There are two common ways of looking at business in our postmodern world: either it is a morally neutral pursuit to which we apply meaning as we go about doing it, or it is inherently bad and wrapped up in greed and oppression. Wayne Grudem begs to differ on both counts. Though businessmen can certainly go about their vocation in sinful ways, Grudem argues that many of the essential elements of business are inherently glorifying to God.
Many of them seem fairly obvious. Ownership, for example, is good in light of the commandment in Exodus 20:15 telling us not to steal. Productivity, employment, and the effect business rightly done has on world poverty are all similarly plain examples of the inherent goodness of many aspects of business.
Other examples seem far less plain. For instance, Grudem says money is inherently good, but the initial reason he provides is that it sets us apart from the non-rational animals. While he does provide more support for his assertion that money is good by its very nature, Grudem's claim in this instance (and a couple others) will seem a bit far-fetched. Also, the chapter in which he argues that inequality of possessions is inherently good is built on a concept with which many disagree: the idea that we'll have rewards in heaven in direct proportion to our work on earth.
Overall, Business for the Glory of God presents ten different aspects of business that Grudem argues are inherently good. Again, there are some with which no Christian will argue; others are open for debate and even rejection. Yet the fact that our pursuit of business can glorify God is a truth of which more Christians should be aware, especially in an age of entitlement and the loss of merit as a means for advancement.
Grudem uses Scripture throughout to support his claims, and his concern is clearly to reassure Christian businessmen that their vocation is nothing to be ashamed of. He also balances his ideas with strong cautions against falling into sinful practices or using any of these God-glorifying elements as excuses for avarice or manipulation. You'll have to make the final analysis, but this book is at least good food for thought, both for those engaged in business and those considering such a profession, as well as for the critics of Christians in business.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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