Lipscomb on the Poor II

The February 27 issue of the 1866 Gospel Advocate contains two short blurbs by David Lipscomb about the poor (p. 141).  The first expresses his concern that the poor “should, above all others, feel at home in the church.” The second encourages believers to continually share with the poor.

This first blurb reminds us that our church buildings, our dress and our attitudes should be shaped by an incarnational posture that welcomes the poor. Do we create spaces, relationships and opportunities where the poor feel welcome? Given our upper middle class buildings and fashionable dress and expensive stuff, it is little wonder that the poor are generally uncomfortable. I don’t know exactly what to do about that, but here is a reminder from David Lipscomb.

The poor often feel backward in the church, because in the corruptions that wealth has brought into the church, it has been so changed that they cannot conform to its customs and they do not feel at home there. This is a wrong feeling. The church is the especial legacy of God to the poor of the earth. The poor then should, above all others, feel at home in the church. Should feel they had special privileges there above all others. It is the rich that are out of their element in Christ’s Church. They should feel the backwardness, not the poor.

The second blurb tackles the oft-heard retort that “the poor ye have with you always” as a potential excuse for less attention to the poor than we might otherwise give. Lipscomb does not believe this Jesus saying means less giving but more giving to the poor.

“The poor ye have with you always,” therefore give always and continually. The Christian must cultivate a disposition to give–must so school his heart to giving, that he realizes that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Only then has he brought himself to the true Christian spirit.

The kingdom of God is for the poor; it is the rich who should not feel at home there. Wow!  That is quite a statement. It has some biblical roots in James 2, for example, as well as in the prophetic tradition.

Lipscomb’s statement should at least, it seems to me, remind us that while our American churches–for the most part–are oriented toward the middle class and rich, this is not the fundamental orientation of the kingdom of God within the narrative of Scripture.

11 Responses to “Lipscomb on the Poor II”

  1.   Jack Murray Says:

    The accompanying advertisement is inappropriate for this website don’t you think?

    •   John Mark Hicks Says:

      I don’t see any advertisements. I have not authorized any. So, if anyone sees them, email me and tell me about it and I will see what I can do. They don’t appear on my browser.

      •   Jack Murray Says:

        There is the same ad on the website today. It starts out depicting a “sandman” sprinkling sleep dust and goes from there into an auto ad with women dress in provocative cothing. I promise its there. I’m not trying to be difficult.

      •   John Mark Hicks Says:

        No problem, Jack. I want to know about such problems. But I don’t see the problem on my end (and perhaps I simply don’t know how to address it) as I have never seen one of these adds. I encourage readers to email me directly when they see one and know what I might be able to do about it. Thanks, Jack.

      •   Jack Murray Says:

        Maybe if you went to some other person’s personal computer you would be able to see what I’m talking about. It appears near the end of the printed information and is boxed off and required to have you click you mouse on it for the video to begin.

        My guess is you have contracted with someone to maintain the “back office” of your web site and do your mailings for you. You may have inadvertently agree to allow them to insert advertising at their discretion as an additional revenue source to them and to keep your cost down. This is pure speculation on my part ’cause I’m a total amatuer about such matters.

      •   Clark Coleman Says:

        I see no such ads in the emails with new entries nor on the web pages. What browser are you using? What do you mean when you describe its location?

      •   Clark Coleman Says:

        OK, looking around in different browsers, something very odd here. In Google Chrome, no ads. In Safari, an ad box right below the last line of the blog entry (“…. narrative of scripture.”) and right above all the “Share this” icons. When you display page source in Google Chrome (using Control-U), you see nothing between the text and the share buttons. When you display page source in Safari (with Control-Alt-U), you see all kinds of advertising HTML, starting with the HTML tag ‘div class=”wpadvert” …’.

        When I use Internet Explorer, a warning message at the bottom says: “Only secure content displayed.” No ads. When I click on “Display all content” on the warning bar, the ads are there.

        Mozilla Firefox: While loading, the message at the bottom of the browser says “loading content from” or something like that, and there are ads. Same thing with K-Meleon browser, based on Firefox engine.

        Opera: no ads, no warnings.

        There are two conclusions I draw:

        1) Use Chrome or Opera. 🙂
        2) Someone at WordPress is pulling a fast one on us. Probably trying to make money off ads, and your consent is buried in 20 pages of legalese that no one reads.

      •   Clark Coleman Says:

        I disabled JavaScript in Safari, and the ads went away.

        David Lipscomb’s pacifism notwithstanding, we need to track down who is responsible for this kind of thing and give them a public whipping. 🙂

      •   Clark Coleman Says:

        WordPress is responsible. See

        This link is outdated in that it claims that, due to a bug, the ads don’t appear in Firefox. That was in 2010.

      •   John Mark Hicks Says:

        Thanks, Clark, for the investigation. I will see if I can do anything about it.

      •   Jack Murray Says:

        Thanks for seeking out these answers. I’m sure John and every other reader appreciates it.


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