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Did Bad Theology Create the Welfare State?

DD80DD70-3F6D-44BB-BB5D-0E68DA815902.jpegIn When Helping Hurts, Dr. Brian Fikkert makes a bold claim: the current welfare state is the fault of the evangelical church. In The Great Reversal: Evangelism Versus Social Concern, scholar David Moberg argues that prior to the twentieth century, the early church played a huge role in ministering to both the spiritual and physical needs of the poor. It was common for churches to establish hospitals, schools for immigrants, homes for unwed mothers, and welfare societies like the Salvation Army. But all of this changed after the social gospel movement of the early twentieth century. The “social gospel” refers to a theologically liberal movement driven by the belief that the second coming of Christ could not happen until humanity would rid itself of all social evils by human effort. This led social gospel adherents to a much stronger emphasis on poverty alleviation than evangelism…. More