Christian Social Responsibility -- By: John A. Witmer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 110:439 (Jul 1953)
Article: Christian Social Responsibility
Author: John A. Witmer

Christian Social Responsibility

John A. Witmer

The human individual is a social creature. In the Bible this fact is emphasized from the very beginning of human history in the record of man’s creation. The words of God are recorded as being, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Gen 2:18). The record continues to describe Adam’s naming of all the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air—”every living creature,” but “for Adam there was not found an help meet for him” (Gen 2:20). Then follows the beautiful account of God’s provision of a help meet for Adam through the formation of Eve and her presentation to Adam. The first social institution was of divine origin and sanction (Gen 2:21–25).

The first command of God to His creatures emphasizes this fact also. God said “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Gen 1:28). The example of God also emphasizes the truth that the human individual is a social creature, for God came and walked in the midst of the garden of Eden in the cool of the day to fellowship and commune with His creature. Only sin disturbed this communion between Creator and creature (Gen 3:8–10).

In the perfect environment of the garden of Eden and in his pre-fallen innocence Adam had no problem in fulfilling his social responsibility. The issue of social responsibility arose as a human problem, however, immediately upon the entrance of sin into human experience, first in the relationship between Adam and Eve and second in the relationship between man and God. More graphic in accentuating the problems of social responsibility which sin created is the account of Cain and Abel (Gen 4:1–15). The issue has persisted until the present hour, and it will continue to persist until God removes the last trace of sin from His presence and the presence of His redeemed creatures, in that day when He shall “create new heavens and a new earth” (Isa 65:17).

Meanwhile the Christian faces the very practical

problem of his personal social responsibility under grace. Furthermore, coupled with this is the allied problem of the social responsibility under grace of Christians as a group or groups. This is an issue of real concern to the informed Christian who is conscious even to a small degree of the material and physical needs of his fel...

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