SEOUL, South Korea–Baptist representatives from some 30 nations energetically endorsed an ambitious initiative to cut global poverty by half within the next decade.
The General Council of the Baptist World Alliance adopted a resolution supporting the Micah Challenge, named after the Old Testament prophet.
“Christians everywhere must be agents of hope for and with the poor, and to work with others to hold our national and global leaders accountable in securing a more just and merciful world,” said the resolution.
The statement called on nations “to take seriously the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations in the desire to halve current levels of world poverty by 2015 and upon the richest nations to take urgent action to ensure that at least 0.7 percent of the national GNP is used to this end.”
The BWA council agreed to cooperation with 270 evangelical Christian relief, development and social justice ministries around the world and commended the leadership involvement of Baptist World Aid “to make a biblically shaped response to the needs of the poor and oppressed.”
Micah Challenge goals include addressing extreme poverty, achieving universal primary education for all, reducing diseases such as HIV/AIDS, advancing greater gender equality, cutting the debt of poor nations and expanding trade justice.
The resolution encouraged Baptist churches to join other Christians in “prayerful practical action” in support of the Micah challenge.
BWA delegates also adopted a resolution voicing regret for “the decision of the Southern Baptist Convention to withdraw from the world Baptist family resulting in loss of unity and a compromise of the worldwide testimony of all Baptists.”
The delegates rejected “the charges made by the SBC leadership” and expressed hope for “future reconciliation and renewal of SBC membership.”
A third resolution anticipated “the ultimate peaceful reunification of the peoples of Korea.”
Baptist delegates also welcomed the BWA evangelism and leadership strategy called “Christ the Living Water.”
The resolution emphasized “the crucial importance of personal conversion through the work of the Holy Spirit issuing in repentance, faith in Christ as savior, baptism, incorporation into the church and the life of discipleship.”