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08 June 2015

A mandate to care for the poor

A mandate to care for the poor

What are the causes of poverty? What poverty issues do evangelical Christians care about? Are they and their churches personally responding to the realities of poverty both at home and abroad? These are just some of the questions Good news for the poor? –the latest research report in our 21st Century Evangelicals series –explores.

Among the many statistics that have emerged from the report, 97 per cent of participants believe we should work for justice for the poor and that we, as Christians, have a mandate from God to care for those in poverty. 85 per cent think God expects a more equal distribution of the world’s resources. 

In addition 93 per cent think God has provided enough resources on the earth for every person’s need, but human greed makes some people poor.

The top five causes of poverty in less developed countries cited by respondents were: Corruption (97 per cent), unfair trade structures (96 per cent), inequality or social injustice (90 per cent), racism, sexism or other forms of discrimination (84 per cent) and educational inequality (84 per cent).

The survey of more than 1,600 evangelicals found that within the last year 73 per cent had given money to a charity tackling poverty overseas.

Alliance member organisation Tearfund is encouraged to see the Church responding to the desperate need of so many of the world's poor.

Paul Cook, Tearfund advocacy director, said: "These statistics on Christians caring about poverty are really encouraging for us. For many years we have been helping the UK Church respond to global poverty, by helping local churches in the world's poorest communities. We know that Christians are passionate about seeing people find ways out of extreme poverty and into a full and flourishing life."

"We are always overwhelmed by the generosity of Christians when a disaster strikes, like the recent Nepal earthquake, helping give essential items like water, shelter and food to survivors."

"In our experience, Christians are passionate about tackling the issues that are keeping people poor, like inequality and climate change, and of course we want to encourage people to continue on this journey. That's why we have recently launched a new campaign called 'Ordinary Heroes' which is helping tackle some of these big issues step by step, by campaigning to politicians and making changes to our lifestyles, routines and the ways we spend money."