Bibles instead of food?

A criticism that is sometimes laid at the feet of missionaries is that they go to a disaster, preach the Gospel, hand out Bibles, but do “nothing to make the people’s lives better.” This criticism is sometimes on the mark, but not usually. More to the point, such criticism is usually heard from atheists who don’t see that faith, that hope in salvation, is at least as important as wordly needs. If not more so.

Well, it had to surface in the aftermath of Katrina. It turns out that Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers got the message that Bibles were urgently needed by victims of Katrina. Found via the WSJ’s Best of the Web, here’s the post at Michael Hyatt’s blog.

The reaction to Mr. Hyatt’s charity is as might be expected: anger, fueled by a lack of understanding of the nature of Scripture. Let’s be brutally honest here: it is not sufficient to give Bibles to people who are starving and who need shelter and water to drink. But that’s not what Nelson did; they’re working with Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse, and donations are being made of both Bibles, and the wordly goods we all need to survive in the here and now.

What Christians know already, and which I wish the rest of the world could discover, is that all people need their daily bread, but also the bread of life that can only be found in Christ Jesus. And a Bible is one of the best ways of learning about Him.

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