The Promise and Call of Isaiah 58

End extreme poverty in this generation ? It’s not just a dream, says Scott Todd, Ph.D., Senior Ministry Advisor at Compassion International. Compassion has aligned with nine leading Christian organizations determined to make extreme poverty history in just a few decades. Dr. Todd encourages Compassion sponsors: “Your efforts are making a difference. The evidence of your impact is compelling.”

The Promise and Call of Isaiah 58

End Extreme Poverty

By: Liz Duckworth, An Interview With Dr. Scott Todd

WHY DO YOU BELIEVE WE CAN END EXTREME POVERTY IN THE NEXT 25 YEARS?
Dr. Scott Todd is convinced that the church can mobilize together to end extreme poverty.

I became convinced through a stream of evidence, data and voices joining in a message of optimism that we can end extreme global poverty.

For example, in the ’80s, 40,000 children died each day from preventable causes. Now it’s down to 21,000. In 1981, 52 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. As of 2005 that number is 26 percent. We have cut the percentage of people living in extreme poverty in half. And we did it in one generation! If the Church got more involved, we could end extreme poverty in the next 25 years.

WHAT IS THE FOUNDATION OF THE 58: INITIATIVE?

The 58: Initiative started with a meeting of Christian leaders about three and a half years ago, a small group praying and reflecting on all God has done for the past generation and seeking God’s guidance for the next generation. We really felt God was calling us to Isaiah 58.

There are three core messages in Isaiah 58. The first is a declaration: “Shout it aloud.” The chapter opens with this prophetic message, a call against hypocrisy.

The second is a call to action: “Loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke … share your food with the hungry.” This is an authentic response, not a religious show. Isaiah 58 is about credible, effective action on behalf of the poor.

The third message promises light, healing, joy, restoration: “You will be called Repairer … restorer.” Christians pray for these things, and that’s exactly what’s promised.

WHAT UNITES THE 10 ORGANIZATIONS COMMITTED TO 58?

These 10 Christ-centered, world-class organizations exist as an expression of their faith in Jesus Christ. Generally, they equip the Church and present the good news in its full form, not by humanitarian works alone and not just talk without action. These organizations are leaders in meeting development needs ranging from food security to safe water to microenterprise to child and leadership development. Compassion stands alongside these leading organizations as part of the 58: Initiative, recognizing that tackling extreme poverty will take all of us working together.

HOW WILL NEW RESOURCES HELP DELIVER THE CALL OF ISAIAH 58?

Isaiah 58 begins with “Shout it aloud, do not hold back.” This is about communication. It’s about speaking with conviction and with an unflinching commitment to honor the message of truth that God has given. We worked to honor those things in an upcoming film and also in a new book. The movie 58: is a feature-length film planned for release on television, iTunes, DVD, and direct to churches and in select local theaters. The film is a global journey showing the Church in action, real people from Ethiopia to Brazil to New York City taking action in ways that matter.

When we see these examples of faith in action, we are challenged and humbled. This film lifts up those who are living out Isaiah 58 and makes viewers want to be part of the solution.

My newly released book, Fast Living, provides the encouraging, evidence-based perspective on why the hope of ending extreme poverty is justified.