Why Not Social Action and the Gospel?

Good News to Poor

A Series on Tim Chester’s Good News to the Poor

Why not social action and the gospel? The biggest problem with social action in the church is that it is not thoroughly biblical.


In fact, I have a visceral reaction to terms like social action, social justice, and activism because they are often camouflage for leftist political thought and liberal theology. I prefer terms like mercy ministry, biblical justice, and gospel-centered ministry.


Granted, many churches do a great job with mercy ministry in their own community—and Children’s Hunger Fund has the opportunity to work with many of them.


But on the whole, mercy ministry is often done (or left undone) without thinking, without biblical evaluation, or taken out of the hands of local churches.


Over the next few months I hope that regular interaction with Tim Chester’s Good News to the Poor: Social Involvement and the Gospel[ref]By way of full disclosure, Crossway, the publisher of GNTTP, has been very generous to Children’s Hunger Fund over the past few years. They have provided many resources that we have given to local churches with which we partner including tracts, ESV Bibles, and books. We have given GNTTP out to partner churches because we have found it both helpful and provocative for thinking about gospel-centered mercy ministry.[/ref] will help begin to change this. It makes excellent points and prompts good thinking.


Good News to the Poor (GNTTP)- Overview


Good News to the Poor includes 11 chapters, an introduction, two poems by Stewart Henderson, further reading suggestions for each chapter, footnotes (Thank you, Crossway!), a bibliography, and both a general and Scripture index.

The chapter headings are:

1. The Case for Social Involvement
2. More than a Private Faith
3. The Case for Evangelizing the Poor
4. Social Involvement and Proclamation
5. Social Involvement and the Kingdom of God
6. Good News to the Poor
7. Good News to the Rich
8. Welcoming the Excluded
9. Strengthening the Powerless
10. Following the Crucified Lord
11. Can We Make a Difference?




The format that I plan to follow is simple. For each chapter in the book, I’ll put up a post with the following format:


• Overview
• Takeaways
• Quotable Quotes
• Further Considerations


About Tim Chester

Tim is a proponent of reformed spirituality and missional church, which happens to be the name of his blog. Besides his blog, some of Tim’s other well-known writings include: Total Church (with Steve Timmis), Gospel-Centered Church (also with Timmis), From Creation to New Creation, A Meal with Jesus, You Can Change, the Experiencing God study, and several titles in the Good Book Guides series.


Tim is pastor of the Crowded House in Sheffield, United Kingdom, and director of Porterbrook Seminary. The Crowded House is a church planting network with a vision to litter their cities and the regions with communities of light, with the central context for the Christian life taking place in Gospel Communities. A Gospel community is a group of people living life-on-life together on mission.



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  • http://www.activecompassionphilly.org David Apple

    Thank you for this. Let me, also, recommend my book, “Not Just a Soup Kitchen” which has been endorsed by John Perkins, Evangelicals for Social Action, Phil Ryken, and Liam Goligher. It available in print and e-book.

  • Deuan Jones

    Where are the actual chapter discussions? All I can see is this overview.