powerful. Capitalism can be useful when accompanied with regulation and a safety net when it fails (which is often).
No one is saying people should sit around and do nothing. God wants us to use our gifts to serve our fellow human beings. When people work full time and still can’t survive something is wrong. Other people face unfortunate circumstances form time to time where they are unable to work or can’t find a job that pays the bills. It’s up to the rest of us in society to create a system to help these brothers and sisters survive and thrive. We ARE our brother’s keepers! Jesus made that clear over and over again. Individual Charity is one piece of the puzzle, but it isn’t enough. We will provide a solid scriptural foundation for this assertion in coming revisions of this FAQ.
2.) Doesn’t the Bible say, “God helps those who help themselves.”?
No. It’s nowhere to be found in the Bible. Benjamin Franklin popularized a variation of the phrase in his almanac.
3.) Doesn’t the Bible say, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”?
No. That was Augustine. In one of his letters he stated, “Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum,” translated to “With love for mankind and hatred of sins.”
Jesus gave us two new commandments when he was on earth in the flesh. We are to love God and love our neighbors as we do ourselves. He said all the law and all the prophets can be summarized by these commands. He didn’t provide any exceptions to these commandments. When asked for an example of what it was to love your neighbor he told the story of The Good Samaritan, who had mercy on a fellow human being in need of help when religious types had passed by without helping.
Jesus also stated over and over again not to judge. We are to be wise when it comes to being able to spot evil, but we are not to judge others. Jesus said it in no uncertain terms.
This only makes good sense anyway. We are ALL sinners. We all commit the same sins over and over again. We live in the flesh, which is fallen compared to the perfection that is to come. Following Jesus is a daily task and a daily struggle. We have no business judging others and pointing the finger because they sin differently than we do.
In the end it's worth it compared to the alternative. Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
The way of Jesus IS the WAY out of this world filled with evil.
4.) Doesn’t the Bible say, “Money is the root of all evil.”?
No. 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”
Like many things money can be used for good and evil both. When you make money your God by putting it above God and other people, your love of money has become evil.
5.) Doesn’t the Bible say, “Charity begins at home.”
No. That was 14th century British theologian John Wycliffe (in Middle English): “Charite schuld bigyne at hem-self.”
6.) Doesn’t the Bible say, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”?
No. That phrase came from a poem by Samuel Butler written in 1664.
7.) Didn’t God destroy Sodom because of homosexuality?
No. Ezekiel 16:49 states: “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”
8.) Won’t life on this earth be over soon, when the Rapture comes?
First of all, Jesus says in no uncertain terms in Matthew 24:36: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
People have been saying “these are the end times,” since the beginning of time. None of us knows when the end times will be. It could be just before the sun burns out in several billion years. No one has a perfect understanding of end times prophecies, regardless of what they say or how loudly they say it. Not even close. Some people harp on the end times so much we wonder if they’ve placed their personal ideology above God. Some people make a lot of money writing books about it too.
Secondly, In 1830 English clergyman John Nelson Darby selected scripture passages from Daniel, Revelation, 1 and 2 Thessalonians and elsewhere, pasted them together, called them a whole, and invented the Rapture, a word not found in the Bible. The concept of the Rapture didn’t exist before then.
Cyrus I. Scofield then took the concept and ran with it with “The Scofield Reference Bible.” Popular religious writers such as Hal Lindsey, Edgar C. Whisenant, and Tim LaHaye have cashed in with their bestselling fictional books on the topic.
Jesus is coming back one time. He’s not sneaking in, taking some people, leaving, and then coming back sometime later for a second, second coming.
If it makes any difference to you, the Catholic Church doesn’t accept the notion of the Rapture either.
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About TCL Blog
We’re not about Dogma here. We’re just Christians who think the political and Christian right-wing have their priorities wrong.
Charles Toy is the founding member of The Christian Left. We're sure you will enjoy his passion as well as his wit. Guest bloggers featured often.