Original Research - Special Collection: Faith Based Organisations

Does faith matter? Exploring the emerging value and tensions ascribed to faith identity in South African faith-based organisations

Nadine Bowers Du Toit
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 4 | a5530 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5530 | © 2019 Nadine Bowers Du Toit | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 2019 | Published: 21 November 2019

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Nadine Bowers Du Toit, Practical Theology and Missiology, Faculty of Theology, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa

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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 well-being’. 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.


Faith-based organisations; Development and religion; Faith identity; Integral mission; Non-governmental organisations; Religious identity


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Crossref Citations

1. Studying Religiosity and Spirituality: A Review of Macro, Micro, and Meso-Level Approaches
Patricia Snell Herzog, David P. King, Rafia A. Khader, Amy Strohmeier, Andrew L. Williams
Religions  vol: 11  issue: 9  first page: 437  year: 2020  
doi: 10.3390/rel11090437