The Gospel for the Poor: Reimagining the Church’s Engagement with the Poor in Conversation with Clement of Alexandria, John Chrysostom, and Gregory Nazianzen
This thesis examines the ineffectiveness of the 21st century Church's work among the poor and reimagines this engagement through the lens of sermons given by Clement of Alexandria, Gregory Nazianzen, and John Chrysostom. The Church is the most charitable entity on the planet, however, despite giving away hundreds of billions of dollars a year and investing considerable time and effort towards the work of social justice, circumstances for the poor remain largely unchanged. The patristic period in question represents a vital conversation partner because their ministry to the poor catalyzed a movement that yielded exponential growth within their churches and made them significant players in the socio-political landscape in the Greco-Roman world. This study engages three sermons delivered by these pastors as a means of garnering a more granular feel for the common life within the Church. This thesis considers explicitly their use of the gospel as the modus operandi for ecclesial and social change and how reimagining our witness though this lens can be a catalyst for renewal.
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