Sunday Morning Greek Blog

May 6, 2023

Assurance, Hope, and Power: The Disciples’ Resurrection Rebound (John 20:19–31)

Click the Play button below to hear the recording of the message.

My message from 4/16/23, the week after Easter, at Mt. View Presbyterian Church in Omaha.

I learned a fancy new ten-dollar word this week. “Denouement” (day new MA). If you’re into literature or are a member of book club, perhaps you already knew the term before today. It’s a French word that’s made its way into English that refers to what happens in a story after the climax or high point of the action has occurred. The meaning of denouement is “untying of the knot.” An English equivalent, at least in the context of literature, might be “resolution.” How does the story “resolve” or work itself out after the climax.

Why am I starting my message this morning with a vocabulary lesson? (Don’t worry, no quiz at the end!) Well, you may have already guessed where I’m going with this. The crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Christ is the climax of the Gospel story in the New Testament. Like the Gospels, the Christian liturgical calendar begins with the “prequel” of the Advent, the birth of Christ, beginning the Sunday after Thanksgiving; passes through several “seasons” in which we see the nature and work of our servant-savior; and leads up to the crucifixion and resurrection.

We’ve now entered the “denouement” of the liturgical seasons, the time between the Resurrection, celebrated on Easter Sunday, and Pentecost, 50 days following. After that, aside from the first Sunday after Pentecost being “Trinity Sunday” and the last Sunday of the liturgical year being “Christ the King,” the rest of the liturgical calendar is officially “proper,” or the nth Sunday after Pentecost. That’s doesn’t sound near as exciting as all the stuff at the beginning of the liturgical year.

Of course, the Gospel is a compelling and engaging story regardless of the season, month, or day in our liturgical or regular calendars. It is made so, in part, by the way you and I live out our faith in the places we find ourselves in this world. As disciples of Christ, we have been charged with being light and salt in an increasingly dark and bland world. But it’s hard to do that if we’re not convinced and assured that the resurrection of Christ has secured that hope for us.

That is where we find ourselves in the early stages of this denouement: Jesus had appeared to the women who came to the tomb, and even to two unnamed disciples on the road to the Emmaus, but the 11 remaining apostles had not yet seen him and, according to the longer ending of Mark’s Gospel, they didn’t believe either of those reports from earlier in the day. But on the evening of that same day Jesus was resurrected, Jesus literally drops in on them in the house where they were staying; the door was locked.

All the apostles (“the Twelve”) except Thomas (and of course Judas) were there for the first visit. It’s likely that others were there as well, but the text is silent on that detail. Jesus shows his disciples his pierced hands and side and even asks his disciples to put their fingers in the holes. The disciples are not only convinced, but the text says they are overjoyed as well. Something else happens here that I think gets overlooked in the Gospel story. Jesus essentially commissions the disciples—we don’t know if this meant only those of the Twelve who were present or everyone—by giving them the Holy Spirit in advance of the day of Pentecost. He also gives them authority to forgive sins or not forgive sins. Jesus was granting them a portion of divine authority here, collectively, so that he could have an official complement of representatives to prepare the world for the coming of the Holy Spirit to believers and birth of the Church on the day of Pentecost.

This is important for a couple reasons. First, just as plant seedlings are often nurtured in the controlled environment of a greenhouse or a baby is born in sterile conditions in the hospital, so too did the church need a perfect or near-perfect spiritual environment to get started and to grow. I believe the authority Jesus gives them, again collectively, included the knowledge of the perfect, untainted Gospel on which Jesus wanted to found the church. Their proclamations were considered authoritative, and as a group, they could hold each other accountable for that perfect doctrine, instead of having all of the authority for the church rest in one person. Eight days later, Thomas would be added to that group when he finally got to see Jesus and had every doubt erased. He would be able to proclaim, “My Lord and my God!” after seeing Jesus for himself.

On the other hand, having a group of leaders thus empowered and commission would also help with the stability of the local, usually house, churches that would begin to form after the day of Pentecost. With so many hearing the Gospel in their own language that day, it would be important that someone with that kind of authority could be sort of a regional overseer for the fledgling churches and communicate officially on behalf of the apostles whenever questions arose. We see some hints of that in the middle chapters of the book of Acts. I think it’s safe to say the apostles didn’t want 3,000 new converts going back to their respective homelands without some kind of help from those who had first-hand experience with Jesus and the apostles.

Getting back to Jesus’s first appearances to the disciples, they had assurance of what we read in our passage from Psalm 16 this morning. Here’s verses 9–11 from the New International Version:

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;

my body also will rest secure,

10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,

nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

11 You make known to me the path of life;

you will fill me with joy in your presence,

with eternal pleasures at your right hand.[1]

The apostles realized that Jesus was the “faithful one” who did not see decay, and by implication, those faithful ones who had died before had also been safe from that decay. Paul tells us in Ephesians that Christ, upon his resurrection, led an army of captives out of the “lower earthly regions” into the heavenly realms. Peter would use this passage from Psalm 16 in his powerful sermon on the day of Pentecost because he had realized and experienced its truth for himself.

Peter would later write in one of his two letters about the living hope that comes through the resurrection of Jesus. He says this in the opening chapter of his first letter:

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. [2]

Thomas had the luxury of seeing Jesus on his second appearance to the group and finally believing he had risen, even though he refused to believe his closest friends after Jesus’s first appearance convinced them. You and I will probably not have that luxury of seeing Jesus while we dwell on earth, unless he comes again in the immediate future. We would fall, then, in the second category: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

As disciples of Christ, we have a wealth of resources available to us as we live and serve in God’s kingdom. We have a new birth, or as Jesus told Nicodemus, we’re “born again” of the Spirit. The old has gone; the new has come! The past no longer controls us. We have a living hope affirmed by the resurrection. The faithful in the Old Testament probably could not have even conceived of what the New Testament has revealed to us about eternal life in the heavenly kingdom. Our inheritance is permanent! No moth or rust can destroy it!

We’re shielded by God’s power (and his armor) through faith, and we have the hope of his second coming and the eternal salvation that will be ours to claim. We have this assurance even in the midst of the trials and griefs we suffer corporately and individually, for it is in standing firm through these trials that our faith is tested, purified, and proven true. Paul says in Ephesians that when we put on God’s armor, we can stand firm in the faith. We can know in part here on earth that joy we will fully know in heaven!

Even though Easter is the climax of our liturgical year, our denouement need not in any way diminish the joy and excitement of living for Christ in the hope of our resurrection and our salvation. Each and every day can be an adventure with Christ as we read his word, serve those who need an extra measure of his grace, and walk in faithful fellowship with one another. Those first few weeks after the resurrection, the believers had a lot of knots to untie to figure out their part in growing the early church. Of course, the Spirit was calling people, and that couldn’t be stopped. But they had to move quickly. For us today, we could use this season to think about how we do our own ministries. How can we use the excitement of celebrating Jesus’s resurrection to channel that energy into “untying the knots” that may be holding us back from doing more for God’s kingdom or for the local church or community? Are there others we could reach? Are there others we could invite? Are there others who need our help? Who could I talk to about my doubts and fears? These don’t have to be grandiose, but I do think the answers should be just big enough to require some faith in and reliance on God to get them done.

As we move through this season leading up to Pentecost, remember that Christ has given us assurance of his resurrection and our own, the hope of eternal life in an imperishable kingdom, and the power to minister in his name and encourage those who also need that assurance and hope. Peace to you! Amen.


[1] Psalm 16:9–11. The New International Version. 2011. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] 1 Peter 1:3–9. The New International Version. 2011. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

November 9, 2021

I Will Build My Church (Matthew 16:13-20)

Filed under: Greek — Scott Stocking @ 5:38 pm
Tags: , ,

Note: Preached at Mt. View Presbyterian Church, Omaha, NE, on 11/7/21; also planned for Wheeler Grove Church, Carson, IA, 11/14/21.

I’ve got a little trivia challenge for you this morning. I’m going to give you the names of a couple people who built or created famous things in the last 100 years that are still with us today, but whose names have been long forgotten by most.

The first may be familiar to some: Gutzon Borglum was born in Idaho and lived in Fremont, Nebraska, when he was 7 years old. He eventually became a famous artist, achieving early fame for painting a portrait of General John C. Fremont for the general’s wife. He later sculpted a colossal head of Abraham Lincoln, which is still on display today in the Capitol Rotunda. This inspired his most famous work, however, which perhaps now you’ve guessed: the four super colossal heads of American presidents carved into Mount Rushmore.

Joseph Baermann Strauss answered the call to build an impressive structure that, interestingly enough, also had a connection to General Fremont. Strauss’s task was to connect the two shores on either side of a strait in a region General Fremont had named “Chrysopylae.” Politicians of the day thought the structure would have a price tag of nearly $100,000,000 in his day, but Strauss was able to build it for the modest price of about $30,000,000. Oh for politicians who could create such infrastructure savings in our day! Chrysopylae is Greek for “Golden Gate,” and thus was origin of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

So we come to our passage today where someone whose name we haven’t forgotten, and I hope we haven’t forgotten “who” he is, wants to build something greater and more enduring than either of these creations.

Read Matthew 16:13–20

This passage is at the heart of Matthew’s gospel and reveals that “Aha!” moment for the disciples when they finally realize who Jesus is and what his mission is on Earth. To put it in context, it comes after the stories where Jesus feeds both the 5,000 and 4,000, with his walking on water in between. Immediately after this Caesarean confession, we have the story of the Transfiguration, where he proves beyond a shadow of doubt who Peter says he is.

In light of the events leading up to the passage, Jesus gives his disciples a little quiz, as it were. “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They of course give a variety of wild guesses, I mean, answers from the broad extent of Jewish history: Elijah? Jeremiah or one of the prophets? John the Baptist? For whatever reason, the disciples can’t seem to bring themselves to admit what they’ve begun suspecting all along. Notice, though, how Jesus makes a subtle shift in his second quiz question. He doesn’t ask the disciples who they say the Son of Man is: He asks them, “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answers, perhaps hoping he won’t stick his foot in his mouth as he’s prone to do. Now there were actually two Simons among the disciples: Simon the Zealot and Simon Peter. Matthew doesn’t call him “Simon” much in his gospel, only a couple times early on to show there were two Simons among the disciples and one more time in chapter 17. Here in vs. 16, this is the first and only time Matthew uses both names side by side in introducing Jesus’s statement where he officially renames Simon to Peter.

Peter does NOT stick his foot in his mouth on this occasion (but does in the very next section!), and Jesus makes a word play out of his name. Peter’s name in Greek (Πέτρος, petros), if it were just a regular noun, would mean something akin to “boulder,” while the word for “rock” (πέτρα, petra) upon which Jesus says he’ll build his church most likely refers to the concept of “bedrock,” the hard granite that you see, for example, at the bottom of the Grand Canyon that the Colorado River has cut through.

At this point in the passage, we have at least two major questions to answer: What exactly is the “rock” that Jesus refers to here, and what does it mean that Jesus will “build” (οἰκοδομεω, oikodomeō) his “church” (ἐκκλησία, ekklēsia)?

What (or Who) Is the “Rock”?

Believers through the ages who may or may not have engaged in theological studies have debated just what the “rock” symbolizes here. Since they’re in Caesarea Philippi at this point, it’s generally agreed that it’s not referring to any kind of physical location nearby, although there was a cave in that region that had been dubbed “the Gate of Hades” by some.

Some have seen here a direct connection to Peter, citing Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, where we see the first mass conversion of people from all over to being Jesus followers. The Catholics take this a step farther and list Peter as the first Pope. And Jesus even tells Simon Peter that he’ll give him the keys to the kingdom. But since Jesus says, “I will build my church,” it seems unlikely that he would impart that responsibility to one man.

Ephesians 2:20 broadens this concept a bit and says that the church is built “on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” This has merit on a couple levels for understanding what “rock” means. First, assigning responsibility for the church to a group of contemporary apostles creates a system of accountability so that no one person is initially responsible for establishing “the church.” Second, this passage is the only time in the gospels where we see the word “church” used, and in the context of the story, the NT church hadn’t even started yet! However, in the Greek version of the OT, the word translated “church” here was often used of the “congregation” of Israel. That would make the connection to the prophets. Third, since Paul describes Christ as the “chief cornerstone,” Christ is the one that sets the standard by which the rest of the “church” is measured and built.

Still others suggest that this “rock” is the truth of Peter’s confession, or more broadly, the teachings of Jesus which feature prominently in Matthew’s gospel. In the church I attend, we ask a new convert if they believe that “Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” This would also fit with Romans 10:9-10: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

Now just as God never wanted Israel to have an earthly king, so also do I think that Jesus never wanted one man (other than himself) to have authority over all believers. I think a combination of the last two views I mentioned is probably the best understanding of “rock” here: the church would have a solid foundation, and those who would become “bricks” in its construction have means of doing so by acknowledging the cornerstone.

What Does Jesus Mean by “Build”?

This brings us to the second question: what does Jesus mean when he says, “I will build my church.” Just as this larger passage is the crux of Matthew’s gospel, so is this statement a crux between the ministry of Jesus on earth and the ministry of his church after his death. Now I’ve already mentioned that this passage is the only place in the gospels where the word church is used. Of course, the gospels were written after the church was formed, so it’s not too surprising to find it here. After all, as I said earlier, it may be reasonable to assume Jesus was referring to the congregation of Israel.

But what you may not know is that the word “build” or “building” in the gospels always refers to a physical building. So it’s worth asking, at least for the moment, if perhaps Jesus himself was referring to some kind of building, like a temple or a synagogue, when he made this statement. As you might guess, though, it’s pretty clear that Jesus isn’t referring to a building at all, but to his followers, a “congregation,” if you will.

1 Corinthians 1:2

Overlapping structure of the verse

A         To the “called” (“church”) ekklēsia
      B         of God
            C         sanctified (i.e., “made holy”)
      B′     in Christ Jesus
A′     “called”
            C′     holy (=sanctified)
A″     those who “call upon”
      B″     the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

Above, you’ll see a small chart on 1 Corinthians 1:2. I believe Paul here is drawing on the root meaning of ekklēsia, which is the word we translate “church” in the NT. It literally means “those called out from.” Paul uses a rhetorical device of his day to define who the church is, a sort of reverse parallel structure that suggests he put some thought into this. You can see it in the chart with the parallel elements identified by the capital letters: “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours.” The church is made up of those who are called to be holy, and who call upon the name of Jesus.

Now I do want to offer a bit of a caveat here: just because “church” refers to people doesn’t mean the concept of a church building should be tossed out the window. Even in Paul’s day, the believers met in their respective homes or early on, even in the synagogues, so those who gathered had a place they could identify as their spiritual home and could use as a central place to carry out ministry to their respective communities. I’ve heard a lot of people say they don’t need to belong to a church to be a Christian, but it sure makes it easier to live the Christian life if you have a place you can call home and where you know that you’ll be welcome good times or bad.

This idea of “church” being people or a congregation is borne out when we look at the words “build” and “building” in Paul’s letters. With just a few exceptions in some OT references, these words NEVER refer to a physical building, but to the people who make up the “church” or to the concepts that support the truth of the Christian message. And several times, the words are used with the word for “church.” Let’s look at some of these passages. In these contexts, often these words are translated as “edify,” “edification,” “strengthen,” or some other synonym.

Let’s look first at how this concept of “building” or “edifying” relates to the church.

In Acts 9:31, shortly after Paul’s Damascus Road conversion, Luke mentions that “the church…enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened.”

In Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesian believers in Acts 20:32, he concludes, “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”

In 1 Corinthians 3:9, Paul tells the Corinthian believers: “For we are coworkers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Later in chapter 14, Paul exhorts the Corinthians on the matter of tongues and prophecy in their gatherings, capturing the concept of “edification” several times, including vs. 26: “When you come together….everything must be done so that the church may be built up.

I’ve already mentioned Ephesians 2, but later in chapter 4, Paul says this: “From him [Jesus] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work.”

Acts 2:42 shows us how the church functioned in the early days after Peter’s Pentecost sermon. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship of the breaking of the bread, and to the prayers.” These “prayers” were probably the daily prayers in the Temple. That was probably the only place big enough to accommodate 3,000 new converts! Acts 2 goes on to say how they met together in homes and had everything in common, taking turns sharing meals in their homes.

In other verses, we see the “how” of edification. In Romans 15:20, Paul speaks of his desire to preach where no one else has so he’s not building on someone else’s foundation. In 1 Corinthians 8:1, he says “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” Twice in 2 Corinthians, Paul mentions his authority to “build up” believers through preaching and exhortation that may have been difficult for that church to accept, preaching that stepped on their toes, if you will. In Galatians 2:18, Paul is “building” an argument for justification by faith as opposed to the Law. And in Ephesians 4:29, Paul says our speech should be wholesome, “Helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

We see the many ways that we can be the church and that Christ builds his church through us, not just amongst ourselves, but out in the mission field of our immediate circle of influence. To borrow a phrase from my wife’s profession, these are the “activities of daily living” for the Christian: sharing the good news with those who’ve never heard it; showing love, care, and compassion; having the difficult conversations with those who need strong encouragement; defending the truth of God’s word; and taming our tongues.

Now there’s one more concept in this passage we need to address. After Jesus says he will build his church, he adds the promise that “the Gates of Hades will not overcome it.” It’s important that we understand just what this means. When Jesus says “will not overcome it,” he’s not talking about hell advancing on the church, trying to destroy it. He’s really talking about the church advancing on the gates of Hades, which do not have the strength to withstand the advance of God’s people, God’s army. Ephesians says God has given “incomparably great power for us who believe,” so we should never think that Satan will win. We look forward to the kingdom of heaven with its pearl gates that open to streets of gold (see what I did there?).

Joseph Strauss wrote a couple poems about the Golden Gate Bridge upon its completion. One stanza from The Mighty Task Is Done struck me as being particularly relevant for the Church because it can allude to the battles we face each day, and I’ll close with this:

An Honored cause and nobly fought

And that which they so bravely wrought,

Now glorifies their deed,

No selfish urge shall stain its life,

Nor envy, greed, intrigue, nor strife,

Nor false, ignoble creed.

Peace to all of you, and thank you for allowing me to share with you again.

Scott Stocking

My opinions are my own.

November 5, 2015

Jesus, the Bible, Taxes, and Charity: Part 2

Filed under: Acts,Biblical Studies — Scott Stocking @ 9:58 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

In the previous post, we looked at how the greedy heir of Solomon wanted to impose even greater financial burden on the people of Israel, wealthy and poor alike. In fact, if Israel was working the way it was supposed to, there would be very few poor, if any in Israel. Deuteronomy 15 talks about the “year of cancelling debts,” which was to happen every seven years. Anyone who has ever felt the burden of great debt knows how that weighs on the soul and drains the livelihood out of life. Fortunately, our society has a mechanism to allow this freedom from debt: bankruptcy. Some Christians might say it’s a sin to not pay off your debts, but I believe God understood human nature well enough even in the days before MasterCard to establish a means for that kind of freedom.

Aiding the Poor, Old Testament Style

Care for the poor has always been the responsibility of the people of God. It was virtually unheard of that a government in biblical times would have considered the kind of wealth redistribution we practice in America today. As early as Leviticus 19, God was commanding the Israelite people, NOT the rulers, to make accommodations for the poor. “Do not reap the very edges of your field” (v. 9); “Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner” (v. 10); “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them…[They] must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt” (vv. 33–34). (“Foreigners in the land” is quite different from illegal aliens today, but that will have to wait for another post.)

The Psalms and Proverbs are full of blessings for the poor and warnings about oppressing or mistreating them. There are even verses about God defending the cause of the poor and the orphans. But never once in Scripture will you find God or the biblical writers ever encouraging political leaders to extract money from the rich to give to the poor. Meeting the needs of the poor is always a voluntary compassionate effort. Wealth redistribution, on the other hand, is neither voluntary nor compassionate, unless you consider those who could be working to be voluntarily unemployed!

Aiding the Poor, New Testament Style

When we get to Acts in the New Testament, we see almost immediately a community that voluntarily shares their possessions or sells them to meet the needs of their newfound family of faith. Acts 2:44–45 says, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” No taxation, no big brother government taking from the rich, keeping their own cut, then redistributing to the poor. It was a self-sustained community. Acts 4 continues the theme. In fact, they took the voluntary nature of giving so seriously, that when Ananias and Sapphira sold a field and lied to God about having given the entire sale price, they were struck dead! Peter even asks Ananias the question he never got to answer: “Wasn’t the money at your disposal?” (Acts 5:4).

The seriousness with which the young church handled charity is further seen in Acts 6. There was a complaint that the Greek Jewish widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. (Widows were an especially vulnerable demographic group, because family, if they were nearby, were their only means of support otherwise.) The disciples recognized the Old Testament principles discussed above and chose seven men of character and integrity to oversee the distribution.

But as far as charity goes in the New Testament, freeloaders need not apply. Paul is very clear about his attitude toward those who can work but don’t, even to the point of implying that they are thieves. “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need” (Ephesians 4:28); “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10b; 3:6–14 is an extended warning about idleness). Even Paul himself worked at his own trade to pay his own way as he ministered across the northern Mediterranean region.

The Lesson for Today

Taking charity out of the hands of a bloated, corrupt government and reenergizing the church to fulfill its biblical calling to care for the poor is the absolute best thing we can do to fight poverty in our nation. The local church can do a much better job of weeding out frauds and phonies than the government ever will do. Here’s something to chew on: Medicare and Medicaid are number 1 and 3 when it comes to improper payments for government programs. Medicaid’s 2014 overpayments were $17.5 billion (that’s billion, with a b); NASA’s 2014 budget was $17.6 billion! And Medicare’s improper payments were beyond the reach of NASA: almost $46 billion.

Much of that is fraud and abuse, but even with program integrity efforts, it’s difficult to keep up with all the schemes perpetrated out there. But improper payments also reflect payments made that technically should not have been made because of honest human error, that is, someone didn’t dot their I’s and cross their T’s. Medicare and Medicaid regulations are about as thick as, if not thicker than, the tax code! So some providers who make an honest attempt help the poor and needy by accepting Medicare and Medicaid patients wind up losing money on the deal because it’s so hard to keep up with the ever-changing regulatory climate and the 55,000 new ICD-10 codes! Handling these things on the local level helps deal with fraud and abuse much more efficiently, because hopefully you know the people in your community.

Food banks, food pantries, and local shelters and “soup kitchens” run by the church or other charitable groups have the potential to be far more efficient than a government-run welfare program. I’ve seen many churches and religious groups get very creative in the things they do to help the poor and needy. You can find ministries that do everything from providing food and shelter to job training to medical care and legal services. And in some cases, big brother Government has stepped in and squelched their generosity by imposing a bunch of needless regulations and rules. The government that’s supposed to be of the people, by the people, and for the people has become a self-perpetuating behemoth swallowing up the people. It’s time for the church to rise up and reclaim the biblical principles of charity. Let’s show the world we’re not afraid of the politically correct bullies.

Scott Stocking

The views expressed in my blog are my own. Period.

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