When helping Hurts
As you make your New Year’s resolution reading list, one of the books that should be on the top of your list is When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert (both professors at Covenant College, PCA in Chattanooga, TN).
This book deserves this place in your top 10 list for 2011 on its own merit but as a Southwood member it should particularly interest you. With our history of involvement in Lincoln Village and embrace of the poverty mandate given in Scripture, there is perhaps no better modern work to challenge, reform and clarify our Christian responsibilities than this publication.
When Helping Hurts reveals the painful truth about poverty. But it does more than tell you what not to do. The book moves from foundational concepts about poverty (Who are the poor?), to principles (Should we do relief, rehabilitation, or development?), to strategies (How can we help the poor domestically? Internationally?)
We have posted a summary of the principles taught in this book but for the full picture you should purchase the book in written or audio format. Here are snippets of what others are saying about this great book:
For over fifteen years I’ve worked alongside other Christians in efforts to effectively address poverty at home and abroad. I can honestly report that When Helping Hurts is the single best book I’ve seen on this topic. While accessible to beginners, it is rich with insight for veterans, too. With solid biblical exegesis, engaging stories from the front lines, and practical, no-nonsense advice, Corbett and Fikkert offer essential wisdom desperately needed in today’s church. The book will make many readers uncomfortable: it reveals the unhealthy and frankly unbiblical ways congregations have undertaken to help the poor in their local communities and abroad through short-term missions. But it quickly offers hope in the form of understandable, feasible new strategies that better grasp the dignity and promise of the materially poor. This book deserves a #1 spot on the reading list of every Christian who wants to follow Jesus in genuine, mutually transforming love of neighbor.
—Amy L. Sherman, Ph.D., Senior Fellow and Director, Sagamore Institute Center on Faith in Communities and author of Restorers of Hope
Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert are zealous to make sure that we honor the gospel not only in word but also in deed by caring for “the least of these” as Christ instructed. But how can a local church make a difference, and how do individual Christians meaningfully reflect Christ’s grace, when the disparities of wealth and power in our world are so great? And how do we show material care without drifting into a social gospel devoid of spiritual priorities? When Helping Hurts explores biblical principles in terms of real-life situations to offer real help and grace-filled answers for such questions.
—Dr. Bryan Chapell, President, Covenant Theological Seminary
From the early pages, where the authors promptly and humbly confess how they have “messed up” in their own efforts to alleviate poverty, to the last chapters where their vast experience and on-the-street wisdom show through so helpfully, this is a book that wonderfully combines heavy-duty thinking with practical tools. As a journalist, I appreciate the authors’ storytelling and descriptive abilities. As a churchman, I appreciate their zeal to root all strategies in the institution God has ordained to bring about His goals. No donor should invest another dollar in any kind of relief effort before digesting the last page of this important book.
—Joel Belz, Founder and writer, World Magazine