The social concern of the church

A strong sense of cherishing and caring for one another should pervade the local church, and even beyond its boundaries: when clear and unmistakable cases arise of other churches needing help, the local church is duty-bound to extend its hand of fellowship in a concrete and tangible way (1 John 3:15-18; 4:20; James 2:15).

The social concern of the church must be made manifest, not only in positive speech but in projects of mercy and love to those in need, but especially to the household of faith, as Paul makes this priority clear in Galatians 6. Our love, then, must be directed to our neighbour, whoever he might be, but we must make a distinction between those who are fellow-citizens of the kingdom with us and those who are without. God makes this distinction, and so are we.

The church ought to take care of its own, and not assume that the social welfare has supplanted this responsibility. The church must see to it that her orphans, widows and poor are well-protected and provided for. The apostles themselves showed this concern as they convened with Paul about their respective future ministries (Galatians 2).

If anyone provides not for his own he has become worse than an unbeliever. This biblical principle must be always before the church's eyes, otherwise it would bring shame on its own head.

While every Christian has the right of private possessions, he must be motivated to give generously and sacrificially for the well-being of the whole body, whether it be spiritually (for instance, that the ministry of the Word may continue) and physically (for instance, those who are in read need may receive assistance, such as the widows over sixty).