Saturday, 19 January 2008

Objections to Ministries of practical mercy (2)

Objection:“Engaging with the poor will drain the church of its resources and try to fill a black-hole of need that can never be filled until the future kingdom.”


1. Any strategy, ministry or action has the potential to drain the church’s resources if handled unwisely, so this is simply an issue of wisdom whereby we use all our resources to do everything God has commanded us to do. Ironically, is not evangelism itself a ‘black-hole of need that can never be filled until the future kingdom’? We would not see this as a reason not to do it!

2. One could take an opposite viewpoint; that is, that we lack resources because we do not engage with the poor. Isaiah 58 outlines the hypocritical religiosity of Israel, who come to worship but who do nothing about injustice and the suffering of those around them. The condition for renewal, blessing and prosperity in that passage is a repentance from this indifference and social sin (see also Deut 15:7-11). My personal experience of running a homeless shelter in my last church showed me that more resources (financial and human) become available when you try to start something along those lines.

3. The mere fact that we can not do everything, does not mean that we do nothing. The very fact that the future kingdom will be a kingdom of justice and goodness, which is breaking through already in the church, should inspire us to reflect it in our lives now.