Theology of Poverty

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Theology of Poverty: Analysis of the Historical Christian Response to Poverty in America, in the Context of our Biblical Calling

By Jonathan Yang

Professor: Dr. Victor Ezigbo
Course: Christian Theology (THE 201)

November 21, 2011

Bethel University

Table of Content

I. Intro
A. Statement of problem pg. 1
B. Thesis Statement
C. Statement of Relevance
II. Two major Opposing View
A. Prosperity Gospel
1. Explanation
2. Argument I
3. Weaknesses/critiques
B. Holistic Perspective
1. Explanation
2. Argument I
3. Weaknesses/critiques
III. Person Position
IV. Conclusion

I. Introduction
Statement of Problem
Poverty has always been a very prevalent issue throughout the history of mankind. Poverty in it of itself has always been rooted in and thrived on the existence of sin; from the sins of our own personal self, from the sins of our family, the sins of institutions and finally the sins of society. As Christians, throughout history there have been many debates and controversies as how to approach such massive and at times overwhelming issue such as poverty. First and foremost, Christians must have a biblically accurate and clear understanding of the definition of “poverty” or “poor” people. Does poverty means the lack of economic and monetary means to adequately self-sustain one or others? Or is poverty the lack of faith in God (poor in Spirit) to provide and sustain one’s self and/or others? Or are these two concepts not mutually exclusive? Many leaders of the Christian faith have provided many different philosophies in dealing with the poor. So by looking back to the historical context of Christian relations in concerns to poverty, we can then see and understand both the effective and unsuccessful/harmful responses and therefore, with that gained knowledge, move forward with confidence and with faith towards living a life that is uplifting to all peoples and empowering the marginalized/poor; all for our purpose to glorify God and rid of the such things that would hinder a person to see the authentic, loving, justice, all-powerful and graceful creator; Yahweh. As Christians, who are called to do and be a greater good to others and society, yet poverty is still prevalent in America. The fact that “nearly the three-quarters of all Americans call themselves ‘Christians;’ does this not pose a problem? Therefore, the problem is not necessarily what Christians should do for and to the poor, but rather what they must not do and undo. Thesis

It is my conviction that both the moral and economical bondage to both of these two theological perspectives: Prosperity gospel and Social gospel, which has been presented and lived out in a large part of the lives of Christians, and has historically hinder the full advancement of the gospel and the Holy Spirit to work in/through Christ-followers to others, especially the poor. Thus, Christians must define “poverty,” its solution, and the practical ways to live a life that rebukes and admonish brothers and sisters’ in-Christ, as-well as others, whom are in bondage to the un-glorifying benefits of these philosophies. As a result, through reviewing these two perspectives and scripture, come to a concise conclusion of what ultimately should be the response to poverty by the Christian community. Statement of Relevance

This issue deals with subjects such as the sovereignty of God, the authority of the bible, and the role of theology in American society; therefore this topic subject is very relevant. Because these questions affects the Christian community as a whole; the way that they live and function within their own circles of people, and outside their circles; more importantly toward those whom are at the margins of society, the poor, mainly because as believers and followers of Jesus Christ we as “image bearers” (Genesis 1:26) ought to uphold the dignity and worth of all peoples despite socio-economic, cultural,...
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