36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
I had never really thought about it, but I guess--even though it is contrary to my longing and belief that God can be and is glorified through all of the Christian's life--that I had always just assumed that business wasn't good in and of itself. In fact like Grudem asserts of those who are like I was, we believe, "that from a moral perspective [profit, competition, money, and business are] 'neutral' at best." I guess that when I was pursuing a degree in engineering, I thought that I could glorify God through it by sharing the gospel at the work place, earning enough money to free my wife up to be a stay-at-home mom, and being able to give more money to the church. But Grudem's view is so much balanced and biblical than these views, exposing my blindness that would have kept me from obeying 1 Corinthians 10:31, "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do (including business), do all for the glory of God." (On a side not to 1 Cor 10:31, read "How to Drink Orange Juice to the Glory of God," chapter 5 of John Piper's book, "Pierced by the Word.")
The topics in which Grudem covers in this book, with a chapter devoted to each one are:
How God is glorified by...
4. Commercial Transactions
7. Inequality of Possessions
9. Borrowing and Lending
and he then includes two chapters on
10. Attitudes of Heart
11. Effects on World Poverty.
Grudem is not blind to the abuses of business, the ways in which we idolize money and success and become gracious losing sight of the fact that we are operating with God's stuff not ours. He regularly comments throughout the book on concerns to balance the view, but the real wealth of attitude-changing information comes from not-often-talked-about fact that business can in-and-of-itself be glorifying to God. We don't have to feel "vaguely guilty" about business but can use it to both glorify God while we're doing it and advance the Kingdom through it.
My only complaint is the size of the book, and for that I wish I could give it four-and-a-half stars. The book is really small (83 pages of text) and oftentimes when it seems like he is just beginning to develop a thought or when a proposition could use a little more defense, he needs to move on to the next topic of discussion. However, he can be excused because he has let the reader know that he is working on a larger edition saying in the preface, "The Bible says much about these topics, and a thorough treatment deserves a much larger book than this, one that I am still in the process of writing."
In summary, if you are in business or are a student studying or considering studying business, read this book. It should have a profound and God-glorifying effect (if read as it is written and not taken as a license to idolize business or success and withhold God's grace from people) on your life, studies, and career.
Soli deo gloria.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
I own quite a few books written by Wayne Grudem and most of them vary between being long and very long (not to say that this is necessarily a bad thing). Grudem takes on difficult and controversial subjects such as Bible translation and the roles of men and women in the church and covers them both thoroughly and biblically. It was with some surprise, then, that I received Business for the Glory of God and noted that it is a mere 96 pages - the perfect size to read in a single evening. Its size may be deceiving, for this little book contains some powerful teaching about the value of business.
Grudem says, rightly I'm sure, that when people ask how their lives can glorify God, they are rarely told, "Go into business." Students, when they ask, "How can I serve God with my life," don't often hear the answer, "Go into business." This little book claims just this, that "many aspects of business activity are morally good in themselves, and that in themselves they bring glory to God - though they also have great potential for misuse and wrongdoing." Dr. Grudem examines business under the following headings:
4. Commercial transactions (buying and selling)
7. Inequality of possessions
9. Borrowing and lending
10. Attitudes of hearing
11. Effect on world poverty
Through each chapter Grudem shows that the topic he discusses is fundamentally good, whether it be ownership, profit, or inequality of possessions, and that each one provides many opportunities to glorify God, but also many temptations to sin. The temptation to sin by making an idol of money, for example, does not negate the fact that money is fundamentally good and is a God-given gift. As we have come to expect from Grudem's books, this one is filled with references to the Bible and in fact is driven by Scripture.
What the reader will come to understand is that business, as fundamentally good as it is, is not an end in itself. Business and all the elements that comprise it, are instruments God uses to bring glory to Himself. God is glorified when we use our gifts and talents to employ others, to make money and to turn a profit. God is glorified when we borrow and lend and compete. God has entrusted these tools to us and expects us to use them in a way that honors Him. The book concludes with a reflection on the effect of business on world poverty. "I believe the only long-term solution to world poverty is business. That is because businesses produce goods, and business produce jobs. And business continue producing goods year after year, and continue providing jobs and paying wages year after year. Therefore if we are every going to see long-term solutions to world poverty, I believe it will come through starting and maintaining productive, profitable businesses."
Business for the Glory of God is a wonderful little book that is sure to edify whoever reads it. As we approach the Christmas season, this may be a book you would want to consider purchasing as a gift (or stocking-stuffer depending on your budget) for the man or woman in your life who is involved in business, or even for the teen who is wondering how he can use his life to bring glory to God. I enjoyed this book and am happy to recommend it.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2004
In this short book, Grudem consistently defends some of the tenets of capitalism such as private property, profit, and competition. He methodically looks at each of these to demonstrate that like all of God's gifts they are good, and rather than being just as morally neutral or an evil (to be tolerated as a necessary evil, or to be fought against), they should be used to glorify God; he also shows how like all of God's gifts they are subject to perversion by sinful choices.
Grudem bases his arguments on a handful of scriptural principles, and demonstrates that these tools of capitalism are effective techniques to achieve those principles.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2005
I'm facinated by business and marrying the Kingdom of God to the topic of business really captured my attention. I couldn't wait to read the book. Each chapter was dissapointing with few, new thoughts. I think college students and those new to business may find this useful but those who have already spent much time in business or considering how business and the glory of God go together may not find much new to chew on here. I believe the author is a professor and not a businessman--which may be why he didn't deliver as much as I had hoped.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2012
Christian businesspeople might sometimes feel a bit guilty over their jobs. Their role is to make a profit, not to preach. They make money decisions, instead of helping people make soul decisions. Because they are not involved in the "higher" spiritual roles of being a missionary or Bible teacher, they may almost regret their tasks. At best, Christian businesspeople feel that their business job is morally neutral.
Overview of Business for the Glory of God
Wayne Grudem's new book, Business for the Glory of God, is an attempt to correct the misunderstanding that business is somehow less glorifying to God than other more spiritual occupations. He argues that the components of business, divided into nine chapters, are actually fundamentally good, and provide greater opportunities to bring glory to God. These fundamentally good business components are:
4. Commercial Transactions
7. Inequality of Possessions
9. Borrowing and Lending
Each chapter follows the same pattern. Grudem first attempts to prove that, say, competition is "fundamentally good" by using a medley of passages and biblical examples. He then admits the possible abuses or misuses of competition, and concludes by reminding the reader that this does not make competition all bad. The book ends with two chapters: Attitudes of the Heart (chapter 10) and Effects on World Poverty (chapter 11).
Some Reflections on Business for the Glory of God
-Some of the argumentation is weak. For example, Grudem cites the interworking relationship of the Trinity to support his claim that commercial transaction among humans is fundamentally good. Other of his "arguments" are built upon mere assumptions and cultural practices.
-Speaking of cultural practice, it is apparent that Grudem writes from the perspective of one who lives in a democracy with a (sort of) thriving capitalistic economy. There is nothing wrong with a democracy and a thriving capitalistic economy, but I am afraid that some of the author's claims and statements reflected his cultural bias. It sometimes seemed as if Grudem was prooftexting his preference for the way business is done in our economy, rather than simply taking the Bible's teaching at face value.
-This is a very short book, just over two hours in the excellent audio version from christianaudio.com. Despite it's brevity, the book becomes a bit tedious since each chapter (except the last two) follows the same pattern. Perhaps this book is a prequel to another forthcoming book on business, so I'll be happy to forgive Grudem for this.
-Narrator Maurice England is excellent. This is the second book in which I've listend to England's narration.
I'm thankful for the overall message of the book, which emphasizes that Christian businesspeople can and should bring glory to God. The final chapters were excellent reminders of correctly aligning one's heart, and responding to global need.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2011
I am a business student at Liberty University and also an individual investor. That being said, I keep up with the political, economic, and business news daily. For the most part the news is negative, and typically the big news stories are that of scandal and corruption. It seems to be a rare occasion that a morally positive story makes the front page. Of course, this makes most people think of business in general as an evil thing; or at best neutral. If you were to ask most people, "Is business in and of it self, basically evil, or basically good?" Most would probably say evil, or possibly neither.
This is the basic question that author Wayne Grudem, in his book Business for the Glory of God, tries to answer from a biblical perspective. Wayne argues that the key elements of business, ownership, productivity, employment, commercial transactions, profit, money, inequality of possessions, competition, and borrowing and lending all have the potential to be used for God's glory. He claims that these elements of business are "fundamentally good, and provide many opportunities for glorifying God." But he also does not deny that these elements "provide many temptations to sin".
Although the book was short, and not at all in depth, Business for the Glory of God does an excellent job of explaining and defending the benefits of business and its potential for good. I would recommend it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2012
In Business For The Glory Of God, Wayne Grudem attempts to articulate a Christian perspective on various aspects of business such as lending money, making a profit, owning property and employing people.
Grudem argues that engaging in for-profit business is not just morally permissible but is actually God glorifying as it can mirror aspects of the character of God and make a positive contribution to society. I hadn't really thought about business practices providing an opportunity to imitate God's character before so I found this quite thought provoking.
It was quite a short book (96 pages in print or about 2 hours in audio). I felt that the book would have benefited from less repetition of key ideas and could have included a much more detailed discussion of some of the challenges of putting Christian faith into practice in a business environment. Although he provides some examples of temptations to sin when conducting business there are many ethical and theological dilemmas for Christians involved in business that the book doesn't properly get to.
While due to the book's brief nature and lack of depth in some areas mean that you would need to find other books on the topic to get a decent understanding, it might be a good place to start thinking about a Christian understanding of business. It would also probably be helpful for Christians who have been involved in business for a while who are wondering if they are on the right path.
I "read" this book in audiobook format. The narration was clear and and in an easy to listen to voice, although maybe could have been a touch faster.
Review copy courtesy of christianaudio.com
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2008
I found this book to be one of the best regarding the "why" behind Christian principles at work. It very clearly provides an understanding as to how God uses businesses to minister to others in the marketplace. If anyone has negative connatations when it comes to business and profit, this book will clarify the topics once and for all!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Wayne Grudem is Research Professor of Bible and Theology at Phoenix Seminary. In addition to his work at Phoenix Seminary, Dr. Grudem also taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for 20 years. He has served as the president for both the council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and the Evangelical Theological Society (1999). He has written numerous articles and books. Two of his more recent works are The First Epistle of Peter: An Introduction and Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007) and Countering the Claims of Evangelical Feminism: Biblical Responses to the Key Questions (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books, 2006).
Business for the Glory of God has a lot to offer for a book that has a total of 96 pages including the notes and indexes. In this work, Dr. Grudem unpacks what the Bible teaches concerning the moral goodness of business. The idea of moral goodness in business sounds like an oxymoron in light of the scandal-laden business world we see around us today. Dr. Grudem does a great job of illustrating how the various aspects of business, when exercised in a Godly manner, allow us to reflect certain characteristics of God. The aspects of business covered in this book are as follows:
Inequality of Possessions
Borrowing and Lending
Attitudes of the Heart
In each chapter, the particular aspect of business at hand is contrasted as being fundamentally good, providing both opportunities to glorify God as well as many opportunities to sin. The prevailing negative attitude in our culture towards business today may be largely in part to the numerous examples of business professionals succumbing to those temptations to sin rather than pursuing each aspect of their business to the glory of God. The book closes with an argument for the ability of "business rightly pursued" to make a dent in the problem of world poverty. The long-term solution Grudem proposes involves starting and maintaining productive and profitable businesses in developing countries. As these businesses are pursued to the glory of God, the positive effect of creating jobs and commerce should have a ripple effect where the economic status and ability of the people should continue to improve in ever-widening circles.
I would highly recommend this book to any Christian who is working in the business world. A prevailing message in Christian circles today is that the highest calling we could have is to serve God as a pastor or missionary. I feel this book shows how Christians can have a calling to business and in the midst of pursuing it; they can glorify God, reflect His attributes, and bless others.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2013
Chapter 8 in this book is absolutely ridiculous. It saddens me to see Wayne Grudem be so unlogical and unbiblical in this matter. He starts out by using 1 Corinthians 9:25-26 to say that Paul uses competition in a positive way. This is a terrible misuse of the text. Paul contrasts them running after something perishable and us running after somthing imperishable. The best you could say that Paul is saying about athletic competition is that it's worthless! And then he goes on to say far more astounding things. He states that, " assigning of grades is a competitive activity in which the best math student and the best English students and the best art and music students receive higher grades." But this has absolutely nothing to do with competition. The goal of the student is to learn what the teacher has taught them and thus receive a grade accordingly. The goal of the student is not and should not be to best the other students. If I was to take an independent study I could get an a or I could get an f it is irrelevant if I have other students there to compete with. And his example with the painter is also bad. Even if the bad painter was the only painter in town I wouldn't want him to paint. And the good painters goal should not be to be a better painter than someone else but to be the best painter he can be for the customer. If he happens to be better than someone else then so be it but that should not be part of his motivation. And then on the end of page 64 he goes on to say that coveting is good for the sake of the economy and prosperity. I could go on forever, but let me just say that I am very disappointed and Grudem's lack of wisdom, clarity or biblical principles provided in this book. Let biblical principles guide your business practices and not what others are doing. Do as Calvin said and sell quality things for a fair price. Make products as cheap as you can, do not raise the price based on the market or what others are doing. And if others undersell you and you go out of business, then fine, you were selling things as cheap as you could already.