I saw this on Facebook the other day. I do not know the author of this meme. Never heard of him. This is another of those “see how much more compassionate and caring I am than any Christian you ever met” memes which people can “Like” or “Love” to show that they too are so much more caring than any Christian or church that ever existed. The only problem with this is it’s wrong. Just plain wrong. Would it be too harsh to say, plumb ignorant?
In my former life I was a pastor. The last church I pastored was the kind of church that would have supported Christian bakers who didn’t want to bake cakes for homosexual weddings. Was that all we did? Y’know, wait for bakers or florists to get into trouble? Not at all, we were a small church but we supported PATH, a group that provided food, clothing, and financial help and Crisis Pregnancy Center which provided counseling and support for pregnant women. We also had a benevolent fund with which I was able to offer help to families (such as food, rent, utilities) in need. We also supported the missionary endeavors of the denomination we were affiliated with (see below). We were clearly “life affirming.”
Let’s lift our eyes above our little church to see a much bigger picture. Here is a sampling of “life affirming” activities of churches and Christians, in no particular order:
† Christian & Missionary Alliance – the denomination we were affiliated with; one of the main emphases of the Alliance is missions: bringing the gospel to those who have never heard it. This is the most “life affirming” thing you can do. Eternal life is the most important thing +and your spiritual health has a tremendous impact on your physical life. But the Alliance not only preaches the gospel, they also have a division called CAMA, which is designed to minister to the physical needs of people (clean water, relief, food, medical, including hospitals). And this isn’t new: when A.B. Simpson started the Alliance in New York City he had rescue missions, homes for wayward women, homes for healing etc
† William Wilberforce – an English politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to stop the slave trade. He began his political career in 1780, eventually becoming an independent Member of Parliament. In 1785, he became an Evangelical Christian, which resulted in major changes to his lifestyle and a lifelong concern for reform.
In 1787, he came into contact with a group of anti-slave-trade activists. They persuaded Wilberforce to take on the cause of abolition, and he soon became one of the leading English abolitionists. He headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807.
† St. Basil of Caesarea - founded the first hospital (c. 369). Christian hospitals grew rapidly, spreading throughout both the East and the West. By the mid-1500s there were 37,000 Benedictine monasteries alone that cared for the sick. Furthermore, the modern hospital owes its origins to Judeo-Christian compassion. Evidence of the vast expansion of faith-based hospitals is seen in the legacy of their names: St. Vincent’s, St. Luke’s, Mt. Sinai, Presbyterian, Mercy, and Beth Israel. These were all charitable hospitals, some of which began as foundling hospitals to care for abandoned children. All around us are hospitals started by churches - Baptist, Methodist, Adventist etc.
† The Red Cross - In 1863 Swiss Christian businessman Jean Henri Dunant formed a relief organization for caring for wartime wounded.
† Cancer Treatment Centers of America – “At Cancer Treatment Centers of America®, we support your faith as part of our commitment to provide comprehensive, integrative cancer care.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer, we understand how difficult it may be to stay hopeful. But we also recognize that your faith in God may be a critical source of hope and strength, especially in the face of challenges and difficult moments. The Scripture is full of words of encouragement.
Each of our hospitals has a dedicated pastoral care team committed to encouraging you in your faith and helping you find strength and hope in God.”
† Public Education - was often the work of the church in the community
† Rescue Missions
† Women’s Ministries
† Samaritan’s Purse – “Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ.”
† Rolland & Heidi Baker - In 1980 the Bakers founded Iris Global, a Christian ministry dedicated to charitable service and evangelism, particularly in developing nations. Their operations include well-drilling, free health clinics, village feeding programs, the operation of primary and secondary schools, cottage industries and the founding more than 5000 churches in Mozambique, with a total of over 10,000 Iris-affiliated churches in more than 20 nations.
† Father Damien – gave his life ministering to the lepers of Molokai
This is just off the top of my head! Clearly, the creator of the meme (as well as all those who liked it) has no idea what he is talking about. The Church has always been “life affirming.” But not "sin affirming."
I was hungry and you gave Me food
I was thirsty and you gave Me drink
I was a stranger and you took Me in
I was naked and you clothed Me
I was sick and you visited Me
I was in prison and you came to Me.