n HTS : Theological Studies - Does faith matter? exploring the emerging value and tensions ascribed to faith identity in South African faith-based organisations - research

Volume 75 Number 4
  • ISSN : 0259-9422
  • E-ISSN: 2072-8050



Faith-based Organisations (FBOs) have been at the forefront of a growing interest of the intersection between religion and development. Their value has been recognised as both pragmatic (such as reaching the poorest at the grassroots level and encouraging civil society and advocacy) and, perhaps more contentiously, also ‘spiritual’ in nature because of advantages arising from faith itself (such as hope, meaning, purpose and transcendental power). For many FBOs, religion is far more than an ‘essential component of identity … it is a source of wellbeing’. In this manner, FBOs challenge the modernist assumptions of traditional development theory, which view the spiritual and physical domains as separate. In fact, for some FBOs, ‘spiritual faith provides the fuel for action’. This paper reports on an aspect of the empirical findings of a South African study and explores both the way in which Christian FBOs understand their Christian identity and the way in which they articulate this through their use of scripture as a motivating or an envisioning tool.

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