Have decades of welfare subsidies helped the poor escape economic despair? Compared with previous efforts, welfare has been a dismal failure. Whereas historically God's people have accomplished great feats of compassion in behalf of the downtrodden—founding hospitals, orphanages, soup kitchens, and other charitable efforts—state welfare programs over the past fifty years have greatly diminished private initiatives for charity.
Given growing tension between the roles of church and state in the task of caring for the poor, the orphans, and the widows, what hope is there for genuine welfare reform? Here several leading thinkers in matters of church and public policy address that question. In light of the biblical teachings on charity, justice, responsibility, and providence, they demonstrate the importance of families, private enterprise, and the church in reforming welfare.
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