Review of Awaiting a Savior by Aaron Armstrong
“The root cause of poverty is sin.” Aaron Armstrong, in his short but helpful new book, Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation, and the End of Poverty (published by Cruciform Press), explains that provocative statement. Indeed, the basic premise of his book “is that our good faith efforts to address legitimate questions of poverty and injustice must never lose sight of the fact that poverty will persist as long as the heart of man is ruled by sin” (page 10).
The reason this premise is so important to this book is that it enables Armstrong to maintain the crucial balance between longing to see the poor cared for and striving to make sure that the fundamental need of the poor (and everyone else on the planet) is not missed: the gospel.
Why You Should Read This Book
There are quite a few books on poverty. So why is this one worth your time? Let me give you a few reasons:
First, Armstrong identifies carefully how poverty and sin are connected. That connection is easily misunderstood and misconstrued, but he does an excellent job of explaining them.
Secondly, Awaiting a Savior shows how our efforts as Christians are to be rooted in the gospel. The emotional appeals made in anti-poverty campaigns can be compelling, but ultimately, if we’re to avoid seeing the poor as less than human or ourselves as more than human, we have to keep the gospel central in our lives.
Thirdly, Awaiting a Savior shows us that the desire to do “enough” for God in the service of the poor hurts ourselves and everyone else. When service becomes about our achievement, we’re only illustrating the true roots of poverty: sin.
Lastly (though there’s tons more I could commend), I think Armstrong’s insight that we are not really called to end poverty but rather minister to those who are suffering is wildly important. This I think enables us to get past some of the debate about “social justice,” because the point is that we must point all people, including the poor, to the promise of the greatest hope in the world and yet also minister to their immediate needs.
This is a huge issue for our times. And Awaiting a Savior provides a brief (just over 100 pages) look at how we can think in a Christ-centered, gospel-focused way about poverty and our role in a world full of it. So whether or not you end up agreeing with everything he says, I highly recommend reading and reflecting on how this book might help you think your relationship to a lost and hurting world.
Watch the official trailer for the book below: