Philip Graham Ryken is Senior Minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, where he has preached since 1995. He is Bible Teacher for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, speaking nationally on the radio program Every Last Word. Dr. Ryken was educated at Wheaton College (IL), Westminster Theological Seminary (PA) and the University of Oxford (UK), from which he received his doctorate in historical theology. He lives with his wife (Lisa) and children (Joshua, Kirsten, Jack, Kathryn, and Karoline) in Center City, Philadelphia. When he is not preaching or spending time with his family, he likes to read books, play sports, and ponder the relationship between Christian faith and American culture. He has written or edited more than twenty books, including Bible commentaries on Exodus, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Galatians.
Ryken and Toly do a swell job of giving the blueprints for an effective mercy ministry, the nuts and bolts to secure a firm Biblical foundation, and cap it off with a strong historical roof. One portion in particular was interesting and helpful and that was how up until Calvin in Geneva, we had not seen a more thorough and effective mercy ministry since the time of the first century church. Calvin revitalized the idea and turned Geneva from a town of sin into a city of sacrificial giving and community involvement.
This is the forth book I have read in the Basics of Faith Series. Each booklet takes a doctrine and explains it in easy to understand language. This one is no exception.
What is mercy ministry? shows us what ministry to those who are in need looks like. So many times we go to church week after week and never see the needs around us.
So many are hungry and in need of clothing. We are not only called to take the gospel to these, but we are also to feed and cloth them. We are to imitate the love of God. If God saved us and had mercy on us, are we not to show our gratitude and help those in need?
We are all created in God's image. We should all be treated with dignity. The authors show how each biblical doctrine calls us to show mercy. Everything God has done for us has been because of His mercy.
They end the book with a look at the ministries of John Calvin and Thomas Chalmers. They both had ministries to the poor.
I recommend this book. It will both convict and encourage.
I give it a 5 out of 5 stars.
I received this book free of charge from P & R Publishing and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Great short hortatory intro to a vital ministry of the Church.
Would have benefited from a focused section on deacons as leaders of mercy ministry rather than scattered comments throughout, and an examination of the top categories of those who are especially to receive mercy, ie, widows, orphans, strangers, poor, etc.
Especially helpful was the discussion of how mercy relates to sin and evil. Even sinners and fools should be given mercy, because God shows His mercy to sinners and fools like all of us.
Mercy ministry is a term that encompasses meeting physical needs of others, specifically in local and material ways. Ryken and Toly examine the biblical precedent for such work, and highlight Christ’s commands and His own work. They also give examples from church history (a section that, while I understood its inclusion, seemed misplaced). Specific helps to transition this type of mercy ministry from theory to practice in churches round out this extremely helpful and potent booklet.