The Moral Goodness of Business
I have never been attracted to business books because of a subtile Gnosticism which says "business is worldly, secular and even evil."
Biblically, I know this to be wrong but because of some early influences in my Christian life, this idea of "spiritual is better than secular" seemed to keep me away from thinking about business from a Christian worldview.
I loved this book because the author simply shows how various aspects of business are fundamentally good yet with each there is a temptation for evil. Simple, clear and biblical -I appreciate that. I'm not interested in diving into complex theories of economics, capitalism and business. The subtitle is refreshing, "…the moral goodness of business" and elevates business in my value system and view of true spirituality.
When I was on staff with the college ministry, Campus Outreach, we as students had a subtile thought which affected many of our decisions. That thought was that in order to be a strategic leader and a "world Christian", we needed to be in this order: (1) missionaries, (2) campus staff, (3) pastors (those who didn't have the privilege of being campus staff). Those students who would graduate and go into business were to become our supporters but they really couldn't contribute much.
I confess this wrong thinking mostly what I thought and am very pleased to see that this "sacred-secular dichotomy" has worked it's way out of the thinking of most parachurch ministries.
Grudem says on page 17 "..in every aspect of business there are multiple layers of opportunities to give glory to God, as well as multiple temptations to sin".
In this "one sitting" short read, Grudem takes on various topics to show the truth of the previous statement. He briefly touches on these topics from a biblical perspective: ownership, productivity, employment, commercial transactions, profit, money inequality of possessions, competition, borrowing and lending, attitudes of heart and effect on world poverty.
The last chapter called "Effect on World Poverty" was very interesting. He said on page 81, "if we are ever going to see long-term solutions to world poverty, I believe it will come through starting and maintaining productive, profitable businesses."
He goes on to explain various reasons and obstacles of this happening which relate to governments which are excessive, evil, repressive and weak. It does seem that where Christianity has thrived, that business has thrived and the poor have been helped. As I thought through where other "world religions" are dominate, the rate of poverty is higher.
I wanted to add my thoughts to Grudem's quotation. "If we are ever going to see long-term solutions to world poverty (and many other aspects which need renewal), I believe it will come through making mature and equipped disciples who can start and maintain productive and profitable businesses while reflecting the King and his Kingdom". This is not to say churches are not a key part of the solution but that usually is assumed.
This would be a great book to give to college students around their junior year as they are confirming their major. It would be a great book to give to a brand new Christian who is in business and maybe struggling that they are in a worldly vocation. It would be a great book for Christians who want to start their own business. It would be a great book for disciple-makers to use to help those they are discipling to view their work in any type of business from a biblical framework.
The "moral goodness of business" is a refreshing concept to me.