Charity: A Christian Innovation

Did you know that Christians invented charity? Well, not exactly; but Christians were the first to popularize the idea that we should love the poor and powerless, regardless of whether they deserve it and regardless of whether it benefits us to do so. That’s according to David Bentley Hart in his new book, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies.

Atheists say religion is the cause of all the evils in the world. But Bentley shows how the Gospel turned the pagan world upside down with the wild idea that life has meaning and that, because it has meaning, we should love one another.

Cross International President Jim Cavnar prays with the children at Togetherness in Christ Orphanage
Cross International President Jim Cavnar prays with the children at Togetherness in Christ Orphanage

In a review of Bentley’s book, Paul J. Griffiths describes the church as a community “in which every human being is welcome and in which all together, without separation or distinction, worship the Lord who became one of them. From this, in turn, comes the aspiration to care for the material needs of all human beings—Christians certainly, but also pagans….The once faceless—the poor, the newborn, the widow, the sick, the imprisoned, the slave—must now be taken care of, treated as gifts of infinite value….”

Here at Cross, we serve “the poor, the newborn, the widow…” because our faith compels us to do so. Every meal given to a hungry child is an expression of sacrificial love from our donors. We work through Christian ministries – such as the Togetherness in Christ Orphanage in Haiti – because they share our vision, not just of feeding and sheltering the destitute, but also of spreading the Gospel. More than anything, the poor need Christ, because he alone has the power to transform hearts and minds and bring real hope for a better future.

Click here to learn more about our commitment to the Gospel, and how we’re integrating our faith into our service to the poor.

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