Over the past month or so I have been talking about the case against mercy because believe it or not I am hearing that from some folks who should know better. Our churches need the money because their are declining memberships and declining offerings and we need to scratch around on our own dung hill. Mercy work is treating chronic problems as if they are emergencies and that makes them “toxic”. I learned that from books that I have been bombarded with and you can by them on a sponsored page on Amazon. That page is sponsored by the American Cancer Society which as I have said certainly treats a chronic problem like an emergency. I write about the attacks on mercy on February 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, and March 10, 11, 13. We need to have a discussion about this because I even heard the case against mercy made because it has about it the whiff of “liberation theology” and a preferential care for the poor. I am not sure what to do with that except to say that if you don’t God has care for the poor in the forefront of His approach to His people you haven’t read the Bible. If you don’t think that God wants to liberate not only us as human beings but the whole created order we have no common ground to debate. To equate our corporate responsibilities as church under the Lordship of Jesus with a political movement is nothing short of breathtaking. Let us cut to the “chase” as they say and get to the point – many are making the case against mercy because of greed. Many make the case against mercy because of sheer laziness. We want to preach the Gospel and administer the sacraments and nothing else. Those gifts of God are to bring us to the point where “we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4 In other words we want to be like Christ and even have His mind in us (Phil 2).
“Christ (……) dwelt among us that we might behold God’s glory. God is the God who reaches out to men’s needs whatever they are, and Christ is the Christ who entered into all the needs of men as an act of self-sacrifice, and we are the church that would remain aloof from the needs of men, unsoiled by their dirt, unbloodied by their blows as we seek to help them, honored and respected and not despised any more, because we do not consort with publicans and sinners, because we can play the part of the priest and the levite so well that we no longer cause others to blush as they follow us and pass by on the other side?
Christlikeness, we say, and we have a “place”, a pleasant place where to lay our heads while there still are many who do not have.
Christlikeness, we say, and the leper never knows our touch, the hungry never eats our little which is greatly multiplied under the blessing of God, the outcast never knows what it means for us to sit down at a well and talk with him for hours.
Christlikeness, we say, and we have never gone cold so that others might be warm, we have never gone thirsty that others might have to drink, we have never given so much away that we literally had to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
Christlikeness, we say, and the Son of man came not to be ministered unto but to minister and to give His life a ransom for many.” William Buege, “Declaring God’s Glory Through Welfare Work”, CTM vol XXXI No.11