Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

1 Timothy 5:8

And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother.

Mark 7:9-12

One of the most useless inventions of the Christian tradition, a vestigial remnant of a time when church was administered from on high by governments, is the concept of charity. Back when churches would collect a version of the temple tax, the tithe, and then administer services like food, shelter and clothing (as a government would) this act of benevolence created the framework for what we think of modern day charitable giving.

As church and state were increasingly separated and the church became less of a government institution and more of a social institution, denominations carried on with this practice to a certain extent. As the fractal consequences of Protestantism have carried on, however, the distance between the charity of the state church and the charity of the local congregation has become obvious.

The biblical model is more reflected in the modern version than the pre-Medieval version. House churches gathered resources to help those in need far away (1 Corinthians 16) and believers gave directly to their fellow believers locally (Acts 2:44-45).

What charity has stolen from the Church, the thing it has yet to return to her, is the locus of responsibility. When we see charities, we see people who are “supposed to” take care of things. Red Cross is supposed to deliver blood. ASPCA is supposed to shelter animals. But Christians are supposed to do good! You are supposed to care for widows and orphans! You are supposed to lift up the oppressed!

Understand, I am not saying we all need to start collecting blood or boarding lost puppies. What I am saying is that Christians must take ownership of their responsibility to fulfill God’s will. We cannot allow our duty to be misplaced. If charity is a heavenly virtue as some say, let’s not hand it off to earthly ministers.

Ethan Kirl