Foreword: Welfare Then and Now

When it comes to disaster relief, Americans as a nation and as individuals are most generous in coming to the aid of those in need - at home and abroad.  This is, of course, part of American exceptionalism, which in turn is based, in part or in whole, on the teachings of the Bible and Christianity.  Europe, for the most part, has abandoned the traditional Christian work ethic and embraced socialism and/or communism.  Communism in America was found to be a total failure in Jamestown, 300 years before Oklahoma became a state.  Although communism is generally  rejected today by Americans, some contend it was practiced by Christians in the first century.  This is based on Luke's statement in Acts 2:44-45, however, individual ownership is vindicated in the case of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts five - same author, same book).  When the covetous couple tried to deceive the church at Jerusalem about their giving, the apostle Peter pointed out, concerning their real estate, "Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God" (Acts 5:4).

 Today, some are trying diligently to turn America into a welfare state, following the pattern set by Marx and Engels.  The concept of a "Christian work ethic" is based on Paul's statement, "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10).  In generations past, the fact that we will labor or work was understood and accepted.  As God told Adam, after the fall, "Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Genesis 3:17-19).                                                                                        
Benevolence has been defined as, "A sees B in need of help and solicits C to help him."  Too often, our charity is to be administered by an organization rather than the individual, if not the government then the church or etc. The good Samaritan did not appeal to the local "ministerial association" to help the man attacked by thieves (Luke 10:30-37), but rather did what he could himself.  It is the individual rather than the institution that Jesus directs his admonition on alms giving.  In His great Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) Jesus warns, "Take heed that ye do not your alms (NKJV = charitable deeds) before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 6:1).  He then concludes, " But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly" (Matthew 6:3-4).

 As individual Christians we are admonished to "do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10).  Harry Truman had it right; his motto stated "THE BUCK STOPS HERE," with regard to benevolence as well as being president of this great nation.

 Dale I. Royal, Elk City OK