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I was beginning to wonder when a Reformed theologian would simply lay out the Scriptures and a Reformed position on what it means to love our neighbor regarding health care legislation and the poor. I am no longer wondering.  Calvin Seminary professor Matthew Tuininga has beautifully summarized Scripture and Reformed theology's view relative to the treatment of the poor. 

Thank you, Matthew, for this excellent piece in Do Justice.  Reformed Christians should write their congressman immediately since Congress is scheduled today to vote on the health care legislation. Does what is proposed pass the test?


I agree. I thought Tuininga's article was quite good indeed, including its restraint.  That is, he clearly states there will be differences among those who hold to his basic premise about how to accomplish it, and that the institutional church is not competent in making those decisions.

I don't there is much difference in opinion, inside or even outside the church, that one obligation of the institution of government is to provide a "safety net" for all, which includes food, water, shelter, basic education, freedom from force applied by others, and basic medical care (and perhaps more).  What is less agreed upon is: (1) how government might most effectively and efficiently do this, (2) how government might do this without itself causing injury (help without hurting), (3) how government might do this without injustice to others (who government will ultimately force to do it, via taxes or other mandates).

As to these other "devil is in the details" questions, the institutional church (the CRCNA in particular) ought not pretend expertise or moral authority in behalf of its members.

"Whatever conclusions we come to with respect to particular policy approaches (and we should be humble here), we should be agreed that health care for the poor is not merely a matter of charity. It is a matter of justice. Our representatives should know that this is where the Christian tradition stands." A direct quote from Tuininga's article.

Governments all over the world have taken over the responsibility for the healthy, the ill and the poor. In the case of conflicts, procreation and euthanasia with startling and unexpected consequences. 

How we deal with these issues at an educational institution or a think tank is one thing. 

Here is where VandeGriend's last comment makes sense to me.  The CRCNA has just joined two of its "ministry" organizations together that might have been better privatized. Then they could much easier speak on behalf of their supporters and make a positive position known to governments. In Canada we have an organization called Cardus (and there are probably others) that do a very good job speaking to governments with considerable expertise supported by research.


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