Acton Institute Powerblog

The North American Church and Global Stewardship

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In this week’s Acton Commentary, “The North American Church and Global Stewardship,” I note that blessed with extraordinary material riches, Christians in North America are increasingly viewing their stewardship responsibilities in a global context. I look at one school in British Columbia and how their local building project also raised funds for a school in Sierra Leone.

Dennis DeGroot, principal of Fraser Valley Christian High School, writes and informs me, “The money keeps coming in for the school project. The students have far exceeded their goal. The total now at $36,000 and money still coming in.” He also says, “My long term vision for this is that all Christian schools would find partnerships like ours in the developing world; true partnerships where we learn from each other where real wealth lies.”

For some background, you can read my brief column in The Banner, “Building on the Tithe.”

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.


  • Alfred Du Bois

    The lack of stewardship today stems from a secular culture-based upon materialism, organized naturalism and other “service” organizations that do not recognized the TRUTH. Christians AND Western Culture have been instrumental in advancing the “City of Man” or Culture of Death. A solution would be to learn from groups that are living in community (not to change them) but to understand the nature of communal living and sacrifice. Then to adopt a “Benedictine” spirit and actual lifestyle among christians. Based on God-Familiy-Community-Agricluture. Once that is established – build it for 5-10-15 years – then you and I may begin to speak about Stewardship!!!!

  • Jude Chua Soo Meng

    My own impression of the Benedictines is that they are more stable than evangelical. This is not to say that they do not care for others, but their orientation seems to be to move away from others and enclose themselves in a protective monastic shell. I had always thought that it was the mendicants who went outwards of their own community to care and minister to others. The image of a Franciscan retreating into his mud hut near the forests and then going to the cities to preach and minister to the leper comes to mind. In fact if I am not mistaken the early Franciscans had a rule which said that no friar should stay in one same place for more than 3 months. Not to mention the Dominicans, who were always on the road during their preaching tours (and then getting daggered to death by rouges).

    Paradoxically in the case of St Francis of Assisi, it was the very first act of ministry, his kissing of the leper, that converted him, and then led him to found a community of brothers. Maybe it is hard to formulate a social theory about which comes first. This assumes that the graced soul is somehow structured in determinism. But, the Spirit blows where it wills; you do not know where it comes from, or where it is going.

    I am not sure that western culture has been instrumental in advancing the culture of death. Perhaps it is technology. And if the East had developed technology as early they could also have perpetuated the culture of death (and certainly lots of states in the East could well be doing this, given their acccess to these technologies). So, maybe this connection between western culture and the culture of death is really accidental.

    The Christian West has given us the good individualism of respect for individual human lives, and much of the discourse that argues for the culture of life is western. So that too is a intimate connection between western culture of the culture of LIFE.

    Sometimes western culture is presented as merely that kind of self-ish individualism that seeks to satisfy ones own pleasures, which instrumentalises and attacks life for the consequential maximization of pleasure. But surely this is just a slanted characterization. As an Asian I have great admiration and draw much profit from the (distinguishable) good stuff that comes out of the West.

  • Andrew mambel

    I come from society where poverty is overwhelmingly evident and its becoming epedemic that ruin our society and glad to read this article and I request if you can dailly provide such needed information on charity.