Social justice and the poor - and the Calvinist

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k.seymore

Puritan Board Freshman
Lev 23:22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.

Lev 24:22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.

Deu 10:18-19 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. (19) Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Deu 24:17-22 Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow's raiment to pledge: (18) But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee thence: therefore I command thee to do this thing. (19) When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands. (20) When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. (21) When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. (22) And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt: therefore I command thee to do this thing.
And not only that, but here's God's charge against a foreign nation in Ezekiel:

"Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy." (Ezek 16:49)

And what nation does that sound like in our day?
Prideful nations with plenty of food and prosperity that don't help the poor and needy are Sodomites.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Yes , being eager to give does not mean just throwing money at whinos.

Proofs can and should be demanded that your intent was met.

And yes, sometimes, giving is not an act of mercy and love at all and the most loving thing you can do to some people is give them a swift dose of real life (i.e. if your lazy, you go hungry..)..

..BUt, all too often, in the US where even the welfare mommas live better than the middle class in most 3rd world countries, many times when the subject of giving comes up, people give all the reasons not to give and very little creative ways to give despite the difficulties this entails.


The replies are always, Yes, but...Yes, but...Yes, but...


How do your churches meet the general benevolence needs of the poor in your community and in the world? How do you personally help when confronted by poverty and need? What is our duty, our privelege, and our choice as far as giving?


And I do not exagerrate when I write that EVERY time this subject has come up on this board or in a church setting, there are people that blame the poor, voice their disdain for gov't aid to poor countries, welfare stamps, etc, and quote "the poor are always with you" quote. THis is no exagerration, but a sad fact. Why are we so knee-jerk when it comes to this subject. ONe need not be a bleeding heart liberal to care for the poor.
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
Do passages from the Old testament law for the Israelite Theocracy count? Sorry, couldn't resist. :lol:
I dunno. Just posted them to see what reaction they wouldbring.
Jacob, do you not realise that the "general equity" of those passages means that we should have a Welfare State?
Interesting position.

I'm not sure of my own position... it waffles... but since I tend to agree with theonomy while not really fully grasping its implications, perhaps you're right in some form?;)

Could it be that the 'human condition' is ordained by God? Undoubtably. For what reason? His glory comes to mind.:candle: I suppose the answer to the cunundrum lies in what actions on our part are most glorifying to God. Struggling as we are prone to do with sin, foolishness, legalistic 'duties' to earn favor, antinomian flippancy, selfishness, and all the other maladies of the flesh, I find determining those actions to be difficult.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
Do passages from the Old testament law for the Israelite Theocracy count? Sorry, couldn't resist. :lol:
I dunno. Just posted them to see what reaction they wouldbring.
Jacob, do you not realise that the "general equity" of those passages means that we should have a Welfare State?
Interesting position.

I'm not sure of my own position... it waffles... but since I tend to agree with theonomy while not really fully grasping its implications, perhaps you're right in some form?;)
Please note I am jesting: no welfare state in Israel, no welfare state today. :handshake:
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
Do passages from the Old testament law for the Israelite Theocracy count? Sorry, couldn't resist. :lol:
I dunno. Just posted them to see what reaction they wouldbring.
Jacob, do you not realise that the "general equity" of those passages means that we should have a Welfare State?
Interesting position.

I'm not sure of my own position... it waffles... but since I tend to agree with theonomy while not really fully grasping its implications, perhaps you're right in some form?;)
He is right in some form. I agree the general equity did not mandate a Welfare State as it is understood these days, but the laws about gleaning and leaving the corners of your fields for the poor certainly seem to be civil-type laws. Following this principle, I think general equity does support the authority of the civil magistrate to impose laws controlling, in part, what you do with your profits and property so that it benefits the poor.

I say this with some fear and trembling, because I'm a small-government old-school classical liberal (small L libertarian) who thinks that the current income tax structure and socialist redistribution scheme is basically humanistic evil.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
If the "right" of governments is to protect its citizens I would think keping them from starving would rank up there as a legitimate sphere of gov't. The OT gleaning thing does seem to be civil.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
And not only that, but here's God's charge against a foreign nation in Ezekiel:

"Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy." (Ezek 16:49)

And what nation does that sound like in our day?
Prideful nations with plenty of food and prosperity that don't help the poor and needy are Sodomites.
I'm not so sure if this can fairly be laid against the US. True, US government spending on foreign aid is lower on a percentage of GNP basis than some European countries, but private aid by US citizens, last time I looked, is much higher on an income basis than most other countries. It seems that private US citizens are quite generous, and the private generosity is more likely to accomplish the aim better than government spending.

I'm not arguing that our country will be saved by the works of its citizens ;), merely that we may not be as bad or as haughty, privately, as is portrayed by our government's public actions.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
If the "right" of governments is to protect its citizens I would think keping them from starving would rank up there as a legitimate sphere of gov't. The OT gleaning thing does seem to be civil.
You do realize that if you asssume the continuing validity of those passages to which you are referring, that makes you a theonomist. You are quoting passages that only apply to the civil sphere of Israel. Israel was a theocracy, remember.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
If the "right" of governments is to protect its citizens I would think keping them from starving would rank up there as a legitimate sphere of gov't. The OT gleaning thing does seem to be civil.
You do realize that if you asssume the continuing validity of those passages to which you are referring, that makes you a theonomist. You are quoting passages that only apply to the civil sphere of Israel. Israel was a theocracy, remember.
As far as I am aware there was no civil penalty in Israel for not helping the poor; those who disobeyed the laws concerning gleaning were sinning, but they were not committing a crime. Moreover, does the example of Ruth and Boaz not suggest that the field owner had a right to decide who could glean? Also gleaning is hard work; so it can't be compared to Statist Welfare.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Spear Dane: I thought this was a thread on poverty.

Isn't there still a moratorium on theonomy here?



Also, theonomy is not a monolithic group. And many people see differently as far as interpreting "general equity"...and I throw you guys wearing Bahnsen glasses and seeing everything through the lens of theonomy a bone sometimes...


It DOES appear part of the CIVIL law doesn't it?
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
It seems that private US citizens are quite generous, and the private generosity is more likely to accomplish the aim better than government spending.
:agree:

This is definitely correct; wealth redistribution by the civil government cannot work because (a) most of the money goes to fund the ever increasing bureacracy needed to carry it out, and (b) what will the state do when all the redistributed money is spent, as it will have no-one left to steal from. :judge:
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
Spear Dane: I thought this was a thread on poverty.

Isn't there still a moratorium on theonomy here?
Also, theonomy is not a monolithic group. And many people see differently as far as interpreting "general equity"...and I throw you guys wearing Bahnsen glasses and seeing everything through the lens of theonomy a bone sometimes...
It DOES appear part of the CIVIL law doesn't it?
I think Theonomists would only say it was a civil law if you can prove (either by explicit statement or valid logical deduction) that a civil penalty is attached to a violation of that part of God's moral law. My view is that God will judge those who neglect the poor by means other than the civil magistrate. :2cents:
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
If the "right" of governments is to protect its citizens I would think keping them from starving would rank up there as a legitimate sphere of gov't. The OT gleaning thing does seem to be civil.
You do realize that if you asssume the continuing validity of those passages to which you are referring, that makes you a theonomist. You are quoting passages that only apply to the civil sphere of Israel. Israel was a theocracy, remember.
As far as I am aware there was no civil penalty in Israel for not helping the poor; those who disobeyed the laws concerning gleaning were sinning, but they were not committing a crime. Moreover, does the example of Ruth and Boaz not suggest that the field owner had a right to decide who could glean? Also gleaning is hard work; so it can't be compared to Statist Welfare.
It's a good question whether the gleaning laws are civil or moral or both. That should probably be taken up on a different thread. It does address the original question about whether we ought to provide resources for the poor, and gives some insight in the proper method (they, if they were able-bodied, had to do the gathering).

Pergy, fear not, the moratiorium on theonomy was lifted ;) (I know you are fearless!). But I agee that it might be best for that discussion to be on another thread.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
If the "right" of governments is to protect its citizens I would think keping them from starving would rank up there as a legitimate sphere of gov't. The OT gleaning thing does seem to be civil.
By "protect" it is usually meant protect their person or property from harm by others who commit crimes against them (i.e. theft).
 
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