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There is a disastrous message being promoted to churches and people of faith. It is destructive and the exact opposite of what Jesus wants us to do. It is dangerous! The Lupton Center seems to be a part of a non-profit in Atlanta  “Focused Community Strategies”. They are relatively small but their founder has a loud megaphone. He writes books and sells them for a living. They have seminars that churches participate in that teach followers of Jesus not to directly help the poor and homeless.

Jesus is weeping. This is wrong and will lead to eternal destruction for participants in this heresy. See what Jesus says below.

It’s founder is a fairly well known author, Robert D. Lupton. His latest book is “Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help”.  His premise is that most of our charities, he argues, are giveaway programs — food pantries, shelters, used clothing closets and the like. According to Lupton, these kinds of giveaways create dependency. Good-paying jobs, and not handouts, are the key to overcoming poverty he says. Dr. Lupton is teaching churches not to help the poor and homeless directly. This is not what our churches need to hear and need to do. Of course, these courses aren’t free. Where does the money go?

Here is the oath for compassionate helpers that the Lupton Center wants you to take. This is not compassionate. Please don’t take it. Jesus has a better way.

  • I will never do for others what they have the capacity to do for themselves.
  • I will limit one-way giving to crises and seek always to find ways for legitimate exchange.
  • I will seek ways to empower by hiring, lending, and investing and offer gifts as incentives to celebrate achievements.
  • I will put the interests of those experiencing poverty above my own even when it means setting aside my own agenda or the agenda of my organization.
  • I will listen carefully, even to not what is being said knowing that unspoken feelings may contain essential clues to healthy engagement.
  • And, above all, to the best of my ability, I will do no harm.

The Jesus way stands in contrast.

  • Feed the hungry
  • Give something to drink to the thirsty 
  • Welcome strangers into your house and church
  • Clothe those who need it
  • Visit the sick
  • Visit prisoners

Here is the Jesus way from Matthew 25. Not following it will get you into the “eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels”. It is not the Kingdom way.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Lupton leads his readers to believe that people living in poverty are poor simply because they aren’t working, and that if we provide these families “handouts,” they will be inclined to stop working. He argues that if someone could just help them learn how to find and keep a job, they could work themselves out of poverty.

None of this addresses the critical problem of the homeless. Their situation is desperate. They need shelter, money, food and clothing now. Jesus says to give. Churches have plenty of room and money to help. We are not. Jesus warns us that is “eternal fire” thinking. That isn’t a good destination for our spiritual goals.

Lupton’s recommendation does not match up with the reality of the working poor in America. According to the Economic Policy Institute, 63 percent of people living in poverty who are able to work (not disabled or elderly) are in fact working. At the same time, the National Low-Income Housing Coalition’s most recent report, “Out of Reach,” found that the average wage needed to rent a two-bedroom apartment in the United States is $19.35, while the federal minimum wage remains at $7.25. The reality is that many people are working but aren’t making enough to make ends meet. Beyond that, however, what about the 37% who aren’t working? Will simply telling them to get a job help?

Parents don’t take their children to the soup kitchen for dinner because they are lazy; they do it because they are desperate. To say that the family that receives a meal now has to work in the food pantry in order to be fed, as Lupton recommends, may make it impossible for them to receive the essential food assistance they need. In all likelihood, both parents are working, but because wages are depressed, they simply don’t earn enough to pay the rent and electricity, buy clothes for their children, fix the car, pay medical bills, and put a nutritious meal on the table.

Robert Lupton quotes

I think these quotes will give you a flavor this horrible approach.

“When we do for those in need what they have the capacity to do for themselves, we disempower them.”

― Robert D. Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help

 “I am reassured to know that the straightness of my grain is not a precondition of usefulness to God. And I am humbled to see that out of the twistedness of my wounds, he designs for me a special place of service.”

― Robert D. Lupton, Theirs Is the Kingdom: Celebrating the Gospel in Urban America

 “Mercy combined with justice creates:       •   immediate care with a future plan       •   emergency relief and responsible development       •   short-term intervention and long-term involvement       •   heart responses and engaged minds Mercy”

― Robert D. Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help

 “I can’t stress it enough: business growth is key to moving the poverty needle.”

― Robert D. Lupton, Charity Detox: What Charity Would Look Like If We Cared About Results

“The money spent by one campus ministry to cover the costs of their Central American mission trip to repaint an orphanage would have been sufficient to hire two local painters and two new full-time teachers and purchase new uniforms for every student in the school.”

― Robert D. Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help

 “Food in our society is a chronic poverty need, not a life-threatening one. And when we respond to a chronic need as though it were a crisis, we can predict toxic results: dependency, deception, disempowerment.”

― Robert D. Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help

 “Community transformation is about the quality of neighbors, not the quality of programs.”

― Robert D. Lupton, Charity Detox: What Charity Would Look Like If We Cared About Results

 “the only effective charity is the kind that asks more from those being served, rather than less. Asking for more sends an affirming message to the recipient that he or she also has something of value to offer.”

― Robert D. Lupton, Charity Detox: What Charity Would Look Like If We Cared About Results

 “Giving to those in need what they could be gaining from their own initiative may well be the kindest way to destroy people.”

― Robert D. Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help

 “Never do for the poor what they have (or could have) the capacity to do for themselves.”

― Robert D. Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help

 “personal involvement offers the best way to determine if our charitable investments are being put to good use.”

― Robert D. Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help

 “Giving to those in need what they could be gaining from their own initiative may well be the kindest way to destroy people. We mean well, our motives are good, but we have neglected to conduct care-full due diligence to determine emotional, economic, and cultural outcomes on the receiving end of our charity. Why do we miss this crucial aspect in evaluating our charitable work? Because, as compassionate people, we have been evaluating our charity by the rewards we receive through service, rather than the benefits received by the served. We have failed to adequately calculate the effects of our service on the lives of those reduced to objects of our pity and patronage.”

― Robert D. Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help

 “corporation (CDC) would have to be formed. It would”

― Robert D. Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help

 “Because, as compassionate people, we have been evaluating our charity by the rewards we receive through service, rather than the benefits received by the served.”

― Robert D. Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help

 “developing the dependency-free zone is the real challenge.”

― Robert D. Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help

 “• R&D is vital. • Invest in success: sound business principles also are good principles for responsible charitable investing. • Focus on your passions. • Investigate the best practices of those in the field to determine what works. • Create a prototype to test new approaches. • Record the process. • Document the findings. • Tweak the methods. • Replicate successes.”

― Robert D. Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help

 “The downward mobility of the kingdom strikes at the very heart of our earthly strivings.”

― Robert D. Lupton, Theirs Is the Kingdom: Celebrating the Gospel in Urban America

 “Why do we persist in giving away food when we know it fosters dependency?” “Because it’s easier!”

― Robert D. Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help

 “parity is the higher form of charity.”

― Robert D. Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help

 “American churches are at the forefront of the burgeoning compassion industry, spending billions on dependency-producing food pantries, clothes closets, service projects, and mission trips that serve mainly themselves and inadvertently turn people into beggars.”

― Robert D. Lupton, Charity Detox: What Charity Would Look Like If We Cared About Results

 “The strategy of crisis intervention must then shift to a strategy of development.”

― Robert D. Lupton, Charity Detox: What Charity Would Look Like If We Cared About Results

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