On Taxes, Marriage, and the Poor: Lessons from Luke 3:7-11

“John the Baptist Preaching” by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. 1733. Fresco. Cappella Colleoni Gallery, Bergamo, Italy.

Verse of the day:
Luke 3:7-11:

7) “John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8) Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.
9) Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.’
10) And the crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’
11) In reply he said to them, ‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.'”

First, I find it fascinating that John chastised people who came to be baptized.

Second, I find it all the more fascinating that his advice was to give of what you have to those who had nothing.

So let’s review:

1) Don’t come to church just for religious rites.
2) Give away what you have to the poor if you want to be a true child of God.

So tell me: which social, religious, or political party, group, or body best encapsulates this very fundamental, very ‘Christian’ teaching of not worrying about the details of religious rituals and rites and doctrines, and instead focuses on giving goods to and caring for the poor?

And if you’re going to argue that biblical Christian principles should not be legislated when it comes to giving your hard earned money away (i.e., taxes and welfare and health care), then why are you arguing that biblical Christian principles should be legislated on other social issues like same-sex marriage?

10 Responses

  1. I would like to suggest that Trinity Lutheran Church on Whidbey Island, Washington does a great job of this. They are amazing how they are radically accepting of anyone and gives away thousands of dollars a year to local charities, food banks, and other needs. In fact when they recently did a capital campaign, they built in 10% tithe to give away to the community. Plus they made a decision to use part of the money to install solar panels to collect sunlight and now send electricity back to the grid as a way to take care of the earth. I am blessed to simply be a member of this church and as a gay man feel welcomed and embraced by this community on a weekly basis.

  2. […] Perhaps he would not like these terms, however if he shows us how we are undone while conversing daily about God, what better words are there? What else would you call his latest post? […]

  3. […] Perhaps he would not like these terms, however if he shows us how we are undone while conversing daily about God, what better words are there? What else would you call his latest post? […]

  4. Actually I feel both should be legislated . As a Christian it is my duty to take care of those fortunate. Now in saying this, I am not implying that we should forever take care of someone else. In fact scripture says that a man who does not work, does not eat. John is not at all encouraging laziness from anyone. There is a difference in being down on your luck, versus CHOOSING ” Poverty” as a way of life. As for same sex marriage, God has said homosexuality is a sin. Notice I did not just say ” The Bible” says so. Because it goes deeper than the text of the Bible. Being a Christian does not mean I need to reject facts, I agree the text of the Bible has been translated many times. So in order to apply text of Bible to my life, I look around compare Scripture to Life, and considering it takes Male and Female to reproduce life, well that proves to me God never intended Homosexual Behavior. I love that you find Johns words fascinating…I find it fascinating that someone who does not believe in God can not keep his Name or His Word out of his mouth!

  5. […] Perhaps he would not like these terms, however if he shows us how we are undone while conversing daily about God, what better words are there? What else would you call his latest post? […]

  6. I don’t believe that Dr. Who, Yoda, Spock, and Santa Claus are real either, but there I am talking about them all the time. Does that mean I actually believe they are real?

  7. “There is a difference in being down on your luck, versus CHOOSING ” Poverty” as a way of life.”

    Nobody CHOOSES poverty. How absurd!!

    While justizeseeker is looking around perhaps he/she will notice the overpopulation of the planet and then come to the conclusion that God is now making more and more people gay. Gayness is now holy.

  8. I totally agree with Dr Cargill about his above article.
    Some believe that homosexuality is a sin, but that’s like believing that the Bible was given by God.
    I also find it fascinating, that the religious sects interprete the bible to their own conveniences, and one thing is certain that religious sects brainwashed people from their childhood.

    Dr Cargill, I wish that your articles were in Spanish for the Hispanic community be informed about these topics.


  9. ” Nobody chooses poverty,How Absurd”!!!
    Susan, I agree that Most do not choose to live in poverty, however for one reason or another, there are individuals all over this country that for one reason or another refuse to make any attempt to increase their livelihood . For some, generation after generation they have become content to live in ” poverty”. No matter what humble beginnings one has, each of us posse the capability to improve our circumstance. There may be more obstacles for one versus the other to overcome. That does not mean a ” better life” is not obtainable. You just might have to work harder to get it. This Country has many such people that moved from ” project” to ” penthouse” per say.
    Seems rapper/ entertainment mogul Jay-Z shared my sentiment. He has come along way from projects of Brooklyn.
    As far as ” looking around”, realizing the text in the Bible has been translated many times before ” King James”, I find it wise to apply the absolute truths found in the world, with scripture. ” male & female” required to reproduce. These are simple, undeniable truths. Therefore, unless God’s ultimate plan was to have a civilization incapable of continued life, then I must believe Scripture of the Bible & accept that God does not approve of homosexuality.

  10. Justzseeker is a typical person of privilege that has no idea what the challenges of generational poverty may bring. I would guess that he is male because his understanding of reproduction stops at intercourse. After the mother is impregnated, she must eat. After she gives birth, she must continue to eat as well as provide nourishment for her older children. If these children do not live to puberty, they will not reproduce.

    If the ultimate plan of your god is to destroy every ecological niche through overpopulation then obligating every man to impregnate a female should just about do it!

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