The rich history of gospel work among the poorest
From an article by 20Schemes - gospel churches for Scotland's poorest
Mark Dever is currently the senior pastor of the Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and has also lived and ministered in the UK. He made the following comments regarding Church for the poor, which echo the Bishop of Burnley, Philip North's talk in the blog "Every effective renewal movement has started with the poor".
Mark observes, "Some people are wondering if the gospel really will work in places that are deprived by our world standards. Maybe they don't have the medical care. They don't have the mobility. They don't have the jobs. They don't have the money. They have the high crime. However, I think when you look through the last 2,000 years of history, Christianity has not shown itself to flourish mainly among the wealthy.
"I know from living in the UK for a number of years, that sometimes evangelical Christianity was associated with the middle class, but if you look at the history of Christianity, even in the UK, that's not true. People can joke about the Anglican church being the Tory Party at prayer but if you look at the history of everything from the Labour Party to the Union movement to the Methodist movement, to the evangelical awakenings to the people who would hear Whitfield and Wesley preach, the Colliers in Scotland or in the west of England. It's not true to say that Christianity has worked best or spread best among the rich."
"If anything we know from scripture, and I think we see confirmed in history, that the rich tend to be ensnared with the things of this world. If anything the rich man tend to want to build bigger barns. That's the parable that Jesus told, or when Jesus tells the parable of the sower and the seed, the cares of this world choke out the seed as it starts to grow up. I think we appreciate what wealth can do, what a job can do, what a stable family can do, but we don't idolise those things.
"We know the world has fallen, and everything can look squeaky clean on the outside, and it's broken on the inside. In what we might call a deprived community, that brokenness is just clearer, and it may save us some steps with the gospel. There are certainly some challenges in more obviously deprived communities, but great opportunities for the gospel. The Lord loves us regardless of how much money we make, what our prison record's like. If you look at the people in the Bible, who are the great people? Moses the murderer. David the murderer. Paul the murderer.
"If you have an idea that you've done something that has put you beyond the pale of the grace of God, then you've not yet considered how long God's arm is, how far he can reach. Deprived communities are almost in that sense especially enticing I think for God to move for His own glory. I don't think there's anything in a deprived community that intimidates God."
See video here
One could add many other examples such as William Booth. Thomas Guthrie, etc.
Have you and your leadership team discussed the research on Church for the poor which can downloaded via this blog?
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