Luke 14: 12 Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, themaimed, the lame, the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
In the recent decades, we see the outreach to the poor being considered as an exclusive domain of the Liberal Progressives and their Social Gospel. However, the heart of Jesus to the poor, and sick is part of blibical christianity, not that the evangelicals are turning progressive.
The ministry to the poor is often embraced by the evangelical charismatics and Pentecostals. In City Harvest in the mid 90s, we have the slogan, “Church without walls”. Alas, often the temptation of power and wealth takes over.
The Sojourner’s article “Crossing the Globe in Search of Authentic Evangecalism” is a lament by Jim Wallis on 15 May 15 of what he calls the “America’s evangecalism’s money and political ideology” as compared to the Global South. But is the Global South much different? I doubt so. But one can hope.
It is said that the number of Christians in the Global South will exceed that of the Global North ie Americans and Brits which is misleading since South Korea and China and Singapore are all part of the Northern Hemisphere.
An emphasis was made of “40+ years of Sojourners mission for an evangelically rooted public discipleship…”, and the feedback “You’re an evangelical committed to social justice and that’s what we want to be too”.
In truth, Sojourners is hardly evangelical and her contributors reflect a left focused liberal progressive Christianity in its subtle denial of the saving Gospel of God’s grace. They are of course politically flexible able to work with catholics, and evangelicals. I am sure the Full Gospel people will quickly find out.
The obvious reason why an organization like Sojourners would explore the Global “South” is that the days of the Liberal Progressive and Mainline Protestant Christianity are numbered. They need the support of the rising evangelicals.
The concern for the poor is not exclusive to Liberals with their Progressive Theology. In Singapore, Evangelicals have been strongly involved in caring for the poor and the sick through organizations such as the Salvation Army, and the Touch Community Services.
Unlike the Liberals, the evangelicals would seldom challenge inequality and the power structures which perpetuate poverty. This is seen in the very church that Jim Wallis visited who may talk about poverty yet has no qualms in stopping the gay pride. But whatever you stopped has a way of coming back much stronger, and that goes for Gay rights.
The Pentecostals and charismatics are now eager to do more because they intend to enter deeper into society. The care and concern for the poor whilst genuine is often clouded with the aggenda of the Dominion movement.
The Full Gospel church that Jim Wallis attended and praised is in the forefront of Dominion Theology and Prosperity Gospel. But biblical christianity is not about power, and wealth, but about humility and meekness and idenifying with the least.
Taking care of the sick, the poor, the persecuted is part of blibical christianity and it doesn’t mean that one must be a liberal progressive to embrace thus.
The Liberal Progressives attempted to reduce the hierachal power and wealth structures to make this a more equitable society. To them, the root cause is inequality. Hence, the tendency for high taxes and excellent welfare. This is only practical in very wealthy Western countries. The root cause is actually humanity itself – we are proud, and self centered.
The bible exalts us to take the lowly place, to seek the outcasts in our blessings and feasts, to bless instead of focusing on receiving. In Luke 14:12, we bless with no ulterior motive but knowing that God will always bless us irrespective, because the God’s grace and mercy through Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour. We give because God has given much more.