Whole Life Offering Book Excerpt 5 of 6: Not Christian Philanthropy but Christianity-As-Philanthropy

We are not talking here about Christian philanthropy but rather about Christianity as philanthropy—that is, Christianity as the full flower of the philanthropic enterprise, initiated by the one true God in Jesus Christ and mirrored into the world by those who have partaken of the divine’s lavish friendship. The practice of Christianity in a way that is faithful to its philanthropic roots is philanthropy in full bloom.

To contend that all Christianity is philanthropy is not, of course, to contend that all philanthropy is Christianity. The robust practice of Christianity as philanthropy, however, can stand as a testament to philanthropists of all backgrounds that money can never become the seat of true philanthropy, that impact and effectiveness do not define philanthropy’s width and breadth, and that comprehensive friendship love and beneficent, direct relationship must ever remain the foundations of the discipline.

If that is true for philanthropy in general, how much more ought it to be true of Christianity-as-philanthropy in particular? The co-inherence of the two practices is the consistent witness of scripture, from verses like Jesus’ admonition, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8, NIV), and Paul’s command, “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:10, NASB). Jesus’ summary of the law—“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27, NIV)—is the very essence of the Christianity-as-philanthropy which Paul unpacks in Titus 3.

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, The Whole Life Offering: Christianity as Philanthropy, scheduled for release in January 2011.)

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is also the International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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2 Responses to Whole Life Offering Book Excerpt 5 of 6: Not Christian Philanthropy but Christianity-As-Philanthropy

  1. 란다 says:

    Pastor Foley, do you know any person who can attain “the full flower of the philanthropic enterprise, initiated by the one true God in Jesus Christ and mirrored into the world by those who have partaken of the divine’s lavish friendship”? Or any person who comes close? ….we are less blooming now than when we began this journey.

    • tseongyosa says:

      I think one of the hardest things about the Christian life is that part of growing is that God graciously makes us more and more aware of our sins, weaknesses, and imperfections. This is a great gift that is hard to receive, because it helps us to become more humble! But we do tend to see ourselves as less and less blooming. Thank God He sees with different eyes and doesn’t judge according to our standards.
      I think there is only one person who can attain the full flower, and it is Christ! Thank God Christ has come to make His home in hearts of many people through the Holy Spirit that they may be formed in His image. And thank God we have been made part of Christ’s body, the very image of God.

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