This essay will take a look at a few of the controversial topics, and share insight of why they may or may not be feasible arguments for why business is, “a gift from God. ” When Grudem speaks of the commandment that states, “Thou shall not steal,” he uses this as evidence that by stealing, one must have their own possessions, and if we did not have possessions, this commandment would make no sense. This is a reasonable assumption, therefore it can be a good way to begin discussing how ownership is not so bad; on the contrary, if Grudem is unable to offer clear, factual information, his credibility may waiver.
Chapter one continues with Grudem’s discussion of how ownership is not synonymic for greed, and if one is selfless and realizes that God is the real business owner, he has not sinned. The points that Grudem makes are quite valid, and are very simple, and to the point; the issue with this, is that these may seem like simple subjects, however the responses are more analytical than what is given. When speaking of ownership, the only viewpoint is one attempting to prove that business ownership is not a sinful act; without overcoming specific objections that this may be a sinful act.
While the writer makes valid arguments, he tends to only cater to what he believes, instead of being philosophical on the subject. This can lead to the reader questioning the content being read, and frankly can lead to distrust in the content overall. A similar argument would be, “The world was created in six days overall, because the Bible said so. ” Though this may be feasible to someone who acknowledges that the Bible is accurate, it is not a proper argument for those who look for a deeper understanding of the matter.
Chapter four’s focus is commercial transactions; the beginning of the chapter reads, “Buying and selling are fundamentally good and provide many opportunities for glorifying God, but also many temptations to sin. ” On the topic of buying and selling, Grudem discusses how selfish motives can easily lead to a sinful nature. When a business or individual is making a profit from their company, and they do not share the profits accordingly with their partners, they have encountered a sinful nature. Also, when a business begins focusing on their profits only, they have “idolized” money, and forgotten their original business promises.
Grudem speaks of many good points on how buying and selling is essentially trading, so that we can get what we need. This is obviously what makes our economy, and allows us to provide for our families accordingly. Unfortunately, an unaddressed concern would be price gouging. For a typical, middle class American, there are a lot of products and services that are necessary that are outrageously expensive due to circumstances. One example of an unethical, non-Christian business practice would be pricing generators at a higher price due to power outages.
This is unfair to the consumer who needs the product, and demonstrates the seller’s greed. Profits allow businesses to succeed; if there was no money earned for one’s labor, a business would be unsuccessful. Reasoning as to why profits are not against what Christianity stands for, is because if we make something and sell it for a higher price, we are generally selling the value that we have added to a product. Mass merchandisers, such as Wal-Mart, have the ability to sell items at low prices, because they can financially order items in very large quantities.
The discounts that they receive on their merchandise are evidential to the buyer, who chooses to buy their items because they are the cheapest. It becomes a pattern; and being that consumers are primarily focused on the cost point, Wal-Mart has become somewhat of a monopoly. There is no physical value added to purchasing things from Wal-Mart, but there is value in saving a dollar or two. Due to the fact that privately owned supermarkets barely stand a chance against a mass merchandiser, “mom and pop” places are forced to close, with the inability to compete.
Though price is a consumer’s primary concern, if there were lower costs of living, small businesses would have a lower overhead cost, and would not be forced to raise their prices for consumers. This is not insinuating that mass merchandisers are being sinful with their low prices; this simply demonstrates how the government’s involvement in protecting small businesses can drive the economy. In chapter eight, Grudem discusses competition; this is probably one of the most controversial subjects surrounding one’s idea that businesses are synonymous with greed and corruption.
Competition can be defined from several different view points, and can be either positive or negative. One example of friendly competition would be a children’s basketball game. Children are encouraged to be aggressive, and to win, however, they realize that the game is to be played fairly, and friendly. Teams know that at the end of the year, the best teams “win”, and are awarded accordingly, which is another motivator for friendly competition. Competition takes place through all business standpoints, and sometimes goes without notice. In my workplace, there is friendly competition amongst employees who are selling phones.
Being that our pay is based on what we sell, this friendly competition can turn ugly very quickly; it just depends on your mindset. Being a Christian, I do not participate in unethical behavior that can hinder someone else, or me. I always make an attempt to treat each associate fairly, and I refrain from using foul or negative language. The unfortunate part is that not all associates will feel the same way about this, and this can lead to a tense environment, and ultimately employee remorse. This example demonstrates the positive and negative aspects of competition from a Christian viewpoint.
Throughout his very short, theological book, Grudem tends to make a black and white analysis of topics pertaining to business. Throughout my reading, I found that his points were very valid; however, they could be contradicted very easily. To a common reader who may not have much knowledge on Christian theology, it would be feasible that they search for further explanation. This book would benefit from the author having more of a philosophical mindset, and sharing both views on the matter with conclusive evidence as to why his viewpoint is correct. In this instance, the reader yearns for more information and ultimately, a better argument.
The writer begins each chapter with stating that all “can” lead to sin if you let it, but he does not elaborate enough. For my educational purposes, I found this book very helpful in its attempt to shed light on a commonly overlooked topic in the Christian world. I was able to see Grudem’s points very clearly, and more importantly, I was able to gain information that can help me in my profession. WORKS CITED Grudem, Wayne. Business for the Glory of God: The Bible’s Teaching On the Moral Goodness of Business. Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers/Crossway Books, 2003