Too few Christians today, says Joshua Jipp, understand hospitality to strangers and the marginalized as an essential part of the church's identity. In this book Jipp argues that God's relationship to his people is fundamentally an act of hospitality to strangers, and that divine and human hospitality together are thus at the very heart of Christian faith.
Jipp first provides a thorough interpretation of the major biblical texts related to the practice of hospitality to strangers, considering especially how these texts portray Christ as the divine host who extends God's welcome to all people. Jipp then invites readers to consider how God's hospitality sets the pattern for human hospitality, offering suggestions on how the practice of welcoming strangers can guide the church in its engagement with current social challenges, such as immigration, incarceration, racism, and more.
“Israel in the Old Testament and the church in the New Testament understood its identity as founded upon God’s hospitality, a divine welcome that joined Israel and the church to God.” (Page 3)
“Luke uses the same word in 4:24 to refer to a prophet’s lack of welcome in his hometown, Luke’s frequent use of the dech root for hospitality (for instance, in 9:5, 48, 53; 10:8–10; see also Acts 10:35), and the fact that the recipients of the Lord’s welcome are stereotypical outsiders in need of welcome, it makes good sense to understand 4:19 as Jesus’s programmatic proclamation that he has come to enact divine welcome and hospitality to the stranger and the outcast. The programmatic function of Jesus’s Nazareth sermon invites the reader to pay attention to the way in which the entirety of Jesus’s ministry and particularly his meals with strangers enact divine hospitality to the poor, the captives, the blind, and the oppressed.” (Page 21)
“This book forcibly argues that hospitality to strangers is not an optional practice for Christians. The biblical texts consistently speak of the identity and vocation of Christians as those who have experienced God’s hospitality whereby all of us are welcomed into God’s family.” (Page 9)
“The early Christian texts, then, of 1 Clement, James, Matthew, and Luke-Acts, testify that hospitality to strangers was not an optional practice for the church, but is something that is deeply related to salvation.” (Page 7)
“Luke portrays Jesus as an actual host who dispenses the Lord’s welcome by sharing meals with strangers, sinners, and outsiders.” (Page 22)
In this remarkable study Joshua Jipp shows that extending hospitality to outcasts and strangers is at the heart of biblical faith. As he moves from biblical exegesis to an analysis of our present moment, Jipp argues passionately that the practice of unconditional welcome is central to salvation and therefore requisite for Christians. No message could be more urgent today.
—Jennifer M. McBride, author of Radical Discipleship: A Liturgical Politics of the Gospel
There are two quite different approaches to living life that we hear about today. One builds walls, fears others who are different, seeks wealth, and gives away little. The other builds bridges, welcomes those who are different, seeks just what is enough, and gives generously to the needy. Although both can be found in churches, only the second of these approaches is Christian. If you don’t believe this, read Joshua Jipp, whose biblical case is impeccable. If you do believe this, read Joshua Jipp, whose argument and practical examples will challenge even mature believers and churches.
—Craig L. Blomberg, author of Christians in an Age of Wealth: A Biblical Theology of Stewardship
The twenty-first-century American church faces the crisis of exclusion. In this book Joshua Jipp points toward the possibility of a church that is not drenched in the un-Christian characteristic of irrational xenophobia but instead follows in the footsteps of Jesus’s hospitality. If North American churches embrace this crucial biblical teaching, we may truly become the Christian witness we claim to be.
—Soong-Chan Rah, author of The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity
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