Summary: Christian ethics is individual as well as social and should therefore be part of the Christian communities’ focus.
Luke 10:33-37 - But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. “So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn and took care of him. “On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ “So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
James 1:27 - Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Christian ethics is individual as well as social and should therefore be part of the Christian communities’ focus.
Social welfare is a system of laws, programs, and services which provide for the meeting of social needs in order to promote the well-being of people and the humane functioning of society.
Christianity is the only philosophy that provides a pure motive and impetus for doing works of compassion.
Historically the church was the most successful cooperative association. Most of the other successful voluntary associations were started by Christians. In fact, the church had a ministry to the poor right from its inception. Soon after the church began, deacons were appointed to distribute food to the poor.
All deacons were required to be good managers of their own households. This was important because part of their role was to teach the poor how to care for themselves.
The church in Rome, even though it faced persecution, rescued babies abandoned in the streets and left to die. This was a common Roman practice and Christians took these orphans into their homes and adopted them into their families. From these early beginnings, the church went on to do many great works of charity.
The church has a ministry of love and mercy and must be exercised through individuals, families, and small groups of people giving freely and providing, with love and compassion, to those in difficulty and in need.
In contemporary society the church has tasks of service to perform in obedience to Jesus Christ. The foremost task of the church in social welfare is to proclaim the Word of God in ways that makes it responsive to human need.
It should abhor and oppose that which erodes and destroys human dignity and deprives people of their God-given rights. The unique task of the church is to bear witness to God's Word. Such witness must always be in both word and deed. This is necessary if the church is to be consistent with its message and relevant to its community.
The Bible teaches the church community both individually and corporately to show concern for persons and to serve them at their point of need.
A sense of social responsibility rests on a number of basic suppositions or convictions. The first of these convictions is that people are important.
This conviction may be held by Christians and non-Christians alike and is the basis of a great deal of social programs. It undergirds many humanitarian efforts for the alleviation of need.
In the Christian community there should exist a concern based on a sense of justice and fairness. Christian social responsibility is based on the love of God and believers should be concerned about the welfare of their fellowmen because they have experienced the love and blessings of God in their own lives. This is the basic principle in the concept of Christian social responsibility.
Church leaders should give adequate attention to the local congregation as a significant resource for addressing social issues.
The Christian community should participate in society through concrete opportunities for deliberation and action. The church should also give moral support to those who fight for greater social justice and equity.
Out of this sense of Christian social responsibility, many church-related welfare agencies and non-profit benefit institutions have been formed.
Social welfare work should be a concern for every congregation which remains the household of faith.
Believers are not only members of the church community but also members of the wider community. The church cannot be an isolated enclave of self-concern, so engrossed in maintaining itself and its own programs that it cannot see beyond the fences of its property to the community in which it lives.
This can include among others, community feeding schemes, education, support for orphans, senior citizens, widows, and the homeless.
Churches do not have the capacity for dealing with massive social problems arising in a highly mobile, rapidly changing society. Therefore governments have rightly assumed increasing responsibility for meeting social needs and dealing with its causes. However, the significance of church organizations in social welfare is not diminished.
As the church engages in social welfare services it is better able to acquire understanding of social problems.