In Genesis 1 and 2 we find revealed God’s intentions for humanity, that we be fruitful, and that we exercise responsible stewardship over the good and bountiful creation that God has entrusted to us. Our stewardship is to be exercised in a way that honors God’s love and concern for all, and especially for the most vulnerable. Psalm 113 tells us that God, who is seated on high, “looks far down on the heavens and the earth, raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes.”
This human responsibility to use God’s generous gifts for the common good is shared by individuals, families, churches, other institutions of civil society, and, yes, also government. No biblical passage relieves government of its responsibility to provide for its impoverished citizens. Psalm 72 tells us that the king was to uphold justice and righteousness, which includes, in particular, defending the poor and giving deliverance to the needy. The Bible is clear that our generous God has abundantly blessed the world with more than enough resources to sustain dignified human life for all. This is certainly true here in the United States.
Evangelicals believe that people and nations are sufficiently blessed by God’s common grace that we can seek the good of others, as well as our own welfare. As a result, we are prepared to work together across partisan divides and to respect those with whom we may differ on policy choices. Our churches bring together Democrats, Independents, Republicans, and people who have no political affiliation at all. Our call to protect programs that serve our most vulnerable neighbors transcends any political party.
Our concern for the vulnerable extends beyond our borders to encompass those who are poor, hungry, or threatened by violence throughout the world. While we cannot solve all problems, we have the capacity to save millions of lives and contribute to a more stable and peaceful world. In a recent survey 95 percen of evangelical leaders said that our poverty-focused international assistance programs should continue.
Our concern also extends beyond the present generation to our children and grandchildren. Accordingly, we support fiscal responsibility that raises sufficient revenues to meet our obligations without simply passing along the bill to those who are yet unborn. But this must be done in a way that protects the most vulnerable among us, and does not ask them to shoulder the major burden of balancing our national budget.
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