Should Christians give to secular organizations? It’s a harder question than you might think. Let’s tackle the easy one first: should a Christian give to an organization that is opposed to the faith–opposed to Christian values? No brainer, right? If it is against the faith, don’t support it.
On the other hand, what if the organization is morally neutral? They are neither for nor against Christian values. It is the soup kitchen that never shares the gospel. They just feed people. Or it is the youth organization that simply encourages volunteerism. Perhaps, it is the camp that simply wants to get kids out into nature. Maybe it is the relief organization which brings supplies to those in need, but nary is a word said about Jesus Christ.
Of course, most would argue that there is no such thing as morally neutral. Regardless, I’ve met some who argue that there are more than 1.5 million nonprofit agencies in the country today. The majority of those tend to be “secular” or nonreligious. Likewise, there are approximately 100,000 private foundations in the country today. The vast majority are non religious, secular funders. There are only about 4,500 Christian foundations that take applications (See www.christianfoundationgrants.com). In short, the argument is that a Christian should not fund a secular agency because there are plenty of secular funders.
On the other side of the fence, there are some who argue that some secular agencies provide a valid and needed function which is not found in the Christian community. For instance, the arts have often been neglected in the Christian community. The list can be expanded: Boy Scouts, Red Cross, medical research, hospice houses, higher education, etc. So is the argument that when a secular agency provides the service they should be supported? Or is it wise to instead reach over the wall to be an influence?
The question is an important one—particularly in the coming years. We see many Christian organizations and educational institutions struggling. Many secular institutions have built large endowments, and the reality is that the Christian influence in this country is shrinking. There is great need.
What’s your response?
William F. High is the President/General Counsel of the Servant Christian Community Foundation (www.servantchristian.com). Servant’s mission is to inspire, teach and facilitate revolutionary biblical generosity. He may be reached at email@example.com.