Should Christians operate public welfare and charity organisations?
Christians are called to do good ... aren’t they?
The apostle Paul serves as an example of a proper Christian response. The apostle Paul was called, and had the ambition, to preach the gospel [Romans 15:17-20].
Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done – by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known ...×
When the Christian council in Jerusalem questioned the emphasis of his ministry and asked him to remember the poor, he stated that that was the very thing he was anxious to do [Galatians 2:9-10].
“James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.”×
Christians should be eager to do good, especially, but not exclusively, to the family of God [Galatians 6:10].
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”×
Countless Christian charities have operated over the last two thousand years. Many continue to do excellent work around the world. This is commendable, until such bodies not only accept, but also solicit government funds and run marketing campaigns to raise money from the general public. It seems to me that this is the point where such charities start to lose their Christian character
Once organisations accept funding and assistance from outside the Christian community, they expose themselves to demands to modify their missionary effort.
A final thought: God’s sympathy does not extend to those who play victim and will not help themselves [2 Thessalonians 3:7-10].
2 Thessalonians 3:7-10
For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”×