Question:

I saw your web site while doing some study on a series of messages this weekend I am doing on the Parable of the Good Samaritan. I found your message on The Three Philosophies of Life. I have heard from others that same approach to the parable. Do you know where the idea of “Three Philosophies …” originated from? Maybe it started with you and has found its way up here!

As I prepare for the weekend, and the message Jesus intended through this parable, I’d love to hear your thoughts. In particular, what is the connection between the message of that parable as you presented it (do good to others, etc.) and the following paragraph taken from your web site:

Some reading this may think, "We live in the 21st Century. The church must meet the needs of modern society." If you think this, then you are right! Our society has civic and social organizations which meet the physical needs of our community. But what this day and time woefully lacks is emphasis on the soul of man, his moral duty, and his eternal welfare. The church must meet the need of mankind today – the very greatest need of all – instruction in how to serve God and keep His commandments. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

I would appreciate any insights you could offer. Blessings on you and the ministry God has given you!


Answer:

I know the main points (the three philosophies) did not originate with me. I recall reading them in an article, I liked the central idea, and then I expanded it. According to my notes, I believe it was somewhere around 1997, but I'm not certain; it could have been earlier. I checked my files, but unfortunately I can't locate the original.

Many people do not distinguish between individual and church responsibility. For example, in the care of widows Paul taught, "If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows" (I Timothy 5:16). Far too many people are encouraged to let some organization handle problems instead of getting directly involved. In the parable of the good Samaritan you see an individual making it his personal responsibility to take care of an injured stranger. This is a story about each person's duty, not a story about the church handling society's needs.

Fostering the care of people off on the church is a form of spiritual laziness. It avoids personal duty. The comments on the home page are there to get people to think about what the church is about as distinct from individual Christians. It is the fact that people confuse the two that makes it sound odd to many people's ears.

Thanks. I appreciate your insights. Many people say, "The Church ought to help with a need I saw today." In that case, they are the one God showed the need to so He could use them to serve. Your insights have helped me think more clearly on this. Thank you and blessings!