Truth or Compassion—Do We Have to Choose One?

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Many times in my various writings and talks, I’ve pointed out that a growing number of people—especially young people—no longer trust God’s Word. They think that the Bible is full of errors and contradictions, and that the events recorded in it can be interpreted merely as moral stories to make a point. Well, to deal with this trend, some professing Christians and religious writers have been saying that Christianity needs to be less about the Bible’s inerrancy and more about serving others and showing compassion.

The Apostle James tells us that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26) and that “pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). So the Bible is clear—Christians should be people of love and action. But this isn’t some kind of either/or situation in which either you believe the Bible or you have compassion on others. Scripture makes it clear it’s both/and; we believe the Bible, teach what it says—even on hard topics—and we put our hands and hearts into action as we show others the love of Christ.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God (2 Corinthians 4:2).
But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:17–18).

A person’s final words and instructions are usually a good indication of what is most important to them. Well, Jesus’ final command was not to care for the sick and poor—although He did that during His ministry, and we are later commanded to do the same—it was “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20). His final words to those who would begin the church and carry His message were not a command to provide for merely the physical needs of the poor and sick—it was to preach the gospel and teach the truth!

Preaching the gospel and caring for others should come naturally for Christians as we seek to obey the commands of Christ—Christianity is both/and!

And what do we see the first-century church doing after the ascension of Christ? Boldly preaching the gospel and caring for the poor and needy (e.g., Acts 6:1–7). Preaching the gospel and caring for others should come naturally for Christians as we seek to obey the commands of Christ—Christianity is both/and! As believers, we need to be involved in physically meeting real needs and lovingly engaging this culture with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you would like to partner with a ministry that both preaches the gospel and meets real physical needs, I encourage you to check out the Slavic Gospel Association and Children’s Hunger Fund. We partner with these ministries through programs like our Vacation Bible School outreach, and are thrilled to be part of what they are doing in Jesus’ name around the world. Learn more at sga.org or ChildrensHungerFund.org.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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