Christian Social Thought puts it, the “encumbered self.” Religionists are not simply free-will individuals bound to choose their religious convictions as they choose between McDonalds or Burger King. Rather, people of faith are fundamentally identified by their faith convictions and communities. These commitments are seemingly foreign to the court that Hitchcock describes. Will religious institutions, as a community of faith, be able to withstand employment discrimination lawsuits posed by individuals? Will parents, as the children’s most fundamental community, continue to be able to pass on religious values, through private education and homeschooling, even if deemed divisive and irrational ...view middle of the document...
As church and state increasingly intersect, his proposal offers a compelling way forward: to see separation as governing the relationship between religion and government and accommodation as defining the relationship between religion and culture. —Jeremiah H. Russell
Institute for Church-State Studies, Baylor University
Business for the Glory of God: The Bible’s Teaching on the Moral Goodness of Business
Wayne Grudem Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2003 (96 pages)
Wayne Grudem has done much to promote the concept of business as a calling, as labor that provides a context for human flourishing. Grudem writes out of a conviction that people who work in the business world are often made to feel guilty because few people think “instinctively of business as morally good in itself” (11). The purpose of this book is to demonstrate that many aspects of business activity are morally good in themselves and that these good activities bring glory to God.
Reviews The book is an expanded version of a paper given at the Conference for Holistic Entrepreneurs in 2002. It opens by grounding the entrepreneurial vocation in the Imago Dei. Business people imitate the character of God by representing God on earth through various business activities. Within each of the categories reflected by the chapter headings, Grudem shows how the activities that fall into these categories represent unique opportunities to bring glory to God: private ownership, productivity, employment, commercial transactions (buying and selling), profit, using money as a medium of exchange, producing inequalities in possessions, competition, borrowing and lending, and reducing world poverty. Through private ownership, the human person imitates God’s sovereignty by exercising human sovereignty over creation. When we care for our possessions, Grudem argues, we have an opportunity to imitate the attributes of God such as “wisdom, knowledge, beauty, creativity, love for others, kindness, fairness, independence, freedom, exercise of will, blessedness (or joy), and so forth” (20). The desire to have our own things is not bad and simply reflects our divinely bestowed desire to be sovereign over things. Private ownership also provides opportunities to do good with our resources by sharing them with those in need so that others can image God in other ways. Readers are reminded that the word subdue in Genesis 2:15 implies the good of human productivity. God intends for the human person to work at developing the earth for human good and for God’s glory. Manufactured products, Grudem contends, “give us opportunity to praise God for anything we look at in the world around us” (26). Any manufactured item allows us to discover the “wonders of God’s creation in the things that we have been able to make from the earth” (27). Subduing the earth is nothing more than doing productive work, making “the resources of the earth useful” for us and other people (28). Rejecting Marxism outright, Grudem...