Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Applied Christianity

By David Hale - posted Wednesday, 27 May 2020

NZ Prime Minister Michael Savage described the introduction of the social security system in NZ as "applied Christianity". It was about helping people, a Christian duty to help people.

For Christians, maybe we should view the welfare system in Australia as applied Christianity.

We are called to help the poor and the sick, the old and the widowed. Yet, if that help is provided in the form of government welfare, some pull back.


Denouncing this help, arguing against it, arguing that it should be cut or abolished - and never mind increasing it. Yet, the welfare state is about helping the same people Christians are called to help.

Would support have been higher if the welfare state had always been referred to as applied Christianity?

There seems to be great power in a term. It can conjure up bad images and Government provided welfare certainty does this - images of the undeserving poor, big government, and expensive programs.

There is a chance that calling it applied Christianity would not have changed much but it may have at least reduced the negative images.

What if we viewed the pension as helping people, including the widows mentioned in the Bible?

If unemployment benefits were viewed as helping the poor, the poor so frequently mentioned in the Bible, not the ones so often demonized now in public discourse.


The same applies to the universal health care that was included as part of NZ social security bill.

One could view it not as welfare and social security but as applied Christianity, a way to ensure that Christian duty is done: the one that calls us to visit and care for the sick.

Now, a rebranding exercise is not going to change everything. Yet, it is interesting to note how perceptions of something matter.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

28 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

David Hale is an Anglican University Lay Chaplain, staff worker for the Australian Student Christian Movement and a member of the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by David Hale

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 28 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy