OK, I seriously never thought about comparing charity and philanthropy from a theological perspective before until I read this review by Fred Smith of The Philanthropic Revolution. Now I have to read this book!
Philanthropy and charity, while springing from the same root, have parted ways and are not likely to come back together. While both have serious theological presuppositions, they represent very different—even competing—theologies….Experimentation, eugenics, mass sterilization, and, ultimately, ethnic cleansing all have their roots in the early (and often forced) optimism of philanthropy detached from both merit and favor alike. The poor became a problem to be solved by institutions with little interest in the individuals they were trying to reform. As Proverbs says, “There is a way that seems right to man but leads to the ways of death.”…
Philanthropy, to exist at all, requires a relationship with another person. But philanthropy has become extraordinarily knowledgeable about people while detaching itself from them.
As you were. I’m off to the library….