Friday, June 18, 2010

Are There Many (or Any) Poor in Your Church?

I just stumbled upon this quote, and it hit a sensitive spot. This is something I've been praying about, thinking about, and discussing with my SS class. It is also a theme in the Epistle of James, which we just began studying on Monday evenings.

Selected Quote from "The Deaconship," by the Rev. James B. Ramsay (p. 15):
"But, it may be asked, of what use are deacons to take care of the poor in churches where there are no poor, or but two or three ? That, indeed, is a sadly defective state of the church where there are no poor; there must be something very deficient in its zeal and aggressiveness, if amidst the multitudes of poor around us, and mingling with us, there are none in the church itself. When we remember that Christ in his message, sent to John the Baptist, declares it to be a proof of his Divine mission, worthy to stand at the close of the brief summary of his most striking miracles, as of equal or even greater convincing power; and that the adaptedness of the Gospel to come down to the most despised and degraded of our wretched race—to seize and elevate the vast masses of humanity from their down-trodden condition—is one of its most distinguishing characteristics, and one of the most striking proofs of its Divine origin—Is it not evident that any church that fails to gather in the poor, fails in accomplishing one great design of the Gospel, and in presenting to the world one of the most convincing proofs of the truth and power of Christianity ?" [emphasis added]
(found this at the PCA Historical Center)