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No-Hand-OutMan, I get so annoyed sometimes that I need a place to vent to keep myself from exploding. We need to get back to earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the saints, to God’s original intent for life. I think I’ll use this space for that purpose on Throwback Thursdays. So, here’s what’s bugging me today.

I’m so tired of people running to the church for a handout. And I’m equally tired of the church itself perpetuating the bad theology that encourages people to continue running to her for handouts.

There, I’ve said it. I know, you’re appalled that I would challenge the sanctity of the idea that the church is the institution God established to meet all, various, and sundry human needs. There was a time when the church provided healthcare, education, government, even military might to men and women looking for someone to help them, heal them, teach them, protect them. And in so doing, I believe the church lost her way, and herself.

The modern church erroneously views itself as a need-meeting institution rather than what it was charged by Jesus to be: a mission-focused institution. When the church is the need-meeter people become dependent on it rather than on God. When the church is the mission-center people become work and mission minded, and not dependent. We recycle an attitude of dependency in society and the church by casting it as a need-meeting savior rather than a mission-centered warrior.

The church is not God, it’s God’s army!

If the main purpose of the church was to meet needs Jesus would have created a social service agency, not a church. He would have sent his apostles to do needs assessments, not heal the sick, cleanse the leper, and raise the dead. He would have focused his energy on gathering wealth to redistribute, not scattering the transformative word of God like seed to the wind.

The bible says Jesus went forth teaching and preaching, not blessing the needy. In fact, not once do we see Jesus doing a money miracle. All his miracles were about healing the body, soul, spirit, & mind. The church meets temporal needs as an addendum to prosecuting its mission in the world to loot hell and restore humanity to edenic power and purpose.

Handouts are not life transforming. Instead they reinforce need and perpetuate the status quo. The biblical model for helping the poor is a one time gift, a supply of seed, not an ongoing program of handouts. When you give the poor a daily soup kitchen and clothing bank, and put them up in a nightly shelter it reduces the desire to to convert the gift into a process, an ability, a function that produces an income stream for themselves.

Man, I’m tired of people running to the church for a handout. We need to change the perception of what the church is, so that people will begin running to her for a vocation, instead.

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