Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 142:568 (Oct 1985)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

“Is Welfare Scriptural?” Larry Burkett, Fundamentalist Journal, April 1985, pp. 21-23.

The author answers the question posed by the title of this article with a resounding yes. He says, “Welfare for the poor is biblical and necessary” (p. 21). He is convinced that welfare is the biblical responsibility of the Christian church, individually and corporately and “the fact that the government has assumed the function of caring for the poor does not negate our responsibility” (p. 21).

Burkett is director of Christian Financial Concepts (Dahlonega, GA) and is editor and publisher of the newsletter Your Money in Changing Times. He insists that “the true purpose of welfare (meeting the needs of others) is to prove (demonstrate) God’s love through us” (p. 21). “The effects, he says, “of sharing with others in need out of God’s love are threefold: a sense of fellowship and belonging (2 Cor 9:13); a stronger family unit (1 Tim 5:8); and a high standard for work, which prohibits laziness (2 Thess 3:9–10)” (p. 22). Furthermore, he points out that “welfare must be voluntary to express any kind of caring” (p. 22).

Such biblical welfare stands opposed to government welfare, which Burkett believes has disastrous effects. He observes, “Once the government got involved in social programs…welfare became a political tool” (p. 22). The effects of government welfare “are almost the opposite” of the effects of biblical welfare listed above, and “the results will be permanent dependence and poverty. With the best of intentions, our welfare system traps people at the lowest economic level by indiscriminate giving” (p. 22).

Burkett indicts the Christian church for abdicating its responsibility in biblical welfare. He says, “The truth is that Christians are doing a miserable job of caring for the physical needs of the poor…. Christians in

America have the resources to do at least 10 times what we are presently doing for the poor, with little or no alteration of lifestyles” (pp. 22-23).

In concluding the article he challenges Christians to become involved once again in biblical welfare and he gives a suggested plan of action. His program is practical. A related article by Elmer L. Towns, “How Social Is the Gospel?” follows Burkett’s article in the journal.

“The Origins of Christianity: A Guide to Answering Fundamentalists,” R. Joseph Hoffmann, Free Inquiry 5 (Spring 1985): 50-56.

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