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Social relief became a monopoly of the church in Rome and Alexandria, where it was manifested in distributions to the poor and in the establishment and upkeep of hospitals, orphanages and homes for the aged. By the 4th century the church was also bringing relief to people whom inflation had plunged into distress. During the time of Constantine the church enjoyed much favour. Constantine's attempt to create a Christian empire eventually resulted in the state taking over much of the responsibility of the church. For example, the state now assumed as its responsibility the care of the poor though the church continued with this on a small scale.

To Constantine himself is credited the observation that a changed religion involves a changed social order. As a matter of fact the Constantinian policy embraced two parallel but distinct objects. These objects may be described as follows Cochrane : 1 to create a world fit for Christians to live in and 2 to make the world safe for Christianity. The former represents the attitude of the emperor to individual believers; it finds expression in an extensive scheme of moral and social reform designed to satisfy their demands and to promote their interests.

The latter reflects his views regarding the Church as an institution, and it manifests itself in the project of a Christian establishment conceived more or less along the lines of existing pagan state-cults. Constantine's reforms were limited to a certain tenderness towards dependents, women, children and slaves.

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Women, for example, were no longer to be compelled to undergo trial in the public courts, widows and orphans were to have special consideration at the hands of the judiciary and they were not to be forced to travel long distances for hearings Cochrane A law that forbade the separation mitigated the hardships of slavery by sale of man and wife, and the practice of manumission was encouraged, especially if it took place in the church.

In other respects, also, the emperor tried to maintain the cohesion of the family, especially by prohibiting divorce except on statutory grounds: to the specific exclusion of 'frivolous pretexts' such as drunkenness, gambling and infidelity.

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Constantine also called for the prohibition of gladiatorial exhibitions and the abolition of crucifixion as a form of punishment, no doubt out of respect for the memory of Christ. With this tasteless expression of Christian sentiment may be compared the enactment which forbade the branding of human beings on the face 'because the face is made in the image of God', while slaves, criminals and even conscripts continued to be branded on other parts of the body Cochrane In the earliest stage of his public career, Constantine maintained a more flexible though still strictly aristocratic type of society.

Once in power, however, he seems to have abandoned any such notion; for he maintained in all its rigour, the legal framework of the status-society. He promoted the tendency towards social evolution upon an occupational basis; in each and every case seeking to attach to the legal person fixed obligations commensurate with the privileges to which his status in the community entitled him; and, at the same time, scattering immunities and exemptions with a generous hand among favoured groups whose services he regarded as peculiarly valuable to the regime.

This programme was said to demoralise the middle groups while, at the same time, it transformed the free peasant into a serf. Post-Constantine churches spent great sums on the work of ransoming captives. St Ambrose proposed selling the precious vessels on the altars of his church in Milan to do just that. He declared:. There is one incentive which must impel us all to charity; it is pity for the misery of our neighbors and the desire to alleviate it, with all the means that lie in our power, and more besides.

Scott As we have shown, there is no doubt that the early Christian centuries were a period of significant social change and restructuring, witnessing the spread of Roman power across the Greek East as well as the emergence of Christianity and rabbinic Judaism.

The emergence of a new cultural form both indicated and enabled broader societal transformations Perkins In spite of what we have just noted, however, it can hardly be maintained that the early Christians deliberately attempted to restructure the empire in addressing matters of socio-economic justice.

Instead, during the first two centuries when Christians constituted a small minority, their concern was to help those who were dehumanised and oppressed by providing practical help. Their concerns were motivated by compassion and characterised by communal justice and the love of God. Their input into changing society was essentially to provide charity and love as expressed in the Scriptures. Yet they were to have a profound effect in helping the poor and neglected. The medieval period was built on a system of feudal hierarchy.

In this hierarchy, the lord of the manor, who, in turn, owed allegiance to and was protected by a higher overlord, protected the serf, or peasant. And so the system went, ending eventually with the king. This hierarchical and systemic differentiation was generally biologically based, with birth right crucial to one's place in feudal society, as was hereditary provenance. Such a structure led to the exploitation and oppression of those lower in the hierarchy. The Catholic Church was by far the largest owner of land during the Middle Ages. The bishops and abbots, in exercising a primary loyalty to the church in Rome, provided a strong central government throughout this period.

Hence the manor functioned on both a religious and secular basis. The dominant economic institutions in the towns were the guilds who were also involved with social and religious questions. They regulated their members' conduct in all their activities: personal, social, religious and economic. Although the guilds regulated very carefully the production and sale of commodities, they were less concerned with making profits than with saving their members' souls. Salvation demanded that the individual lead an orderly life based on church teachings and custom.

This led to a strong paternalistic obligation towards the common people, the poor and the general welfare of society. It was accepted that some were to be rich, and that the poor had to subordinate to the leadership of the wealthy. However, it was equally emphasised that the wealthy had an obligation to use their riches to help the poor. Hence riches and wealth were not condemned, but greed, selfish acquisitiveness, covetousness and the lust for wealth were consistently condemned by the Christian paternalist ethic.

What we do see here is a concern for the poor. However, the support of wealth and not greed or selfish acquisitiveness was to obscure the absolute biblical focus on the poor that Jesus advocated. The teachings of Christ in the New Testament carry on part of the Mosaic tradition relevant to economic ideology. He taught the necessity of being concerned with the welfare of one's brother, the importance of charity and almsgiving. He condemned the rich and praised the poor as he took their side. The medieval church in many ways attempted to remain true to the teachings of its Lord as it set out to develop its society politically, economically, socially and religiously.

However, while on the one hand the Church drew up guidelines for helping the poor, and their assistance was structured accordingly, on the other hand, certain bishops began to allow believers to adopt a more comfortable life style. So the problem of the poor was attacked only at the level of its consequences and not of its causes. The poor were still dependent on the rich and, although some of the rich showed great generosity, the institutional and structural injustice which generated poverty was not dealt with at its roots.

The key figure to shape the medieval paradigm of mission thinking was Augustine of Hippo though, strictly speaking, he preceded the Middle Ages, at least if one takes this period to have begun around Bosch Augustine's circumstances and his reaction to them, influenced deeply by his personal history, were to shape both the theology and the understanding of mission of subsequent centuries.

His reaction to an English monk, Pelagius, and the Donatists in North Africa essentially directed the missionary paradigm of the Middle Ages see Frend Augustine maintained that God became human in order to save human souls that are hurtling to destruction. Hence not the reconciliation of the universe but the redemption of the soul stands in the centre.

The theology of Augustine could not but spawn a dualistic view of reality, which became second nature in Western Christianity - the tendency to regard salvation as a private matter and to ignore the world, though this was not the view of Augustine himself. This particular view gave rise to the tendency of seeing mission as an attempt to develop the church rather than get involved with the world Bosch Augustine, however, promoted the involvement of the church with the world. In this respect he maintained that the church's involvement with social change in relation to the poor was personal charity.

Augustine was the architect of the doctrine of charity; obedience to God required a genuine concern for the needs of the poor Sider The Middle Ages also saw the rise of the monastic movement which greatly contributed to the Christianisation of Europe Tanner Only monasticism, says Niebuhr, saved the medieval church from acquiescence, petrification and the loss of its vision and truly revolutionary character Quoted in Bosch For upward of years, from the 5th century to the 12th, the monastery was not only the centre of culture and civilisation, but also of mission.

At first glance, the monastic movement appears to be a most unlikely agent for mission and transformation. The communities were certainly not founded as launching pads for mission. They were not even created out of a desire to get involved in society in their immediate environment. Rather, they regarded society as corrupt and moribund, held together only by 'the tenacity of custom'.

Monasticism stood for the absolute renunciation of everything the ancient world had prized, it was an endeavour to refrain from the 'sinful world'. It was 'flight from the world, and nothing else' Bosch Monasticism's one object, immediate as well as ultimate, 'was to live in purity and die in peace', and to avoid anything that could 'agitate, harass, depress, stimulate, weary, or intoxicate the soul' Bosch In the light of the above it may therefore sound preposterous to suggest that monasticism was both a primary agent of medieval mission and the main instrument in reforming European society.

That this was indeed what happened was due, firstly, to the esteem in which the general populace held monks Elliston Secondly, their exemplary lifestyle made a profound impact, particularly on the peasants. The monasteries became self-sustaining communities organised around rules for daily life, rules which pertained to work as well as prayer. This concept was revolutionary in the ancient world, where manual work was seen as fit for slaves. This concept would be emphasised again by Puritanism and have had a powerful effect on the western world.

Thirdly, their monasteries were centres not only of hard manual labour, but also of culture and education. The monks were encouraged to become scholars. Thus, for the first time the practical and theoretical were embodied in the same individuals. This combination helped create an atmosphere favourable to scientific development, including both workshops and libraries. The monasteries became centres of Christian faith, learning and technical progress as they expanded into northern Europe. According to Cannon, in the West the monasteries became 'the highway of civilisation, itself' Cannon It is interesting to note how the monks related their profound spirituality to an eminently practical lifestyle.

They refused to write off the world as a lost cause or to propose neat, no-loose-ends answers to the problems of life, but rather to rebuild promptly, patiently and cheerfully, 'as if it were by some law of nature that the restoration came' Bosch Henry points out that the Benedictine Rule had been 'one of the most effective linkages of justice, unity and the renewal the church has ever known' The Benedictine monastery indeed became a 'school for the Lord's service', and was to have a profound influence in the centuries to follow.

The monastic movement, from its inception, has been concerned not only with the spiritual side of life, but also with its social and economic components. Ora et Labora was the motto of the Benedictine Order, and it also inspired many other communities. During the Middle Ages, the Church was deeply concerned about economic matters, not only on the theological level, but also on the operational one.

Hospices, orphanages and philanthropic work were supported by income generated through economic activities. However, most of these were done through the monasteries. Julio De Santa Ana points out that it was the monasteries that chose to radically eradicate poverty The monks saw the need to be involved in the transformation of society as their gospel responsibility. However, the concept of social or community transformation adopted by the medieval church can be classified as that of the conservative paradigm, poverty is just there: 'The poor you will always have with you' Mk The relationship of rich and poor is a personal one of mutual rights and obligations, which are ordained by tradition.

The responsibility of the rich towards the poor is to behave with fairness, forbearance and compassion. The responsibility of the poor, as taught in the medieval church, was to accept their place in life humbly, being hardworking, law-abiding, loyal and grateful for the charity of the rich.

This is, usually, reflected in relief programmes to ease immediate hardship and in welfare approaches concerned with meeting 'basic needs'. More broadly, it is seen in institutions such as the 'poor relief' at the parish level. The provision of such support is often seen as an important part of the role of the Church. While the church in the medieval period took seriously its responsibility to the poor it did not really seek to restructure society. Instead it took the poor and struggling people into the monasteries and cared for them there. This was to change with the coming of the Reformation.

The period of the Reformation saw the rise of mercantilism and then industrial capitalism. By , before the reformation, there were many thriving cities and larger towns. The growth of towns and cities led to a growth of rural-urban specialisation. With urban workers severing all ties to the soil, the output of manufactured goods increased impressively. The expansion of trade, particularly long-distance trade in the early period, led to the establishment of commercial and industrial towns that serviced it. Each of these areas of change, particularly the latter, brought about a weakening and ultimately a complete dissolving of the traditional ties that held together the feudal economic and social structure.

New systems of commercial law developed. Unlike the system of paternalistic adjudication based on custom and tradition that prevailed in the manor, the commercial law was fixed by precise code. The worker no longer sold a finished product to the merchant. Rather, the worker sold only the worker's own labour power. This led to the workers and their families becoming dependent on the merchant-capitalists. It was inevitable that such a relationship was in due course going to lead into serious conflict.

England experienced a series of such revolts in the late 14th and 15th centuries. But the revolts that occurred in Germany in the early 16th century were probably the bloodiest of all. The early 16th century is a watershed in European history. It marks the vague dividing line between the old, decaying feudal order and the rising capitalist system. After , important social and economic changes began to occur with increasing frequency, each reinforcing the other and all together ushering in the system of capitalism. The capitalist market economy demanded self-seeking, acquisitive behaviour to function successfully.

From the capitalists views of the nature of humans, and their needs to be free from the extensive economic restrictions that inhibited them in the conduct of their everyday business grew the philosophy of individualism that provided the basis of classical liberalism. By now the church had become completely secularised. As a result, the people could no longer look to the Catholic Church for relief from widespread unemployment and poverty. Destruction of the power of the church had eliminated the organised system of charity. The state attempted to assume responsibility for the general welfare of society.

All through this time the Christian paternalist view that promoted the general welfare of society still prevailed. However, with the eventual emergence of industrial capitalism this paternalist view was no longer tenable. The capitalists wanted to be free not only from economic restrictions that encumbered manufacturing and commerce but also from the moral opprobrium the Catholic Church had heaped upon their motives and activities. Unfortunately the rise of Protestantism was to provide this in-road. Protestantism not only freed them from religious condemnation but also eventually made virtues of the selfish, egoistic and acquisitive motives the medieval church had so despised.

The Reformers not only influenced their society, but they were also influenced by the ideology economic of their time see Stivers Consequently, the absolute biblical concern for the poor as expressed by the early church was slowly diminishing, even though groups of Christians continued to campaign for the rights of the poor, it was small in comparison to the whole church. The church was ultimately taking sides with the rich as it provided theological justification for economic and political advancement and the creation of a 'better society'.

It was not a 'better society' for the poor and marginalised. We shall examine this now. It has often been pointed out that the Reformers were indifferent, if not hostile, to mission. Gustav Warneck, the father of missiology as a theological discipline, was one of the first Protestant scholars who promoted this view Warneck More recently, however, several scholars have argued that a judgement such as Warneck's implies summonsing the Reformers before the tribunal of the modern missionary movement and finding them guilty for not having subscribed to a definition of mission which did not exist in their own time.

To argue that the Reformers had no missionary vision, these scholars contend, is to misunderstand the basic thrust of their theology and ministry Bosch Luther, in particular, is to be regarded as 'creative and original thinker'. In fact, he provided the church's missionary enterprise with clear and important guidelines and principles.

The starting point of the Reformers' theology was not what people could or should do for the salvation of the world, but what God has already done in Christ. God's righteousness did not mean God's righteous punishment and wrath, but his gift of grace and mercy, which the individual may appropriate in faith see Walker With the Reformation came a fundamental theological shift in the understanding of the church's involvement in society, especially in relation to the poor.

As Lindberg points out:. Luther's theological position consists essentially of the conviction that Salvation is not the process or goal of life, but rather its presupposition … Since righteousness before God is by faith alone and salvation is the source rather than the goal of life, it becomes difficult to rationalise the plight of the poor as a peculiar form of blessedness.

There is no salvific value in being poor or in giving alms. Thus when the Reformers turned to the reform of poor relief and social policy, they had a new theological foundation for their work … They de-ideologised the medieval approach to the poor which had obscured the problem of poverty. Quoted in Sider The new theological emphasis on individual faith contributed to the growing influence of the new individualistic philosophy.

The basic tenet of Protestantism, which laid the groundwork for religious attitudes that were to sanction middle-class business practices, was the doctrine that human beings were justified by faith rather than by works. The Catholic Church had taught that faith and works, which generally meant ceremonies and rituals, justified humans for a discussion on this see Sider Justification by works did not mean that an individual could save himself; it meant that he could be saved through the Church. Hence, the power of the clergy, compulsory confession, the imposition of penance on the whole population gave the priest a terrifying power.

These powers ensured that the medieval doctrines of the Catholic Church were not easily abandoned and that individuals were subordinated to society. The sense of community and obligation to serve the poor were deeply entrenched and maintained. The Protestant doctrine of justification by faith asserted that motives were more important than specific acts or rituals. Each person had to search his or her own heart to discover if acts stemmed from a pure heart and faith in God. This individualistic reliance on each person's private conscience appealed strongly to the new middle-class artisans and small merchants.

Such people felt quite genuinely and strongly that their economic practices, though they might conflict with the traditional law of the old church, were not offensive to God. On the contrary: they glorified God. The new doctrines stressed the necessity of doing well at one's earthly calling as the best way to please God, and emphasised diligence and hard work. This emphasis, however, sadly took the Christian focus away from the general concern for the community and the obligation to the poor.

It gave acceptance to the liberal paradigm: poverty as backwardness. It said that those who are poor or 'backward' should not be controlled, but enabled to reach their full potential. Poverty is the result not of the natural order, but of incomplete development. As this suggests, the liberal world-view is historically intertwined with modernity. Luther's theological position, however, was to influence his care and concern for the poor. The result was the formulation of new social policies to deal with major economic and social change.

Luther and his colleague Karlstad made provision in Wittenberg for the city council to provide low-interest loans for workers; subsidies for education and training for the children of the poor; taxes to support the poor - all designed to prevent as well as alleviate poverty Sider In 5 years, they changed the theory and practice of poor relief, which had been established by centuries of ecclesiastical tradition.

They were convinced that fundamental human rights of equality, freedom and brotherly love had their source in the Christian faith. However, Luther also believed that this task of social change was essentially a task for the secular ruler and kingdom to carry out. This was the birth of the two 'kingdoms' theory. Luther introduced two authorities i. Both are ordained by God as forces to combat the empire of Satan. Christians are subject to both authorities; firstly, however, to the spiritual authority and because they are subject to both authorities, Christians cannot live exclusively in either the spiritual 'kingdom' or the civil 'kingdom' McGrath This theory helped to strengthen the separation of state and church.

John Calvin's theology was one which took the believer's responsibility in the world more seriously than Luther. For Calvin, the Christ who was exalted to God's right hand was pre-eminently the active Christ. In a sense, Calvin subscribed to an eschatology in the process of being fulfilled. He used the term regnum Christi [the reign of Christ] in this respect McKim , viewing the church as intermediary between the exalted Christ and the secular order.

Such a theological point of departure could not but give rise to the idea of mission as 'extending the reign of Christ', both by the inward spiritual renewal of individuals and by transforming the face of the earth through filling it with 'the knowledge of the Lord' McKim This particular view led Calvin into bringing about social transformation in Geneva.

He believed that the best possible way to transform society was to make it a truly Christian community. It is interesting to note how he linked his religious views with the transformation of society. He believed that his own time was caught up in a spiritual and moral crisis whose resolution required his own ardent efforts.

To set the world right was what he was most insistently 'called' to do; 'God sends prophets and teachers', he proclaimed, 'to bring the world to order' Bouwsma This is what he attempted to do in Geneva. Calvin's programme for dealing with the problems of his own age was based on his conception of God as ' legislateur et roy' [Ruler] of the universe. It was crucial for him 'that God governs us' Bouwsma Sermon No.

This meant that religious reform pointed also to the reform of the secular realm. Calvin added that believers 'truly worship God by the righteousness they maintain within their society'.

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For those acquainted only with the characteristic theological face of Calvin, it must be noted that Calvin's theological thinking, like all great classic theologians, was deeply involved with the structures and realities of everyday life. Graham observes that:. For Calvin the world was to be taken seriously, and for him the real world involved shoemakers, printers, and clockmakers, as well as farmers, scholars, knights, and clergymen. Calvin's world-affirming theology is quite apparent. It must be made clear, however, that even though Calvin argued for Christian involvement in the world he maintained a clear position about the world to come.

In this sense the Christian stance which Calvin urges is a via media. Christians are to live midway between the 'brutish love of this world' Inst. What separates godly people from the worldly is 'their opposite attitudes to this present world and beyond' Ins. With this view in mind Calvin attempted to transform the society of his day. It was an endeavour to create a better world in which everyone could live with justice, righteousness and peace.


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By and large, we know from Calvin's preaching that he tried to reform Geneva from the pulpit and state policies. Whereas medieval society was largely one where common men were non-participants:. Calvinism taught previously passive men [ sic ] the styles and methods of political activity and enabled them successfully to claim the right of participation in that on-going system of political action that is the modem state.

Graham Here again is evident a responsibility for society fostered by the Calvinist insistence that the will of God must extend to the total community. Like Luther, Calvin expressed a particular concern for the poor. He pointed out that the poor, in fact, serve a positive function in God's overall scheme of things. As his procureurs or receveurs , they serve as a type of barometer of the faith and charity of the Christian community:. God sends us the poor as his receivers.

Faith Forming Faith: Bringing New Christians To Baptism And Beyond

And although the alms are given to mortal creatures, yet God accepts and approves them and puts them to one's account, as if we had placed in his hands that which we give to the poor. Sermon 95 on Deut [CO For this reason he severely criticised, 'the apparently liberal, who yet do not feel for the miseries of their brothers' Commentary on 1 Jn [CNTC Calvin did not oppose wealth as such; he, however, was concerned that God's gifts be used for the relief of the whole community of God's people.

Indeed, if there is any central theme in Calvin's social and economic thought, it is that wealth comes from God in order to be used to aid our brethren. The solidarity of the human community is such that it is inexcusable for some to have plenty and others to be in need. Calvin considered poverty a serious problem. He believed that it was the Christian's responsibility to address this issue. Calvin and his pastors lived in conditions close to poverty, raising funds for the needy and lobbying the state to act for the poor. He employed the traditional organic metaphor for society as found in Ac ft , in which, as he wrote, no member has 'power for itself nor applies it to its own private use, but each pours it out to the fellow members'; what chiefly matters is 'the common advantage of the whole body' Inst.

Occasionally he identified this community with the whole human race. This particular view generally yielded, for him, to a more practical view of community based on neighbourhood. What we see here in Calvin's teachings is that we have moral responsibility as individuals, to act with personal integrity and show love towards one another. But we also have a collective responsibility for the society in which we live. We cannot act justly as individuals, if structures within which we live are unjust. The vision of Christianity then is a corporate vision to transform the world in which we live.

In Calvin's view money and goods ought to circulate in human society to the welfare of all. Humanity in solidarity one with another would participate in contributing according to one's vocation to the good of all. He maintained that the church teaches and acts to promote equality and restore human solidarity. It helps people to put their property to use of all.

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Calvin saw the governing authorities as the agents of God for the welfare of the people. He thus condemned the rich and powerful who exploited their material edge to increase the poverty of the poor. He insisted on personal morality, righteousness and hard work. He seriously attacked the lazy who did not contribute towards a working society.

His stress on hard labour led to a distorted view that linked hard labour with salvation. However, Calvin certainly did not intend this. He rather assumes hard work, but he wanted it clearly understood that hard labour did not give wealth. Only God provides wealth. No one will be advanced unless God advances him or her.

Calvin's stress on hard labour was to be taken and used by the capitalists to justify their personal ego, greed and selfish-acquisitiveness see, for example, Weber Preston points out, 'Calvinism did crystallise its ethic round the new commercial society, and in a more confused way Catholic moral theologians were to follow' Preston Tawney rightly points out that in an age of impersonal finance, world markets and capitalist organisations, the church tried to moralise economic relations by treating every transaction as a law of personal conduct in Preston This is to say that in its individualism it failed to comprehend the new structures of economic life and the power relations that went with them.

Traditional Christian thought on social issues became increasingly irrelevant, and in the end capitulated uncritically to the laissez faire view of the state and the economic order. The latter, however, was not intended. This view is supported by an examination of Calvin's interest in the welfare of the poor. Calvin's concern for the poor resulted in his attempt to transform his society, especially in Geneva. He concerned himself with the issues of commerce and economic justice Olson His theology was not disembodied, divorced from the realities of life where labourers and employers are often at odds over economic matters.

Calvin realised that because of the nature of humanity and the sinfulness all of our institutions, our endeavours are to some extent motivated by self-interest, pride and greed. Yet his is a 'world-affirming theology' in the sense that he sought to apply the gospel to all of life. For him, that meant seeking the guidance of scripture for the problems besetting humanity, particularly those besetting the citizens of Geneva.

Thus Calvin as a theologian and pastor became involved in everyday matters as diverse as the high cost of dying, hospitals, sumptuary laws and the regulation of business and industry and the question of wages Olson Calvin and Farel instituted the first free public education for both sexes. Beyond the welfare system and education the work of Calvin and the pastors reached out to suggestions for railings to protect children on stairs and balconies.

Fires and chimneys were regulated and efforts were made to clean the town and for street repair. Regulation of prices for the necessities of life was an accepted principle of the early reformation in Geneva McKim At the heart of the reformation was the intent to reform, revive and renew the church. Chance to win daily prizes. Get ready for Prime Day with the Amazon App. No purchase necessary. Get started. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Showing of 9 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now.

Please try again later. Format: Paperback Verified Purchase. I found myself fully engaged in this book and inspired. The book outlines a process that has been successfully utilized for over 20 years and duplicated at other congregations. It is particularly interesting that this is set in the context of a population that often does not have a strong faith background or may have not had any experience in a church.

This is the spiritual renewal people often long for but don't know how to get there. The book includes practical suggestions and acknowledges resistance often encountered in congregations to trying something different. This is a quick read and also very accessible to lay people who are not used to a lot of theological jargon. I met Paul Hoffman at a retreat this spring. I am intrigued by Phinney Lutheran's approach to welcoming people, forming faith in their church. Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Paul Hoffman says what the community at Phinney Ridge does is nothing extraordinary.

But it is. Care and love for one another in the name of Jesus, holding up the vigor demanded of a life lived in Christ's Way, joy and forgiveness practiced in tangible community. A refreshing invitation to consider a way of ministry and a way of life. One person found this helpful.

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Recommended by pastor. This book was one of a half-dozen people were asked to read on living one's baptism. This is the only book of the 6 that everyone agreed should be kept on the reading list. Engages with real-life stories, equips and inspires. Thank you Paul Hoffman for your passion for discipleship.

Hoffman presents a lucid and well-proven account of how the desires of christian churches and potential members can both be metin spades. A very inspiring perspective for anyone interested in expanding and deepening our roles in the Christian community. Format: Paperback. Paul Hoffman's excellent book offers several key New Testament assumptions: conversion with depth takes time and is always unfinished given the ongoing power of the Holy Spirit; faithful adult formation is the work of the entire congregation and not just pastors; life in Christ is never coercive, but a patient process of accompaniment that takes seriously the challenging questions brought by the seeker.

Hoffman relentlessly returns the reader to the cyclical power of the church year and the wonder of God's word, handing newcomers mature Christian sponsors rather than some slick curriculum. If you've ever wondered whether a traditional six-week Inquirer's Class and a handshake into membership is simply not enough for a new generation of unbaptized adults, then buy this book. Highly recommended! Format: Kindle Edition. This book left me with as many questions as it provided me answers, but that is what made it so winsome for me.

All the questions with which I must now wrestle, I am convinced, are no less than the breath of the Holy Spirit inviting me to be the pastor I have always wanted to be and my congregation to continue filling out the beautiful congregation they have already been growing into.

Thank you, Paul, for what has become a seminal book in my ministry. See all 9 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Set up a giveaway. Customers who bought this item also bought. Lenny Duncan. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Learn more about Amazon Prime.