The Social Teachings Of Jesus -- By: Loren Foster Berry

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 055:220 (Oct 1898)
Article: The Social Teachings Of Jesus
Author: Loren Foster Berry


The Social Teachings Of Jesus

Rev. Loren Foster Berry

In discussing this theme, one is confronted at once by the abundance and richness of the material provided. The problem is not where to look for what is desired, but how to select from the whole the little that can be used. The principal truths of our Lord’s social teachings fall readily into four groups,—Fellowship, Wealth, the Family, and the State. An examination of the Gospels will show that Jesus had more to say about fellowship than about wealth, more to say of wealth than of the family, and more of the family than of the state; and this, not because of the relative importance of these several themes, so much, as because, in the circumstances in which he lived and taught, he could accomplish most for his kingdom by proportioning his teachings as suggested. Perhaps also for the reason that these truths projected themselves upon him in this relative order.

Fellowship, having so large a place, illustrates both man’s fellowship with God and his proper relation to his brother. Here come in such large aggregations of truth as are found in the Sermon on the Mount, the Last Discourse as given by John, and in the Judgment of the Nations as recorded by Matthew. These all teach fellowship. Specific illustrations from the Sermon are found in the Lord’s Prayer and the Beatitudes. “Our Father,”—that is an expression of fellowship both with God and with man. If he is “our” Father, then we must be his children; and if we are the

children of God, then we must be in fellowship as brethren. So with “Thy kingdom come.” It is to come through fellowship and for it. So in the Beatitudes; they that are accounted blessed are the merciful, and the peacemakers, and they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake. And surely there is fellowship both in the action implied and in the suffering. In like manner, in the Judgment of the Nations, they who are welcomed as “the blessed of my Father,” are such as have been mindful of the hungry and thirsty, the stranger and the naked, the sick and imprisoned. So too, in such parables as the Good Samaritan, Dives and Lazarus, the Children in the Market-place, the Unmerciful Servant; and in our Lord’s many acts of mercy and healing. Here also we find the Golden Rule and the commandment to love one another even as he had loved his disciples. And elsewhere very frequently and in extenso. So familiar are these passages that they need little more than a passing allusion. It is enough perhaps to say that fellowship was a fundamental truth in our Lord’s conception of his kingdom.

Possibly we do not always note how wide-reaching is this fellowship. We are apt to think of it as loca...

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