Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Development Matters: Christian Perspectives on Globalization

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Development Matters: Christian Perspectives on Globalization

Article excerpt

Development Matters: Christian Perspectives on Globalization. Edited by Charles Reed. London: Church House Publishing, 2001. xiv + 162 pp. £7.95 (paper).

Passing comment on economic policy involves a series of pitfalls for the institutional church. First, it must prove its own credibility and expertise within the discipline. Then it must deal with the reasoned political disagreements of its own members. Beyond that lies the challenge of bringing something distinctive to the debate, which brings us to the nexus between economics and theology. This volume from the Church of England's Board for Social Responsibility speaks well to the first of these tests, not at all to the second, and with mixed success to the third.

The occasion for its publication is a 2000 policy paper from the UK Labor government which links the eradication of global poverty to the promotion of freer trade, under the title "Making Globalization Work for the Poor." The Board solicited a range of essays to inform church members as they participated in the subsequent public debate. Half the contributions come from experienced staff of faith-based international development organizations, the remainder from a mixture of academics and church officials, with one somewhat anomalous apologist for private enterprise.

Several of the essays aim to do little more than to provide background for the person in the pew: about organizations, such as Christian Aid and the World Faiths Development Dialogue; about global-economic issues like AIDS or the more metaphorical epidemic of corruption; and about the church's past involvement and policy record on overseas development. These yield useful and reliable information, although the absence of any of the language of faith in a number of chapters does run counter to the promise in the book's title that it offers Christian perspectives.

That difficulty is addressed by some of the other writers, although theological issues are often raised uncritically or tangentially: for example, whether poverty truly interferes with what Christians understand to be a fulfilling life (p. …

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