Lupton's critique is largely on target, but he might have mentioned a few more positive trends—like the growth of social entrepreneurship and growing interest in reciprocal short-term mission projects.
Lupton says hard things that need to be said, and he's earned the right to say them. Believers would do well to receive his words with the mindset that "faithful are the wounds of a friend." If we accept rather than resist his critique, the poor and non-poor will both be better off.
Amy L. Sherman is a senior fellow at the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research and author of the forthcoming Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good (IVP).
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Toxic Charity is available from ChristianBook.com and other book retailers.
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Earlier articles by Amy Sherman include:
A Call for Church Welfare Reform | The church needs welfare reform every bit as much as the government did. (Oct. 6, 1997)
STEP-ing Out on Faith—and Off Welfare | How a city ministry rescues the perishing from poverty and drugs. (June 17, 1996)
Sharon Baptist Discovered Welfare Ministry (June 14, 1999)
Putting the Poor on the National Agenda | Ron Sider's timely proposals (March 2000)