An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Friday, 17 August 2012

How the Church Fails Businesspeople by John C. Knapp. Eerdmans, 2012

How the Church Fails Businesspeople
(And what can be done about it)
Eerdmans, 2012
ISBN 9780802863690
pbk, 178pp, 
publisher's web page

"Is faith only of value when healing is needed? Is it not essential to living our daily lives as instruments of God's healing power in the world? Church culture, like business culture, reinforces the notion that the proper place for faith is the private sphere. Despite this, many men and women in the pews are not easily persuaded that the God they worship on Sunday morning is unconcerned with how they make their living."
So writes John C. Knapp, director of Samford University's Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership. This perspective resonates with many. Our life outside the congregation is of little 'spiritual' value; Christianity is a part-time activity.These are the implicit messages conveyed by far too many church services. Knapp's contends that the church has failed us and has failed businesspeople in particular.

The ground covered in this book is similar to, but more focussed, than Amy Sherman's excellent Kingdom Calling. Going to most church services we would never realise that there are over 2000 Bible verses that deal with business, the impression given would be more in tune with Augustine's when he is alleged to have declared that 'business is in itself an evil'.

Knapp and his team interviewed 230 people to see how church has helped them in their businesses. It makes for sombre reading.  Most found that the church was too concerned with the (so-called) private sphere of life and uninterested in the public realm. The majority found that the church had done 'little or nothing to equip them for faithful living at work'.

It's not all doom and gloom though. Knapp identifies some glimmers of hope. The faith at work movement provides some promise. He stresses that this is a laity led movement. But is that such a bad thing? This highlights one weakness of the book. It doesn't really address the role of the church - it fails to distinguish between the church as an institute and as an organism.

This is a book to give to your pastor. My concern is that it will only be read by the 'laity'. Until we see a change in clergy training it may be a while before we see a paradigm shift in the way that the church as institution equips the church as organism for 'works of service'.

Buy from Byron Borger's Heart & Minds store.

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