Editor's note: February's cover package, "The Best Ways to Fight Poverty—Really" (part one, part two), received remarkable numbers of pageviews, praises, and protests. It also provoked responses from many organizations devoted to fighting poverty. Today, leaders of those ministries respond, including World Vision US president Richard Stearns, Samaritan's Purse president Franklin Graham, Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford, HOPE International president and CEO Peter Greer, World Relief president and CEO Stephan Bauman, Food for the Hungry workers Greg Forney and Lucas Koach, and TEAR Australia national young adults coordinator Matt Anslow. Also today, Christianity Today senior managing editor Mark Galli, whose article "A Most Personal Touch" led off the February cover package, replies to the ministry leaders.
This week I have been eyewitness to the inadequacy of governments alone to solve the problems of poverty. Mark Galli argues that governments are the best institutions to raise the poor's standard of living. Yet over the past week I have visited the poor in Cambodia, and I can attest that while economic growth in Asia has been tremendous, government efforts are not enough to change the lives of the poor. The church and private nonprofits, on the other hand, can do exactly that.
Galli says the church is insignificant compared to the resources of government. But he seems oblivious to the scale and significance of American Christianity. Its power to reduce global poverty is massive—and could be even greater.
World Vision—just a portion of the American church's effort to alleviate poverty—spends roughly $2.8 billion annually to care for the poor. That would rank World Vision about ...