Are You on Spiritual Welfare?

The greatest damage inflicted on believers and the church by the teaching of unconditional acceptance is comprised of the stealing of our humanity.

God has called us to be instruments of agape. However, our fallen nature militates against agape, requiring that in order to consistently convey agape we must exercise discipline and responsibility and courage and other noble character qualities.

Those asserting that God accepts us unconditionally, that we need not perform to please Him, that there is nothing we can do to make God love us more or love us less, are in effect telling us that character does not make a difference to God. His attitude and actions are no different toward the person who exercises self-sacrifice and diligence in doing His will then toward the person who lives selfishly. God feels and acts just the same toward the man who walks out on his wife and children to have an affair as he does toward the man who under the same temptation dies to self, exercises self-control over his thoughts and emotions, and stays committed to the vows he has made, remaining faithful to his wife and children, placing greater value on their well-being than on his desires.

In brief, this position asserts that God is just as pleased with us if we function on an animal level, guided by desires, doing what we feel like doing, as if we function at a human level, exercising our minds to determine what God wants us to do and exercising our wills to implement the direction of our minds. In other words, God does not interact with us on a human level but at a subhuman level, which leaves us free to function at a subhuman level, removing motivation to do otherwise. In addition, the corollary that we should interact with one another on the basis of unconditional acceptance conveys the same subhuman perspective and evokes the corresponding subhuman behaviors.

This perspective on God’s attitude toward and dealings with us is quite comfortable, allowing us to live as we please and to never experience guilt or a sense of failure. However, the price is much too high. As noted, it provides comfort at the expense of our humanity.

In effect, it is like a welfare state that doles out significant amounts of money to healthy and employable people so that they do not need to work. They are alleviated from the discomfort of getting out of bed in the morning and working all day. But they do so at great price. They lose their dignity, they fail to use their capabilities, they are unproductive, they are robbed of a sense of accomplishment, and they lose the respect of others. In addition, this failure to be treated as a human and to function as a human imposes a debilitating influence, warping the human personality and engendering unwholesome behaviors.

Embracing unconditional acceptance and its corollaries has in effect created a spiritual welfare state. God’s favor and blessings are extended regardless of how we perform, that is, whether we work productively or behave counterproductively or fail to work at all.

Rather than teaching unconditional acceptance, God places substantial stress on productivity as a basis for the acceptance of the believer. Scripture tells us that we are stewards and as such have a responsibility to make a profit with the resources God has placed at our disposal. The parable of the talents warns that God demands that we make a profit. Scripture includes many verses that call  us to be productive such as 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

However, one of the worst results of adopting the perspective of unconditional acceptance and entering its spiritual welfare system resides in placing yourself in a subhuman category in which responsibility, morality, and nobility do not matter. Most people require that their dogs be housebroken as a condition of acceptance. In addition to the teaching of Scripture, does it just makes sense that God might have some conditions of acceptance for human beings?

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