Church And Charity.

Another question many ask is: Should the Church be involved in charity? Is public work and charity one of her roles?

To begin with, while we must not see socio-political duties as the MAIN function of the Church, there are certain Bible texts that give a bit of room for them. For example, Galatians 6:10 says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us DO GOOD TO ALL, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” We are to do good to all. This would also include members of the society. However, this goodness must be focused primarily on Church members (“…ESPECIALLY to those who are of the household of faith“).

Practically, this means that before I give to charity, I should first give to a brother in Church (who is in need) i.e. “those of the household of faith.” In the Book of Acts, Church resources were used PRIMARILY to help Church members.

Acts 2:44-45 (NKJV)

44 Now ALL WHO BELIEVED were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them AMONG ALL, as anyone had need. 

All” (in vs. 45) refers to “all who believed” (in context of vs. 44). Resources were distributed amongst the saints. We find similiarly in Acts 4.

Acts 4:32-35 (NKJV)

32 Now the multitude of THOSE WHO BELIEVED were of one heart and one soul; neither did ANYONE (among those who believed) say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they (all who believed) had all things in common. 33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. 34 Nor was there anyone among them (who believed) who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone (among those who believed) had need.

The needs of the Church were always met first. Romans 12:13 says, “Distributing to the NEEDS OF THE SAINTS, given to hospitality.

Widows in the Church were also provided for.

1 Timothy 5:3, 9-10 (NKJV)

3 Honor widows who are really widows. 

9 Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man, 10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.

A widow who is known for doing good towards the saints should also be taken care of when her husband dies.

The Apostle James also teaches helping Christians in need.

James 2:15-17 (NKJV)

15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Don’t pray for a brother in need, James instructs. GIVE TO HIM FIRST! Then pray.

The Apostle John also says in 1 John 3:17, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his BROTHER (i.e. his brother IN CHRIST) in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

So charity is taught in the Epistles as something done to FELLOW CHRISTIANS. While we might also render help to the society (where necessary), our chief focus must be on Church members who have needs. The Church is therefore not a charity organisation.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2022.


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