government health care? why christians shouldn’t be surprised

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. school of ministry and missions instructor. president of fistbump media, llc.

August 11, 2009

This whole health care thing has gotten way out of control! And this is something that the church (that means us, the people, not the institution) needs to take notice of and do something about. But what I am about to propose to you may take you off guard.

just a billFirst let’s take a look at the actual issue that is driving this whole thing. Basically, while many people enjoy the privilege of decent medical care, there are still over 40 million people in the United States that have no coverage whatsoever.

I could provide my own commentary on this and other numbers, but there is enough of that already. What I will say is that there is a big need in our country today as it relates to care for the sick. So the government responded.

With this response by the government, many in the church are expressing outrage over such a ‘socialist’ act! And that brings us to the point that I want to make…

Why is the church surprised? After all, isn’t the government simply doing something that the church should have been doing all along?

Personally, I’m still not sure what to think of the plan itself. But where there is an obvious need like this, I would prefer to see the church step up to meet that need. If we had, then there would be no problem that the government would feel compelled to fix.

Aren’t we (the church) called to take care of the sick? (Just in case you were wondering, the answer to that question is, “yes”.) Then how have the medical needs in our country gotten so bad? The only answer that I can think of for these questions is that we (the church) have not stepped up to the call.

The good news is that I know that it is possible for the church to meet needs like this. Things like relational tithe that are designed to help people in a community meet each other’s needs are solutions that could eliminate the need for socialized health care.

Whatever it looks like, if you want to fight things like socialized health care, then the best way to do it is by eliminating the needs that government feels obligated to address. As the church we should be leading the world in finding creative ways to meet the needs of the sick (and the orphan, and the widow, and… you get the idea). We should be a light to the world.

The church that Jesus called us to be is full of people who were created in the image of the most Creative Being in the universe! And we have been tasked with taking care of this place, and each other. For once I would like to see the church BE the solution, rather than complain about someone else trying to meet a need that we have failed to address.

14 Comments

  1. twistedxtian

    I do not understand all the controversy and fear-mongering that is taking place in your country surrounding socialized health care. The would “socialist” is thrown around like it is a bad thing. Everything about socialized health care is Christian, heck Christianity is more like Communism then Democracy.
    I don't think the church has the scope, nor the ability (at least not in it's current or past state) to do what the government is able to by creating socialized healthcare. Sure it would be great, and in theory it would work perfectly. I just don't think the structure is in place, nor could it be in the foreseeable future.

    Reply
  2. rupzip

    The reason we have such big government is because we have a little church.

    Look at all the 'big scary' social programs…and they were all once owned and controlled by people of faith.

    But we backed away from these ugly things and instead invested our money in buildings and programs and such.

    But …I digress 😉

    Reply
  3. BibleDude

    This whole issue on government-run health care seems to be a volitile one (considering the conversation on FB that I know that you are a part of). I completely understand your issue on the scope of the issue. Currently the needs in healthcare are 'too large' for the church to be able to handle…. or is it?

    On my recent mission trip to Africa, I saw churches picking up all kinds of 'duties' that the government failed to do. Things like schools, medical clinics, and other community development and support issues were all handled by the local church. And there the church was very poor, but they did what they had to do.

    I think that all I am saying here (in this post) is that the church shouldn't complain about someone else doing something that they were called to do… that part really saddens me.

    Reply
  4. BibleDude

    I love the point that you make about how we have big government because we have a little church. BUT… I think that this is only true in the mind of the church itself. I think that we are much bigger than we realize. If we count just the Christians (regular church attending) in America, I'm sure that it would add up to a pretty substantial amount of resources.

    I think that we (the church) can have much more impact that we are comfortable admitting…

    Thanks for sharing your link about the little church! I'll catch up on that one shortly!

    Reply
  5. twistedxtian

    I'd like to take back my statement that, “I just don't think the structure is in place, nor could it be in the foreseeable future.” I think the church could, and should, take care of the sick and needy. rupzip brings up some good points in his post that he links to below, and after some thought on my part, I really think the church could bring back part of what the church once was.
    I think the church has the ability to care for the sick and needy. I know in the past this was took place in towns that were predominately Christian, but history has shown us that in the past religions of all sorts used to care for the sick and needy. So I don't think there is any reason why we as Christians, and we as a predominately religious society can't meet these needs.

    And yes, we really shouldn't complain that someone else is doing what we were called to. Instead, we should step up and help. Someone else may be doing our job, but that doesn't mean we have to, or should, wash our hands of it.

    Reply
  6. BibleDude

    I knew that you would see it my way! 😉
    Seriously… I obviously agree. I also appreciate your 'ability' change your mind on some things. You rock dude!

    Reply
  7. BibleDude

    This whole issue on government-run health care seems to be a volitile one (considering the conversation on FB that I know that you are a part of). I completely understand your issue on the scope of the issue. Currently the needs in healthcare are 'too large' for the church to be able to handle…. or is it?

    On my recent mission trip to Africa, I saw churches picking up all kinds of 'duties' that the government failed to do. Things like schools, medical clinics, and other community development and support issues were all handled by the local church. And there the church was very poor, but they did what they had to do.

    I think that all I am saying here (in this post) is that the church shouldn't complain about someone else doing something that they were called to do… that part really saddens me.

    Reply
  8. BibleDude

    I love the point that you make about how we have big government because we have a little church. BUT… I think that this is only true in the mind of the church itself. I think that we are much bigger than we realize. If we count just the Christians (regular church attending) in America, I'm sure that it would add up to a pretty substantial amount of resources.

    I think that we (the church) can have much more impact that we are comfortable admitting…

    Thanks for sharing your link about the little church! I'll catch up on that one shortly!

    Reply
  9. twistedxtian

    I'd like to take back my statement that, “I just don't think the structure is in place, nor could it be in the foreseeable future.” I think the church could, and should, take care of the sick and needy. rupzip brings up some good points in his post that he links to below, and after some thought on my part, I really think the church could bring back part of what the church once was.
    I think the church has the ability to care for the sick and needy. I know in the past this was took place in towns that were predominately Christian, but history has shown us that in the past religions of all sorts used to care for the sick and needy. So I don't think there is any reason why we as Christians, and we as a predominately religious society can't meet these needs.

    And yes, we really shouldn't complain that someone else is doing what we were called to. Instead, we should step up and help. Someone else may be doing our job, but that doesn't mean we have to, or should, wash our hands of it.

    Reply
  10. BibleDude

    I knew that you would see it my way! 😉
    Seriously… I obviously agree. I also appreciate your 'ability' change your mind on some things. You rock dude!

    Reply
  11. Aaron

    Where in scripture is the church's task of providing health care for the sick found? Maybe if all Christians went to med school and became physicians, then we could all do pro bono work and fulfill the work you speak of.
    The Jesus I know is the great physician who can transform the heart. He is more instested in the spiritual health of a person and our Commission is to proclaim that. Please provide some scripture to back up your claim [Aren’t we (the church) called to take care of the sick?].

    Reply
  12. BibleDude

    These are great questions about the Christian responsibility (or lack thereof) to care for people in our communities. I always appreciate the opportunity for some respectful dialogue in things like this. There are a few things in your statement here that I'd like to try to address…

    (1) Regarding the church's task of providing health care in a general sense… I'm not proposing that all Christians must go to med school and do pro bono work in order to accomplish something like this. But there are two things that I would point you to for precident…

    First, the early Christian of the first few centruries saw rapid growth in the church partially because they showed the compassion that the rest of society would not. Generally when a plague would come into an area, most people would leave. But it was the Christians who WENT IN to care for these sick people. Eventually this act of compassion would lead to many new followers.

    Second, even in modern days, the 'church' has been involved with health care… often initiated by the Catholic church. I was born in a hospital called St. Josephs. It wasn't named after a saint because of secular influence, but because of faith based influence.

    (2) Regarding Scriptures, there may not be much that says 'every Christian should also be a doctor'. However, there is much support for the idea that Christians should be concerned about people's well-being AS JESUS WAS.

    You point out that Jesus only cared about the spiritual condition of people, and I have to respectfully disagree with that position. Jesus was concerned about the total person, mind, body and spirit. And there are so many references to this, it would be easier just to say read the Gospels.

    (3) You refer to Jesus as 'the Great Physician', and I agree with you on that. However, Paul also refers to us (the church) as the Body of Christ. Well, if we (collectively) are His Body, then wouldn't we be that Great Physician in a sense? Shouldn't we be looking to do the work that He did? And not just spiritually, but mentally and physically as well?

    (4) Whatever you did for the least of these….

    As I've said, my position here is not to tell every Christian that they need to be a doctor. But there are lots of ways that the church can use what it has to meet needs in our communities. After all, isn't that HOW we fulfill the Great Commission.

    If my position offends you, then I just ask that you really search the Scriptures to find were it states that the Christian position is to NOT help people in their time of need.

    Reply
  13. Joshua

    It would appear I'm a little late to this discussion, but heres my two cents:

    The main issue, from my point of view, isn't health care in and of itself. It's the fact the the government is pushing a “health care. Or else!” kind of deal that has people so divided over the issue. There's a difference between genuinely helping those in need (which is obviously something the Church should be doing as much as possible) and allowing people who simply don't want to work to have the benefits of those who do. Which is what is being attempted here.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tuesday Youday: Health Care Reform and Christianity | Soul Munchies - [...] back in August, Dan King, as BibleDude posted an article about why Christians shouldn’t be surprised about government health…

Leave a Reply to rupzip Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

government health care? why christians shouldn’t be surprised

by Dan King time to read: 2 min
15