Nonprofit organizations as false ultimates, or the idolatry of traditional fundraising

Fundraising is an inadequate way to explain the biblical framework for giving because it introduces a Kingdom nonentity–the nonprofit organization–and seeks to portray it as the locus of God’s activity.

By ‘Kingdom nonentity’ I mean that the New Testament introduces the church as the locus of God’s activity, revealing with it the impermanence of all institutions. (The church is precisely not an institution, of course.)

This doesn’t mean that the concept of the nonprofit org is in any sense unbiblical. But it does mean that equating Christian nonprofit and church in such a way that God’s promises to church apply 1 to 1 to the Christian nonprofit–which is such a common practice in the nonprofit world that it typically happens without anyone questioning it–just ain’t good theology.

In the biblical framework, institutions (like nonprofits) grow God’s people, and then the institutions ultimately become unnecessary.

In the traditional Christian nonprofit fundraising framework, God’s people grow institutions, and then God’s people ultimately become unnecessary…except, sadly, as sources of funding.

Some of [Jesus’] disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, ‘As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.’ [Luke 21:5-6]

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 the former 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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1 Response to Nonprofit organizations as false ultimates, or the idolatry of traditional fundraising

  1. Pingback: Five things I think I think about TG, Part I: Nonprofit as Church Renewal Movement « Transformational Giving

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