Should Christians Refuse Government 'Assistance'...

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Monergist, Dec 1, 2004.

  1. Monergist

    Monergist
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    ...when that 'assistance' is at the expense of others taxpayers.

    The Word of God clearly condemns desiring something which us the property of someones else.

    When that thing that is desired is taken from its rightful owner, it amounts to stealing, which is also condemned.

    My point is simple. When we elect officials who promise to use (abuse) their elected authority to take from those who have and redistribute to those who covet what others have, we engage in sin against God.

    As Christians, does not personal integrity to the Word of God require that we refuse "free" handouts from the state?

    My last point is that in breaking God's commandment, we recognize the law of the state as having a higher authority than God's law, therefore making the State god. So another commandment is broken-- You shall have no other gods before me.

    As Christians, we of all people are to trust God as the sole provider of all blessings.
     
  2. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
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    I don't think it needs to be that deep. In this country, when one thinks of all of the taxes one has paid in the past, accepting unemployment or public assistance when needed is simply a refund....
     
  3. Scott J

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    I pretty much agree with your premise.

    The exceptions would be things that we specifically pay into and things that fall into the category of "common welfare". We pay for our unemployment, FICA, and Medicare throughout our working lives. I think these programs are inefficient means for things the free market could easily provide but we are stuck with them for now.

    I don't think that we should abstain from any benefit that is commonly available to any of us regardless of their social or economic status.
     
  4. Turpius

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    Monergist, maybe you could elaborate most on what type of "assistance" you're talking about?
     
  5. Johnv

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    No. Most people who are on public assistance are in adherence to the rules and principles of public assistance. They should not be penalized because some on PA choose to abuse the system.

    My mother was on public assitance for a few months (30 years ago) when she was laid off. I, too, was on public assistance for two months in my 20's when I was laid off and had a family to feed (got food stamps). The choice was wither PA or eviction. It was a survival issue for me.

    I see no scriptural reason why receiving PA is unscriptural. Receiving PA is no more stealing than receiving social security, medicare, or SDI, or unemployment unsirance. However, abuse of those things is stealing, and that is clearly unscriptural.
     
  6. Monergist

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    Pretty much all types. Basically, its wrong to covet or steal the property of another to satisfy our own wants or needs.

    My short list would include-- all forms of government healthcare and health insurance programs, food programs, housing programs, business 'start-up' funding, education grants-- things that are funded at taxpayer's expense.
     
  7. Scott J

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    These cannot be categorized together. Although I oppose the principles and philosophy of gov't behind them, these other programs are a individually paid form of insurance.

    They are available to all who pay in whether their last check was $250 or $2,500.
     
  8. Scott J

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    Pretty much all types. Basically, its wrong to covet or steal the property of another to satisfy our own wants or needs.

    My short list would include-- all forms of government healthcare and health insurance programs,</font>[/QUOTE]
    Medicaid, yes. Medicare... no, I am currently paying premiums for the system I will supposedly be entitled to benefit from in the future.
    Yes. Although I think it could be argued that there is a general welfare concern with ensuring that small businesses have access to start-up capital and low interest loans.
     
  9. Ben W

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    The question for the Christian might be what level of assistance should the government provide as compared to what level of assistance the local church should provide to a member?
     
  10. ScottEmerson

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    And if the Church was doing its job in the first place, would we even need governmental support for those who have no job?
     
  11. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
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    No, of course not.

    There is a big difference between receiving assistance from the government or a private organization and coveting your neighbor's possessions. We may not be happy about the money that our governments take from us but that is not the same as stealing. Jesus paid his taxes (Matt 17:24-27) and Peter tells us to obey the law (I Pet 2:12-15). To equate the actions of an elected government to stealing is really stretching the truth. If the government requires it then they become the 'rightful owners.' Remember that verse about rendering unto Caesar?

    In fact the Bible has a lot to say about government and the services that governments give to their citizens. How about Joseph in Egypt during the 7 years of famine (Gen 41:34-36). Joseph taxed the Egyptians at a rate of 20%. Should the Israelites have rejected this 'government assistance' when they were starving?

    How about Daniel when he was taken to Babylon, I know he refused the king's meat, but could you not view the vegetables as 'government assistance' as well? In Chronicles 17 we read how Jehoshaphat set up schools paid for by the government. Should the Israelites have refused this? The truth is that we all receive some assistance from our governments. Where do you want to draw the line between what we receive and what we refuse. If we reject food stamps should we also reject unemployment insurance and public education? If we reject government health care insurance should we also reject immunizations from the department of health? How about FDA inspections of our food products and restaurants? What about the public safety insured by police forces? If your house is on fire should you turn down the 'government assistance' offered by the fire department? After all, that is someone else's tax dollars that paid for that.

    I think we need to remember that God as our sole provider has given us many blessings and among those are our governments and all the agencies under their control. It is God who controls the Kings of the Earth.
     
  12. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Let me ask another question. Does a denomination have a right to accept money from churches that has a pastor who does not have insurance and the denomination is unwilling to provide it?
     
  13. Hardsheller

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    Hallelujah - at last somebody else asked the same question I have been asking for years.

    I believe it is a sin for the SBC to accept Cooperative Program Dollars from a church that does not provide Health Insurance for its pastor. [​IMG]
     
  14. ASLANSPAL

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    Wait a minute the mighty wealth of the SBC does
    not provide health insurance for its pastors
    that has got to be wrong!!??

    as for the basic premise...Church should totally

    obey paying there tithes and offerings..if that

    is totally obeyed..then church servants should

    be able to live a middle income life..with

    benefits (health insurance). Plus with that

    obedience churches could open clinics and

    food banks..and schools...and day care etc

    etc for thier members and serve others as well.

    Keep government

    taxpayers money out of it PERIOD.
     
  15. Ben W

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    What we need Scott are a few more people that are prepared to think along these lines and raise a few more questions about what the Bible really says to do in our churches.
     
  16. Monergist

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    I agree that all who have paid into medicare and Social Security should be able to get back what they have paid in.

    I do have a couple of problems with small business start up programs though. One is that it creates unfair competition, as a business owner receiving it is more likely to be successful, and while on the surface that may seem like a good thing, creates a disadvantage for other business owners.

    But the main problem is just the idea that the business is supported at the tax-payers expense. Even though the taxpayers money may be confiscated for what could be called the public good, bottom line is that individuals are benefitting at the expense of other individuals.

    I do want to point out that business start up programs (as well as the other programs that I listed above) are a GOOD THING, but that they need to be funded by voluntary contributions, not by force.
     
  17. Monergist

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    There is a big difference between receiving assistance from the state and receiving assistance from a private organization. One is bad, the other can be good.

    Think about what constitutes stealing. It can be by taking the property of another by theft, by robbery, by force, by fraud, by coercion, by threat, etc. What happens if you do not pay your taxes? Men will come and get you, perhaps fine you, posibly take your possessions and property and maybe even put you in jail, separating you from your family and depriving you of the opportunity to support them.

    We have to recognize the authority of the state to levy just taxes. Christ commanded that we should render to Ceasar the thing's that are Ceasars and to God the things that are God's. So we do have an obligation to pay taxes, and the state has an obligation to levy taxation according to just standards.

    But when does it become unjust? It becomes unjust when we elect and appoint officials to God appointed-positions who then abuse their authority by taking from our neighbors what we covet and then redistributing it back to ourselves. That's where it amounts to stealing. Officials are elected on the promise to "bring home the bacon" which means that the promise is made to confiscate the property of others by means of taxation backed up by coercion and force. If anyone refuse to give up their goods, they can go to jail for it.

    I see no difference in principle in taking my neighbors property by theft and taking my neighbors property by appointing to someone else the power take it for me. If I don't have health insurance and I desire it, I cannot in good conscience force my neighbor to pay for it for me. If I don't have food, its as wrong to force my neighbor to by me food under the threat that he might loose his home as it would be to walk accross the street to my neighbor's house and threaten to burn it down unless he gave me a hamburger. Or to go steal food out of his freezer in the dark.

    The flipside of rendering unto Ceasar the things that are Ceasar's is rendering unto God the things that are God's. God alone is the sole provider of our neccesities. We render unto God when we faithfully and voluntarily share with those in need and trust Him solely to meet ours. We don't render unto God when we take it upon ourselves to aquire our own neccesities in our own way by unlawful (here I mean unlawful according to God's law- not unlawful according to the law of the state) means.
     
  18. Turpius

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    Ok, I think I see where you're going with this, Monergist, and I would tend to agree in the sense that a lot of what is currently gov't programs should be turned over to and run by private organizations/charities. Not sure about all of it. I'd have to think about it some more.....
     

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