Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Almsgiving - what ought Christians to do about it in a society without Biblical poverty?


Not, surely, to scour the world in search of genuine poor to whom we can then give alms.

Not, surely, to import genuine poor in vast numbers such that they can be sustained by coercively-extracted taxes.

Not, surely, to redefine poverty in relativistic rather than absolute terms (so 'the poor' are 'always with us' - but not because there are always poor people, but instead because there is always a bottom ten, or twenty, or whatever, percent of the population as defined in some statistically-measurable definition of wealth.)

Not, surely, to deliberately create and sustain local poverty in order that alms may be given them.

Not, surely, to equate taxation with almsgiving (nor to equate bureacratic organizations with 'good works').


But if not, then what?

The short answer: Christian evangelism.

In a society where there is no real Biblical poverty - almsgiving (and good works) should focus on evangelism.

Specifically, on gaining converts, on deepening the faith of the converted, on supporting good teaching, on making the sacraments available, on spiritual activities (supporting Christian works, monasticism etc).

How best this may done is a matter of judgment, and discussion - but evangelism ought to be the focus, ought it not?



On the definition of Biblical Poverty see: