Friday, November 21, 2008

Total Church

I am reading a book right now called Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis. I have found it to be quite engaging. They are leaders in a church community in England called The Crowded House. They focus on being an intentional gospel community and focus in urban communities with many social needs.

Here are some things that I have been reading:
"In any Christian ministry, including ministry among the poor, proclaiming and teaching the word of God must be central. And that is because the greatest need of the poor, as for us all, is to be reconciled to God and so escape his wrath. What makes Christian social involvement distinctively Christian is a commitment to reconciling the poor to God through the proclamation of the gospel."

"If we do not keep people's eternal plight in mind, then immediate needs will force their way to the top of our agenda, and we will betray the gospel and the people we profess to love. The most loving thing that we can do for the poor is to proclaim the good news of eternal salvation through Christ. It is by no means the only loving thing we can do for them, but it is the most loving thing we can do. It would be a crime of monumental proportions to knowingly withhold such good news."

These authors put a great emphasis on the responsibility of the church to be intentionally engaged in the lives of the poor and marginalized in society. But they also keep in perspective that the Gospel is the most important thing that any person needs.

Can we really care for people without being willing to share the Good News with them at some point?


Steve said...

Absolutely not.

If I get you a job, but let you pitch into hell when you die, how is that caring? How is that love?

Likewise, if I merely care for your soul but do nothing about your physical needs, then I don't really care for you either.

Dave Rankin said...

Its a balancing act that we need to be part of. Its too easy to simple chose one way of "ministering" and call the other wrong. I know people on both sides who are so sure they have the right way they miss out on God's way. I've been reading a book called the Mission of God which expresses very similar views to the one being quoted. It speaks about jubilee and the Exodus, and how God was not only interested in the spiritual lives but also the physical lives of Israel. He cares about the whole person but it is very true that the most important thing is a persons soul because it last forever compared to our physical bodies.