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Urban poverty in the developed world is an ever-present problem, and Christian approaches to poverty throughout history have much to teach us. The practice of almsgiving, which is the consistent practice of giving and sharing resources to meet the needs of the poor, is a sadly neglected part of this Christian heritage. This book explores the Christian lifestyle of almsgiving through the study of John Chrysostom.

The sermons and writings of John Chrysostom (c.347-407 CE), pastor in Antioch and archbishop of Constantinople, contain perhaps the greatest concentration of teaching on almsgiving in all of Christian literature. John's teaching on almsgiving was both biblical and practical, and his ministry helped strengthen care for the poor throughout the Roman Empire of late antiquity. John preached his sermons to congregations filled with people who lived very comfortable lives. From his perspective, the churches of Antioch and Constantinople had grown complacent regarding poverty, when in fact God had called them to become a harbor for the poor.

""Eric Costanzo presents a significantly new analysis of John Chrysostom's teachings on and approach to almsgiving, an aspect central to his theology. While new research on John Chrysostom and poverty has appeared in recent years, this is the first study focused specifically on almsgiving to appear since the brief and somewhat peculiar study published by Otto Plassmann.""
--From the Foreword by Wendy Mayer

""Rich in both biblical and patristic reflection, this book is a call for evangelicals to reclaim the ancient Christian practice of almsgiving. The word sounds quaint these days, but Eric Costanzo challenges us to learn again a pattern of life and love that is central to following Jesus Christ. This is a book that admonishes as well as informs.""
--Timothy George, Founding Dean of Beeson Divinity School

""Costanzo and Chrysostom remind us the poor are not our enemy. Instead, the poor are the agents through which we have the opportunity to embrace Christ's command to love 'the least of these.' John Chrysostom's words echo through history, and Costanzo has amplified them for the modern ear.""
--Deron Spoo, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma

""Harbor for the Poor highlights the missional character of almsgiving in John Chrysostom's writings with theological sensitivity, ecclesial vision, and pastoral spirit.""
--Helen Rhee, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Westmont College

About the Contributor(s):
Eric Costanzo, PhD, is an evangelical minister and professor from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Along with teaching, he directs a ministry to the homeless and under-resourced throughout the city.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498265027
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 03/20/2013
Pages: 198
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

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