Soup, Soap, and Salvation

Does secularism offer hope of recovery for homeless people?

There is a great difference between secular homeless shelters and faith-based ones. To clarify, West Virginia Rescue Ministries is a Christian-based shelter. The difference begins with the world view the shelters subscribe to.

Secular shelters have to explain what they are and what their world view is. We can only be accountable for ourselves. We center our ministry on Biblical principles and faith in Jesus Christ. We truly believe that faith in Jesus Christ is the only real and complete hope for behavioral change, life skills development, and a restored life. Providing a homeless person with a job and a house is commendable. However, it does not address the life styles that led a person to homelessness.

I plan to address the “Housing First Initiative” in a future blog. However, it needs to be noted that a homeless person had acceptable housing before they became homeless. I asked the residents of our shelter if they thought having a house would solve their issues. Repeatedly they stated that they had housing before they were homeless. They recognized that deeper issues had separated them from their housing.

Jesus Christ and faith in Him is the only hope they have. Sexual immorality, drugs, and alcohol are part of the cycle of homelessness. To break the cycle of chronic homelessness, there has to be a spiritual answer — an answer that secularism cannot offer.

If your world view denies the existence of God, what we are striving to do does not make sense. Belief in the existence of God is a legitimate, rational, reasonable belief. For all the arguments against this idea I offer the successes of Christ-based ministry. Secularism will offer its successes, but our idea of success is different than theirs.

The first shelters were built by Christian men offering help and hope — or soup, soap, and salvation, as they often stated. Since 1937, West Virginia Rescue Ministries has been working toward ending homelessness, one homeless person at a time.

George E. Batten
Executive Director

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