Public Square

Ideas for Fighting the Spiritual and Material Causes of Poverty

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How do we fight both the material and spiritual causes behind poverty? Finding such a holistic approach is the topic of this IFWE podcast featuring economist and author Anne Bradley.

Using the biblical and economic principles laid out in For the Least of These: A Biblical Answer to Poverty, Anne Bradley discusses how Christians can approach poverty from a biblical perspective.

“Christians are correct to view poverty as a priority,” she says. While we all agree on poverty as a priority, where we differ, Bradley argues, is on “how” to alleviate poverty. What principles can tie different approaches together?

Bradley lists and explains several key principles, including:

  • The importance of basing any approach with scripture.
  • The need to understand the various types and conditions of poverty.
  • Why relationships matter so much when it comes to poverty alleviation.
  • The role of the gospel in helping people overcome poverty.

Weaving in stories from practitioners, including Peter Greer, president of Hope International, Bradley also talks about the importance of focusing on the spiritual as well as the material causes of poverty. When asked about this, she responded, saying,

It’s about the whole person. What we have to think about is “what does this person need to thrive?”

Beginning with that question is a good way to focus our efforts on everything a persons needs—physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.

In addition to Bradley’s insights, a coupon code for a discount on For the Least of These in the IFWE bookstore is also given out at the end of the episode.

Editor’s note: Click here to listen to the entire podcast. This podcast was recorded in 2014. Looking for additional practical examples of successful poverty-fighting programs? Check out Love Your Neighbor: Restoring Dignity, Breaking the Cycle of Poverty.

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