Friday, August 28, 2009

Health Care and the Bible

A friend of mine on his blog, The Crux of the Matter, asked a question about how we should view health care from a Biblical perspective. I thought I would post my response here:

I think there is an error that many make when speaking on social issues and health care is no different. The Bible speaks of caring for widows and orphans and others in a number of places; Deut 10:18; Deut 14:28-29; Deut 24:17-21; Ps 82:3; 1 Tim 5; James 1:27; etc. It is often verses such as these that those purporting a social gospel grab hold of to say the government needs to do something. But this misses the point that these actions were put forth to the church and Israel and not set up for the government of the land. Yes the government of Israel would have part in this as in Deut 14:28-29 but we could probably see this as even now applying to the church but not to the government as we have today.

Another thing that is also often missed is that the care that is to be offered often has stipulations as with widows in 1 Tim 5 and with those being able to work in 2 Thes 3:10. Even the offering in Deut 14:28-29 is only every three years so is not perpetual in the sense of most programs today. To simply have a social program or health care open to all with no stipulations is not biblical.

The bottom line, scripture does call for believers and the church to help those truly in need as the bible directs and describes but simply because we are called to do so does not dictate the government regulating it. The church and those that like to use the church have misused God’s call for his people and in many ways all people to mandate a top down manner of caring for others. Care for others is to be done as an out flow of the commands of God and His change of our hearts. This is the call in Luke 10:30-37 but that call is not for a program to help those in need but is to be ready to care for others as the need arises as the Samaritan did. To use this passage, as I have seen done, to say universal health care is a biblical principle misses the point Christ is making, that we are to all care for our neighbor out of love for God not out of subservience to the state.

So I would say that to say the church needs to be involved in some manner with helping the needy is biblical but it needs to be done out of obedience to scripture not some governmental law. I would even say that this is truly how things have worked in the past, that is until we as a people began to rely on the state to take care of these issue. It was the church that set up orphanages and feed the hungry. But then the state started taxing so there was less money and they took over the welfare and the church handed that over to the state so look where we are now.


As an addition:

While I would say that National Health Care would be in violation of the 10th amendment of our constitution we as believers need to first seek what the Bible says before we consult even the constitution. However in many instances you will find the constitution when properly interpreted through the lens of its framers will in general not conflict with the scriptural mandate. However interpreting the constitution through the “living lenses” of our current government is another matter and is very often in conflict with the Bible.

So at the end of the day while health care may be good it is not a right and God has set up His kingdom to be cared for by His people in His way. As with the Samaritan we are to care for the needy as God brings them into our midst but we are to do so as a people of God and the church of God, His bride, not as a mandate of the state. Once the conversation strays from the Bible it becomes mostly opinion but when we stick to the only infallible and unchanging standard then we can make God glorifying decisions.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I googled "the bible and health care" and your page came up. I am wondering about the many people that die each year because of the current health insurance system in our country. Not including those that would have died anyway, the figure (from what little research I did)is somewhere in the tens of thousands. Where are the believers to take care of these people? What should a church-going believer do in order to stop these needless deaths? What should be done for all of the people that are suffering from financial ruin due to illness? I'm not wanting to be confrontational, but I think something does need to be done.

You say the state should not be involved. If that's the case, what about the insurance corporations? Are they not just as taxing if not more? My insurance premiums have doubled in five years and I'm at my limit of affordability. Not to mention they aren't paying prescriptions for a sick child. Should I drop my health insurance coverage?

Health care is a complex subject and I'm not neccesarily advocating government run health care, but I know from experience that corporate america does not have our best interest in mind. And it seems there aren't enough Samaritans around to care for the folks in need. I am confused, and the status quo does not seem like a viable option. Sorry if I have too many questions here. Thanks.

Tony said...

When seeking to find answers to questions such as health care we as believers must first turn to scripture and live by our findings there. We also need to understand that due to the fall of Adam and the imputation of sin to all mankind death, both spiritual and physical, (Rom 5:12-19) is a constant reminder of the condition of man and our need of God. This is not to minimize the pain of suffering and death but to give it context that regardless of the health care we have pain and suffering will exist until Christ’s return. But the hope we have is that while we may not fully understand the purpose for this pain and suffering we can know that a sovereign God has a purpose for it. I realize that this issue is one that is hard to get a grasp on but we must never seek to do so by removing God from the equation otherwise pain and suffering then becomes meaningless and purposeless. Removing God from pain and suffering may be initially comforting but if one meditates on such an occurrence hopelessness will set in because then God is not truly sovereign and thus situations just happen apart from God.

You ask where are the believers to take care of people and what are believers to do to stop needless deaths and financial ruin? If we start with scripture the answer is not the state and all that entails but it is the people of God in reliance on God. There are ministries that have been successful in implementing a biblical source of health care such as Samaritans Ministries and Medi-Share where in general major health care costs are shared among the members. On top of this, or I should say first of all, churches are there to help their members, where possible. I have talked to many people that seek financial help and always have to first ask if they are connected to a local church and a large portion say no. But that is God means for caring for His people and to avoid the church is to avoid God's plan for His people. Now I also realize not every church can afford to care for severe problems and then such ministries as I have mentioned above come into the picture.

As far as the insurance companies the main difference is we can decide to not have the insurance that comes from those over priced companies and choose other options but the government and its tax system does not allow people to opt out. Also the government system asks believers to fund medical expenses that are incompatible with scripture such as abortions. I do not think that people realize that we can have the upper hand with insurance companies in that if we do not purchase insurance from a provider that is overpriced they will eventually reduce prices. If we went with systems such as I have shown above instead others would have to reduce costs to compete. The problem is to do this people would have to be willing to possibly struggle for a time but that struggle would be a time of reliance on God.

The issue with finding “Samaritans” is that you are to find them in the local church and also in such ministries as Samaritans Ministries and Medi-Share. There are no easy answers for the problems we have gotten ourselves into except that we are to turn to God’s all sufficient word to see His plan. When we as a people stray from God’s plan coming back can be a painful experience but the longer it takes to begin to move back to God’s plan for His people the more difficult it will be.

I would suggest you look to your local church first and then look to such ministries as Samaritans Ministries and Medi-Share if you are having difficulties. These means of health care are those that most glorify God since they are relying on God and God’s people and not some outside entity for care.

AK said...

"The bottom line, scripture does call for believers and the church to help those truly in need as the bible directs and describes but simply because we are called to do so does not dictate the government regulating it."

I guess the relevant question is, what happens when the Church lacks the resources - or the will - to care for all of society's sick? If there are sick people who can't afford health care, and they are not being helped by the Church, shouldn't the government do something to help them? Or should the government just let them die?

Tony said...

AK: I understand your concern for the sick but as a believer we have to start from scripture and move from there. If, as I contend, the word of God does not call for the government to provide health care that is what we are to do. If as you say the church is falling short then the church needs to be more willing to follow God than man. We as a people, and especially as a church, have become so reliant on the state that it will be painful to move back to a biblical model of life but that is what we have to do.

As for your sort of loaded last question, “Or should the government just let them die?” In our present health care system those who need care and cannot afford it get care, which even includes those here in the US illegally. The press and those seeking a socialized system of medicine would have us believe otherwise. Yes I am sure stories can be found of those that have fallen through the cracks but I can tell you that you will find the same for those who have health care. The exception should not dictate the rule. But I would add that in most socialized medicine systems the government in some manner do just let some people die because of financial decisions. I can speak personally to lack of care for those that are sick because of age as my grandmother who was English was having difficulties and was put on a very long waiting list because of her age. Government health care will not stop all illness. I would say that it will even probably create its own illnesses with all of the inoculations and other chemicals it will have shot into peoples arms.

At the end of the day death and suffering will be with us as they are a result of the fall. If we think the government will eradicate it, they will not. Since God has a specific role for government, as does our constitution, and health care is not one of those roles we as a people need to do what God calls us to do. If you ask most people in the world they will tell you we have the best health care there is and turning it over to the government will only diminish that care. We as the church need to loose ourselves from the government crutch we cling to and seek to care for our own and then those God leads us to. As I said before this will probably be painful and not every church will be equipped to help but as the church universal it can be done. It may a hard and long road out of our dependence on man but we have to get back to dependence on God

carmensroom said...

What of the unbelievers? Did Christ ask for believers and non believers to stand in seperate lines while doling out the fish and loaves? Did he deem Mathew the tax collector (a profession reviled in Jesus day) or Mary Magdaline(known as a woman of ill repute) did Jesus deem them as unworthy of redemption, defense, and the good will of him and his deciples? He associated with them, defended to the mobs. Are all Americans to immediately start signing up for church memberships so that they can depend on the church aiding them in a health emergency. What church would you suggest? What religion or denomination would you suggest these disadvantaged people sign up for? Is there any reason that these wonderfully philanthropical religious institutions are not already taking the lead in making sure that their members healthcare costs do not ruin them financially and emotionally? Should the church be made aware of the parishioners preexisting health status? How dare you suggest that your interpretation of gods view of governmental intervention is the scripturally accurate one!! Do you not understand that any democracy, and especially an American democracy is in the minds of some patriots allowed to exist so that government agencies such as, police, fire depts, 911, public schools, etc, etc, all these things help us, aid us. Are they perfect? No. But if there were no government we would not have the (inalliable) right to worship at all, in any church or mosque or temple of our choosing. Your scriptural analysis is DETREMENTAL,MISLEADING AND PRESUMPTUOUS!

Tony said...

The title of my post was Health Care and the Bible and if one does not take scripture as infallible and sufficient then we start at different places. I actually was going to write more but it would seem by your comments and lack of scriptural support that you are more venting than trying to see what God’s word says. Again, if you do not see God’s word as infallible and sufficient then that is between you and God and not me.

As far as when you say: “But if there were no government we would not have the (inalliable) right to worship at all, in any church or mosque or temple of our choosing.” It is a misguided assumption that our rights to worship come from government as that right comes from God. Our founding fathers understood that and sought to protect those rights, not make them, as God had already done that. Thus if the government tomorrow said I could not worship that would not take away my right as I am commanded to worship God and God alone (Deut 6:13). Worship may become more difficult if it were say outlawed but my right to do so would still exist as it comes from God not man.

LastHandWillie said...

I noticed that you rely heavily on the Old Testament for your reference in teaching about what God requires of us. You do not seem to care very much about what Jesus taught. I notice that Christian Fundamentalist usually do that. I'm not sure if you are followers of Moses or Jesus. Actually, you seem to be Bible Worshipers instead of God worshipers and use selected scripture to avoid any social responsibility. You also give absolute authority to your interpretation of this Book and misrepresent the authority of a democratically elected Representative Government. You assign moral superiority and authority to yourself based upon false teachings. Doesn't it bother you any at all to accept the death of others and blame it on God.

Tony said...

Willie:

I hold to all of God’s word being inspired and being the very word of God. Apart from the fulfilled ceremonial laws of the Old Testament that pointed to Christ, God’s word and law is still valid. Paul in 2 Tim 3:16-17 says “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” The “all“ used there is “all” of it, Old Testament and New. Jesus did not need to speak on every subject in the New Testament as the Old was and is still is relevant. Also, while I used an OT reference in my last comments, Deut 6:13, it is a passage quoted by Jesus Himself in Luke 4:8. As Jesus is God, the 2nd person of the triune God, all of scripture is from Him. Jesus also said in Matt 5:17ff that He did not come to do away with, abolish, the law but came to be one to fulfill them, ultimately as the perfect sacrifice. So as to make sure that we did not take this, as many do, to be a call to abandon the law He follows up in V18-19 by making sure it is understood that the law was still to exist. You also may have seen that I referenced Paul’s teaching on government found in Romans 13 and while Paul is not Jesus his word’s are the inspired word of God (2 Peter 3:15-16 ).

As far as calling me a “bible worshipper” you are incorrect. However I do hold the word of God above all other writings because as a follower of Christ we are called to follow the word of God, 2 Tim 3:16-17 again. God left us His word as a testament to who He is and what He requires of us and thus we are to seek this out in the revelation He left for us. I do not know your understanding of the word of God but if you do not see it as the infallible all sufficient word of God we start at different presuppositions.

Regarding avoiding social responsibility I have never said we do not have to do anything and I do not have all the answers. Since the church has become worldly and does not follow God’s word we have strayed from the direction we are to go. In the past, before the church allowed the government to deal with social problems, it was the one to start orphanages, and feed the hungry – not the government. So to move to where God’s word would have us be will probably be painful but that is the result of the sin of ignoring God’s word in all areas of life. What I started out to do when I wrote this post was simply to see what God’s word said about the governments part in health care and from what I can see it is not a role that God has set out for government. Even a cursory reading of our founding fathers showed that they did not see the government as the answer to our problems.

Lastly, I do not give absolute authority to “my interpretation” of scripture. What I do give absolute authority to is the God who wrote the Bible. And while you may not like it He is the God that allowed this country to exist and at the end of the day we will all have to answer to God not the government and the laws they pass. At the founding of the country our laws were based on the law of God but as we have become more pagan we have moved away from God and relied on our own flawed understanding and thus so too have our laws moved in that direction.

At the end of the day we all have to recognize an authority. I recognize God and His word as my authority. The only other option is the individual sees him or herself as authoritative and that simply ends in chaos.

LastHandWillie said...

You are aware that the Bible is not the Word of God. at best it is about the Word of God. The Gospel Of John clearly says that the Word was in the "Beginning", long before either the old testament was assembled from old myth tales or the new testament was approved by a committee. John in fact implies the the word is actually the Son and the creation power. I'm sure all of your followers have bibles and can read the first Chapter of John and see that. Also in Genesis, God illustrates the use of the WORD when he creates by SAYING "Let there be....". Calling the Bible the WORD is an old Bible thumper technique to falsely lend authority to what he says is in the Bible.
It is also impossible to claim the Bible has no errors. A simple comparative analysis show that this is simply untrue. The Gospels of Mathew and Luke have total different Christmas stories. They also have totally different versions of the Ancestors of Jesus. Genesis has two different creation stories and at least two different Flood Myths and there are many,many more obvious errors.
But that was not the reason for my comment. I was more interested in how you could ignore the fact that Jesus was clearly Bringing the Nation to gather for judgement and not individuals when he made his "Not unto the least of these" speech In Mathew chapter 25 beginning with verse 31. He clearly implies that there is an "interdependent" community obligation at work here. That is also implicit in the "socialism" story in the book of Acts.
It just seem to me you are using personal interpretation of the Bible to enforce your obvious Libertarian Philosophy and using God as your authority to avoid paying your fair share of Community obligation to your Fellow man. You are obviously not a true believer in the teaching of Jesus and are deliberately using the Bible to serve yourself. That is really sad.

Tony said...

Willie:
I am fully aware of what God’s word says and that it is “The Word of God” (2 Tim 3:16-17) and not simply “about the Word God”. I also know that the Word spoken of in John is Jesus Christ as that is not where one gets the doctrine of the inspiration and sufficiency of scripture from.

I guess I could get into an argument about your misconceptions about the Bible but that would seem to be fruitless as obviously you do not see the Bible as authoritative or even from God by claiming “the old testament was assembled from old myth tales or the new testament was approved by a committee.” I am not sure why you would even go to the Bible for your arguments if it is so unreliable. Why go to Matthew 25, and your interpretation of it, since if the Bible is so unreliable how you in good conscience can use the text for your purposes. While you claim I am using my own personal interpretation to enforce my views is that not exactly what you are doing. The difference is you are being inconsistent in that you are arguing, based on your own words, from a faulty source to prove a point while I am arguing from what I see as the authoritative word of God.

I am guessing from your last comments that you are the source of knowledge since you do not trust the bible and yet can judge me as to whether I am a “true believer in the teachings of Jesus.” My question to you would be how can you be a follower of Jesus if you cannot be sure what those teachings are as your only source of them is, by your understanding, a faulty man made book? How can you know what Jesus said and meant unless you rely on your own authority?

LastHandWillie said...

I know the Bible quite well because I felt called to me a minister at age 12. I studied it in great detail for many years. That study made it clear that the Bible was filled with errors and conflicts and was not internally consistent. The Old Testament makes God look like a complete egotistical idiot. In Leviticus it is proposing a breeding program for the Priest Tribe that makes the Nazis look like fellow travelers. God destroy entire villages of men , women and Children and all their animals with no recourse to innocence. When I see quotation from the old testament as support for a loving God I can't decide if I should laugh or through up. People who give themselves authority and claim it is because god told them so in the scriptures, I can't help but believe that they are either self deceived or they are trying to deceive others. Considering your lack of concern about the well being of each human being and your unwillingness to recognize that all people are a part of an interdependent community that is responsible for the whole community, I am not surprised when you search the whole Bible for reasons to abandon "the least of these" It appears that you see "being a Shepard" gives you the right to gather wool for yourself and say "God made me do it". I know an Arco Libertarian hiding behind Religion when I see one. You are among those who would have no trouble using the Bible to justify Slavery and then 100 years of Segregation if it was an economic advantage to you. I grew up among such Christians and I know the language you speak.

Tony said...

I see that you are an all knowing person and you have it all figured out and have in essence made a god of yourself in being able to know all about God without looking to His own revelation. We could go back and forth for days or longer about what you see as inconsistencies but I am sure that would not convince you because you have already convinced yourself.

You also make quite few claims about me. First I have never given myself authority and if I were to speak on anything authoritatively it is only as it can be substantiated by Scripture. However when you speak authoritatively, as you appear to do with your claims, it would appear you can only lean on your own understandings and by making yourself the basis of that authority.

Second, where have I ever shown a lack of concern for others? I simply said it was not the governments God given duty to care for people. Yes we as people are interdependent but we are first to be dependent on God. Believers should help others as should those outside of Christ. I am not stopping anyone from doing this but again say that God does not give government the authority to take this responsibility.

As far as trying to avoid the “least of these” I again am not sure why you allude to a Biblical passage as you do not hold to it being true. That aside who is saying we are not to care for others. If you want to use that passage keep in mind the passage is speaking to individuals not governments. So the call is for individuals and communities of individuals to go out and help. It is not a call for a government to force such action.

Lastly, you seem to be good at name calling (fundamentalist, bible thumper, libertarian and now Arco Libertarian {whatever that might be}) but I am not sure what you seek to accomplish by this.

LastHandWillie said...

Matthew 25:31-46 (King James Version)

31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats

I'm pretty sure that says he gathered the nations. But then because you wish to conform the Bible to your Values You will now interpret it to suit you and then clam authority from God for your interpretation. I claim no authority but offer my opinion. I believe that no man is sufficient unto himself. He is a part of the community. He both sustains and is sustained by the community. The voice of authority is the government selected by the community. It is neither perfect nor eternal but changes to the condition of the need to sustain life. I have no absolutes but I do have responsibility for what I do or say for good or ill.
You on the other hand claim the ability to know absolutes by interpreting the Bible. It is no accident that the Bible always says what people like you want it to say. Then you absolve yourself of responsibility for your action by claiming the authority of God. I know of many people who read the Bible and disagree with what you say and make the same claim to authority of God that you do. Either God is a Paradox or someone is mistaken.
I choose to take personal responsibility for my values and life. Only a coward or Fool would do otherwise, unless his purpose is to deceive for his own gain. The truth is that you do not care about the well being of you fellow man. You cry God says fear the authority of your Government because it serves your selfishness.

Tony said...

One last comment as this is going nowhere and the truth is your name calling and anger is wearing thin.

I have no problem with Matt 25:31-46 – again I am not sure why you use the bible as to you it is so untrustworthy – that God will gather nations to Himself and as it says plainly he will separate them as the rest of the passage you cite clarifies into those that are believers and thus His and those that are not. This is the plain reading, as you would say, of all that is in the passage you put forth.

You want to rely on government but it is the government that allows for the killing of millions of babies yearly in abortions and if there is a “least of these” it would be the unborn. However God’s word says that abortion is murder and thus I will go with God’s word and not the governments decree. Hitler got the people to follow him, a majority in a community, and look how that ended up. The problem was the church did not stand up to Hitler and others like him and rely on God’s word but liked the financial benefits that Hitler promised to bring so allowed the atrocities that occurred just as we see with abortion today.

I am not sure your issues but if venting them on me makes you feel better then no problem. But as you have a tendency to put words in my mouth, or should I say pen, that are not there let us end this discussion as you obviously have your views and I pray you will seek God for His.

LastHandWillie said...

You are Right, Toni. I cannot serve a god who would slaughter Men, Women
(even pregnant women), and children and all of the animal of that Village in order to give it to his Favorite People who in fact are no different than the people their God just slaughtered. Such a god would not be worthy of worship.

You are Right Toni, We will not agree that it is ok to abandon the sick to their fate by saying that charity will do the job and put on your Robe of Religion and leave them them only hope of a Good Samaritan coming to their aid while you worship Mammon.

You are right, Toni. we will never agree on worshiping a God who has never done anything for man that man did not do for himself. I leave the field to you. I know from experience that man has done far more with his own mind and his own hand and his own knowledge than he ever did by depending on a god through worship, or prayer, or belief in Absolutes. Religion only benefits the people who hold the power in their hand over believers. He who owns the sheep gathers the wool. You apparently aspire to be a wool gatherer.

Anonymous said...

I found a link to your post through Jasmine's Facebook. Thank you so much for your testimony in relation to commenting back and forth with Willie. You stood on the truth of God's word and never flinched despite incessant attacks. You also did this in love; you never stooped to degrading the other person. I would've been tempted in your position. That spoke to me perhaps even more than content of your post.

LastHandWillie said...

Thank you for posting my comments. I am who I am and say what I say of my own accord. I honor a man's right to believe in what cannot be known. I even honor a man's Right to ignore truth in the face of his blindness. But mostly I honor a man's courage in facing his opponent on the Battlefield of Logic with only his faith. The day must inevitable come when your kind will go the of the followers of Zeus but you will have fought the good fight. My only regret is the damage you do before the triumph of truth. Too much wrong has been done to the innocent already.

Tony said...

Willie: Thanks for stopping back. Just a few comments and I will leave it at that as work is busy and time is limited.

First, you too rely on faith, as all people do. The difference is that I trust in an all knowing God that provides the faith (Eph 2:8) I rely on while you have to trust in yourself. We all trust in a god of some sort and that god is either the God of the Bible or a god we make for ourselves. For most today that god is government but even then the god most worship is actually themselves because they base all their conclusions not on one that knows all, the true God, but on the limited knowledge that they have.

As far as being blind. If you are speaking to my faith, well it is blind if you mean I cannot physically see the one my faith is grounded in. But my faith in reality is not blind as I have God’s word to see who God is and what He has done. But for all those that do not trust in God and His word there faith is truly blind faith because you can have no assurance of anything except your ever changing opinion on what you would see as reality.

As far as ignoring truth, I could just as easily say that about yourself. You are implying that if I do not hold to your truth then I am ignoring truth and that would make you out to be the final arbiter of truth and thus god. I am not saying you consciously think yourself to be god but that is the ultimate result of man seeking to define truth and not God..

As far as going the way of the “followers of Zeus.” Well many have said that Christianity would not make it, you are not the first. However, Christ still sits on the throne and Christians and Christianity still exist but the mythology of Zeus is nothing but some pages in a text book. The only inevitability is that all will have to face the God of the Bible and entry into His kingdom is only by the atoning sacrifice of Christ. We all have to answer for our sin, as we all sin (Rom 3:23), and it is Christ’s sacrifice on the cross that is the only adequate payment. I am fairly certain you may disagree with this but it is, at the end of the day, not me you need to disagree with but God and His word. I would pray you see this as if you think things are difficult here an eternity apart from God will be unimaginable.

Lastly, you speak of damage being done and I am assuming you are thinking of all the usual arguments with regards to the past. All I can say is that simply because one professes to do something in the name of God that does not mean it is so. Also, there are atrocities done daily by the godless that kill the unborn regularly. When you speak of the innocent I am not sure how you can have any basis for innocence without an objective standard. If the standard of innocence is yourself than again you become god. There are no true morals or standards unless one relies on the unchanging inerrant all sufficient word of God.

Well have a good week and I pray that you would truly see that we can go back and forth about such things as health care and such but at the end of the day the critical question is whether one will submit to God or if one wants to be god.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the dialogue about the health care crisis. Just a few salient points:

1. Basic and natural human rights come from God...not government or anywhere else.

2. A central question to ask in all of this is: What DID Jesus do? (take off from WWJD). Check out the New Testament more carefully...there were MANY places Jesus could not heal ANYONE, or do many miracles at all. Why? Because of their unbelief! And, there were entire towns healed by Him! So...IF health care was a basic human right, wouldn't Jesus - THE Author of Life...THE Creator, have healed anyone and everyone at all points?

3. Jesus did not solve all poverty either. He did not "redistribute wealth". He taught the ethical laws of cause & effect...consequences from choices. He even taught about taking from the poor & lazy servant who buried his 1 talent and gave it to the richest one who had prospered through wise investment! Hmmmm....

To argue that people have a right that imposes obligations on another is an absurd concept.

A better term for new-fangled rights to health care, decent housing and food is wishes. If we called them wishes, I would be in agreement with most other Americans for I, too, wish that everyone had adequate health care, decent housing and nutritious meals.

However, if we called them human wishes, instead of human rights, there would be confusion and cognitive dissonance. The average American would cringe at the thought of government punishing one person because he refused to be pressed into making someone else's wish come true.

Make no mistake...I believe and absolutely support charity and appropriate choice-based stewardship (cheerful giving) of one's resources. Reaching into one's own pockets to assist his fellow man in need is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into someone else's pockets to do so is despicable and deserves condemnation.

Anonymous said...

Article Six establishes the Constitution, and the laws and treaties of the United States made according to it, to be the supreme law of the land, and that "the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the laws or constitutions of any state notwithstanding." It also validates national debt created under the Articles of Confederation and requires that all federal and state legislators, officers, and judges take oaths or affirmations to support the Constitution. This means that the states' constitutions and laws should not conflict with the laws of the federal constitution and that in case of a conflict, state judges are legally bound to honor the federal laws and constitution over those of any state.

Anonymous said...

Considering the book of Revelations speaks on God's pouring of wrath.......I don't understand how believers never take into consideration some people are ill because of their spiritual decision........The word says a man shouldn't eat if he doesn't work, and I see all kinds of dudes eating off of widows for their free lunch....grown adults,some how, their minds never leave high school!!!

†yler the christian
catholics = false christian
muslims = fallen brothers
buddist = don't believe so don't exist
newborn pitbulls
@producertyler (at) yahoo (dot) com

Anonymous said...

I was looking for the Bible and health care reform and your blog really saddens me. 45,000 Americans die every single year because of lack of health care. Your arguments are not compelling and the fact that health care by the government is not biblical is ridiculous, although I have heard it before. I know these Christians think they are right, but they will, as many have, change their minds when their insurance company denies their claim for life-saving treatment or someone in their family dies because they can not afford chemo, etc. There is no safety net in this country for those without health insurance. Only the very poor get assistance, the rest must go to the emergency room. The ER is only obligated to stabilize a person, they are not required to provide ongoing assistance. The fact that 123 Americans are dying everyday is proof that your theory that they get health care from "somewhere". I'm not going to cite Scripture to you, because I know you know it all, already, but did you forget the "love your neighbor as yourself"? Wasn't this the MOST important after loving the Lord. And whoever does it to the least of these, does it to Me? You would do well to research where this idea about "God never told government to help people" comes from. You will find it comes from some VERY rich people (who Jesus loathed) who wanted to make sure that people directed their money to the churches and not the government, because then they could ensure they could be so wealthy--they certainly haven't done enough to protect those who are "the least of these". I will pray for you that you and others like you will see the truth about charity.

Tony said...

Obviously you missed what I said. The bible does call us to care for others but it does so as a command to the individual and the community of faith. It is not a command to be forced upon people by the civil government. Rom 13 tells us the government is ordained and used by God to deal with the "wrong doer." Social programs are in the jurisdiction of the church of Christ not the government.

The point of what I wrote is that; that which as a people of God we are to do has been handed over to the government. Not only is this not God's design it is also, as is clear to anyone that reads the statistics, very inefficient and wasteful to have government deal with that which it is not ordained to deal with.

I do understand charity and it does not include taking money form others without their consent but is about giving and the government only gives what it talkes from others since it has no money. The government is only as benevolent as it is able to take others possessions and that is not Biblical. I pray you see the need for "biblical" charity and not what the world sees as charity.

I guess I will leave it at that as it obvious there is a difference of opinion. Without seeking God's word for the answer all that is left are man's never ending attempts at being god.

Anonymous said...

So, you did not research where this idea about charity not being from the government and forced charity is not charity, comes from. And you completely ignored the glaring fact that 45,000 people DIE, every year because of lack of health care. Also, why do Christians in other countries not get upset that they pay into a system that will ensure that they or their fellow citizens do not have to die because of lack of healthcare? I know several Christians in numerous other countries who would never take our health care system and they are horrified that a country that tries to profess itself as Christian, makes excuses to deny its citizens the right to LIFE. I used to believe like you do, because someone was telling me to believe it and they were proof-texting the Bible to prove their point. But there is too much cognitive dissonance in professing Christ and then ignoring the suffering of His children. Once I looked deep into where this idea you are teaching came from and realized it comes from the rich Pharisees, I knew that the Spirit was working my heart, because anything not born of Love, is not of the Spirit. I really don't think Jesus is going to be upset that I try to do unto others...I don't want to die because I can not afford a doctor. I don't want that for my neighbor. And, I have read some of your readers' posts and they are really hateful. To say someone doesn't deserve health care because they are "lazy" is actually quite evil. Not everyone has the same opportunities, people get sick and CAN'T work. To paint everything with such a broad brush is unrealistic and selfish. These ideas come from Ayn Rand and she was an Atheist who glorified selfishness. She advocated not caring for the poor. I just don't see the Spirit in her teachings. I have read some justifications for why Christianity can be compatible with her teachings and you really have to stretch for that one. I'm sorry, we do have differences of opinion, but this is not just a simple debate about where charity should come from, this is a life and death issue. Further, if govt. healthcare is so wrong, why do Christians in the military and in Congress not take a stance and tell the government they don't want the health care they get from tax payer money? Health care for everyone is not really "charity". It is ensuring that all citizens have the right to Life. We don't provide police dept. and fire dept. services as charity. We pay for it from taxes and no one would ever think it makes sense for the fire department to only put out fires at people's homes who could afford it!
Why don't you read some real life experiences of what people have gone through in this health care system. Maybe you will have a change of heart. I know if you are a Christian then you don't want to see your fellow man suffer needlessly.

Tony said...

I know some of Ayn Rand and can tell you my thinking is not influenced by here writings. Anything she may have even gotten close to with regards to economics is purely due to stealing from Christianity and thus her system fails due its lack of a biblical grounding. So I would not follow such an atheist as her as should no one else.

Charity in the past was done by the church and it can be again but only if the government is removed from a duty it was not called to perform. In the past many hospitals were created by Christians but they lost their way in bowing to the government and what it wanted.

Charity is a call for the believer and is to be done in context of the word of God. By the way, yes, health care is charity since charity is the giving of ones goods and service to another that does not have.

So at the end of the day the call is to care for others in the manner God's word prescribes. The road to destruction is paved with good intentions and that is what has happened with health care. More time is spent seeking money when little seems to be done to truly minimize cost.

Lastly, as far as statistics there are any number of statistics out there and numbers can be manipulated to say what one desires them to say. What we do know is what God calls His people to do and that is to follow His manner for caring for others and that is a personal involvement and not allowing the government to do so in place of our call.

raketemensch said...

So, the government shouldn't get involved just because of what the Bible says when it comes to health care, but when it comes to marriage, or abortion, it should?

Tony said...

The point is that the bible says what the role of government is and it is the purview of he church to care for the people. As far as sodomite marriage and abortion those are abomination to God and thus are to be dealt with as such. At the end of the day we as Christians are to see God's word as the standard not man's humanistic whims.

Tony said...

Let me add that how I feel about the governments involvement is not based on opinion but Gods word such as in Romans 13:1-7

13:1-7: 1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

This passage says in V4 that the Civil Magistrate is to be a servant of God and as a servant of God his purpose is to uphold the precepts of God. They are to protect and be God’s instrument in dealing with law breakers. This does not include such things as care for the people as that is taken care of by the various tithes that God instituted and the church universal is to administer. It is how the church cared for people in the past until the state was given this task. Since abortion is murder it is in the realm of the government to deal with it and since God places sodomite marriage as an abomination the civil authorities are to uphold God’s standard for marriage. As V7 shows there are biblical taxes and revenues but these are such as to support the civil magistrate and not to take away from God’s commands for His church.

Anonymous said...

Tony, I appreciate your knowledge of scripture, your thoughts, and your website. It is also a testament to everyone participating in this debate that it has remained so civil. Do you honestly believe, however, that in this day and age Jesus would be a proponent of our current system? We could quote scripture all day and hide behind this verse or another. The problem is that the new testament is written on our hearts. I believe everyone here knows inherently that Jesus would chastise any of us who has money for a meal out or a vacation while our brothers and sisters are dying. We are called to serve, and if we are not willing or able to do it by selling our own possessions then we should be doing it through our government. Or do we really believe Jesus would drive with us in our $30,000 car for a $100 meal while children are being denied treatment by people who have more money than compassion?

Tony Konvalin said...

I do not entirely disagree, as my argument is with how we care for people and that government is not the way. This is due to its inefficiency, it immoral practices and the fact that God has not set up the civil government for that purpose. The church however has been designed for this purpose and it has lost its way in relying on the state instead of God’s ordained means.

We cannot change God’s design for civil government because the church has failed in its God designed call. History, as a whole, I think has shown when the church cares for its own and others things work. We need to find our way back there and it will be difficult but we need to get off of the civil government will care for us mentality.

Options such as Samaritans Ministry for health care and local churches doing what they can is the answer to this problem. I also think that there are other issue that lend themselves to much of the problems of costs such as excessive litigation, training costs, big Pharma and other areas that artificially raise what it costs to care for each other. The truth is even things such as Samaritan’s Ministry has it down side as even local churches that can to care for others often rely on such parachurch ministries as well as the government. I see such ministries as stop gaps to help smaller churches find their way to working with others and should not be the final answer.

As with all things this will take faith and I think when we step out in faith to move in a God glorifying direction God will bless such actions. Until then God will allow us languish in the quagmire we are in where in truth no one is really cared for but mush is spent.

Thanks for the comments as it is always good to remind ourselves that often the answer is right at hand in having the correct priorities and not priorities defined by self. God indeed writes his law on our hearts and He also leaves us with it in His law written in His word to be lived out by His power and His strength. We just need to do so.

Grace and Peace.

David S. T. said...

I find it a little humorous and ironic that its often the nontheist secular humanists who care about their fellow humans while often the christian right talks about helping the poor and needy but doesn't do much and is against proving things like health insurance to these people. I'm sorry but for someone dying of cancer doing a can food drive isn't going to cure them and I sure don't see churches everywhere jumping up volunteering to pay for health care costs of individuals who can't afford it (while I do see bigger and more expensive churches).

Its hard to believe how selfish and greedy christians have become, I can't imagine Jesus would have been happy with the state of things.

Tony Konvalin said...

Are there those that do not do as they are called to by God in His word, yes. However, the inaction by some professing to be of God does not necessitate we change how God has called us to act.

The issue I was trying to deal with was what does scripture say about dealing with such things as health care with regards to not only what we are to do but also how. With that said I have not said that others cannot form their own form of health care and then volunteer to participate. At issue with the current system is the forced participation of the individual by the state in plans that are decidedly unbiblical and include such heinous previsions as abortion. Historically, as I think I have alluded to in previous comments, believers have partaken in volunteerism to help others with great success and it is a relatively new phenomenon that the church has turned to rely on the state to care for the needy instead of caring for them as the church.

Again, at issue is what are we called to do and how. We are called to care for the needy but it is a personal call and nowhere is there a call for forced extraction for that help. Has the church been negligent, yes it has and by in large it is because it has turned from what it is supposed to do as the church to allowing another entity, the state, to take care of its responsibility.

As I said, the answer is not to force people to help others but it is to allow what God has commanded to take place. This will be difficult and what you will find is much of what calls itself the church is not the true church. Many of what is called the “Christian right” is often not “Christian” and not “right” but instead of using terms that really mean little we need to seriously look at Gods word and what it says so as to not only seek what we are to but also how.