Church, Culture, Practices

Richard Stearns and Lamar Vest comment in “Christians losing their way” … let’s pay better attention to poverty and justice

Rick Warren, perhaps the nation’s best-known pastor, was stunned. “I went to Bible College, two seminaries and I got a doctorate. How did I miss this?” “This” is not some deep, hidden biblical code predicting the end of the world. It isn’t a cipher that further elucidates the truth of the Trinity. It isn’t even the formula for turning water into wine.

No, the thing that stunned Rick Warren was when he was struck for the first time by the sheer volume of verses in the Bible that express God’s compassion for the poor and oppressed. Unfortunately, Warren isn’t the only person of faith to be surprised by just how much God has to say about poverty and justice. Despite the fact that God’s heart for the poor is mentioned in some 2,100 verses of Scripture, many of us simply miss it. In a recent survey of adults in America conducted by Harris Interactive, although 80 percent of adults claimed to be familiar with the Bible — the best-selling book in history — 46 percent think the Bible offers the most teachings on heaven, hell, adultery, pride or jealousy. In fact, there are more teachings on poverty than on any of those topics.

That’s why when our organizations joined to create the new Poverty and Justice Bible, we made sure to select an unusual color — orange — for highlighting passages relating to poverty and justice. We wanted to stop people in their tracks. We wanted this simply highlighted Bible to act as God’s megaphone revealing a heart for the poor, concern for the marginalized and compassion for the oppressed.

Richard Stearns’ book, The Hole in Our Gospel: What does God expect of us … The answer that changed my life and might just change the world, is a challenge from a corporate CEO transformed by the opportunity to be transformed and in turn to transform the world. Take a read …