This thesis is an exegetical research on the social responsibility of local congregations. According to Paul, local congregations have a social responsibility to ´do good´. However, he seems to make a difference between doing good to the ´household of faith´ and doing good to ´all´. Galatians 6:10 says: ´So then, as we have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith.´ Subject of research in this thesis is a comparison between the doing good to all and doing good to the ‘household of faith´. Goal is to explore a possibility to confine the social responsibility of the local church to ‘outsiders’ without detracting from a God-given assignment.
Researching ancient texts on the term ´doing good´ has shown that doing good is a general term with wide varieties of meaning. This study prooves that attempts to confine ‘doing good’ (e.g. to charity and hospitality) are not warranted. This conclusion increases the weight of Paul´s exhortation to do good to all.
However, the primary responsibility lies with the ´household of faith´, referring to the local (house) churches. Contrary to the expectations, this resposibility for the ´ingroup´ does not decrease social responsibility to outsiders. Paul´s intention with this emphasis on the doing good to one another is to underline one of his main goals in writing to the Galatians: solving internal conflicts by establishing a family-like group identity with family-like responsibilities towards one another. His argument in Gal. 6:10 is: ‘you Galatians have a responsibility to do good to all, so if you are even doing good to all, you must definitely, especially, do good to those that belong to your family, your household.’
The conclusion therefore must be that local churches have to find a balance between using their resources for doing good to ‘the household of faith’ as well as, and with comparable responsibility, to ‘all’. This balance can not be determined by any kind of ‘hard and fast rule’, but must be found in total dependence on God, the Patron of ‘the household of faith’.||