The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution

I am in the midst of reading this fascinating work, the combined efforts of one of America’s foremost theologians and renowned economists, uniting biblical principles with economic understanding to address one of our globe’s most pressing problems: world poverty. A great read! It is only $4.99 on Christian audio right now!

The following is Rick Warren’s endorsement, as found in the book’s foreword:

There are more than two thousand verses about the poor and poverty in the Bible, yet most evangelical pulpits are strangely silent on a subject that God cares about so deeply.I’m both shocked and saddened to admit that although I attended a Christian college and two seminaries, I cannot recall ever hearing a single message about God’s plan for the poor, except that we ought to be personally generous with them. Unfortunately, due to this shortage of clear, biblical teaching on economics, many believers have, without thinking, subscribed to the most common unbiblical approaches to poverty, economic justice, and wealth.

The results have been devastating. Today, more than half of the people in our world live on less than $2 each per day, and one billion people are mired in extreme poverty, living on less than $1 each per day. In a world that God created with a superabundance of resources, the fact that so many live in poverty is not only inexcusable, it is sinful, and we Christians need to repent. The solution lies with neither Marx nor the market, but in the words of the Master.

Big government is certainly not the solution. In many countries, it has made the problems worse. Unfortunately, so have many well-meaning, but misguided, Christian humanitarian programs. Having traveled the globe for thirty years and trained leaders in 164 countries, I’ve witnessed firsthand that almost every government and NGO (non-profit) poverty program is actually harmful to the poor, hurting them in the long run rather than helping them. The typical poverty program creates dependency, robs people of dignity, stifles initiative, and can foster a “What have you done for me lately?” sense of entitlement.

The biblical way to help people rise out of poverty is through wealth creation, not wealth redistribution. For lasting results, we must offer the poor a hand up, not merely a handout. You spell long-term poverty reduction “j-o-b-s.” Training and tools liberate people. Trade, not aid, builds the prosperity of nations.

I’ve been waiting for a book like this for a long time. Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus have brilliantly written a work that is at the same time completely biblical, historical, and practical. Every so often, a book is written that you know will become a classic. The Poverty of Nations is such a book. It should be required reading in every Christian college and seminary, by every relief and mission organization, and by every local church pastor. At Saddleback Church, and in all churches participating in the P.E.A.C.E. Plan, this book will become a standard text that we will use to train every mission team we have in 196 countries.

Don’t just read this book. Study it! Reread it and make notes, then put it into practice and teach it to others. It could change the world.

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