This blog is the combined effort of four senior pastors of different churches. Their desire is to point you toward living a God-centered, gospel-focused, Christian life.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Questions for Christians Who Oppose Obamacare

Disclaimer: As always, each post represents the opinions of the author and does not necessarily represent the opinions of other bloggers on God Centered Christian. -DB.

I have a few questions for Evangelical Christians who are opposed to Obamacare/the Affordable Care Act.(ACA). These are questions I have posed to myself and, even if the answers aren’t immediately obvious, may help us sharpen our understanding of God’s will for us and bring unity among Christians who disagree about how we should view the role government.

On what grounds would you say that you primarily object to ACA? Do you believe it fundamentally violates Biblical principles? Or do you oppose it based upon wisdom principles? Or some combination of the two?

Since I would count myself among those who wish Obamacare would go away, I’ll take a stab at this, realizing that there may be some significant holes in my thinking.

First, I’m against the concept of ACA more for wisdom principles than for absolute Biblical principles (I think).

Here are some questions that have caused me to reach that conclusion:

Is the government assisting individuals who are impoverished with their health care costs inherently unbiblical? My conclusion is no.

Is the government providing regulation to the health care industry inherently unbiblical? My conclusion is no.

Is the government mandating that individuals have some sort of medical insurance to protect themselves, their family, and the rest of society that would bear the cost of caring for them if they became sick inherently unbiblical? My conclusion is no.

This does not mean that (1) I believe the government is wise to do these things nor that (2) these things might not become evil. Indeed, the generic, disinterested benevolence offered by the government seems to very often become both ineffective and evil (see an earlier blog post here).

As an example of this second point, consider the contrast provided between Obamacare and the funding method used by Samaritan Ministries. Those who members of Samaritan Ministries health sharing program have an incentive to keep their costs low. They are careful not to abuse the medical system and they tend to use it the way it was meant to be used. This is an example of how a morally neutral thing like healthcare can be designed to encourage immoral or unethical behavior. For an article describing these contrasting approaches, click here.

Second, I’m against some of the specific parts of ACA because I believe they do violate Biblical principles.

I believe that some parts of the ACA are morally repugnant and force believers to violate their conscience. For example, forcing employers to pay for plans that provide the so-called “morning after” pill or other abortifacients is morally wrong.

Finally, there are some things that I’m against that I’m unsure as to whether they are wisdom principles or clear Biblical principles.

For instance, there is a part of me that believes that there may be something inherently unbiblical with the subsidies that are being given to people to pay for their health care. I don’t know what the exact numbers are yet, but the numbers I’ve heard thrown around seem a little strange.

Should a family of four making around $50,000 a year really bear no responsibility for their own health care? Is that not defrauding my brother or sister who is subsidizing my care? Is it violating the “don’t work, don’t eat” injunction of Scripture?

Before we answer those questions too quickly, consider this. If you believe it is wrong for me to subsidize your health care, do you also believe it is wrong for me to subsidize you having children? In other words, if you have children, do you refuse to take a child tax refund for moral reasons? If you have a home, do you believe it is wrong for me to subsidize you and therefore do you refuse to take a tax credit for the interest you pay on your mortgage?

I’m open to being wrong in my thinking here, but at the moment you take a Social Security payment, or a mortgage deduction, or a child tax credit, you’ve acknowledged that you believe it is OK at some level for the government to take money from one citizen and give it to another who is not in dire need..

These are complicated issues and my thoughts here just reflect my convictions at this point. Thinking through them honestly may help us stay unified on clear Biblical truths. I’d be interested in your perspective, but if you leave comments on the blog or my Facebook page, let’s remember to play nice!



  1. My thoughts....
    1. If a man will not work, he shouldn't eat

    2. If a man cannot work, let's help him

    3. If someone needs this type of help, it is the church's responsibility, not the the responsibility of the government

    4. As this is primarily a spiritual issue, it behooves the Christian community to respond to it, not the government

    5. As long as the church defaults her responsibility to the government, things will never get better

    6. Any church that is ACTIVELY and regularly addressing the plight of the legitimately poor should lose their tax exempt status.

    Pastor Tony Foeller
    Anna, IL

  2. Correction to #6 above.....

    Any church that isn't actively and regularly.....


    Pastor T

  3. I appreciate your perspective Daniel. Thanks for sharing. Politics is sometimes a tricky conversation for me when I'm speaking with other believers. I am thankful when I'm able to hear thoughts of leaders that I have great trust in.


  4. Daniel,

    Thank you for your article! Thanks for having the guts to talk about this topic as a pastor. I have thought long and hard about this issue myself and appreciate the way you are asking the question. We are socialist now socially, politically, and economically as a country. I have been wondering how to honor Christ in this gentile-secular nation that I live in at this point in history.

    The first part of your article addressed three questions:

    Is the government assisting individuals who are impoverished with their health care costs inherently unbiblical?

    Is the government providing regulation to the health care industry inherently unbiblical?

    Is the government mandating that individuals have some sort of medical insurance to protect themselves, their family, and the rest of society that would bear the cost of caring for them if they became sick inherently unbiblical?

    Yes- Because it is unconstitutional. The constitution is the law of the land, not congresses or the supreme courts decisions. Constitutionally the Federal government only has the right to regulate for all the states what is exclusively written in the constitution. Please read the 9th and 10th amendments below:

    9th Amendment- “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

    10th Amendment- “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”

    The government (1) assisting impoverished individuals, (2) regulation for health care, and (3) the government mandating health insurance is a law written that violates the supreme law of the land. Therefore, it is unbiblical. I shouldn’t support legislation that is unbiblical? The most recent Supreme Court decision about the individual mandate established the NEW precedent that if I am alive the government has the right to tax me. An idea that violates our constitution and what was argued by the defense. Judges can’t change the constitution. Their role is to simply apply the law to a specific situation. Our founders purposely (go read them) made our government difficult to change.

    So what does this mean for a Christian?
    I am to obey the government to the best of my ability abuses in all (Romans 13:1-7). We live in a unique situation as believers in that our ultimate governing authority in this country is written law. Not elected politicians, even if they ignore it. We do our best to elect people who have a high view of written law and want to obey it in their policies.
    What do I do if my elected officials overwhelmingly ignore the written law? I accept the abuses and live a quite and peaceable life trying to share the gospel with as many people as possible. Then I go vote and see if God has mercy on us giving us leaders who will obey the written law and undo previous damage if possible.
    Am I a hypocrite if I take any federal help were it is unconstitutional? I personally don’t think so. Why? Because governments like churches are institutions that came from God that I have to obey and participate in. (Genesis 9 & Ephesians 4) Neither is perfect, but I have to participate in them and IF I have the opportunity to change them toward more Christ like actions I should try (Assuming I am going through the proper avenues and chains of authority).

    David Ice
    (Emily’s friend from High School)

  5. I agree Daniel with everything you said. I appreciate unbiased thinking over an issue like this. I personally am somewhat in favor of the ACA as it is a change towards addressing health care costs and health care coverage. Something that has been decades overdue. Something needed to be done. If the ACA will do what it promises than that will be great, but I believe it is far from perfect, but a move that is hopefully in the right direction. Anything that will address the cost of healthcare is good, coming from Republicans or Democrats alike deserves a chance to be looked at. I completely agree though that Samaritan does go a long way in addressing its healthcare costs, but the mandate to carry insurance could potentially also bring the cost of healthcare down, but the rest of the law might not work as efficiently as Samaritan. The incentive to keep costs down by those who pay for it is very obvious for Samaritan, not so much with the ACA. As to the part if the ACA is unbiblical I can say that it doesn't seem like it is unbiblical accept for some parts of the law that you already mentioned regarding the promotion of abortion through government mandates that interfere strongly with freedom of religion and can be seen as unconstitutional, very much so.. I do have some biblical concerns about what "security" in healthcare for all will do to our compassion to help our neighbor in need. As someone who has grown up in the Netherlands I have seen society become more separated from the individualistic needs, as there aren't many needs left in the Netherlands, accept of for spiritual needs... I think there might be some correlation between taking risks out of life and people's loss of faith in God. No one wants hardships, but God is mostly apparent in hardships.. so the more we can take care of ourselves the less we need others and the more self centered we become..
    Constitutionally I don't think there is anything wrong with the ACA accept for what we already talked about. The Constitution is not the Bible, inspired by it, but its not part of the Bible. Constitutions will always need amendments and elected government officials have the power to amend, add or remove parts of the Constitution. If the Constitution was supposed to stay intact the way it was written hundreds of years ago, our forefathers would not have made provisions for amendments and would have added writing that no one should be allowed to add, amend or remove parts of this Constitution, but they didn't.. I believe the Bible is our Constitution rather than the Constitution of a country. I have respect for what is in it and the thoughts behind it but the Bible and its laws are Gods Constitution for us all. I think it is more important for any of us to focus on what we can do to live our lives as Christians according to God's Word in a personal way that shows God's love towards others, rather than showing division over man made laws, hurting our chances to win over those who do not believe in God. The Pharisees were quick to judge Jesus in everything He did, and we too are quick to judge others as well. We should not become so legalistic that we forget to be the disciples we all should strive to be.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, P. Reading comments from brothers in Christ from other parts of the world (including yours) about Obamacare is one of the things that got me thinking along these lines.

  6. I can't believe I hadn't seen this yet. I appreciate your willingness to cover this type of topic as a pastor. I wish more pastors would.

    I believe Christian's must be against all forms of Socialism. Including ACA (Obamacare).

    It violates the 8th commandment. Theft is still a violation even if committed by a government or a majority. Redistribution of wealth is theft. Taking from some by force and giving it to others is theft. Appealing to free will giving in the New Testament isn't the same thing as governments enforced taxation for redistribution of wealth.

    Also, principles can be taken from 1 Samuel on what is allowed by civil magistrates for taxation. 10% Furthermore Romans 13 tells us that the civil magistrate is there to punish evil doers as a minister of God.

    One of the fundamental problems is that Christians have abandoned jurisdictional boundaries of the Person, Family, Church, and State.


  7. Daniel,

    Thanks for your thoughts on the topic. I appreciate your willingness to engage in an issue that some pastors are afraid to touch and yet I think the church (myself included) needs to hear how scripture/the gospel/biblical wisdom applies to all areas of life. I wanted to share a link of a discussion that was had at Trinity University on this topic last year:

    I found it helpful and hopefully it can be of some benefit.

  8. Interesting article, Daniel. I respect your opinion, however, please do not confuse Social Security checks with welfare. Money was taken out of every payroll check I ever earned for 47 years for Social Security with the promise that it would supplement my income in retirement. It was never intended to be a retirement plan as some think. I am now retired and receive a monthly Social Security check. This is really my money that is being returned to me - not the government's money. I did not ever intent to be completely dependent on Social Security and lived a frugal lifestyle, worked hard, saved and invested. Social Security simply supplements my investment earnings.

    1. I agree that there is a distinction, at least in theory.

      I've gone back and forth on this one. I guess my thought is that the money I've put into the system is no longer there. The money I will be receiving from the system is not the money I put into it. It's a shell game. It was mismanaged and in the future I will be taking resources from other people.

      I don't think it's wrong to take SS, of course. I had the opportunity as a pastor to opt out of the system. I couldn't in good conscience say that I believed it was morally wrong to take money from the government, so I couldn't opt out.

  9. Now that this post is aged, and I'm catching up on email, I'll comment.

    I think you have the wrong view of money when it comes to government and citizens. The idea that a deduction is taking away from the government (e.g. "government to take money from one citizen and give it to another") assumes that the government is sovereign over what the citizen earns. Deductions come from the philosophy that the government isn't sovereign.

    Thus a deduction isn't someone "taking" from the "system" or government. It's the government not taking from a citizen. Keep in mind that income tax came about only for war-time expenses but as with most government growth, it's stayed. Prior to that, the government met all it's needs on tariffs.

    What the government chooses to do with a tax dollar (e.g. pay for war, redistribute wealth, etc.) doesn't dictate what that citizen chose to pay for (e.g. blood money, gift to the poor, etc.). Rather, it's a reflection of the government we have voted in, and more appropriately, who we haven't voted OUT. If the government mismanages tax dollars and puts us in debt, it doesn't mean that the citizens are responsible to pay extra to help the mismanagement (e.g. not take deductions). Rather, it's the responsibility of the citizens to hold the government accountable to manage money and budget, voting out as appropriate. Of course, I expect we'll be following much of Europe on this front for other reasons.

    1. You make an excellent point. I should have been more specific.

      You're right that the money given to the government is in some sense "ours" (taking into account Jesus' words regarding giving Caesar what is Caesar's).

      So, in a scenario where you're talking about a person paying a high tax rate and receiving a deduction is simply decreasing the amount of their money they give to the government. Point well taken.

      But let's look at the questions I posed again:

      "If you believe it is wrong for me to subsidize your health care, do you also believe it is wrong for me to subsidize you having children? In other words, if you have children, do you refuse to take a child tax refund for moral reasons? If you have a home, do you believe it is wrong for me to subsidize you and therefore do you refuse to take a tax credit for the interest you pay on your mortgage?"

      First, the point is about consistency. If someone is saying the deduction for health care is wrong, why aren't other deductions wrong? My experience is that we tend to look at other people's deductions as examples of "moochers" and our own deductions as "fundamental rights".

      Second, let's assume that in each scenario we're talking about someone who doesn't pay income tax. Should they still receive child tax credits? Should someone's tax liability be brought to $0 simply because they decided to take out a loan to buy a house?

      I agree with your point but I think it might not cover all the scenarios I'm thinking about. Again, the main point is consistency from those who are objecting to ACA (and I count myself among them).