Christianity is the faith of the poor. Our Lord Jesus Christ "was rich, yet for your sake became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Cor 8:9). Jesus also taught His followers that the kingdom of heaven belongs to “you who are poor” and “the poor in spirit” (Luke 6:20; Matt 5:3). He proclaimed that judgment before his throne will hinge on how His followers treated those who were hungry, thirsty, strangers, unclothed, sick, and in prison—the ones he calls “the least of these my brothers” (Matt 25:31–46). This volume compiles writings about poverty from thirteen culturally, ethnically, and chronologically diverse Christians. Hearing from our mothers and fathers of the Faith helps us answer questions like: How should we think about poverty? What should Christians do to address human material need? How does our commitment to Jesus and our concern for social justice go together? How should we make, spend, or give money?
There may be no more pressing issue before the contemporary church, especially churches living in these strange times in the United States, than to be reminded of Jesus’ teaching about the poor and against the wealthy. We have so neglected his words, and substituted a comfortable pseudo-gospel better suited to worship Mammon than the Holy Trinity, that Christianity has become almost unrecognizable. The hour is late, but there is still time. Draper’s timely Christian Mission and Poverty speaks into this moment not by using his own words but pointing us to true witnesses from antiquity through modernity. Every church, study group, discipleship class and individual should take, read and inwardly digest the essays in this important collection.
D. Stephen Long, PhD
Cary M. Maguire University Professor of Ethics
Southern Methodist University
So many faithful pastors, teachers, leaders, and Christian workers learn how God spoke uniquely and definitively in Jesus and the Bible, but miss the vast sea of wisdom that lays in front of this singular horizon. They miss seeing how God’s Word and Spirit have worked through faithful hearts from generation to generation to transform lives and the world in which they live. The reader you hold in your hand is a great forward stride in providing this generation with the practical wisdom of its forbearers. . . . Andrew Draper has toured the vast histories of our rich Christian heritage and offers us snapshots of its glories.