As Christian Today reported earlier, the Bishop of Burnley has said that the Church of England's approach to mission is 'almost entirely focused on the needs and aspirations of the wealthy'.
In powerful words at the New Wine Christian festival, he added: 'The simple and hard truth is that, in the poorest parts of the country, we are withdrawing the preachers. The harvest is rich, but the labourers have been re-deployed to wealthier areas. We are seeing the slow and steady withdrawal of church life from those communities where the poorest people in our nation live.'
So what does the Bible say? Here are seven Bible verses about the poor:
1. The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them (Isaiah 41:17).
2. If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them (Deuteronomy 15:7).
3. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honour. (1 Samuel 2:8).
4. 'Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,' says the Lord. 'I will protect them from those who malign them' (Psalm 12: 5).
5. You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge (Psalm 14:6).
6. Jesus looked at him and loved him. 'One thing you lack,' he said. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me' (Mark 10:21).
7. Looking at his disciples, he said: 'Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God' (Luke 6:20).