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Ethics for Supporting the Helpless in Public

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Great Fiction, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. There is a hypothetical autonomous town in America; I shall call it “Smith-Town,” and there arises in Smith-town a most impossible problem. On one very busy street there is a vibrant church who feeds the helpless, yet on the opposite side of the street there are many thriving businesses.

    The church and the businesses came into place about the same time. The church has a following of “helpless” people that they feed every day in a soup kitchen and the helpless have increased in large number. The helpless are now becoming an unsavory sight for the businesses across the street, and will in variance clog up the side-walks and at times even get off the side walk and get into the street.

    The soup kitchen barely has enough room inside for any lines to form and the line goes our the door down the side-walk which is public property and will on occasion pour over into the street; the street too of course is also public property.

    Now the helpless getting fed are indeed “helpless,” thus they cannot be taught to be socially or occupationally productive, also the city, the church and the businesses are not able or willing to finance their relocation.

    Also the law is in conflict, for Smith-town law supports public use to the helpless to be fed, yet the law also provides businesses the same public access for their customers; thus the law suffers a dilemma; for the businesses want the homeless gone, and the church feel the business' are cruel to demand it. The law must change in some way, one way or another, in order to make both or one of the parties happy.

    The church stands their ground, saying they have a “right” to help the helpless, and even fear that some of the helpless souls could suffer severely if they are forced to stop.

    The businesses also stand their ground saying they have a “right” to not have their businesses harmed by having helpless folks standing around on the sidewalks and street. For they are able to confirm that when the homeless are on the street and side-walks, their business traffic becomes obsolete, and endangers their ability to economically survive.

    Here is the challenge - “Ethically according to scripture” what should autonomous Smith-town do to solve the problem? Keep in mind that most cities do not consider scripture in the real world, yet we as Christians are given scriptural grounds on how we should “support” the law in society. According to scripture, how should we “support the law.”

    Let us have a dialectical exchange to resonate scripture; as a caveat, this is not a debate. If comments are given to “win” then you missed the point, yet if you use scripture and reason to shed light on the hypothetical problem, then we are all beneficiaries to understand ethics from scripture. I of course will also offer scriptural perspective for contribution in variance.
  2. The way I see it is if the law goes against what the bible tells us to do then staying on the side of scripture is the way to go. Now, can the church find another location to feed the needy? Maybe the city can help out with this to include the businesses.
  3. There is the bottom-line error --- the church insisting that it has “rights.” (With one caveat: If that so-called church has applied to Caesar for any benefit e.g. tax exemption, non-prophet status, etc., then that church belongs to Caesar and will render to Caesar.) There are no rights in Scripture, except to the tree of life for the born again, whereas all worldly rights are conditional upon one’s standing/status/persona in Caesar’s ungodly world. Businesses are, by definition, corporations/inventions of Caesar’s i.e. dead things, involved in commerce/profiteering, which God forbids and is Caesar’s domain, not the church’s.
    The secondary error is the false doctrine, the gross distortion of truth, that “Christians are to obey the government, including the evil therein because, don’t you know, all gov’t is ordained of God.”
    This is close.
    1) Born again believers are not to cower or compromise or run away when faced with the enemy. 2) “The city” is a dead thing; it has ZERO in common with the gospel objectives of the body of Christ. Light has no fellowship with darkness. NADA. Anything the dead city would purport to ”help“ with is born of the spirit of Satan and fundamentally does not have any interest whatsoever of the body of Christ in mind.

    One solution: The church can stand their ground, but what they stand on is not a conditional right granted by Caesar, but upon the Rock, the foundation provided in the first instance to the born again by the King himself.

    And they loved not their lives unto the death.
  4. Thank you so kindly LanceA for the contribution sir

    I agree with you that if "human law" contradicts "our scriptural mandates" then we are to obey God rather than men.

    May I ask, do you think that in this hypothetical, that we as Christians then "supporting a law" which would favor the church or another law that would favor the business' would then put us in violation of our "scriptural mandates?"

    Also if its not too much to ask, how could the city in this scenario "ethically" according to scripture "help out"
  5. sojourner4christ, thank you for your contribution sir, may I in kindness ask a large favor?

    When you respond with a post would you be so kind to post “one posting per person?” When you mix in many people in a single post the ability to resonate to threaded points become convoluted. I have no authority to ask, nor am I a moderator, but only ask in kindness to secure dissociable clarity my friend.
  6. Tax exemption status is accomplished by “contracting.” Thus if the church “contracts with the State” to gain a “tax privilege” then they would in that process “authenticate or endorse State authority” regarding taxation. Thus are you saying that the church should not “contract with the State?”

    Do you feel that Romans 13 addresses why a church should or should not contract with the State or submit to the State?

    Please elaborate why you feel there are no rights in scripture. What scripture do you stand on that would say, “We as Christians have no rights with God or with mankind”

    I can agree that a “corporation” is an “entity” that is defined by the State and contracts with the State, yet please elaborate why you believe that all “commerce” is forbidden by God.

    Where in scripture does it say that exchanging one thing for another (commerce) is “forbidden”

    God bless
  7. To gain that "clarity," I'd rather deal with the issues as they are revealed and the documented facts of the matter, than pander to individuals and their arguments. BTW, you have no less "authority" than any moderator.
    The word of God tells us not to strike hands with heathen. What fellowship has light with darkness?...
    Romans 13 has nothing to say about the State. Rather, it’s a beautiful passage on the sovereignty of Godly government.
    Rather, what scripture do you stand on that would say, “We as Christians do have rights with mankind”?
    The defining aspect involves “the intent to realize a profit;” it is profiteering i.e. greed. You can check Bouvier’s Law Dictionary here for that definition.
    “Exchanging one thing for another” is not necessarily commerce or sinful.

    It is important that we should remain separate from the unclean things of the commercial world. Our Father has made it clear that we cannot serve both him and mammon (wealth, riches, money, etc.). When men are pursuing riches, or "a living," they will often times do whatever it takes to get what they "want." It is that pursuit that we must avoid.

    Merchants are condemned in scripture, because their mode of commerce not only involves thievery and war, but it also creates a form of slavery for those who are "captured" by it. Governments regulate all business and corporations, because commerce is thievery. Governments regulate the commerce of the merchants, as well as their "customers," in an attempt to keep the thievery and slavery at a manageable level. That is why those who engage in such activity are "presumed" guilty until proven innocent, because they are guilty according to God's Law.

    Capitalism is a license to steal; the government simply regulates who steals and how much. Most of the governmental codes, rules, regulations, ordinances, statutes, public policies, etc., are designed to regulate those partaking of the ways of the lex mercatoria, the Law Merchant. That law, as distinguished from God's Law, is a private law.

    The law recognizes the fact that men will naturally overstate the value and qualities of the articles which they have to sell. Kimball v. Bangs, 141 Mass. 323, Morton. C.J. ; Mooney v. Miller, 102 id. 220; Gordon v. Butler, 105 U.S. 557, Southern Development Co. v. Silva, 125 id. 256.

    The world continually encourages everyone to join with and obey the Law Merchant. It continually offers the benefits of the world. When you look to man for your benefits, a duty attaches to you and man becomes your lord, lording over you. The "bait and switch" of the crafty serpent is this: the resulting duty greatly outweighs the benefit received! They can only give you a portion of that which they take from you to begin with! So you end up with less, and you give them more power because they're keeping a large percentage of it. And remember, the beast has no power except that which it is given by its obedient servants.

    However, by not partaking of the commercial benefits that the world offers, we are not submitting ourselves to those particular laws governing commercial activity. Therefore, those laws do not apply to those who are not engaged in their mode of commercial activity.

    To make a clarification, if God blesses us with riches that's one thing, but if we chase after riches that's another. Our life is not to revolve around gain, but around Christ. Why chase things that are temporal which will be lost anyway? We are to pursue a relationship with God, letting our soul be after him, and he will provide everything we need as we walk in his ways (Matthew 6:30, Luke 12:28, Philippians 4:19, Psalms 34:10).
  8. business people ought to do something about the problem, they have the power to employ people, so create jobs for them to do.

    Then the church would not need to feed so many.
    It's the business peoples own fault. People don't have homes cos of the economy.
    The church is doing their bit. Feeding the hungry. Clothing the naked. Even hosting strangers.
    Giving cups of water to those who can't help themselves. God sees this and rewards those who've helped in heaven. He also sees those who did not lift a finger to help, and mocked and were cruel to the helpless, and will judge those people for their hard hearts.
  9. We must agree to disagree my friend, I find that my convictions render me obligatory to respect the moderation here and the owned property that constitutes this forum; for I am simply a guest and am grateful to be able to contribute.

    sojourner4Christ, it may be possible that we will not align on many points. Thus I respect your liberty to disagree, and we may have to agree to disagree in a spirit of love. Yet I will elaborate my position regarding array of things you mentioned.

    Natural Law/ Natural Rights from Scripture
    I believe that Natural Law and Natural Rights are delegated to mankind from God at creation which was also re-confirmed again just after the ark landed with Noah. Basically Natural Law and Natural Rights from scripture offers us all a precedent of non-aggression toward all people and their property on the earth.

    Natural Law is that construct which God created in this Natural world, this natural construct is governed by laws that God put into place. It was St. Thomas Aquinas who was one of the first with broad success to propagate principles regarding Natural Law. In the same way that there are objective laws of gravity, resistance and praxeological inclination, there are also laws that God put in place regarding mankind for his or her ability to interact “justly.” God delegated life, liberty and property to mankind, and gave mankind sovereignty over the earth and all things in it. This is a “contract, of delegation, but a contract that is one-sided” where God delegated and mankind became the recipient. In this delegation there are three primary predications, you may not kill anyone, you may not harm anyone and you may own honest property. This delegation is applicable to “all people on the earth.”

    Man and woman are the recipients of his or her life, liberty and honest appropriated property; for it is their Natural Right to have all three of these by Gods delegation to them. The corporeal body is “mans/womans own property,” making man and woman owners (authoritative vice-regents) of their own self, with God being the only “higher authoritative property owner” who has the supreme authority to take all three away.” However mankind is not delegated authority to take life, liberty or property away from another person; for this constitutes “violence.” Thus mankind has a Natural Right to life, liberty and property, but they do not have a Natural Right to someone else's life, liberty and property.

    A Natural Right is when – You can do something without permission, and remain moral after doing it because you did it with “legitimate authority delegated to you as an owner.”

    Example: You pray to God, and you don't ask permission from men to do it, because “praying” is part of your delgated Natural Rights.

    Legitimate ownership when broken down is simply “just-authority over honest property.” Just-authority in contrast to unjust-authority is endorsed by the construct that is Natural Law and Natural Rights delegated by God. Natural Rights Theory provides primordial apologetics for the substrate in the confines of theology.

    Unjust authority is any authority that will “arbitrarily take a persons life, liberty or property without permission.” Meaning that a form of violence has to be committed “arbitrarily” to another person or their property in the confines of brute-force or legal-plunder.

    Delegated ownership is the first natural contract mankind engages with his or her primordial genesis (conception, birth and age of reason), which starts with self-ownership of the body and the bodies liberty. Only God has “higher authority,” and the delegation is ethical to “just-ownership” which ethically supersedes all “unjust ownership.”

    For when we say that government is “unjust” it is because government “trespassed against life, liberty and property by using illegitimate authority and unjust law which abandoned the substrate that is Natural Rights Theory.

    Natural Rights Theory IS ethics.

    God is a God of contracts. Natural Rights is the first contract delegated to all the earth, yet then God did in variance contract with Noah personally regarding the ark, contracted with Abraham regarding his seed, and also with Moses and the whole nation of Israel. Then when Christ fulfilled the Mosaic covenant, he propitiated for us a new covenant that would supersede all others, which is “salvation.”

    Now the Mosaic covenant was “consensual and reconciliatory” to the nation of Israel as a whole, yet upon commitments and ratification that galvanized the contract into place, it became quite compulsory unto violence for the individual. Thus Christ ended that old and lesser covenant and gave us a greater contract that is “individually consensual and reconciliatory” and affords us all a propitiated process of sanctification, thanks to His shed blood.

    Therefore contracts offers the alignment for what is “owned.” For as Christians who are saved, we are required to surrender our life, liberty and property to Him, and renounce all control to Him. Thus we give back to Him what was given to us first in the delegation, which is our lives, liberty and all that we own. Thus at salvation we become bond-servants or slaves of Christ and no longer can claim administrative control over our bodies and our property.

    However our contract with Him which is forged into place at salvation is “not a contract with other men, women, or society;” for we are not required by scripture to forfeit our delegated Natural Rights to men. For it was Christ that would stand up in public and challenge the Sanhedrin regarding the “Natural Rights of an adulteress,” yet he did not condone her sinful action at the same time. With admonishment he sent the “illegitimate authority” away and protested their “unjust assault,” while also not giving the adultness a pass to sin against God, by challenging her to go and sin no more. For the woman is not “justly accountable” to men if no violence is committed, yet she is justly accountable to God in all things. Thus we as a church are to never support “unjust law” and are mandated to never judge ambiguous sin using “punitive violence in the confines of unjust law.”

    Here in the U.S. we “ethically according to Natural Rights Theory” pass thousands of “unjust laws” every year.

    Money, Voluntary Exchange and Commerce
    When is money, commerce and profit a sin or a trespass against the first contract of delegation of Natural Rights Theory? - When a person steals, kill or harms another person or their property to obtain it. Applicable to all people on planet earth.

    When is money and commerce a sin or a trespass for “Christians” in their contract of salvation? - I would say that only the “individual” and “God” can truly answer this question if the Christian is operating non-aggressively regarding all persons and property. For we are dealing primarily with the position of the heart.

    Voluntary exchange, money and profit in of themselves are not sin, yet all three of these pursued “can become a sin” if violence enacted trespasses the substrate of Natural Rights, or if in the contract of salvation we as individual Christians are not obedient to the Spirit in all that He tells us to do.

    Capitalism vs Corporatism\Crony Capitalism
    Capitalism is benign voluntary exchange – It is virtuous in of itself; for it is the trading of one thing for another. Both recipient exchangers “make the trade” because they “voluntarily want” what the other person has, and will value what the other person has more that what they are trading away. Thus in a voluntary exchange both parties “profit.” Profiting in a trade is the basics of our survival.

    Corporatism is “monetary advantage, subsidies, financial wind-falls, or market control allocated to privileged businesses by the use of unjust law coming from illegitimate authority. - Corporatism is immoral since is thrashes the virtuous substrate that is Natural Rights Theory; for violence to person or property must take place first in order for corporatism to exist.

    The OP Hypothetical
    My goal is to address “the analogous rights” in the hypothetical example, which should be ethically premised on Natural Rights. Thus Natural Rights Theory and understanding it enables the body of Christ to “support or not support various laws.” For Natural Rights Theory can allocate the law to be “just” or “unjust” according to scripture.
    Where is the Messiah and Big Moose say Amen and like this.
  10. You make some really good points Lanolin, you have a heart full of benevolence and a kind spirit that intercedes for the helpless.

    However in this hypothetical the businesses are unable or unwilling to do anything about it

    The challenge is to determine "what law is good" to resolve the problem, and what laws should the church ethically support to solve the problem.

    How can the "law" become "just" to solve the problem?
  11. The church has always had issues like this (Dallas, TX for instance with their food pantry system). The church needs to do what the Spirit tells them to do and then the Spirit will provide the resources they need to do His will, Matt 16:10. A real ministry would be James 1:27.

    Now, given that we do things of our own accord these types of problems arise. In my cheap opinion, this hypothetical church should also take into account that if you don't work, you don't eat, 2 Thess 3:10. That means, if a church is going to take it upon themselves to feed a hoard of people, they also need to help with other basic necessities too, like a job. Which means if the church really wants to do right, they need to work with the government, not against or for it. If a church gets a tax break, they should be putting their savings towards their community otherwise they shouldn't get tax break. If they use the services (including money - a Federal Note) then their actions are governed by the state - that's biblical, not popular or accepting, but biblical, Mark 12:17. What used to be an honor to the freedom of religion has turned into a scam of a right not to pay taxes while living it up with God's resources given to His people who then turn around and give it to their "church". I detest ministers and churches that sell God's free message!

    "And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." - 2Pe 2:3 KJV​

    I understand they have expenses and that's 100% acceptable. That should be again part of the process. But if I bought every book or CD/DVD I wanted (so I could get the "whole" sermon) I would have to build barns just to hold them. Put it all on YouTube and the Internet. Host your own ISP if you want, but it's sickening that God's message by everyone is done in the name of "non-profit" but they're raking it in. Everything I do online is for free, my book, my blog, my software. I don't even take donations! Why? Because if God isn't my resource then am I really doing what He wants or what I want? I still have costs - web hoster, bandwidth usage, computers, and programs. But I'm well provided the resources to do it.

    If the church is negatively impacting their community (even their surrounding businesses) then the church didn't think it through, Hosea 4:6. Businesses can get away with large crowds on a temporary basis, but even then sometimes they're fined for it too. Like most humans in today's wicked society, many churches follow the same "rights" mentality. The law is written to be fair - at least it should be - and if the law needs to change so the churches have the means to help others, then run for office. We take the saying "in the world but not off the world" to mean "I ain't gett'en involved with them thar wicked poli-ticks!" That's the way the world sees us and we wonder why they pay us no mind. For some reason, too many forget the word of God:

    "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." - Mat 10:16 KJV​

    Just my two cents.
    Where is the Messiah, Big Moose and Great Fiction says Amen and like this.
  12. Gal 4:29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

    This kind of battle will rage on until the manifestation of God's Kingdom here on earth.
  13. Oh, sorry I didnt understand.
    Well, the church cant make up new laws us they are not the govt.
    And, we are not to live by the manmade law anyway, as we have the law of christ in our hearts and under grace.

    In terms of supporting the law, Im not sure how it works in america as not from there and not ever lived there. But in my country the laws can get changed arbitrarily according to however is in political power at the time. So even if we vote in a party or candidate that supports this or that law, that party or candidate can change their mind, or be bribed, or IDK make all sorts of silly laws until someone or party tries to change it again in the next election.

    The only thing the church, we christians can do is pray for the hearts of these business leaders to be changed. No good praying for politicians, as we can try, but few are upright..they will only go where the money is. If a christian is in business, then the way they practise business, having compassion on the poor, giving profits back into the community i stead of wealthy stakeholders, could make a difference. But even a little bit helps, like just being kind to a person.

    Of course as christians we abide by whatever laws are in place to live peacefully wherever we are. Buteven then, keeping the law is not the requirment for christians, showing love is.
    The secular govt may make it increasingly difficult for christians to worship freely. Like in china, they shut down any church gathering that does not follow their sanctions. Their laws may favour business and ruthlessness. We are to give God what is Gods, caesar what is caesars.

    The poor will always be with us. It is how people treat the poor that is what God sees. Health and wealth prosperity gospel is not the solution. Nobody will ever be all rich all the time. Christians cannot fix the economy because the economy is run by mammon. It will inevitably run down and divide the haves from the have nots. But lets say a rich man gets converted. What does Jesus say to do? go, sell all you have, give to the poor, then follow me.
  14. Ok here you say we don't live by manmade laws but in another statement you say something different.

    So which is it?
  15. This is opinion.. Having right to something does not mean anything.. That is not the criteria to look at to say which one is right here.. Word of God says this..

    1 Corinthians 10:23-24 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others

    Commandments of Jesus makes it very clear.. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.. Though someone might say "I am right" doing it, it is not always beneficial.. When we say beneficial, not beneficial for self, but beneficial for others..

    1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

    From this verse, we can see all things should be done for glory of God.. In the question you posted, I would pose these 2 criteria..

    1) What would bring glory to God?
    2) What would be beneficial for others, inspite of being right?

    And that would give me the answer.. And this is the principle I would apply to look at the situation from Biblical perspective..
    Cturtle likes this.
  16. Abdicate I think you offer, not only this analogous church good advice but actual churches good advice. Yet may I have permission to dig further? For my goal in this analogy is to consider “ethics in the law coming from scripture,” for we now in many countries suffer an immoral permeation of unjust laws every year, and I must contend also that every one passed has correlations with this analogous dilemma. For with wisdom you pointed out its a real-world example in Dallas to similarity, yet all law is passed with “proposed legitimacy” coming from a source of authority. What is legitimacy for just-law according to Natural Rights from scripture?

    For though God may intervene with power, wisdom and love to bring a solve in variance regarding circumstantial challenges, my goal here is to consider “ethics” from scripture. For when should we “support” the law, when should we “condemn” the law, or when should we “obey the law but also condemn it during a demonstration of obedience? For two contracts cause us a challenge, Natural Law from God for all mankind (justice) and our vertical contract of salvation which binds us in love (righteousness).
  17. You may very well be right CCW95A
  18. Maybe i'm missing the point, but in this very delicate situation....the first and foremost thing for the church to do, is get on it's knees, and seek God. As sojourner for Christ stated we as the Body of Christ have a responsibility to be examples to the world, and our God has purposefully placed people in authority. But when we get on our knees and seek the face of almighty God, He can work in our behalf. In my opinion He is the only one that can open doors that need to be open or shut doors that need to be shut. And can change hearts.
    Just my two cents :)

  19. Thank you deeply Ravindran for you contribution. May I be allowed sir to analyze your wise advice and position in scripture in order for us both to discover “ethics” from scripture, and then apply it to the analogy?

    Do you believe that this mandate “Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others” is directed to “the church under Paul's administrative care,” “all Christians” or “all the world?”

    For if its a mandate for the world then would “law” be required to enforce it? Also is it our responsibility to enforce the mandate by using “human law.” Also if we use “human law” then on what authority from scripture do we support it?

    For the words “Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others” is a charge, a mandate or a command. Thus who is being mandated and “how” is it to be mandated?

    “Love thy neighbor” and “do it all for the glory of God,” are also mandates from scripture; thus how is the process of “mandates” to be ethically supported by the body of Christ?

    Thus in the analogy are we as Christian to “support” these mandates to become "law," by charging the city council to make them laws, in order to solve the public problem regarding the helpless and the businesses?

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