For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith, For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness (Rom. 12:3-8).
This passage is crucial for understanding the principle of the division of labor. So is the parallel passage in First Corinthians: “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” (l Cor. 12:4-7).
God announced that the institutional Church is like an organism: one entity with many members. To prosper, the organism must perform all of its biological functions. Because men are more than cells or appendages, they must learn to cooperate. They must not seek to be what they are not: eyes seeking to be ears; ears seeking to be feet; etc. The harmony of the Church is based on the unity provided by the Holy Spirit. It is also provided by God’s providential distribution of varying gifts – both human and geographical – although this is not stated explicitly.
The idea of providential provision follows from the Great Commission: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt. 28:18-20). Evangelism is not a liability for the Church; it is an advantage. If it is an advantage, then adding members to the Church must bring blessings. One of these blessings is an increase in the division of labor.
Most churches officially proclaim the benefits of local church growth. While their actual policies may undermine this public commitment, there is no church that l know of that recommends a policy of zero growth for the Christian Church in general or the local congregation. I have never heard a pastor preach a sermon on why evangelism is necessary only when existing members either die or leave the local congregation.
If this is true regarding church membership, why isn’t it true regarding species membership? Any Christian who so much as hints that zero population growth should be a public ideal, let alone a matter of civil legislation, should provide a detailed answer to this question.
One possible answer is this: everyone is born in sin. If evangelism is unsuccessful, there will be many sinners in the world. They will go to hell. Meanwhile, they will make life miserable for the righteous. Therefore, we should promote publicly funded population control programs and possibly even abortion. If you think I am exaggerating, consider the following statement regarding the anti-abortion movement. It appeared in a conservative Christian newspaper in 1959. A pastor wrote it:
And if abortions were prevented, what’s going to happen to the babies who will be born? Will they be baptized? Will their mothers be brought to repentance, and join churches? Don’t kid yourself . . . Because even if they were effective – if the pro-lifers of this nation were successful in shutting down every abortion mill in the country – their victory is as temporary as the bombing of Pearl Harbor. By leaving the mothers convinced but not converted, and the babies born but not baptized, all the pro-life movement has done is double the number of the ungodly. In 16 years, those babies raised by pro-choice mothers, will start to become voters, and then pro-life activists will be outlawed, arrested, and maybe shipped off to Alaska.
This view of man and history is anti-man and anti-history. It pictures the Church in the midst of a flood of evil. The Church desperately tries to stay afloat on this sea of evil, but for the Church to seek to roll back this tide of evil is basically a lost cause. The sea of humanity is inherently a threat to righteousness, progress, and all things good. Given this outlook, abortion is really not so bad. In fact, if all babies go to heaven, abortion and infanticide are actually the world’s only sure-thing evangelism techniques. “Send all babies to heaven: kill them.”
Something is wrong with this anti-humanity line of reasoning. What is wrong is this position’s lack of understanding of the biblical doctrine of common grace. The Bible teaches that God sends the rain on the sinner and the righteous (Matt. 5:45). God shows all men grace – grace being defined as a gift unmerited by the recipient. To some, He shows soul-saving or special grace; to others, He shows common grace in history. But all men benefit in history from the gift of life. All men are held responsible before God for the righteous administration of this gift. If life were not a gift, men would not be held responsible for misusing it.
Is life exclusively a benefit to the recipient? Isn’t it also a benefit to those who benefit from the productive efforts of other people? When a man produces something of value, if only to do evil things with his income, someone receives the benefit of his output. Society’s task is to allow the production of benefits and to restrict the production of evil: crime, fraud. And violence. Except in the case of capital crimes, the civil government is not allowed to kill evil-doers. The State is to impose negative sanctions – most notably, double restitution from the criminal to his victim – on the convicted criminal. it is not supposed to execute him.
This tells us that there are social benefits from population growth. If those who commit crimes are only rarely to be executed, then what of law-abiding people? If God allows a convicted criminal to live, in the legitimate hope that he will learn righteous ways, why should anyone regard the birth of a baby as a liability to society, a matter of public concern?
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)