Theology of Advancement

The Advancement department at Johnson University grounds its work on the firm foundation of biblical truth rather than institutional necessity. As such, the purpose, goals, strategies, tactics, methodologies, and practices all must conform to the principles revealed in a proper understanding of that theological underpinning.

There are significantly more theological truths regarding money, stewardship, and even fundraising than the ones discussed here, but these are considered essential to a proper understanding of the intent and operation of Johnson University’s Advancement department.

Biblical Truth #1: As Creator, God Owns Everything

  • Psalm 24:1: The earth is the Lord’s and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it.
  • Job 41:11: Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine.
  • Psalm 50:10-12: For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and all it contains.


  • We are dependent on him.
    • Acts 17:24-25: The God who made the world and all things in it, since he is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all people life and breath and all things.
    • Romans 11:36: For from him and through him and for him are all things.
  • We are his stewards.
    • John 3:27: A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.
    • I Corinthians 4:7: For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
    • 1 Chronicles 29:14: “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.
  • We are accountable to him.
    • 1 Corinthians 4:2: Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
    • Luke 17:10: So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

Biblical Truth #2: As Provider, God is Generous

  • John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…
  • I Timothy 1:17: Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be conceited and not to put their hope in the uncertainty of wealth, but in God, who richly provides all things for us to enjoy.


  • We can trust him.
    • Philippians 4:19: And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
    • John 15:7: If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
  • We should be gratefully content.
    • Revelation 4:11: You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will [and for your pleasure] they were created and have their being.
    • Philippians 4:11-13: Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
  • We should be a blessing to others.
    • Genesis 12:2: I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.
    • 2 Corinthians 9:8, 11: And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work….You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.(It should be noted that Paul does not suggest, nor do we, that Christians should anticipate that God’s generosity will always mean an abundance of resources at their disposal. In truth, many Christians live in poverty and in areas of severe persecution. Paul suggests that even in those situations, God is providing what is needed for the moment and the Christian can live in those moments with grateful contentment.)

Biblical Truth #3: As Redeemer, God’s plan is to transform us into his likeness and include us as partners in his redemptive mission to reconcile all things to himself.

  • Colossians 1:15-20: The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
  • 2 Corinthians 3:18: And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:7-9:Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


  • We should focus on unseen-eternal priorities.
    • 2 Corinthians 4:18: So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
  • We should fully embrace our relationship (adoption) as God’s children.
    • Galatians 4:7: So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
  • We are his partners.
    • Philippians 1:5: because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.

The Why Behind What We Do

In summation, these three biblical truths (that God is creator/owner, is a generous provider, and is the transforming redeemer and includes us as partners in his redemptive mission) along with the implications form the underpinning or the “why” for the work we do. They also provide a solid foundation for each Christian to grow in her understanding and practice of generosity.

Each truth may be understood as a building block of understanding and relational growth for the believer in her capacity to become more like Christ. The reality of each truth is not lost with each new revelation but is deepened as the relationship grows more meaningful.

As Redeemer, God’s purpose is to reconcile a fallen creation over which he is the ultimate Steward. Our identity as stewards recognizes and relates to God as Creator/Owner but deepens as we trust his generous provision and ultimate stewardship over all that is and respond with grateful generosity ourselves. Further, in Christ, we are no longer considered as servants but as friends and even as children. Since God, as Redeemer, is at work reconciling “to himself all things” (Col 1:20) and transforming us into the image of Christ “with ever-increasing glory” (2 Cor 3:18) and invites us into partnership, we should joyfully and passionately accept our elevated identity as family partners in God’s redemptive work—partners in his kingdom, family business.

Johnson’s unique contribution to partnership with churches and individual Christians in fulfilling the Great Commission is the education of students for Christian ministries and other strategic vocations. Johnson University’s historic vision and mission have been defined as follows:

VISION: Johnson is open day and night to the poor young man who desires above every desire to preach the Gospel. To bring glory to God and hope to the world by preparing promising students for excellence in Christian ministry through an affordable, community-oriented, Christ-centered education.

MISSION: Johnson educates students for Christian ministries and other strategic vocations framed by the Great Commission in order to extend the kingdom of God among all nations.

“. . . the one all-prevailing, over-whelming, ever-present, ever-crying obligation of the individual Christian . . . is to use his body, his time, his talent, his influence, his money, to see that the gospel is preached in its glorious provision and apostolic simplicity to this generation” (Ashley S. Johnson as quoted in Above Every Other Desire, 2018 edition).

The Advancement Department exists to engage partners in extending God’s kingdom through Johnson University’s historic vision and mission.

We seek to help people experience the joy of generously investing their lives and resources in extending the kingdom of God.