Conditional Christianity

When my wife was in the hospital with early labor issues earlier this month, she forged a friendship with several of the hospital staff. One young lady in particular came by to take her meal orders every day. After chatting with her, my wife found out that this girl had attended a very strict Christian college and now lived at home with her parents and attended a fundamentalist independent church.

My wife talked with her one day about missions and this young lady's eyes lit up. She told my wife how she had accompanied a team from her church to a third world country in order to administer medical aid. And then she said something that made me scratch my head: "We made those people sit and listen to the gospel before we would give them any medical help. If we didn't do it that way, it would have been a wasted trip."

What's up with that? Is that a model that is found in Scripture? I've heard of other churches boasting about their mission work that was similarly conditional - if you don't listen to what we have to say, we aren't going to help you.

I wonder, did the good Samaritan first insist that the man who lay beaten and bloodied on the road first listen to stories of God before he would bandage his wounds? Is this the example that Jesus laid out for us? I could be wrong - and please correct me here - but I don't see Jesus' healings in the Bible as being conditional on whether He got His message out or not.

Here's what I've found about all of this. When I've seen and been a part of mission groups that intentionally go out into the world to help people, then they are seen as the gospel in action. Did we intend to share the gospel? Absolutely! But we didn't make it conditional. In fact, most people asked us faith questions long before we could bring them up. The reason for this is that we lived out the gospel of Jesus by helping "the least of these" that Jesus was so passionate about.

Let me finish with a quote from James 2:18: "But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith from my works."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here let me force religion down your throat, then I'll try to 'love on you'...its amazing how some churches look at really is...and I guess some just don't.

You Sir...keep preaching the message, and pray that some might hear.

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