Armstrong, Aaron. Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, The New Creation, and the End of Poverty. Adelphi: Cruciform Press, 2011. 133 pp. $9.99. Purchase at Westminster or you can sign up as a subscriber for even greater discounts.
Aaron Armstrong Aaron Armstrong writes daily at BloggingTheologically.com, offering weekly book reviews and commentary on Scripture and culture. He also works as a marketing writer with Compassion Canada. Aaron’s first e-book, Contending: A Study & Discussion Guide, was released in March 2010. His second, Lessons from Nehemiah, was released in November 2010.
Divided into eight chapters, Aaron deals with the thorny issue of poverty from a biblical perspective. His foundation is not in a social setting though poverty is definitely a social problem. Rather, he places the heart of the issue squarely where it needs to be – in the heart of sinful man. His first chapter, entitled Poverty is Spiritual will be eye-opening to many.
Throughout the course of the book, Armstrong shows that the solution to poverty is really the gospel message. The appendix is a useful exhortation, once the foundation has been laid.
At first, I was fearful that Cruciform was moving toward a social gospel message. Fortunately, that concern was put to rest three pages into the book in the introduction. Once you’ve read the introduction, your mind begins to question all other attempts at dealing with the issue of poverty. After all, the whole world is trying to deal with the issue of poverty. There is even one denomination jettisoning the historic understanding of the Great Commission as being disciple-making and turning “mission one” of the church into dealing with poverty and hunger. While all of these attempts are noble in their attempts, they all miss the point.
Aaron Armstrong, however, brings us back to the heart of the matter. By placing the foundation of poverty as an issue of fallen man, he is able to then present the only solution that will work to end poverty (though not end it completely) and that is the gospel.
The appendix, while only three pages in length, is much needed today. Personally, I think that if all you read is this appendix, you will begin to realize that a paradigm-shift must take place when striving to deal with the issue of poverty. You will begin to think of poverty not so much as a lack of material possessions but a lack of a knowledge of the gospel. That is extremely important and is a message that must be heard.
As you walk the streets of the impoverished in Aaron Armstrong’s Awaiting a Savior, you will discover that you, as a Christian, do possess the solution to poverty. You will also learn that the practical outworking of the solution is different from person to person though the message never changes. If you are involved in a mercy ministry or have a heart for dealing with the poor, then Awaiting a Savior is a must read. For all Christians though, this resource will help you to see that you can have a large impact than you realized on social problems like poverty. Read, be equipped, and then go, and share the solution with all.