A judge ordered a Phoenix church to stop feeding the homeless on its property, citing zoning violation.
Retired Arizona Supreme Court Justice Robert Corcoran ruled in early November that CrossRoads United Methodist Church in north Phoenix was functioning as a charity dining hall in a residential neighborhood.
CrossRoads, however, argues that it is not violating city ordinance because it is feeding the homeless as a ministry of the church and not as a dining hall. Once a week, the Methodist Church offers the homeless and the poor in the neighborhood a pancake breakfast before Saturday worship service....
And, behold a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unmto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thous has answered right: this do and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself,said unto Jesu, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment,and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, ashe journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. Luke 10:25-34 (continued)
John, that sounds proper to me. I assume by "community" you mean believers in the church.
The tragic thing about MLK is, his most stirring rhetoric misuses Scripture, however sound his goal of political equality may have been. It might've been better if he avoided Scripture altogether, which at least would've been more consistent with his progressive theology.
Now lest I get blamed for criticizing him, American racism in general, & Jim Crow in particular, did incalculable damage not only to blacks, but also in falsely linking Biblical Christianity & Constitutionalism with racial segregation.
Thank God someone is helping the poor. Anyone of us could be in that position at any time. Here in California I am seeing homeless everywhere as so many are losing jobs--and there is not enough food or shelters in the formal ministries--and their jobs have been largely sent overseas. We are so brainwashed that it is the job of the government to do God's work that we think it is moral to not help our neighbor??? I can just imagine the Pharisees giving the Good Samaritan an infraction for helping the sick man on the side of the road.
San Jose John wrote: Thanks, Neil. Our church is careful only to announce opportunities to serve physical needs of our community without getting directly involved so that our individual members can "remember the poor" as they see fit without having the church itself get bogged-down trying to "wait tables" instead of devoting all available energies to preaching the Gospel and meeting SPIRITUAL needs, which is the church's true charter (as Jim Lincoln pointed out), and which I've tried to explain to the gentleman from Dayton.
Not that I disagree with who should meet needs, SJ John, but your post does bring up a curiousity. It sounds like you think there is a church that exists separately from the members who comprise it. If this is so, where is this church when all the individual members are in their homes?
Neil wrote: SJ John, to clarify a bit more, I think the widow instruction in 1 Tim. 5 is significant. If not even every widow is entitled to assistance by the church (& Scripture *repeatedly* requires charity to widows), then a fortiori, neither are other hardship cases. Those are matters of discretion for individual believers, not elders. I'm sure many a pastor should be relieved to hear this. They get phone calls all the time from people begging for church money.
Thanks, Neil. Our church is careful only to urge and announce opportunities to serve physical needs of our community without getting directly involved so that our individual members can "remember the poor" as they see fit without having the church itself get bogged-down trying to "wait tables" instead of devoting all available energies to preaching the Gospel and meeting SPIRITUAL needs, which is the church's true charter (as Jim Lincoln pointed out), and which I've tried to explain to the gentleman from Dayton.
The overall lot of African Americans today might be a lot better if Martin Luther King Jr. hadn't forsaken the Gospel in favor of temporal social justice schemes. Had he been more obedient to God I'm sure things would be MUCH better for blacks today.
One has to remember since the UMC has forsaken Christianity it does have to find something to do and social work is one of those things. There is nothing wrong with charity, if carried out for the wrong reasons, one of those wrong reasons is to make oneself feel good and not to honor God.
Matthew 6 1 "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 2 "When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 "But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing 4 that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.---[URL=http://www.lockman.org/nasb/nasbcmp.php]]]NASB[/URL]
San Jose John, are you a clergyman funded by the tithe of wealthy people? My brother (for whatever amount of grace he has for us to thank God for), is not born-again and baptized, nor hangs out in any place where people receive and mature in the Holy Ghost, where they communicate with everybody that God brings to them. My brother has worked very much to provide for his own (would kill himself before robbing widows), but now has no job, and goes to local college; he tends to his four children while his wife works many hours for a little. They receive food stamps, and family aid, and yet, face forklosure, which has been narrowly missed for while now. Tell me again, what is that excellent thing that you do unto the brethren, that you would have done to yourself if that was YOU? (we know you do not make so many bad decisions in life, but we are no man's judge) Is it to cleave to this status quo, and let however many fall off, fall off, or would you feel like me, that it is not fit to receive tithes of the wealthy by reason of their excess, which is clearly shipwrecking society? Who comes to the Church with a request, and does not first have an errand to the Lord? As for ME, I will not touch a thing, not willing to meddle with more crucial accommodations (assuming they are).
SJ John, to clarify a bit more, I think the widow instruction in 1 Tim. 5 is significant. If not even every widow is entitled to assistance by the church (& Scripture *repeatedly* requires charity to widows), then a fortiori, neither are other hardship cases. Those are matters of discretion for individual believers, not elders.
I'm sure many a pastor should be relieved to hear this. They get phone calls all the time from people begging for church money.
rhymnrzn2zion wrote: What about the poor brethren, who are already converted, San Jose John?
I think Neil already answered this (at least partially--in terms of "widows") in his post.
If YOU or anyone you know is physically poor, wheather a believer or not, and needs help there are MANY placed besides the church to go to to get physical help--which are often much better equipped to supply it, since it is their main purpose to do so (churches main purpose is to supply spiritual needs, which many charities are not fitted to provide). But if you insist on going to churches first for physical needs, I would suggest contacting the deaconal department of that church. Our church has one in which we the members "help the poor" with physical needs, but it is almost always in conjunction with an organization specifically set up to do so, which (by God's grace) frees us up as a church to provide the far more important SPIRITUAL needs of the individual.
Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmenm nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompence thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Luke 14:12-14 Who has forgotten that all Belivers in Christ Jesus are The CHURCH Ephesians 5:25-32
What about the poor brethren, who are already converted, San Jose John? Can we not make a distinction between the Lord's supper, and dealing out of the tillage of the poor? I speak in the mind that, the poor brethren are equals in the Church, and are not to be dismissed to go sit under a footstool. Yet, I get no engagement of fellowship, nor an ear to hear my voice, as to communicate with my needs (which is more of brotherhood) in such environs: even less to attend the congregation and hear a good lengthy reading of the Scriptures.
Now, if anyone wants to resort to despiteful use, in order to support the iniquity of their own heart, then what is lacking of the word of God being put into their hearing that they are so emboldened? I am very confident that there is nothing lacking within the Scriptures, or within even a very short conversation with a man of God.
For churches, helping "the poor" is tricky. You want to help them (James 2:15-16) but you don't want them to go away thinking that they have God's favor just because one of God's churches showed them kindness (by feeding their body only and neglecting the need for salvation/spiritual food--opposite of James 2:15-16--which would be exceedingly deceitful on the part of the church providing "help". Somehow the Gospel MUST be incorporated into EVERY attempt made by any true church or Christian organization when it helps the poor...which is a task that is and has been much better handled by Christion missions, which are not churches but outreach efforts supported by churches.
Far be it to let someone starve to death, or to suffer children to be malnourished, or to let any go hungry while they go to the strenuous work of pulling themselves up by the bootstraps: but no, it is not considered to be all that the righteous may do, neither the sole deed that one may obtain forgiveness of sins (though manifest love is able to cover a multitude of sins). Of course, according to the height of hypocrisy, one like myself might rather not touch anything that be their's at all, if God so willed. After all, Christians are supposed to NOT have ought of anything, as if it is their own: yet among a thousand churches, I would have to commit an act of robbery in order to do them service!
The more that organized churches go beyond what Scripture prescribes, the more they should expect such conflicts with civil authorities. Where is it written that churches should give handouts to anybody, except select widows who are members of the congregation (1 Tim 5:5-10)?