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Good News to the Poor: Social Involvement and the Gospel

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  77 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Help them or tell them? Be like Jesus or talk about Jesus? Social action or gospel proclamation? It seems the two are often pitted against each other, as if they are mutually exclusive. But the New Testament paints a different picture where both aspects are valued. In this plea for a renewed understanding of the Christian calling, Chester argues that faithfulness to the go ...more
Paperback, 214 pages
Published July 31st 2013 by Crossway Books (first published April 16th 2004)
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Ben Krueger
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Evangelism and social action should be viewed as distinct, but inseparable activities in our mission to the poor in which proclamation is central."

Attempts to fuse development and proclamation cannot work from a biblical perspective...social change effects historical change and can be undone, proclamation effects eternal change and cannot be undone. Second, social change occurs in context of personal relationships whereas the gospel takes place in spite of our inability to enact change in one a
...more
Mike Jorgensen
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoughtful, biblical, charitable, and challenging

Another great work from Chester. Both evangelicals and social gospel advocates will be challenged to be more biblical and holistic.
Tim Hoiland
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
What does social action that is distinctly evangelical really look like? That’s the question Tim Chester sets out to answer in Good News to the Poor: Social Involvement and the Gospel. Chester is a pastor and seminary founder in the UK who self-identifies with the “Reformed, evangelical and missional” streams of the Christian faith. Previously, Chester worked for Tearfund, a Christian international development organization that does incredible work around the world.

Many readers of my blog will b
...more
Steve
Jul 31, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To rephrase Bishop Tutu "When people say that the Bible and social action don't mix, I ask them which Bible they are reading." Yet it seems that many evangelicals are reading different Bibles. Evangelical attitudes to social action have always been mixed. Some see it as a capitulation to the social gospel others as an integral part of the gospel. Chester in this introductory book helpfully examines this relationship.

The book begins by outlining four ways in which evangelicals in general have res
...more
Victor
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
The relationship between word and deed for continues to be debated by Christians in here the US. Apparently, they're having similar conversations in the UK. And this book by Tim Chester is an incredibly valuable contribution.

In the early chapters, he examines why Christians have cared for the poor throughout the centuries (hint: the character of God), and why we've slacked off lately (hint: the Enlightenment).

Then he gets to the heart of the issue. His thesis, in his own words, is this: "Evangel
...more
Andy Gee
A few weeks ago I was stood in the kitchen having a debate with some good friends about the place of social involvement in our church. You see I am big on social justice & involvement, and I get worried others aren’t. Those others get worried I am too big on it at the expense of other things! It was all this that led me to Tim Chester’s Good News to the Poor: Social Involvement and the Gospel.

The basic argument of the book is that social involvement and evangelism are inseparable actions of
...more
Joshua
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Solid intro to issues of mercy ministry and social involvement. Helpful treatment of the biblical basis and necessity for mercy, generosity, justice, etc. Recognizes the importance of a multifaceted approach which includes not only material relief, but also community development and structural change. However, at points his eschatology is underrealized, and he downplays the extent to which the new creation has already begun in Christ. He also is pessimistic about large-scale societal transformat ...more
Kai Ling, Phoebe
I like how Chester not only discusses about the theology of Christian social action, but also traces how secular humanitarian and development concepts (eg. human rights and modernism etc) come about and how they relate to the gospel. He brings us back to the knowledge of the redemptive mission of God, and how concepts like "human rights" and "rights-based development" has to be understood in light of God's rights, His will and our responsibility toward God for each other.
Michael Schmid
In this book, Tim Chester addresses the need for the church to be involved in caring for the poor. This is not to deminish the proclamation of the gospel, which is the greatest need of the poor and which is the "good news to the poor" Jesus Christ came to proclaim. But although the gospel is of central importance, social involvement must also be a part of the church. Christ is our example. The words of Christ cannot be separated from the works of Christ.
Jacob Coldwell
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding

Far and above my expectations for a book. Great communication about the issues we are walking through today. Well done!
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Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multiple-reads
1st Read: 11/6-11/21/2013
2nd Read: 12/9-12/18/2013
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Dr Tim Chester is involved in The Crowded House, a church planting initiative in Sheffield, UK. He was previously Research & Policy Director for Tearfund UK, and has been published widely on prayer, mission, social issues and theology. He is married to Helen and has two daughters.

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“Often when people think of social involvement, they think of providing something that will meet people’s needs in some way. We will do something for the poor. We will provide for them food, furniture, help, education, skills, or whatever. These can all be good starting points. But we need to go further. Poverty is about marginalization and powerlessness. And some forms of charitable intervention can leave people marginalized. They can reinforce a sense of powerlessness. Something is done for the poor. They remain passive. They are not becoming contributors to society. They become more dependent on others. So social involvement is more than presenting people with solutions. Good social involvement is helping people to find their own solutions. We want people to be proactive in their lives and to regain their God-given dignity as human beings made to contribute to community life. So at the heart of good social action is the participation of those in” 1 likes
“It is bad enough when rich Christians shoe little concern for the poor, but when they moan about their lot, they show contempt not only for the poor but also for the generosity of God.” 0 likes
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