Occupy Wall Street – Dazed And Confused?

I think we should pay attention to the Occupy Wall Street protests.

If you’ve been watching the news reports of these protests, you know that their demands are all over the map, and few people are taking them seriously. That is a mistake.

These protestors are being dismissed, chided and mocked by political conservatives. A very popular financial advisor challenged them to get a job and get rich in order to join the ranks of those they are protesting against… as if getting rich will make greed decrease. Really?

I think all of this is the wrong approach.

Their choice of government over God reveals a dangerous fissure growing in our nation. And Christians need to respond appropriately.

A broad demographic but relatively small base of our population is in the streets chanting in favor of placing government in control of matters that have historically been dealt with in the realm of personal responsibility based upon a strong adherence to Judeo Christian values. Who would have ever thought that in the land of the brave and the home of the free, with nearly 75% of the population identifying themselves as Christians, citizens would rally in favor of an agenda so flawed.

I’ve been taking note of the reasons given for the protests, and I think they boil down to three general complaints. Let’s look at each issue in turn.

First, they are bothered by greed. According to the demands of the protestors, the greedy corporations and individuals (the so-called “1 percenters”) need to give more of their wealth in taxes to fund government programs for the benefit of everybody else (the “99 percenters”). Sounds fair (to them), until you examine where this philosophy will ultimately lead us.

In nations where this financial fairness doctrine has been fully implemented, it has led to human slavery and untold suffering. In the countries that I’ve visited where government operates according to the views of Karl Marx, the citizens would more likely protest against it, but they are not allowed to do so. How could anyone in our country embrace something so disastrous, you might ask?

The answer is, they’re confusing government with God.

Logically, you can accuse a corporation of being mismanaged, but not of being greedy. Greed is a problem within the heart of a human.

As for the greed of individuals, which certainly is a sin, it cannot be legislated away. The protestors should abandon their desire for communism and espouse one of God’s key financial principles, that we should avoid greed and love people more than we love money or possessions.

Instead, their solution is twisted and based on another sin—envy. This approach would have the government take from some to give to others on a fair and equitable basis. How unlikely is that? How has it worked in countries that have embraced it?

Two wrongs still do not make a right. Which is worse, greed or envy?

How is wanting what others have any less a sin than loving money or possessions? The Bible makes no such distinction. In fact, abstaining from envy or covetousness is one of the most overlooked of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:17 NIV).

For the record, refraining from greed is not one of the Ten Commandments, although the Bible certainly declares greed to be a sin: “The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper” (Proverbs 28:25 NIV).

I always thought that was an odd way to make the case against greed; that “the greedy stir up conflict”. Seen within the context of the Occupy Wall Street protestors, it makes perfect sense. Greed has stirred up conflict. It is a problem. But what are the protestors missing? It’s the knowledge that a change of heart is the only way to effectively deal with the problems of selfishness and exploitation.

The next thing on the protestors’ agenda is closing the wealth gap. Let’s put that in a biblical construct as well: caring for others less fortunate than us. This, too, is one of God’s principles—that we should give to the poor. It is our responsibility and privilege to give to meet the needs of others. It gives our life meaning and significance.

The protestors, again, put their faith in government to carry out the need for a generous spirit in our culture. They would force the redistribution of wealth through taxes, regardless of the spiritually detrimental effect this has on all parties. What sounds “fair” is truly fair in this respect—wealthy and poor alike lose their desire to be productive. Equality achieved to everyone’s loss! When the culture of a meritocracy is eliminated, history shows that it leads to fewer benefits for everyone, not more.

The desire to love others and care for the poor can only come from a spiritual transformation—a realization that Someone else loved you first, and gave you the greatest gift imaginable—forgiveness of your sins and a new life through Jesus Christ. Read through the Parable of the Good Samaritan one more time (Luke 10:25-37 NIV) and look for the government’s role in this story.  You won’t find it. No, I don’t think the government is capable of meeting everyone’s needs nor should it be.

And finally, there is this business of the 99%, the idea that the “little people” have no voice and no one caring for them. Well, it’s another of God’s principles that He will provide for us, that He will hear our prayer and that He will never leave us or forsake us. In God’s kingdom, there are no little people… or big people either.

Again, instead of encouraging faith in God, the protestors are encouraging folks to become more dependent on government which can never meet their spiritual needs, and increasingly, not even their physical needs.

More than that, God has always used the small and the weak to do mighty things. Each person is capable of making an enormous difference in the world when we walk by faith and place our trust in Him.

We need to hear their misguided pleas and take them seriously. The protestors are advancing an ideology, a philosophy that if adopted, will be the downfall of the freedoms that made America the greatest nation in history.

If the Occupy Wall Street protestors sincerely want to see greed decrease, the wealth gap closed and have the voice of the “99%” heard, they need the good news of Jesus Christ. In Christ we find peace, contentment, and joy in serving the needy. That allows us to celebrate, not denigrate, those who merit the rewards they have earned.

You and I need to be the salt and light of our time leading America towards a revival. The gospel leads to freedom, while a misplaced dependency upon government leads to slavery. The protestors and America need God, not more government.

Now for my sobering warning –

I hazard to guess that these same people would rail against any legislation that is based upon biblical values, such as laws against same-sex marriage or to protect the unborn or to uphold the death penalty, but they have no problem forcing their beliefs on Christians with the full power of the government. Their confusion of government for God has the potential to produce incredible division and strife in our nation.

I believe these folks will likely go home during the coming winter months, but will be back in force as the presidential election approaches. The coming year promises to be a turbulent one as economic pressures, competing beliefs and the need to make hard choices all collide. Look at Greece and prepare—for the same civil unrest you see there now could happen here in America.

Now is the time to start our own movement to combat the hollow and deceptive philosophy of man. We must infiltrate the ranks of the lost with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

ChuckBentley@crown.org

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About Chuck Bentley

CEO, Crown Mininstries
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13 Responses to Occupy Wall Street – Dazed And Confused?

  1. Stuart Ferrell says:

    Well put Chuck! I’ve been considering the various responses to the OW movement, but have not heard one that brings the heart of the issue back to Jesus Christ. Thank you.

  2. warren piece says:

    most of these issues are present today because the Church GAVE her responsibility to the government. it should not be the role of the government to provide healthcare. it has ALWAYS been the role of the Church to care for the sick and the needy. yet, the Church grew tired of her responsibilities and decided that the government should be in control of these matters. yet she continues to give ever more control to the government. it is not the role of the government to care for the sick. it is the role of the Church. it is not the role of the government to care for the needy. it is the role of the Church. it is not the role of the government to care for the orphan and the widow and the downtrodden. it is the role of the Church. until the Church stops shirking her responsibility and begins to take some power back from the government and show people the power and love of the Church people will continue to look towards the government to solve all of their problems.

    • Warren, I agree with you that it is the calling of the church to take care of the poor, widow, orphan, etc. I don’t think she got tired of her role, I think she is, in many cases not committed to that role in such a way as to put the money behind it that it deserves.

  3. Matt says:

    Warren, I think you give the church too little credit and charge it with too many sins, while ignoring that the government has lept to provide more generous benefits than Scripture would ever suggest. The able-bodied poor are required to work, or to starve, according to scripture. I grew up in upstate NY and my parents were the working poor. Our neighbors were 3rd generation welfare recipients who had VCRs, ATVs, and cable (in the 1980s), while my mom and I biked around on $25 garage sale bicycles and watched our used TV with an antennae. I am quite certain that the welfare benefits my neighbors received are far and above what the church is supposed to be providing to the “poor”. That’s why people prefer governments to the church. Provide a vote and get life-time government benefits, or submit your whole life to God and get something less than a monthly check, free medical care, and regular food stamps.

  4. Cheryl says:

    I mostly agree with you, Matt, but Warren does have a point in that the church (you, me & anyone else who considers him or herself to be a Christian) found it easier to let gov’t take over rather than take on the challenges presented. Yes, there are far too many people who have the entitlement mentality. I don’t see that changing, though, until we elect representatives who are willing to vote their conscience rather than what will get them re-elected.

    • Richard Boveroux says:

      Cheryl;

      Be careful with your solutions…. We do not need “representatives who vote their conscience rather than what will get them re-elected”. What you are advocating sounds a lot like what OWS is advocating. Have the government solve our problems. We dont need to replace a man made solution with a different man made solution. We need for God Almighty to move in people’s hearts so that they are radically and fundamentally changed. Once a person’s heart is changed, then their actions will change.

  5. Patrick Flynn says:

    This is an excellent article. Haven’t we had enough history lessons that demonstrate the horrors of Marxist ideology?

  6. Unbelievable! I could not believe the response from those people who profess to be Christians. My heart was grieved when I heard those responses to your broadcast. In fact, I had to listen to your program again to make sure I had listen to the same broadcast that they were responding to. “Occupy Wall Street Misinformed and Misdirected”, it was the correct broadcast. Didn’t they hear over and over again when you said that God is our source, and that this would be a great opportunity for us to witness and tell people about Jesus. God is our source! I also get discourage when I see how the government is handling our money, but God tells us to pray, to seek his face, and to turn from our wicked ways. God, please forgive us as Christian’s when we cannot respond to a brother in Christ in love. Imagine how we look to the lost when we treat each other with such unkindness. We love you Chuck, keep telling the truth, it will set us free! P.S. I’ve just read Handwriting on the Wall and I still feel that this is a good ariticle! Nikitia

  7. These Occupy Wall Street folks have real problem besides being out of money, out of work and underemployed. Their approach to solving their problems using violence is certainly not the best way. Read what news man O’Reiley reports:

    Bill O’Reilly reported that on Tuesday, about 1,000 protesters gathered in Oakland, California, and major concerns began to arise. There was a rat problem, vandalism, fights, and fire hazards. Medical responders were denied access to the protest site on two occasions.

    So the city of Oakland decided to move the protesters and police did that. But later on that day some of the occupiers tried to return to the plaza outside city hall. Police told them they could not return and violence broke out. At least 200 arrests were made.

    Scores of people injured, including a number of police officers. Property was destroyed. And the cops used tear gas and beaten bag rounds to disperse the surging protesters.

    HOWARD JORDAN, OAKLAND POLICE CHIEF said, our job is to protect life and property and make sure that the citizens of Oakland are safe. Our officers were assaulted with bottles, rocks, and had hazardous materials thrown at them.

    Christians everywhere should be praying for our great country!

    If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

    The New International Version. 2011 (2 Ch 7:14). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

  8. Jeff Miller says:

    Keep standing for the truth Chuck! Many today do not like to hear it, but neither did many in Jesus’ day. The angry words brought out, is the same type of response as the Pharisee’s of Jesus day. Rejoice and stand firm!
    Mt 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
    For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

  9. Warren,
    I agree with you. I agree that the Church has forsaken her duty and responsibilities. I would add that you and I, as Christians, can only point our fingers at ourselves because if we are real with ourselves and seek the truth it is you and I who have forsaken our responsibilities and duty to Christ. Awake O’ Sleeper! The sleeper being me and many others. I pray that we use this warning as a wake up call and that we Christians stop worrying about our second piece of the pie and begin to give our first piece away to those who truly need it. Thank you God for such a sobering wake up call. Pray for America, Christ is our only hope!

  10. Pingback: meritocracy… | duregger.net

  11. Great info. Lucky me I came across your site by chance
    (stumbleupon). I’ve book marked it for later!

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