The United Nations has declared that humanitarian assistance is a basic right. Now, providing aid is being regulated. The International Committee of the Red Cross, or I.C.R.C., and the United Nations have codified how and under what conditions, humanitarian relief and aid can be provided. The humanitarian imperative sounds noble enough but like most secular fundamentalist objectives, its most evil intention lies just beneath the surface.
The so-called “humanitarian imperative” states that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide relief and assistance in disaster zones and war torn regions must adhere to certain regulations. The doctrine states that aid will not be provided to further a political or religious standpoint.
On its face, the policy sounds reasonable. But implementation of the regulation becomes problematic for Christian ministries. Its effect is to prohibit evangelism, which the I.C.R.C. demeans as “proselytizing.” Certainly, no Christian ministry would use food or medical aid to coerce acceptance of the one true religion. To do so, would be both ineffective and self-defeating. But once physical needs are satisfied, spiritual hunger should not be neglected. To address one need and ignore another is inhumane and callous. For the believer, it is sin.
A number of ostensibly Christian ministries supported by large church denominations subscribe to the humanitarian imperative. One of the largest of these is Stop Hunger NOW. Feeding hungry people who cannot feed themselves is an admirable effort, but it’s not ministry without the presentation of gospel truth.
In a feeble effort to justify its partnership with anti-Christian secularists, the leadership of Stop Hunger NOW posits that there are two kinds of disciples. One type, described as Matthew 25 disciples (referring to Mt. 25:31 to 46) is concerned with meeting the physical needs of people. The other group, which Stop Hunger NOW calls Matthew 28 disciples. These fulfill the Great Commission by taking the gospel into the world baptizing and training followers of Christ. The trouble with this view of a split discipleship is that it’s wrong. A Christian has no liberty to pick and choose which articles of faith to follow and which to reject.
There are not two versions, breeds or classes of disciples. There is only one. Christians are to make extraordinary efforts to relieve suffering and meet the needs of those who cannot care for themselves and to present Christ’s offer of eternal life to all who do not know Him. People cannot choose one to the exclusion of the other and call it ministry, any more than they can choose between following civil law and paying taxes and claim to be good citizens.
Those who endeavor to justify forsaking the gospel according to Matthew 25, routinely overlook Jesus’ distinction between “my brethren” and the world. The purpose of the Church is not to feed the world with perishable foodstuffs but with the imperishable word of God.
Stop Hunger NOW also sidesteps the crucial phrase “in my name.” Feeding the hungry is not Christian ministry unless it is done in the name of Christ. When Christians join with secular organizations like the ICRC, the United Nations and Feeding America, their efforts are co-opted and done in the name of the world and thereby, become dead works.
Hunger, poverty and crime are usually symptoms of underlying problems that are buried, denied or ignored. A knowledgeable Christian with the aid of the Holy Spirit is best able to determine what the real problem is and the most willing to help restore the whole person.
Through the humanitarian imperative, the god of this world is undermining Christian charity in an attempt to prevent the preaching of the gospel. Good works are turned into dead works, and lives are not saved or even changed.
Charity has the same power to do good as to do evil. When organizations that adopt the humanitarian imperative cannot ensure where or how food packages are distributed, aid that is collected to benefit widows and orphans in Nigeria, can instead be used to feed their Islamic militant oppressors, Boko Haram.
Over and over again we see that things which God created for good, Satan and his agents corrupt, steal and ruin. The American Red Cross was once friendly toward Christians. But in the wake of the 2016 Louisiana floods, victims who were housed in Red Cross shelters were prohibited from praying and reading Bibles so as not to offend people of other faiths.
At this time in America’s history ignorance of scripture is an enormous problem. Bible scholar and evangelist Dr. J. Vernon McGee once noted, “The greatest sin today in the church is the man in the pew who is ignorant of the Bible.” While the Christian is warned to “rightly divide the word of truth,” few actually do so. Churches that partner with organizations that subscribe to the humanitarian imperative are the predictable result of this failure.
A.W. Tozer wrote much about the inherent virtue of plain-thinking men and women. If understanding the necessary tenets of scripture required esoteric talent or advanced education, some would be at a hopeless disadvantage. Fortunately, the ability to read and to reason is all that is necessary to make one wise. In fact, reason is easy. It’s the irrational denial of truth that requires a graduate degree.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.