Faith Missions and Money -- By: Harold Lindsell

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 119:473 (Jan 1962)
Article: Faith Missions and Money
Author: Harold Lindsell

Faith Missions and Money

Harold Lindsell

[Harold Lindsell is Vice President and Professor of Missions, Fuller Theological Seminary.]

One of the major differences between denominational and faith missionary agencies is to be found in their respective approaches to the problem of financing missionary operations. Since money is indispensable to effective missionary work, the policies of mission boards with regard to the securing of funds and their methods of distributing them become significant. No one need argue the question whether money is important. Present-day circumstances reveal only too clearly that without money foreign missionary work would virtually cease.

It is sometimes thought to be less than spiritual to suppose that God’s program for foreign missions is dependent upon money or upon missionary agencies or men for that matter. Those who feel that money is relatively unimportant and who relegate it to a place of inconsequence should be disabused of their attitude. We live in a material world and must operate within the framework of things as they are, not as we would like them to be. Every proponent of missions ardently desires to be relieved of financial problems. No missionary administrator would be apt to complain if missionaries were to be sent out, supported, and cared for in retirement without concern for money. Indeed many would suppose that the golden age had arrived if this were possible.

The whole problem of money for missions is faced differently by denominational and faith mission boards. The objective here is not to pass any final judgment upon the two diverse methods as though one were Biblically right and the other Biblically wrong. Rather it is to examine the problem of money in relation to faith boards and to ask some

searching questions which come to the minds of people from time to time.

Everyone knows that the term faith mission has come to denote a type of missionary agency which is different from denominational missionary agencies. The differences relate to financial support, an identifiable constituency, budgets, and the like. We are here chiefly concerned with the differences of a financial sort.

Faith missions operate outside of denominational control, but they are not alone in this. There are other agencies which operate outside the formal framework of the denominations and which thus may be labeled nondenominational or interdenominational. Among them are agencies like the American Bible Society, the American Tract Society, the Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College, and many others. In almost every instance these agencies which are not part of a given denomination or manage...

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