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Business for the Glory of God: the Bible's Teachings on the Moral Goodness of Business

Essay by   •  April 14, 2017  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,632 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,208 Views

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Book Review

In Business for the Glory of God: The Bible's Teachings on the Moral Goodness of Business, author Wayne Grudem discusses the biblical perspective of broad business fundamentals. The essential themes he covers include ownership, productivity, employment, transactions, profit and money, inequality of possessions, competition, borrowing and lending. Each chapter of the book details how God responds to different elements of business, how individuals can imitate God's character in business, and common temptations associated with wealth, possessions, and business relationships and transactions. Referencing Scripture and basic macro- and microeconomic theory to combat the common negative perception of business basics, Grudem provides a simple explanation to what the Bible says about the righteousness of business ventures, pursued in the right heart and focus on God; for example, Grudem argues that "many aspects of business activity are morally good in themselves, and in that they bring glory to God," and not in the atypical measures of evangelism and charity (Grudem, W., 2003). Reviewing In Business for the Glory of God: The Bible's Teachings on the Moral Goodness of Business, I found myself in agreement with author William Grudem's statements on productivity, profitability, and competition as means for raising the standard of living in an economy. His explanation of business restrictions and the negative viewpoint of business as primary obstacles for solving world poverty was another compelling argument. However, Gruden did make some unagreeable statements regarding the government's place as a welfare provider and the obligation of the wealthy to provide a greater share to the needy. Overall, the book's take on business and our "God-given desires to accomplish and achieve and solve problems" provided an inspiring message for Christian business owners and workers.

As a student of economics and finance, most of the basic elements Grudem discussed align both with my theory of economics and my biblical worldview. For instance, throughout the entire book, Grudem mentions how individual and thus economy-wide productivity and competition work hand in hand to multiply wealth in an economy. In The Power of Productivity, author William Lewis explains "the key to improving economic conditions . . . is increasing productivity through intense, fair competition" (Lewis, W. W., 2005). Productivity breeds competition among productive members, and competition increases productivity. Grudem uses the classic example of product accessibility to explain this phenomenon. For example, the first computer cost thousands of dollars to make; as more computer manufacturers entered the market to capture the demand for computers, competition increased; over time, we have watched the cost of computers fall and the functionality of computers rise. With an expanded computer market, computer based jobs, services, and corporations are created in addition to a risen overall standard of living. In Genesis 1:28, God calls us to "subdue the earth . . . doing productive work to make the resources of the earth useful," saying "be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth" (Grudem, W., 2003) (King James Version).

Discussing the role of poverty in an economy, Grudem makes some agreeable statements about the position of government in hindering the ability of business to provide a long-term solution to world poverty; he mentions business restricting regulations, anti-competitive activity, implies socialist government effects on business success, and governments that "do not enforce contracts or establish a sound banking and court system" (Grudem, W., 2003). While it is important for the national government to provide protections for incredible market failure, constitutional rights, and inefficiencies in legal matters, most governmental "red tape" to provide anti-competition protection from corporate giants damages the large infrastructure of small business inside state boundaries. Grudem points out these obstacles and suggests that "another large reason business activity has not yet solved world poverty is negative attitudes toward business in the world community" as inherently evil (Grudem, W., 2016); thus, removing regulatory boundaries faced by businesses today and raising awareness to business's righteous place in providing the world with a much-needed benefit would ultimately alleviate the problem of poverty throughout the world.

Although Grudem makes some fantastic points on government restraint of business ventures, in the chapter covering competition, Grudem claims that "we should support such efforts [by governments and charitable organizations] to provide a "safety net" for those unable to take care for themselves" (Grudem, W., 2003). While 1 John 3:17, "if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him," calls Christians to be generous and selfless with those in need, the government's place as a safety net and welfare bank for those in need is questionable, as is the "need" of those disabled individuals, whereas the church was the traditional means of charitable works in the economy. The definition of "disabled" in the United States has become increasingly vague as many attempt to abuse the welfare system for personal gain. For example, "the ADA defines a person

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