As Reformed Christians, Presbyterians believe that government is God’s agent when it comes to the providential care of people. We also believe that creation is entrusted to our care. A crucial part of our worship and mission is to stand together for the common good.
The PC(USA) is guided by policies of the General Assembly. The guidelines for developing social witness policy are based on Scripture, the Book of Confessions, social and natural scientific analysis, and the voices of those often unheard or discriminated against.
The General Assembly has spoken many times about poverty. GA statements are very instructive when it comes to suggesting places for communities of faith to roll up their sleeves and become a living translation of Jesus Christ:
Acute poverty has many causes. It is in part a consequence of each country’s history, such as colonial exploitation, sometimes compounded by domestic ethnic rivalry and the failure of unifying national leadership. Even where adequate resources are potentially available to satisfy basic needs, such factors as corruption, political instability, tyrannical governments, economic mismanagement, control of economic resources by elite minorities, excessive military expenditures, ethnic conflicts, civil wars, high population growth, poor education, and cultural customs such as the subordination of women, have contributed significantly to impoverishment. — “Hope for a Global Future,” 208th General Assembly (1996)
We Presbyterians evaluate any economic system not simply on the basis of the material goods and services it provides, but especially on the basis of its human consequences: what it is doing to, with and for people, particularly the most vulnerable among us. In our tradition, economic behavior, like all behavior, must be subject to moral scrutiny. For this reason, the church must speak to the present economic crisis, to the devastation it has brought, and to the hope to which we bear witness: that, in Christ, a more just order is arising. — “Living Through Economic Crisis,” 219th General Assembly (2010)
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