We need to be careful that we do not dichotomistically distinguish between ‘life’ and ‘lifestyle’. Our new life in Jesus Christ should be manifest in a new and different lifestyle. The Lausanne Covenant (1974) in paragraph 9 states, “All of us are shocked by the poverty of millions and disturbed by the injustices which cause it. Those of us who live in affluent circumstances accept our duty to develop a simple lifestyle to contribute more generously to both relief and evangelism.”
Likewise, the Chicago Declaration of Evangelical Social Concern in 1973 suggests that “Before God and a billion hungry neighbours, we must rethink our values regarding our present standard of living and promote more just acquisition and distribution of the world’s resources.” Also, Dr Charles Birch declared in 1975 that, “The rich must live more simply that the poor may simply live.”
Forty-five years later, we as affluent Western Christians have largely still not addressed these issues in any significant manner. The vast majority of people in our churches have thus far made no substantial move to address these issues. Most people in our congregations are mainly ignorant of such issues. How can we respond to the needs of the world’s poor unless we start to live differently? Over one billion people in the world are malnourished while we throw away food every day. The dilemma is that the world’s resources are not evenly distributed. How are we to respond to such inequality?