for a Christian understanding of the government’s role in addressing global poverty.
“The strength of the event was the richness of the diverse presentations, the spirited discussion and incisive analysis, and the common agreement on the vital importance of foreign assistance,” said Evvy Campbell, chair, Intercultural Studies, Wheaton College. “This marked the start of a crucial dialogue in the evangelical community.” < /span>
The event, sponsored by Bread for the World Institute and the Center for Applied Christian Ethics, brought together Christians from academia, relief and development organizations, church mission and advocacy organizations, and members of the religious media.
“A strong civil society, which includes the voice of the church, is the way we not only hold governments accountable but make government more effective in fulfilling its God-given role in human history,” said Rev. James McDonald, Bread for the World’s managing director.
At the gathering’s conclusion, members received a proposed Wheaton Declaration on Government, the Poor, and God’s Mission in the World. Highlights of the declaration include:
- Affirmation that active concern for the poor is a non-negotiable aspect of Christian discipleship.
- Affirmation that Christians need to become more competent in addressing the full range of government policy as it relates to the poor in the United States and globally.
- Affirmation that Christians should advocate for just, generous, and fair government foreign assistance and related policies.
Speakers included Michael Gerson, columnist and fellow at the Institute for Global Engagement, Adm. Tim Ziemer, coordinator of the U.S. Global Malaria Initiative, Cheryl Sanders, Howard Divinity School, and David Gushee, distinguished professor, Mercer University.
Photo Credit: Mary Lyon Hall by Paul Broderick