Hello, I'm Christopher Marlin-Warfield.

I'm a pastor, an author, and nonprofit development and communications professional. My passion, my mission, and my calling is bringing people together to do good, with a particular focus on serving people who are experiencing poverty and other forms of marginalization.

I became the pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ (DeWitt, Iowa) in 2018. Prior to my life as a pastor, I served as a professional fundraiser with Back Bay Mission, Northeast Ohio Medical University, and Chicago Theological Seminary. I have also served as a fundraising consultant for a variety of churches and small nonprofit organizations.

I hold my M.Div. from Chicago Theological Seminary and my B.A. (Philosophy) from Knox College. I have also completed substantial continuing education at the Fundraising School at the Lilly School of Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis; the Nollau Institute of the Council for Health and Human Services Ministries of the United Church of Christ; and the Association of Fundraising Professionals

The bread you are holding back is for the hungry, the clothes you keep put away are for the naked, the shoes that are rotting away with disuse are for those who have none, the silver you keep buried in the earth is for the needy.
St. Basil the Great

What I'm About

Radical Charity

Charity is love in action. I believe in charity’s power to both provide concrete help to people experiencing poverty and help others grow closer to God through their love of others. “Faith, hope, and charity abide,” writes Paul, “and the greatest of these is charity.”

Extravagant Hospitality

The church is called to welcome all people. That means more than being open to strangers. It means enthusiastically embracing people in all of their brokenness. No matter who you are, or where you are in life’s journey, you are welcome.

Christian Community

All Christians are ministers by virtue of our baptism, and all of us have both the privilege and responsibility to serve our neighbors according to our gifts. All of us have a role to play in making this a world of greater justice and mercy.

If you cannot find Christ in the beggar at the church door, you will not find him in the chalice.
St. John Chrysostom

Radical Charity (the Book)

Right now, there is a movement in churches and nonprofits arguing that charity is toxic, that helping hurts, and that the entire nonprofit sector needs to be reformed to truly lift people out of poverty. These charity skeptics are telling Christians that traditional charity deepens dependency, fosters a sense of entitlement, and erodes the work ethic of people who receive it. Charity skepticism is increasingly popular; and it is almost certainly wrong.

Available from Wipf and Stock’s Cascade Books imprint, Radical Charity: How Generosity Can Save the World (And the Church) weaves together research and scholarship on topics as diverse as biblical scholarship, Christian history, economics, and behavioral psychology to tell a different story. In this story, charity is the heart of Christianity and one of the most effective ways that we can help people who are living in poverty. Charity—giving to people experiencing poverty without any expectation of return or reformation—can save the world and help make God’s vision for the church a reality.

  • Want to be a happier person? Give generously, especially to those in poverty. That is the astonishing argument Chris Marlin-Warfield makes in Radical Charity. Marlin-Warfield turns the whole concept of charity on its head. Instead of judging the poor or feeling superior to them, realize that through charity you are entering into a profound relationship with God, with the poor, and with your own soul. This book confronts our current culture of cruelty from the heart of Christianity, as well as from sound socio-economic research. It makes sense! And here’s an amazing thing. You will feel a lot happier after you have read this book and started to practice radical charity. Get going!

    Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Ph.D.
    Professor of Theology and Past President, Chicago Theological Seminary

  • Radical Charity will inspire and educate leaders, influencers, and those who long to empower others to experience their full potential. Marlin-Warfield encourages readers to approach good works with loving intentions paired with careful study and prudence. His words are wise, examples compelling, and perspective powerful. The book reminds us that the discipline and act of charity, when done with great thought and care, will first change the doer and then change the world.

    Leslie Klipsch
    Author of Mama Bear's Manifesto: A Moms' Group Guide to Changing the World

  • Justice versus charity. Loans versus giving. As one whose ministry includes shaping strategies and nurturing partnerships around the world with people working against poverty, these are debates I encounter daily. Radical Charity challenges the underlying assumptions of those common approaches. It offers a fresh perspective that roots charity in the generosity of God and offers a glimpse into a sharing economy that embodies abundance for all. I am inspired to see anew how “charity works.”

    Rev. Mary Schaller Blaufuss, Ph.D.
    Director, United Church of Christ Humanitarian & Development Ministries

  • Radical Charity is a call to reclaim the heart of Christianity and the meaning of the Kingdom of God. Christopher Marlin-Warfield peels back the curtain on powerful myths of toxic charity that are based largely on speculation and capitalist values. Instead, with the compassion of a pastor and the rigor of a sociologist, he creates a vision for charity that can truly transform lives, communities, and the world.

    Rev. Robb McCoy
    Producer of the Pulpit Fiction Podcast and Pastor of Two Rivers United Methodist Church (Rock Island, Illinois)

  • Radical Charity is an outstanding contribution to the contemporary discussion and presents a delicate balance of soul and scholarship. It is analytical, but heart-felt, provocative, but not insulting, biblical, but not legalistic, simple, but not reductionistic. It provides a well-founded challenge to charity skeptics and should become a standard resource on the topic for years to come.

    Rev. Dr. Scott Adams
    Lead Pastor, Our Saviour's Church (Lafayette, Louisiana)

     

At its best, the church is a little piece of the kingdom of God here in a broken world; a place and a community where people can see what the world could be like. That sets it apart from everything else. That makes it different. And that gives the church an amazing opportunity to be more than a reflection of the world as it is. It gives the church the chance to be, however imperfectly, the world as God wants it to be. And that world is one that is full of agape, of caritas, of love, of charity.​
Radical Charity

Latest Sermons and Posts

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Lenten Parament by cmarlinwarfield

Lent

March 1, 2021
But the truth… the deep down truth… the hard, difficult, arduous, burdensome, onerous, painful, troublesome, truth… is that we need Lent. Not just during the official season, but so much more often. We need it as individuals. We need it as a church. We need it as a society and a nation and a world.
Read More

Surprised by Mercy

February 22, 2021
The one who he expected to pass him by, for whatever ever reason, showed him mercy. And now that one is his neighbor… and the traveler has to love him.
Read More

The Downside of Extravagant Wealth

February 17, 2021
It seems like he can't imagine a life that isn't governed by the accumulation of wealth. The world is sitting at his feet and he is... bored.
Read More

Wreaking Miracles

February 8, 2021
Jesus has been going around, from town to town, wreaking miracles.
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But what if someone uses the money for, say, a glass of wine? (A perfectly Milanese question.) His answer: If “a glass of wine is the only happiness he has in life, that’s O.K. Instead, ask yourself, what do you do on the sly? What ‘happiness’ do you seek in secret?” Another way to look at it, he said, is to recognize how you are the “luckier” one, with a home, a spouse and children, and then ask why your responsibility to help should be pushed onto someone else.​
The New York Times Editorial Board (Describing Statements by Pope Francis)

about

I’m a pastor, an author, and a nonprofit development and communications professional. My passion, my mission, and my calling is bringing people together to do good, with a particular focus on serving people who are experiencing poverty and other forms of marginalization.

fine print

The views and opinions expressed on this website are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of my employers or clients. Opinions expressed in comments are solely those of the authors.

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Recent Posts

Lent
March 1, 2021
Surprised by Mercy
February 22, 2021
Wreaking Miracles
February 8, 2021
Toil
February 1, 2021

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