Christianity’s Contributions: Charity increased (Part 3)

As we examine the impact of God’s Word on culture, one of the most profound changes was in the realm of assistance to the poor and needy.  Unlike the Roman concept of giving to get something in return, Christians followed the example of Christ and multiple verses that emphasized true charity—giving without expecting anything in return.

Because “God so loved the world” (John 3:16), regardless of people’s income level or health, Christians saw all people as possessing value.  They followed God’s command to “love one another” (1 John 4:10-11), and this translated into tangible acts of service to care for the body, soul, and spirit of individuals.

Instead of being obsessed with one’s own interests, Christians began to “look out for other’s interests,” according to Philippians 2:4.  This meant “doing good to all,” as Galatians 6:10 says.

Watching the Christians help others at their own expense motivated the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363 AD) to say, “The impious Galileans (Christians)  relieve both their own poor and ours…It is  shameful that ours should be so destitute of our assistance.”

What specifically did the Church begin in terms of charity that transformed the world?  Orphanages, homes for the aged, and other charitable groups that are common today,  In the next blog, we’ll see what those were in detail.

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November 17, 2015

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