[The following is reposted from the Acton Institute’s blog:]
In a lecture at Acton University titled “Business and the Common Good,” Dr. Scott Rae of Biola University examined the role of business in serving the common good.
Rae began by examining some of the common criticisms lobbed against business, namely, that it promotes greed, inequality, and consumerism. As Michael Miller often notes, these are human vices, not economic ones, and thus business, properly understood, is not immoral in and of itself.
On the contrary, business has great potential for serving and contributing to the common good. Though some believe profit-seeking enterprises are only valuable insofar as they can “give something back” out of what’s leftover, Rae emphasized how business advances the common good right from the get-go.
Rae offers four primary ways this occurs:
- By peaceably providing needed goods and services that allow human beings to flourish and enhance their well being
- By providing meaningful work that allows human beings to flourish and enhances their well being
- By facilitating wealth creation and economic growth
- By enabling the poor to lift themselves out of poverty
By leveraging business, we not only yield profits that can be used for the glory of God outside of business, we can serve our neighbors in the here and now. “God is not just redeeming individuals,” Rae concluded. “He is redeeming all of creation. He is redeeming the marketplace.”
To listen to Rae’s lecture, you can purchase “Business and the Common Good” here.
Purchase Rae’s book, Business for the Common Good: A Christian Vision for the Marketplace
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One of the great things about Acton University is the variety of people you get to meet and talk with over dinner. For me, the first night it was key figures in that hive of workplace theology activity, Seattle’s Bakke Graduate University, including the engaging Dr. Gwendolyn J. Dewey. Second night: that ubiquitous evangelical ecumenist, Act 3‘s John Armstrong. And tonight, Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America.
I had the pleasure and benefit of sitting at dinner tonight with a couple of the Orthodox Church in America’s priests and their Metropolitan Jonah, who was the dinnertime speaker last night.
Metropolitan Jonah is clearly a man dedicated both to the church and to Christ. A pleasure to hear last night, and a pleasure to converse with tonight. We talked about Evagrius of Pontus, the materialism of modern America, and the importance of the doctrines of Creation and Incarnation in a society bouncing between rank materialism (the secularists) and dangerous gnosticism (some evangelicals).
Of the division of the church that so scars the American Christian landscape, he had only two words: “Jesus weeps.” Of the occasional non-Orthodox 20-something who comes to his monastery on the West Coast: “They are searching for a personal encounter with God.” And a fair number of them find Him, and get baptized there at the monastery. Of Creation: it shimmers with God’s presence. May God bless you, Metropolitan Jonah.