In This Issue: Christian Business in the Life of the Church
What is the role of the Christian entrepreneur in the life of the church today? Do theologians and ministers communicate with those Christian brothers and sisters who pursue their vocations in the business world? How do we attempt to close the gap between the men and women of action, material goods, and finances and the teachers and future pastors whose trade in stock is theology, doctrine, and ideals of Christian living? How do we challenge a specific segment of our brotherhood to shape how they make their unique contribution, how they struggle and at the same time to affirm them in their enterprises and to call them to faithfulness in God’s Kingdom?
A Seminar on Business was organized by the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary on April 9-11, 1981, which would discuss these issues. Elmer Martens, Seminary president, appraised the seminar as an event which “alerted the church constituency to business persons who, strangely, are too often at the margins rather than at the center of church life. Aside from building bridges to organizations such as Mennonite Industry and Business Associates (MIBA) and Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), the event signalled to everyone that the Seminary intends to address current issues and be a catalyst toward seeking Christian solutions. The content of the seminar showed how strategic such ambitions are and also showed how much is to be learned about economics and theology, the language of each, and the ‘how’ of dialogue as we together walk the Jesus way.” This issue of Direction contains edited versions of most of the papers which were presented at the seminary.
Art DeFehr discusses the economic systems of capitalism and Marxism as they relate to the Christian faith. Howard Loewen responds to the way biblical faith and the business world interrelate from a theologian’s perspective. The subject of the papers presented by Arthur Block and Calvin Redekop was the thorny one of the Christian and profits.
Probably the most difficult aspect of material gain is the Christian’s relationship to possessions and lifestyle. These are illustrated in practical terms by Wally Kroeker.
George Konrad and Lynford Becker argue that in our relationships as members of the body of Christ it is necessary to build bridges leading to partnerships and trust with each other.
Melvin Loewen shows that our community and entrepreneurial experience has shaped Mennonite institutions that can address the problems of relative poverty, absolute poverty, and community prosperity both at home and abroad.
We offer our gratitude to Henry H. Dueck in arranging for and preparing these papers for publication.