Pastor’s Corner | “Social Work Without Christ is Dead”

Social Work without Christ is dead… something I learned in Social Work classes in seminary!  James 2:17 speaks of the balance needed between our faith and our works.  I have recently been confronted with some thinking that seemed to only focus on Social Justice, Reconciliation, and Social Action at the cost of ignoring foundational Christian redemption first.  The intense presentation was disappointing to hear as my background of having lived in China has taught me that societal actions, no matter how good the intent, should never be taken in isolation from the concerns for the spiritual health of man.  The temporary results of man-made reconciliation will last just as long as the memories of the men involved.  We must remember that we are sinful beings living in a world that daily compromises with the values of evil.

You see, the Jesus that I follow focused first on the heart of man and allowed a changed and contrite heart to be the motivator for how we relate to the world in which we live.  Social, Environmental, Political, Economical, and other human concerns are legitimate ones that should challenge the Christian disciple’s heart for action or aid.  Yet, one can be a person with these societal concerns and still have an empty spiritual walk.  This is evidenced by many of the governmental laws and actions intended to give equality or retribution as tied to past actions within society.

Adam & Eve had difficulty with the balancing of their work responsibilities and their need to keep their spiritual lives in good stead.  Sin was the result for them as they placed God, and His Will, behind their own desires.  To be a follower of Christ is to humbly repent of one’s sins because we see ourselves, and our sin, clearly.  It is through our repentance, and clear understanding of our sinful nature, that we view the world around us properly.  Yes, I am interested in evangelism, societal change, healthy churches, prayer, spiritual conversion, reconciliation, and other things as long as Jesus is the heart of all that is considered.  I Cor. 2:2 says it for me,  “For I am determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”  With this Scripture at your bow, your ship will not become distracted for purpose or direction.

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社會工作沒有 基督福音就是死的…這是我在神學院修社會工作學時學到的。雅各書2:17說到我們的信仰與行為需要平衡。最近我遇到一些思想似乎只集中焦點於社會主義、和好關係及社會行動,付出的代價卻是忽視救贖為第一的基督徒基礎。極端的言論令人失望。我曾在中國居住的經驗教導我,忽視屬靈關顧的社會行動,要想得到真的改變是徒勞無益的。社會行動不管是否出於任何好意,但都不可脫離個人屬靈健康的關心;短暫的人造和好關係結果,只會維持在參與人記憶中一段時間那麼長。我們必須記得我們是有罪的人,生存在一個每天要和罪惡價值讓步的世界裏。

我跟隨的 耶穌焦點先集中在人心,容許被改變與悔悟的心成為我們改變社會的動機。社會、環境、政治、經濟及其他人類的關心本應影響到基督門徒行動及幫助的心。但是人也可以對這些有關心,卻仍然感覺靈命空虛。許多政府的法律及行動給予平等待遇或彌補社會對某人群的過錯正是反映這空虛的關心。

亞當與夏娃在平衡他們的工作需求與他們的屬靈需要碰上了困難。當他們把自己的喜好放在 上帝和 祂旨意之先,後果就是罪。要成為 基督的門徒就是要看清自己的罪惡後謙卑悔改。當我們能清楚明白我們的罪性,用悔改的眼光透視,我們才看清我們周圍的世界。不錯,我的興趣包含宣教、社會改革、健康的教會、祈禱、屬靈增進、和好關係、甚至其他,只要 耶穌是在核心。哥林多前書2:2寫說: “因為我曾定了主意,在你們中間不知道別的,只知道 耶穌基督並 祂釘十字架。” 當我們確定這終極時,我們的方向和目的就不會走错。