Overcoming Unhealthy Dependency in the Christian Movement

by Glenn Schwartz

“When Charity Destroys Dignity” by Glenn Schwartz is a thought provoking book about the dangers of well-intentioned charity leading to what the author describes as the dependency syndrome. The author does more than raise the issue of unhealthy dependency but details groups that have overcome this danger and practical ways to overcome it. Each chapter has discussion questions as well as a list of books to read for further insight. One of his chapters is worth its weight in gold entitled “What should wealthy churches do with their money?” Rather than giving to people that fosters ongoing dependency on a western church, one of the suggestions by Schwartz is to “invest missionary funding in the proclamation of the gospel where it hasn’t been preached.”

The late Ralph Winter gave this ringing endorsement when he wrote, “One of the most powerful factors in the growth of Christianity is the use and misuse of financial resources both local and foreign. Here is a book loaded with down-to-earth practicalities written by an experienced and knowledgeable missiologist. Open to any page and you will be drawn into gripping real-life anecdotes and situations. No one serious about the most persuasive unsolved problems in missions today can possibly do without it.”

Reviewed by Barry Lawrence

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