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How the Church Fails Businesspeople (And What Can Be Done About It) Paperback – December 20, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; First Edition edition (December 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802863698
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802863690
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #477,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


There are over 2,000 Bible verses that address business, yet how often do we hear a message in church that relates to business in any practical way? John Knapp's excellent book presents a much-needed wake-up call for pastors, churches, and Christian businesspeople alike.-- Wes Cantrellauthor of From the Shop Floor to the Top Floor: Releasing the CEO Within "Knapp shows how Christian faith is not an obstacle to worldly vocations but, rather, permits the engagement of our spirits with our roles in business, finance, and commerce."-- Stephen B. YoungGlobal Executive Director, Caux Round Table

About the Author

John C. Knapp is university professor and founding director of the Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership at Samford University. Before entering academia, he was president of a corporate communication consulting firm. His other books include For the Common Good: The Ethics of Leadership in the 21st Century and Leaders on Ethics: Real-World Perspectives on Today’s Business Challenges.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael W. Kruse on March 22, 2012
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John Knapp had seminary students interview 230 people from a variety of occupations. They were asked to identify a particular episode in their work like where they had confronted an ethical issue. They were asked if the church was helpful to them in that instance. You could count the number who said yes on one hand. More than two hundred never even sought help because they believed the church wouldn't understand or wouldn't care.

For many Christians who work in a business environment there is a great divide between work and faith. Bringing your faith into the workplace is often discouraged by the business world. At the same time, as Knapp's research reveals, the world of the church is oblivious to the business world and to the challenges businesspeople face. Why is this so and what can we do about it? The book's agenda is to get us started thinking about these questions.

The book works well for a Christian Education or small group study. The book consists of eight chapters divided into two parts consisting of four chapters each. There are excellent discussion questions at the end of each chapter. But the book also is well footnoted with a bibliography for further reading for those who may want to go deeper. The book is well written and accessible.

The first section of the book is titled "Worlds Apart." Knapp lays out the contribution that both the business world and the church world makes to the faith and work divide. There is a chapter about the church's historical ambivalence toward money and another about who Christians try to cope with divided lives.

The second section of the book is titled "Toward Coherence." Knapp discusses the need to rethink our understanding of vocation and to develop a moral theology of work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael on March 27, 2012
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In Dr. Knapps book, he addresses a topic that has long gone silent in Christian circles. It is unpopular to look upon the organized church and discuss or point out failings, especially when you offer no solutions. I applaud Dr. Knapp for his spot on and accurate representation of the organized churches failings in leading in the area of business.

Dr. Knapp does not offer any quick or easy fix solutions, in my opinion (not speaking for him) because there aren't any. The issue of how the church can lead in the area of business is a complex and difficult subject, but Dr. Knapp points out clear and present opportunities for the church to become relevant in the world of business.

Given the number of hours most of us spend every day, week, month and year working compared to other aspects of our life, you would think that the church would be all over the topic and wanting to lead and equip their members for biblical insights as to live out their faith in those hours. The idea that Dr. Knapp raised about living out your faith and fulfilling our mission to Love God first and in all areas of our life, cause an intense personal evaluation to those who read to see how we really are doing. Are we BEING Christ followers in our lives...or are we DOING christian looking things (if that) in our lives...specifically our business lives.

I strongly encourage anyone, everyone be it Pastors (especially pastors and staff), lay leaders, business people and all who desire to see the church take a more relevant role in the lives of it's people to get and read the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Professor Roger on October 26, 2012
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The analysis and research of the problem in the first half of the book are fery well done. The second part of the book on what can be done about it is still well written but the suggestions for solving the problem(s) contain some old, tired ideas and some newer ones which may have little chance of working.
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By Donner C. S. Tan on October 11, 2013
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I personally find this book rather hard hitting. I guess I belong to the kind of people in the church that the authors are talking about - people who tend to keep 'business' away by a ten-foot pole from the spiritual life. There are indeed many warnings in scripture against 'storing treasures on earth where moths destroy'. Jesus himself singles out mammon as a no 1 rival to the worship of God.
For these reasons, I realise that I have often subconsciously, if not intentionally, tried to keep business and money talks out of spiritual conversations. But this book is a wake up call - an ice axe that shears through the dividing wall between the world of business and the world of spirituality.

John Knapp carefully carves out a biblical approach to the world of business, work and money without capitulating to the consumerism of the modern age nor to the prosperity gospel, that simply equates wealth with divine favor.

Does the bible have anything to say to the businessmen who spend the most part of the week in the marketplace ? Should the pastor(s) of the church offer spiritual guidance to issues arising out of the business enterprise? John Knapp gives a resounding 'yes' and laments that the typical seminary training has done little to equip the pastors and church leaders in addressing work issues.

The author goes further than surfacing the endemic problem. He fleshes out some creative solutions to overturn the tide. Drawing from church history critically and modern biblical studies, he proposes a way forward.

The interaction between business and spirituality will remain a sticky one but keeping them clinically apart has been tried and found wanting. John Knapp here kickstarts a needed conversation on how to bring them together in a biblical and holistic way.
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