The Baptist Center for Ethics is releasing a new DVD designed to educate, equip and empower Baptists to address cooperatively global poverty.
The DVD and its companion online study guide explore the biblical witness about feeding the hungry and what goodwill Baptists are doing cooperatively to pursue that biblical mandate.
“Always … Therefore: The Church’s Challenge of Global Poverty” is directed and produced by Cliff Vaughn, culture editor for EthicsDaily.com and a documentary filmmaker.
The 28-minute film includes footage and photographs of hunger relief and development efforts, as well as interviews with Baptists addressing global poverty.
“Always … Therefore” explores themes of realism and responsibility, relief, rehabilitation and development and renewing justice. It offers insights from world Baptist leaders Paul Montacute, director of Baptist World Aid for the Baptist World Alliance and Alistair Brown, general director of BMS World Mission, the oldest Baptist mission organization. Also featured are Joe Haag, director of the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger for the Baptist General Convention of Texas and Suzii Paynter, director, Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission.
While Scripture indeed teaches that the poor will always be among us, it also immediately follows that statement with God’s command: “Therefore … You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in the land” (Deut 15:11b).
“Poverty is a stench in the nostrils of God,” Brown says, especially when the unacceptable selfishness of many western Christians allows it to continue.
Accompanying the DVD is an online, four-session Bible study with separate student’s and leader’s guides. The DVD can be viewed independently or in tandem with the Bible study sessions.
The resource package seeks to challenge Christians “to read the Bible without skipping over the uncomfortable parts that call for a commitment beyond the horizon,” says Robert Parham, BCE’s executive director, in the Bible study Preface.
“The Bible speaks about an enduring commitment,” he says, contrasting that with the tendency of many American Christians to “read the Bible selectively about the poor, the hungry, the dispossessed, the foreigner and the weak. Consequently, we have at best a short-term commitment to their well-being. We sometimes respond to their immediate needs. We tend to neglect their long-term empowerment.”
Two essential questions we must answer, Parham says, are: What does God require? And will we be found faithful?
Our answers lie in large part in the depth of our commitment to seeking justice for the world’s poor.
“Always … Therefore” challenges individuals and churches to move from simply offering a hand out to the poor to hammering out a just society that seeks to eliminate poverty completely.
The DVD and online study guide were underwritten in part by Baptist General Association of Virginia; Baptist General Convention of Missouri; Baptist General Convention of Texas; Baptist World Aid; Cooperative Baptist Fellowship; Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas; Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia; Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Oklahoma; First Baptist Church Endowment Fund, Richmond, Va.; Faith Baptist Church, Georgetown, Ky.; First Baptist Church, Griffin, Ga.; First Baptist Church, San Angelo, Texas.; First Baptist Church, Wilmington, N.C.; and St. Matthews Baptist Church, Louisville, Ky.