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The Essence of Christianity

By Rolley Haggard
August 29, 2014 5:24 PM

 

The apostle James wrote that the essence of Christianity—that which epitomizes “pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father”—is to care for “orphans and widows in their distress.” (James 1:27, NASB)

Babies aborted are “orphans” in the truest sense of the word, for they have been abandoned, by those entrusted to care for them, to the uttermost, even to death. The sheer number who have been led to slaughter with virtually no opposition even by churches who call themselves pro-life ought to give us pause before we conclude what we have been practicing is, in the sight of God, “pure and undefiled religion.”

As to where James came up with his definition of Christianity—divine inspiration, to be sure. But it also appears he knew his Bible:

Deuteronomy 10:18: He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.

Exodus 22:22: You shall not afflict any widow or orphan.

Deuteronomy 10:18: He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.

Deuteronomy 14:29: The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

Deuteronomy 16:1: And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite who is in your town, and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your midst, in the place where the Lord your God chooses to establish His name.

Deuteronomy 16:14: And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your towns.

Deuteronomy 24:17: You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge.

Deuteronomy 24:19: When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

Deuteronomy 24:20: When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.

Deuteronomy 24:21: When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.

Deuteronomy 26:12: When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.

Deuteronomy 26:13: You shall say before the Lord your God, “I have removed the sacred portion from my house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments.”

Deuteronomy 27:19: “Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.” And all the people shall say, “Amen.”

Psalm 10:14: You have seen it, for You have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Your hand. The unfortunate commits himself to You; You have been the helper of the orphan.

Psalm 10:17-18: O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.

Psalm 94:4-6: All who do wickedness vaunt themselves. They crush Your people, O Lord, and afflict Your heritage. They slay the widow and the stranger and murder the orphans.

Isaiah 1:17: Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

Isaiah 1:23: Your rulers are rebels and companions of thieves; everyone loves a bribe and chases after rewards. They do not defend the orphan, nor does the widow’s plea come before them.

Isaiah 10:1-2: Woe to those who enact evil statutes and to those who constantly record unjust decisions, so as to deprive the needy of justice and rob the poor of My people of their rights, so that widows may be their spoil and that they may plunder the orphans.

Jeremiah 5:28: “They are fat, they are sleek, they also excel in deeds of wickedness; they do not plead the cause, the cause of the orphan, that they may prosper; and they do not defend the rights of the poor.”

Jeremiah 7:6-7: If you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.

Jeremiah 22:3: Thus says the Lord, “Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.”

Jeremiah 49:11: “Leave your orphans behind, I will keep them alive; and let your widows trust in Me.”

Lamentations 5:3: We have become orphans without a father, our mothers are like widows.

Hosea 14:3: “Assyria will not save us, we will not ride on horses; nor will we say again, ‘Our god,’ to the work of our hands; for in You the orphan finds mercy.”

Zechariah 7:10: “And do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.”

Malachi 3:5: “Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the Lord of hosts.

John 14:18: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

For further reading: “Agape Defiled: How the Church has Failed 55 Million Orphans

Comments:

Fishing for Men (and Women)
.
I admit to being a bit of a tease with this one. (Not that that's new with me, but still). 

The tease, of course, is the title. I baited my hook thus to catch doctrinaire fish who know better. I know what they're like, you see, because I'm of their [BAD PUN ALERT] school: More concerned at times with being precise than being right (not that there should be any difference, but all too often, sadly, there is. The present post hopes to draw attention to a major case in point).

Of course I know that, in one sense, saving babies from abortion is not the essence of Christianity. Other religions and even non-religions do that, too (though not nearly often enough). 

But the dictionary gives two senses to the word “essence”. The first, above, describes essence as “the intrinsic quality that identifies a thing”. In that sense Christ, not the saving of babies, is the essence of Christianity. No argument there, fellow fish.

But the second sense--the one with which I mischievously hooked some readers--defines essence as “the indispensable quality that characterizes a thing”. That is the sense James had in mind. A “Christianity” that grossly neglects orphans (read “preborns on their way to being aborted”) is not biblical Christianity at all.

That's my angle. Now, fellow pedants, get in the boat and quit gasping for air.
Posted By: Rolley Haggard on August 30, 2014 12:44 PM

This article originally appeared on Breakpoint and is reprinted here with permission from the author.

Rolley Haggard
Rolley Haggard 
is a feature writer for BreakPoint.

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