Saturday, April 29, 2017
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Clarity in the Midst of Confusion

Clarity in the Midst of Confusion

by Paul Matte

I read an article recently that suggested a growing trend in America that began in the 1930’s. The trend was that government should take care of people. In its early stage most people didn’t see this as a problem. The Social Security Act and other social programs started in the 1930’s were seen by most as a good idea during the Great Depression. However, throughout the years the sentiment that the government should take care of people continued to grow. It has now come to the point that we have a very powerful government that ineffectively and immorally provides for people even when they are perfectly able to provide for themselves.
What is more concerning is that the government shows no restraint to this policy but rather demonstrates a desire to expand its power without limitations. Many rightly refer to this system as the Nanny State, in which government establishes cradle to grave control over the people, thereby, robbing them of their freedom.
About this time last year, I wrote an article warning about the dangers of collective forms of government (i.e. socialism, communism, fascism). I pointed out how the Bible teaches that we should work to earn our living rather than living dependently on others (1 Thess. 4:11-12 & 2 Thess. 3:6-12). There is a moral issue when people do not live according to the Word of God. It is even more an issue when people allow government to support them when they are perfectly able to support themselves. And when political leaders ignore this morality, society suffers.
Instead of Christians working together to minister to the sick, poor, and disabled we engage in political fights to control a powerful government because we fear losing what it provides whether it be health care, retirement, food, housing, or money. Moreover, politicians shamelessly scare people into voting for them by saying their opponent will take away these benefits if elected. It’s a godless manipulation of society by fear-mongering. Though they appear shameless they should be ashamed.
But it doesn’t stop there. Another immorality that results from an all powerful government that replaces God is the moral decay on society. During this same era of the growing Nanny State there has been an increasing growth of immorality and moral decay in America. What is worse is that the government now believes it has the right to legislate and adjudicate our religious lives. Recently, a city owned cemetery in Colorado prohibited a family from having Jesus’ name engraved on their loved one’s tombstone. The family eventually prevailed but what have things come to when we tolerate such government abuse of our religious liberties? Do I have to remind you of the other abuses prohibiting us from praying, reading our Bibles, or gathering for worship?       
As the 20th century saw the growing government powers and her manipulation of people it also saw a growing immorality and impugning of Christ and His Church. A once great nation that respected God and formed many aspects of her culture around biblical values is now emboldened to practice anti-Christian and sinful policies. We once shuddered at the idea of our children smoking cigarettes, using foul language, and engaging in underage drinking. Now we are thankful if that is the worse they do. We see blatant drug use, violent crime, school shootings, abortion (including infanticide), homosexual proliferation (including gay marriage), and other signs of cultural decay.
Is there a correlation between the rise of socialism and the growing ungodliness of our country? We can’t easily discount this fact. Consider this point if you will. Do you know of any Communist or Socialist nation that is also centered on Christian values? Think of the European countries that have embraced National Socialism. Europe was once a bastion of Christianity but is now a haunt of secular humanism and moral decay.
Isn’t it fair to suggest a direct relationship between America’s moral decline and our government’s rejection of biblical teachings accompanied by her ever-increasing power? Furthermore, isn’t there evidence of a relationship between our government’s ever-increasing power and their rejection of God? Let me say it this way. If America maintained the Christian virtues of trusting in God, working to earn a living, sharing in Christian charity with those in need (rather than mandated redistribution by government), and honoring godly moral standards, do we believe we would be seeing the rise of socialism and the collapse of our culture?
For those who think that our current trends are good, and even Christian, let me use our current health care law as an example. Some Christians have said that we are making health care available to those who otherwise would not have it. A point not clearly established as fact. However, recently we learned that several hundred thousand Americans have lost their health insurance coverage because of this health care law. God never taught us that Christian charity is taking away from those to give to others. He taught that we give to others out of what we have. Because of this health care law, we have increased people’s burdens rather than improved health care for the sick and poor. Not to mention the difficulties imposed on hardworking people who have lost their job or had their hours reduced. Isn’t it immoral for our government to inflict hardship upon the people claiming fairness?
I am not promoting a political party or agenda though this may subsequently result from our Christian morals and values. I believe honest liberal ideas that help people without hurting others can be applied in a proper manner. And conservative ideas that believe we should hold to the tried and true methods should also be preserved. But when we empower the government we no longer have an honest discussion of what is good and right. We have a power struggle over who will prevail. In the end we all lose.
The mess from the heath care law is what will happen if we apply socialism to other areas of commerce. What do you think will happen to the food and farming industries? How about clothing, energy, housing, or any other necessary activities of life? What hardships will be inflicted upon the people in the name of fairness? Do you see a moral implication here? I think the answer is obvious.
What is an acceptable solution to helping the sick, poor, and disabled? I suggest a biblical approach. We exercise our freedom within the guidelines of Christian morality and goodness. Yes, some people are greedy but there are also great acts of greed within socialism. However, in a free society many will be generous.
During the 20th century, Americans exercising freedom within free enterprise capitalism, have shared more goods with the needy of the world than any nation in history. We have funded more charities, supported more Christian missions, and contributed to the well-being of more people than all the socialist and communist systems combined. Now some impugn our history as though we have inflicted more pain when in fact collectivist forms of government have murdered millions to maintain their power and control.
I am not advocating politics. I am advocating Christ. We need to trust in the Lord. We need to continue, even increase, our work of preaching the gospel. We need to pray. And we need to hold to the truth that oppressing people in the name of fairness is biblically wrong.     
    
Paul Matte is the pastor of the First Church of God in East Prairie. He has served as a Church of God pastor since 1992. 
 

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