The rising tide of emphasis on the social gospel is sweeping into its current a number of the unsuspecting, and, though what I am going to write will be unpopular with many, I feel I must say, “Beware!”
All about us there are evidences of secular and material need, and any true Christian is moved by compassion when he sees the plight of the less fortunate. If he fails to give assistance where possible in money, time, and effort, he may prove himself unworthy of the name he bears, and he may miss his greatest opportunity to witness to the validity of his faith.
But let him beware lest he substitute for the Gospel of Jesus Christ a secular gospel.
Surely, helping to meet the material needs of men is a worthy endeavor. Certainly it becomes us as Christians to demonstrate our loving concern for the unfortunate.
But such action can be fatally deceptive in lulling the Church into complacency about its basic responsibility to witness to the Gospel of spiritual redemption through faith in Jesus Christ.
The early apostles were confronted with the crying needs of new Christians, many of whom had given up literally everything to follow Christ. The need was there and also the responsibility, but they never swerved from their own mission of preaching Christ. They said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables” (Acts 6:2).
It still is not right to substitute anything for preaching the Gospel. Those who are called to preach the Word should preach the Word. They must not be insensitive to the secular and material needs of their brethren; but while the meeting of these needs among fellow Christians must be cared for by the Church, the needs of society as a whole must be the concern ...1
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