3 Distinctives of Christian Business Ethics

Business ethics are a hot topic these days. With everything from insider trading to employee theft on the rise, it is no wonder that businesses are beginning to focus on the impact of ethical leadership. But along with this new focus comes a lot of “gray area.” Many times, managers are forced to decide on issues where there are arguments on both sides – a problem that makes ethical decision-making very difficult.

 “Business ethics” is often regarded as an oxymoron, in the way that “military intelligence” and “open secret” are considered to be counterintuitive. Given that business has to do with promoting one’s business for profit or self-interest, while ethics concerns serving or caring for others, the term “business ethics” sounds contradictory. For this reason, important questions arise concerning the possibility of business ethics as such: How is business ethics possible? Is there such a thing as business ethics?

Philosophers would try to answer this question through the so-called bottom-line approach (aka someone is ethically good as long as he or she does not break any of the laws of society). How should a Christian, then, respond to the question? Is it good enough for a Christian not to break any laws in the business world? If not, what makes Christian business ethics unique and distinguishable from the general philosophical approach?

First we’ll look at general business ethics, followed by what I think are three important Christian distinctives.

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The Call of Christ: Inspired, Informed, Confirmed

This is the sixth post with my sermon notes from the Cross Conference (CrossCon) that was held from December 27-30, 2013, in Louisville, KY. To see my other sermon notes from CrossCon, click here

Speaker: Mack Stiles                                    Key text: 2 Corinthians 5:10-21

All Christians are called to missions, but not all Christians are missionaries. Missionaries are people who take the gospel into a culture and make disciples there as their vocation. Being a missionary isn’t a “higher calling”. A calling isn’t what we do for God, but is a call to God. Missions is simply another part of the Christian life. Our calling in Christ is this: to make disciples and to be holy. Our calling is to demonstrate how foolish we are in order to make God look great (1 Corinithians 1:26-29). A calling must be inspired by God’s Word.  Read more of this post

Work, Ministry, and the Gospel

“If there’s anything in life that we should be passionate about, it’s the gospel.  And I don’t mean passionate only about sharing it with others. I mean passionate about thinking about it, dwelling on it, rejoicing in it, allowing it to color the way we look at the world.  Only one thing can be of first importance to each of us.  And only the gospel ought to be.” -C.J. Mahaney

The False Dicotomy: Work vs Ministry

Too often, I’ve heard a Christian friend or adult say, “I have a normal job and I enjoy it, but ministry always comes second. I just wish I could have a ministry job where I can devote all my time to God and ministry.”

While this sounds spiritual, it leads to three common misconceptions of the relationship between the gospel and our work:  Read more of this post

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