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Book explores complex balance between charitable acts, religious values


This is the cover of "Religion in Philanthropic Organizations: Family Friend, Foe?" edited by Thomas J. Davis. The book is reviewed by David Gibson. (CNS)

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"Religion in Philanthropic Organizations: Family, Friend, Foe?" edited by Thomas J. Davis. Indiana University Press (Bloomington, Indiana, 2013). 227 pp., $25.

The work of religious philanthropic organizations came into clear view during the summer of 2014 when two Christian mission groups serving people in need around the world arranged to fly two of their medical missionaries suffering from the Ebola virus out of Liberia to a hospital in Atlanta, where they were treated successfully.

One group was Samaritan's Purse, a well-funded evangelical Christian organization dedicated both to "helping those in need and proclaiming the hope of the Gospel." The other group, officially called SIM, is an international Christian mission organization with similar goals. SIM stands for Serving in Mission.

Samaritan's Purse today is headed by Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham. The chapter in "Religion in Philanthropic Organizations" telling of the organization's earlier evolution under the evangelist Bob Pierce, who died in 1978, makes for compelling reading and casts light on precisely the issues the book highlights.

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