Being a prophetic church
A new resource has been put together by Christian Aid to help churches understand the Bible's attitude to poverty and injustice, and the part they can play in eradicating them.
The free Prophetic Church resource aims to inspire churches to engage in campaigning on behalf of the global poor and explains the theology of campaigning for justice.
As well as looking at current challenges, the 48-page booklet highlights the part the church has played historically. In one section Minister of Bromley Baptist Church, the Reverend Simon Jones, looks at William Carey's commitment to campaigning work in India.
Theologian Dr Marijke Hoek draws upon the examples of Moses and Esther in "speaking truth to power" and considers the ministry of Jesus among the poor and marginalised.
Christian Aid's Sarah Croft brings it up to the present day, addressing how the church can be truly prophetic in today's world.
Nigel Tween, Principle of Regents Theological College and Director of Training for Elim Pentecostal Church, writes in the foreword: "Many of us have an appreciation of the theology of social justice, but not a theology of advocacy and campaigning, particularly in terms of tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice.
"The biblical prophets repeatedly affirmed God's hatred of oppression and his anger at the abuse of power and its resultant impact on the poor and marginalised. We too, cannot remain silent or indifferent."
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The booklet's editor, Christian Aid's Senior Regional Coordinator, David Muir, said he hoped the resource would inspire many to join Christian Aid's campaigns on tax justice and climate change.
"The Church has a powerful voice with which to speak up for the poor and powerless," he said.
"Not only do we in the Church have a rich tradition of using that voice for good, we currently have a great opportunity to help bring about real change in a broken world.
'What a powerful witness to the rest of the country and the world it would be to see the Church living the words of Proverbs 31: 8-9: 'Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.'"
The booklet is free to download and an accompanying summary includes suggestions for small groups on how to use the resource. Free hard copies can also be ordered at www.christianaid.org.uk/thepropheticchurch