Summary: There is a common perception today that Jesus and Christianity teaches that the Church should support the idea of social justice. By social justice, I mean that the Church should be a supporter of government programs to provide for the poor. Though, Chris
"Recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Peter and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They only asked us to remember the poor - the very thing I also was eager to do." Galatians 2:9-10
There is a common perception today that Jesus and Christianity teaches that the Church should support the idea of social justice. By social justice, I mean that the Church should be a supporter of government programs to provide for the poor. Though, Christians are told to remember the poor and to share their wealth with the needy, they were taught to be discriminate about who they gave to.
The Bible says that the borrower is the slave of the lender (Proverbs 22:7) so those who become dependent upon government entitlement programs are slaves of the government. Social entitlement programs may initially sound good to those in need but these programs move us into socialism where individual freedoms are forever lost and all eventually become wards of the state.
The free practice of religion and the preaching of the Gospel has been suppressed by every nation that has embraced a type of socialist government. Under socialism the media, television and radio programs come under the control of the government ruling elite so there is a real and present danger to the Work of God.
Those who advance social justice believe in the redistribution of wealth - they believe in taking the wealth of others to give to those who are in need, but the Apostles taught that every man is to earn his own living and eat his own food and that if he didn’t work then he should not eat.
The Apostles were not teaching the Church to be uncaring but were teaching the brethren to be responsible. The wealthy in the early Church shared their wealth with their poor brethren but not under a Church government mandate - each person had complete control. (Acts 5:4)
In America, we have seen how indiscriminate our government programs often are which has fostered fraud and tremendous waste. The Church practiced equal justice where the needy were given a hand up rather than a hand out. Social justice tends to keep people enslaved and dependent, while the charity of equal justice is designed to help people get back on their feet. Of course there are always exceptions.
Some people will always be in constant need and must depend on the charity of others, government or private - the elderly and the handicapped.
When the Church began, those who had wealth shared their wealth with others. If they did not know a specific person in need they gave of their wealth to the Apostles for distribution - this was not commanded but was completely voluntary.
But did the Apostles give to anyone who happened to be in need? We will let the Apostles answer that for themselves, -"For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order; if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all. . .such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread." (2 Thes.3)