In a message dated 02/25/2002 3:19:05 PM Pacific Standard Time,
<< I have been reading the traffic concerning "communism," perhaps a literal
translation of "koinonia," found in the early church.
Yet, at least in 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, it appears that stewardship
eventually replaced unlimited giving:
"10. For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if
anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.
11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life,
doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.
12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to
work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread."
And, I believe in the OT, the law required that a certain portion of harvest
not be gathered so that the poor could gather the leftovers.
I think, overall, the scriptures seem to support work-fare, rather than
welfare, when considering the able-bodied. In fact, we are assured that
"...if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his
household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever..." (1
Timothy 5:8, NAS)
When charity evolved into welfare, and an "entitlement," similarity between
our system and Biblical "compassion" became purely coincidental.
I think you have gone to the heart of the issue.
The only other major point I see in Scripture is that the kingdom of God is
not really about economic systems, either for or against. When one brother
had inherited more than another and sought justice from Jesus, Jesus refused
to intervene but used the occasion to preach against covetousness and
materialism. He warned about focusing one's life on building bigger and
bigger barns, but he did not say anything about the system per se that
allowed this. Luke 12:13-21
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