Jesus came to grant liberty to the oppressed and the prisoners. Orthodox Christians would never let the state take charge of the Gospel. Neither should we leave to the state those imprisoned in the welfare state. Especially when we consider the spiritual danger they are in. Remember, people who are not willing to work are cursed. Any many people enmeshed with the welfare state–not just the sick and poor–seek to put government in the place of God.
In my last article, I made the case that the welfare state is unbiblical.
I built my argument on three premises: that the welfare state 1) is a form of theft, 2) destroys charity, and 3) harms everyone associated with it–funder, deliverer, and recipient. Let’s take another quick look at this.
In 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Paul writes, “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” Is Paul saying that one who is not willing to work is commanded by God not to eat? Surely not. Calvin suggests that
When, however, the Apostle commanded that such persons should not eat, he does not mean that he gave commandment to those persons, but forbade that the Thessalonians should encourage their indolence by supplying them with food.
In other words, we are forbidden from continuously giving food to those unemployed by sloth. These are hard words, but not harsh. In fact, they are just the opposite. In other parts of Scripture, we learn why:
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. – Psalm 128:2
A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. – Proverbs 10:4
Those who “earn their own living” are blessed, and those who “walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies” are cursed. Food continuously given to people even though they are not working out of sloth is cursing them, not blessing them.
Of course, not everyone fails to work because of sloth. Poor health, injuries, mental illness can all play a role. But here is the thing about putting assistance, be it food, housing, medical care, or cash handouts, into the hands of the government. The government-run welfare state, that is, the people involved with the welfare state, will most often get the distinctions wrong.
Here’s why. Whatever an organization’s stated purpose is, because organizations are composed of humans there is always one underlying purpose for all organizations: to survive. How does this apply to the welfare state?