Published on July 29, 2015 by Todd Scacewater

Zondervan, 2015 | 304 pages

About the Authors

Dr. Anne Rathbone Bradley is the Vice President of Economic Initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics (IFWE), where she develops and commissions research toward a systematic biblical theology of economic freedom.

Rev. Dr. Art Lindsley is the Vice President of Theological Initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, where he oversees the development of a theology that integrates faith, work, and economics.

Wayne Grudem says of this work:

  • “This valuable volume provides solutions to poverty that really work… It contains a wide range of practical and biblical insights from the accumulated wisdom of experts.”
  • In For the Least of These, Anne Bradley and Art Lindsley bring together leading Christian economists, theologians, historians, and practitioners to equip Christians with both a solid biblical and economic understanding of how best to care for the poor and foster sustainable economic development.

Biblical Understanding of Poverty Alleviation

  • When we view people as individuals created in the image of God-how does this affect our approach to poverty alleviation?
  • What do you mean by the term “human flourishing”?
  • What is the difference in “wealth” and” riches”? What is the biblical view of the rich and the poor?
  • What is the Bible’s perspective on government welfare programs?
  • How did God’s people in the Old Testament care for the poor? In the New Testament? How do we apply these principles in the Church today? Which Scriptural laws regarding poverty are normative for Christians today?
  • Today some evangelicals who are concerned about the poor call for a redistribution of wealth as an appropriate biblical approach to poverty. What is wrong with this interpretation of Scripture?
  • Does the Bible teach redistribution of wealth and socialism? How has this been misunderstood?

Contemporary Poverty, the Marketplace, and Christian Response

  • How are churches and nonprofit organizations better positioned than the government to care for the poor?
  • How are modern welfare systems enslaving the poorest among us?
  • How is work essential to human dignity?
  • How is it that evangelical approaches to poverty and economics have become so confused?
  • How does the concept of “moral proximity” relate to the church’s responsibility in poverty alleviation?
  • In summary, what is the history of the U.S. government intervention in poverty alleviation? In what ways has this approach worked, and in what ways has it failed?
  • Moving forward, what are the keys to reducing poverty in the U.S.?
  • How can a Christian think biblically about income inequality?
  • What are the keys to reducing poverty in Low Income Countries (UCs)? What is the role of American churches?
  • How do we distinguish between aid and development?
  • What are first steps for local churches, denominations, and nonprofit organizations in beginning (or reforming) ministries among the poor? How can individual Christians best live out the biblical calling to care for the poor?

Quote & Unquote

The State of Poverty, Biblical Principles, and the Free Market

  • Global poverty rates have been halved since 1990 and are on pace to be halved again. The only way this has been possible is by embracing the biblical principles of private property, the rule of law, ingenuity, productive work, and well-functioning global markets that encourage and reward our God-given creativity and talents. (Introduction, Bradley and Lindsley, page 11) 
  • Clearly, biblical ideas about work, the image of God, property rights, and generosity lead to sound economic thought and social welfare approaches that benefit society as a whole. The free market system built on biblical ideas about property rights, the dignity of work, and practices such as reinvesting profits to increase production, has done more to relieve poverty than any other economic system in history. Unfortunately, very few people in the church and in society today recognize the importance of these biblical ideas, the role of the church in economic thought and the profound impact for good these things have had in practice. (Chapter 1, “Who Are the Poor” Glenn Sunshine, page 34)
  • The gospel not only saves people, it transforms them in ways that increase wealth creation and develop generous hearts to share with others in need. The gospel alleviates poverty in the present and will bring an end to poverty in the culmination of the kingdom of God. As the church carries out its mission of preaching and teaching for the advancement of the gospel, It is simultaneously working to alleviate the suffering of the poor and to bring an end to the sin that causes poverty. (Chapter 3, “Remember the Poor,” David Kotter, page 77)

Government Welfare

  • Government welfare or “relief” programs encourage idleness, break up families, produce intergenerational dependency and hopelessness, cost taxpayers a fortune, and yield harmful cultural trends that may take generations to cure. (Chapter 10, “A Poverty Program That Worked,” Lawrence Reed, page 194)
  • Welfare expenditures become tragic rather than merely troubling when they hurt the people they are supposed to help. In the United States, the easy availability of governmental funds has sucked in millions of our citizens. It has created a dependency that is detrimental to them and their children. Given budget pressures, we are likely to end up with watery soup, with some desperately needy families not getting help; (Chapter 11, “Alleviating Poverty in the Abstract, Marvin Olasky, page 230)

International Aid

  • After more than fifty years of aid; racking up a bill of $2.3 trillion, there was, until recently, no significant change in Africa’s poverty landscape. Economic data show that, as aid has increased over a ten-year period, the GDP of countries receiving aid has decreased. (Chapter 7, “Fighting Poverty through Enterprise,” lord Brian Griffiths and Dato Kim Tan, page 142,144)
  • An aid culture of redistribution and neocolonial dependency does not, and never has, worked to lift Whole cultures out of extreme poverty. Haiti, for example, has more aid workers per capita than any other nation earth, and yet it remains the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. (Conclusion, Jay Richards, page 247)

Buy the books

For The Least Of These: A Biblical Answer To Poverty

Zondervan, 2015 | 304 pages

Share This

Share this with your friends!