Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Why I Don’t Believe in the Faith Based Initiative

Last night, a few fellow missionaries and I were on our rounds seeking men and women of peace who might be interested in a new quality of life in light of the fact that the Messiah has come and the kingdom of heaven is within reach through faith and repentance. So, we went to a place called Jurassic park in Bellflower. Jurassic park is a dope fiend dive beside the 91 freeway where crack heads and speed freaks sing the blues and missionaries go to find the poor in spirit.

Well, we were talking to some young men, and one young man was very receptive. He had spent most of his adult life in prisons for various dope related crimes and had, a few years back, been through a spiritual program. About a year ago, he tried to solve a problem the easy way and has been putting a pipe to his mouth and a bottle in a bag ever since. This man said he thinks he needs a highly structured program to help him out. He appears to have a Pentecostal background and is open to following Jesus.

Here is how this relates to government funding. What this man needs and wants is exactly what our church wants to give. He needs two prayer meetings a day. He needs a Christian community that provides a quality of life that is more joy-filled and more peace-filled than sitting on a rock under the overpass. He needs somebody to hold his money for a few years and to teach him a set of principles that lead to a truly blessed life. What he wants we give away, but we give it away only and always in the name of Jesus. We, as believes in Jesus Christ, believe there is only one name under heaven given by which the poor in spirit can receive the kingdom of heaven on earth today and every day, one day at a time. So can I expect the government to support me giving food to a fellow beggar in the name of Jesus? The strange truth is that the government is willing to give us missionaries grants to do the Lord’s work.

The bottom line is that if the government gave us money to bring development to our community that would amount to government funding for the establishment of religion. Our aim is to establish religion in this man’s life. The more established his religion is the better. So if this is the case, how could the government fund such a faith-based enterprise? Furthermore, if I believe that Jesus is the Messiah and my sole aim in life is to establish His kingdom in people’s lives by faith alone through grace alone through the bible alone, how could I ever in good conscious and in accordance with the constitution of our nation receive government funding?

The conclusion is that evangelical missionaries doing community development work cannot in good conscience receive government funding. Instead, the missionaries need to call the church to repentance. The church needs to sell their Sea-dos on Craig’s list and give to the poor via the missionaries of the church. The church needs to cancel their home additions to buy additional discipleship homes for the poor in spirit all around us. If the choice is between a two story garage to house all our toys or housing for the desperately needy, does a Christian really have a choice? As mission-minded evangelicals, the solution is not to support government funding of our gospel work but church funding of the establishment of the kingdom of heaven for the glory of the name of Jesus Christ, by faith alone, through grace alone, through the teachings of Jesus.

God Bless,

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