I want to make an observation on poverty that you may not have been taken into account when progress or the lack of progress is considered. I have read some of the thinking on the word “holistic” as it is used to consider an approach to the poor in religious circles. When I think of the word “holistic”, I think of the first chapter of Genesis and Col 1.16-17. God creates and holds together all things holistically. Given this shared biblical understanding, regardless of our claims, we know and understand why any holistic approach will fall far short. Let me elaborate with the statistic in the following link at the end of this comment from the Word Bank on poverty. People in poverty have fallen at a rapid rate to 10% of the total world population. There has never been a time like it in world history. The progress has been startling and it may be good to ask why and how.
A casual observation will attribute this to advances in every science. How and why? Every advance was a discovery or invention. Discovery and invention is God letting man think God’s thoughts for a moment, therefore every advance was of God. God, holistically, has done more to eliminate poverty than any plan of man—yes God does need and work through mankind—especially believers.
The next observation is that God has chosen to use western civilization to do so even though it is a fad to in many circles, including religious circles, to speak against western civilization. The weight and sum total in advancement has been almost solely western—including Israel—Pulitzer Prize totals are a witness. Western civilization, without a doubt, has been an instrument of God. Christians especially need to rethink their stand against God’s chosen instrument. Yes God can use another civilization at any time and began to judge western civilization for its failures, but that does not change that He has and continues to use western societies as His main instrument to care for the poor.
Lastly, before the twentieth century there was about 12 to 15 true democracies, after 1950 and two world wars there were over 120 democracies and a country of Israel. God used freedom to lower poverty—God does use war for good as well as for judgement.
I am sure you can see how easy it is to concentrate on man and overlook the real reason for the record-breaking drop in poverty. Yes we do need to stay hard at work until we hear the trumpet, but we need to recognize the hand of God and give praise and thanks.
Published on Friday, October 9, 2015 @ 2:53 AM CDT