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.
I have appreciated not only these responses, but the many comments on our website and in emails I have received. Some of the concerns expressed result from my having only three pages to lay out a theology of church and poverty, others from a simple difference of opinion.
First, as many readers noted, I failed to clarify that the way government substantially impacts poverty is by freeing up business to create jobs for the poor, and goods and services that the newly employed can now buy (which, in turn, creates more jobs and goods and services, and so on). Government may be clumsy at business, but it is certainly the institution with the sweep and power to encourage and regulate business for the common good.
Second, some respondents seemed to think I was arguing that the church's unique role is its only role. But take this example: In my home, I am uniquely gifted as a handyman, moderately skilled ...1