Vol.III No.II Pg.7
March 1966

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

There seems to be some fundamental fault in "limited benevolence" since Christ taught us to love our enemies; and Gal. 6:10 clearly teaches us to "do good unto all men". Please comment on this subject. MP


There certainly is a fundamental fault in "limited benevolence" -- the terms are contradictory as applied to Christianity.

"Benevolence" means, basically, to "wish well" -- and describes attitude (To be particular with our wording, "beneficence" is the act or gift that benevolence produces.).

Christian "love" (agape) is unselfish, all-embracing, loving even the unlovely. With such love we love all sinners -- even those we can not call "brother" or fellowship in Christ. We love our enemies -- even those with whom we can not, for other reasons, "walk, stand, or sit." (Psm.1:1) We love, and are anxious to forgive all those who sin against us -- although God still expects them to repent and ask forgiveness before He reinstates them in His fellowship. (Lk. 17:3-4)

Some serious reflection should show us that advocates of the social gospel, which puts the organized church in the general welfare business -- building homes for unwed mothers, and fishing camps for under-privileged children -- have abused and misused God's "law of love." They have also THAT LAW, by making it appear that those who respect God's word, using the resources of the local church only as divinely authorized, have no love for humanity.

Paul wrote, "If any would not work, neither should he eat." (2 Thes.3:6-) Did Paul mean they were not to love such a one?. No! But he regulated the outflow of assistance. Paul also said the church should not be charged with the care of those widows who were the responsibilities of others. (1 Tim.5:16) Does this mean not love them? Of course not!

Our "benevolence" is unlimited. As Christians we are concerned for "all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." (Gal. 6:10) God's regulations concerning the work of the church never contradicts this law of "unlimited love." Although the organized church, from her treasury, is authorized to perform certain limited acts of beneficence only -- for, after all, the function of the local church is predominately spiritual -- Christians, as individuals, are clearly taught to extend material help to saint and sinner alike (Matt. 5:43-f. and like passages as cited above.)

Those who advocate church support of human institutions "doing good" would do well to reflect on the size of the door they are opening. The schools, hospitals, camps, and all come into the church budget via this gate. Or maybe they don't "love" the schools -- and who is kidding whom?

Some love us so much they will ignore this article and go right on telling others that we don't believe in feeding starving orphans. Oh well, love is a fickle thing, I hear.