Business for the Common Good: A Christian Vision for the Marketplace, By Kenman L. Wong and Scott B. Rae

Business for the Common Good

A Christian Vision for the Marketplace

Christian Worldview Integration Series

by Kenman L. Wong and Scott B. Rae

Business for the Common Good
  • Length: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: February 01, 2011
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 2816
  • ISBN: 9780830828166

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Is business just a way to make money? Or can the marketplace a venue for service to others?

Scott B. Rae and Kenman L. Wong seek to explore this and other critical business issues from a uniquely Christian perspective, offering up a vision for work and service that is theologically grounded and practically oriented. Among the specific questions they address along the way are these:

  • What implications does the Christian story have for the vision, mission or sense of purpose that shapes business engagement?
  • What parts of business can be affirmed and practiced "as is" and what parts need to be rejected or transformed?
  • What challenges exist as attempts are made to live out Christian ideals in a broken world characterized by tight margins, fierce competition and short-term investor pressures?
  • How do Christian values inform specific functional areas of business such as the management of people, marketing and environmental sustainability?

Business can be even more than an environment through which individual Christians grow in Christlikeness. In this book you'll discover how it can also be a means toward serving the common good.

The Christian Worldview Integration Series, edited by J. P. Moreland and Francis J. Beckwith, seeks to promote a robust personal and conceptual integration of Christian faith and learning, with textbooks focused on disciplines such as education, psychology, literature, politics, science, communications, biology, philosophy, and history.

"Kenman Wong and Scott Rae have again joined forces to compile a veritable treasure-trove for anyone wishing to make fruitful connections between business and Christianity. They present compelling arguments for a fresh vision of business as transformational service for the common good. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on the shape of a calling, marketing and emerging directions in business."

Dr. Richard Higginson, lecturer in Christian ethics and director of Faith in Business, Ridley Hall Theological College, Cambridge University

"Christians in secular businesses and students heading in that direction will be better equipped to glorify God by taking to heart this book?s portrayal of business as transformational service for the common good. Christians new to thinking theologically about business will receive a cogent primer on first principles while those who have been pondering faith and business for some time will learn from chapters that tackle more complicated subjects such as marketing and environmental sustainability. I am especially pleased to see the authors? biblical support for ideas that challenge conventional evangelical Christian thinking about business--from the idea that business has positive and not just negative effects on spiritual formation to the idea that the need for transformation is both personal and institutional."

Stephen N. Bretsen, Volkman Associate Professor of Business and Law, Wheaton College

"Is business a legitimate arena in which Christians might work out their calling? Wong and Rae answer that question clearly, neither simplifying the message of Scripture nor avoiding the messy complexities of the business world. This is a book without answers or checklists. Rather, it asks readers to own the questions at the heart of business, to develop guidelines for action, to create boundaries within which individual and corporate transformation and service can flourish. This is a book to be read by students pondering a call to serve, by pastors tempted to dismiss business as institutionalized greed, and by business men and women seeking to follow Jesus. Business for the Common Good is informative, challenging and hopeful."

Walter C. Wright Jr., executive director, Max De Pree Center for Leadership

"I have just finished reading Wong and Rae's Business for the Common Good and I heartily recommend it. The book is both well-written and well-researched. It features a welcome mix of contemporary research and practice, and biblical ideas that have been helpfully grounded in their historical socioeconomic context. I especially applaud the thoughtful format of the book, as each chapter starts with a real-world problem that engages readers and then respectfully provides differing perspectives on the issue. In this way each chapter compels readers to reflect deeply on how to integrate faith and work. I think the book would be especially well-suited to stimulate meaningful discussion in small group and classroom settings."

Bruno Dyck, Ph.D., professor of management, Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba

"Business for the Common Good is a must-read for all people of faith that participate in the world of business. Kenman Wong and Scott Rae skillfully tackle the many dilemmas facing business people, offering a fresh faith-perspective on topics such as business as a calling, wealth and ambition, the global economy, marketing, ethics, stewardship and corporate social responsibility. The book is extensively researched and presents a nuanced viewpoint that challenges the reader to rethink preconceived positions. The numerous actual stories and anecdotes that Rae and Wong offer will resonate with the reader and illustrate the complexity of integrating faith in business. The final chapter, with moving examples such as Broetje Orchards, will inspire the reader to embrace a vision for business as a transformational service for the common good. If you read only one book on faith integration and business, Business for the Common Good should be it."

Brian Porter, Ph.D., professor of management, Hope College

"Nothing in this book prevents it enriching the lives of Hindus such as myself--or, as far as I can see, those of Buddhists, Muslims, agnostics or atheists! If you want to understand business from a spiritual, ethical or indeed simply humane point of view, this is a great book with which to get a perspective on today's issues, challenges and opportunities."

Professor Prabhu Guptara, member of the board, Institute of Management, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

"Kenman Wong and Scott Rae have followed up their best-in-class business ethics textbook, Beyond Integrity, with a superb, comprehensive reflection on work and business within a biblical Christian worldview. They stand on the shoulders of their colleagues and predecessors and take the discussion to a new level. A wonderful guide for business practitioners as well as their academic and pastoral colleagues."

David W. Gill, Ph.D., Mockler-Phillips Professor of Workplace Theology and Business Ethics, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary

"The authors of Business for the Common Good have masterfully challenged the reader to rethink the 'calling' of business in order to achieve divine purposes in the world through transformational service. They skillfully explain the need for biblically-based ideals and frameworks to provide an inspiring vision for business. In today's global business economy, the reader is brought to the realization that there are two distinct bottom lines: economic and social. A must-read!"

Harold Taber, former president CEO and current board member, Hansen Beverage Co., and former group president, Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Los Angeles

"This is an outstanding book that today, more than ever, belongs on the bookshelf of anybody in the business world. Authors Wong and Rae have captured the challenges we all face in day-to-day business dealings and have illustrated those challenges in thought-provoking prose and interesting case studies. Business for the Common Good is an excellent tool for all business managers who struggle with applying Christian values in today's business environment."

Jim Harrington, president, O'Leary and Partners Advertising and Public Relations, Newport Beach, California

"Business and theology are generally far removed from each other. This book, written by experts in these fields, brings them together in fresh and insightful ways. Their treatment is well informed and balanced throughout. And they deal with complex issues with clarity and sophistication. These rare characteristics mean that all readers can expect to be richly rewarded."

Peter Heslam, D.Phil., director, Transforming Business, University of Cambridge

"Does God have a purpose for business? Can the work of business be a part of the world that God so loves? Can we view our work in business as an act of worship--a calling of God? These are just some of the questions addressed in this book. It is an important read for a Christian businessperson seeking to be a 'good and faithful servant.'"

C. William Pollard, chairman, Fairwyn Investment Company, and chairman emeritus, The ServiceMaster Company

"Couched in non-technical everyday language and written with reference to fictional life-stories of choices, problems and pleasures encountered by people in business, this book makes for an easy and enjoyable read. It can therefore be recommended to any reader interested in the question of what business can do for the common good."

Agneta Sutton, Ethics Medicine, Vol. 30:2, Summer 2014

"It is a useful, informative and well-written book for those who are concerned to integrate their Christian faith with their work, particularly in secular businesses and multinational companies. . . . This book is well worth reading."

Michael Hodson, Faith in Business Quarterly Journal, Volume 15:2

"Wong and Rae have written an excellent treatise supporting those whom God has called to go into business."

Gary Hiebsch, Faithful Lives, Vol. 1, 2016

"Wong and Rae have produced a warm, balanced book, engagingly illustrated with examples from the business lives of individuals and companions. They engage widely with both theological and business literature. It deserves a wide reading, especially among those Christians whose instincts or experience might lead them to doubt the place of business in the Christian life at all—and many Christian business can testify that the church often leaves them alienated. This book provides a necessary and helpful corrective to that widespread problem."

Lyndon Drake, Evangelical Review of Theology, (41,1), January 2017


Series Preface
1 Your Work Is an Altar
2 The Shape of a Calling to Business
3 Business and Spiritual Formation
4 Wealth, Success and Ambition
5 The Calling of Business in the Global Economy
6 Ethics in the Workplace
7 Leadership and Management: Serving Employees
8 Marketing: Serving Customers
9 Stewardship and Sustainability: Serving The Garden and Our Neighbors
10 Emerging Directions in Business
Subject Index
Scripture Index


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Kenman L. Wong

Kenman L. Wong (Ph.D., University of Southern California) is professor of business ethics at Seattle Pacific University. He is the author of Medicine and the Marketplace: The Moral Dimensions of Managed Care.

Scott B. Rae

Scott B. Rae (Ph.D., University of Southern California) is professor of Christian ethics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, in La Mirada, California. He is the author of Moral Choices: An Introduction to Ethics and (with J. P. Moreland) Body and Soul: Human Nature and the Crisis in Ethics. Together Rae and Wong have edited Beyond Integrity: A Judeo-Christian Approach to Business Ethics.