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Getting the Trophies Ready: Serving God in the Business World

Richard J. Mouw


Too often today, antagonisms prevail between academics and business professionals. This article looks to the Reformed Christian social thought of Abraham Kuyper to help bridge this gap, especially for those who find themselves living between these poles as professors of business, caught between the academys generally leftleaning, ivory-tower scorn for business on the one hand and the practical realities of businesspersons struggling for success in their enterprises on the other. What Kuyper offers, and what this article illustrates, is a paradigm for understanding the spiritual vocation of business as a sovereign sphere of common grace. A note of caution is in order regarding the abuse of this autonomy through sin in Kuypers understanding of the antithesis. Then Kuyper adds a coherent delineation of the rightful role of government in the business world by highlighting its threefold right and duty: first, to adjudicate disputes among spheres; second, to defend the weak against the strong within each sphere; and third, to exercise the coercive power necessary to guarantee that citizens do their part, personally and financially, in maintaining the unity of the state. The article concludes with a consideration of the various trophies faithful Christians will one day lay at the feet of Jesus as evidence of their stewardship over the unique callings they have been given, whether evangelism, scholarship, business, or otherwise.

Richard J. Mouw, "Getting the Trophies Ready: Serving God in the Business World," Journal of Markets & Morality 18, no. 1 (Spring 2015): 189-198

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