This is really a hopeful time, and God is doing great things, said David Beckmann, during last month’s “… such as these” conference in Dallas.
The Baptist Standard did a story on this speech and one by Scott Todd of Compassion International. Here are some of my paraphrased notes from Beckman’s speech:
Over the last three or four decades the world has made tremendous progress against poverty and disease. … I think this is God. … We should say thanks to God for what He has done in the lives of the poorest people in the world. … It’s like a great exodus in our own history. God is moving to liberate people from poverty and disease. God is calling us to get with the program and be part of this great exodus.
One reason a lot of Americans don’t get it is because we haven’t made much progress in the United States. The percentage under the poverty line is now higher than in 1974. … We made a difference when we tried. … A thousand points of light is not enough. … The most dramatic reacent period when we really reduced hunger was the 1960s and ’70s. … We had economic growth, which is the best way to reduce poverty. … Violence in the streets shook the government. … We had a government-led effort. … Now we have more food insecurity in the country than we did in 1974. … This has not been that important to us. … We haven’t had a president since Lyndon Johnson who made reducing poverty one of his top five priorities. … It’s just not that important to us.
Ninety-five percent of Americans say they believe in God. … Churches have a pretty good record.
Also, on advocacy we have a halfway decent record. … Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice. … Bread for the World has brought all Christians together. … We are a bipartisan Chrsitian anti-hunger organization. … We push for change, and we win. … In the 1970s and ’80s some of biggest successes were the child survival programs. … There are three or four thousand kids who will not die today because of those programs.
Things really took a turn for the better in 2000 with the Jubilee Campaign. … It triggered a massive increase in education in Africa. …
In the churches we have a lot of people who really care …
Why government? For pracical reasons and biblical reasons Christians need to be involved in the politics of hunger. … An effort to use best practices to reduce child malnutrition. … It’s not just the U.S. doing it, but the U.S. can get the world to move. …
Beckmann spoke during a May 24-25, 2011, conference titled, “…such as these…”: An Evangelical Advocacy Response to Global Childhood Hunger. The event was held at Dallas Baptist University and sponsored by Bread for the World, Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, National Association of Evangelicals, Micah Challenge, Baptist World Alliance, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, and DBU.