From Religious Societies to Public Charities

Christopher P. Scheitle

in Beyond the Congregation

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199733521
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866281 | DOI:
From Religious Societies to Public Charities

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This chapter argues that Christian nonprofits are not the first examples of parachurch organizations in the United States. The history of parachurch organizations is traced from 19th-century religious societies to contemporary 501(c)(3) public charities. It is argued that the decline of Bible, tract, Sunday School, and moral societies is at least partly due to the rise of denominational agencies. The rise of contemporary Christian nonprofits is, in turn, due to significant changes in denominational boundaries and identities.

Keywords: religious societies; tract; sunday school; denominational agencies; charities; nonprofits; Christian

Chapter.  5070 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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