Friday, September 17, 2010

When Helping Hurts

Chapter 1

1. Why did Jesus come to earth?
2. For what specific sin(s) was OT Israel sent into captivity?  "Disobedience" is not a valid answer. Be specific.  Example: "The Israelites were constantly robbing banks."
3. What is the primary task of the church?

Three big questions are asked at the beginning of this, the opening chapter, and the authors spend the next pages answering them biblically.  These are all things that I believe and I really want other Christians to consider.  I ate this chapter up!  Since I like these points so much, I'm just going to reiterate them with some of my own thoughts thrown in.

1. Luke 4:17-21.  This is how Luke records the beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry. Later that same chapter: "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent" (Luke 4:43).
And what was this gospel of the kingdom that Jesus preached?  The authors quote Tim Keller's definition:
"The kingdom is the renewal of the whole world through the entrance of supernatural forces. As things are brought back under Christ's rule and authority, they are restored to health, beauty, and freedom."

Since Cairo and even more so Detroit I firmly believe that the gospel Jesus preached was not only the salvation of souls, but the salvation and redemption of all creation through his death and resurrection.  Col. 1:20 says "For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or tings in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed of the cross."

2. Check out Isaiah 1 and Isaiah 58.
Yes, God disciplined his people for rampant idolatry, but these passages seem to indicate a people who go to church on Sundays and are seeking to please God, but have turned their backs on the poor.  I met a guy last summer who was reading Amos on his own (the book we studied in Cairo), and declared, "I think Amos is talking about the North American Church!" (just as we determined in Cairo).

3."The task of God's people is rooted in Christ's mission. Simply stated, Jesus preached the good news of the kingdom in word and in deed, so the church must do the same. ...Jesus particularly delighted in spreading the good news among the hurting, the weak, and the poor." I love 1 John 3:16-18.

Next up: Chapter 2.  What is poverty?

No comments: