The Lion’s Roar
“Differing weights and differing measures — the LORD detests them both.” Solomon, Proverbs 20:10
Two Sets of Ethics?
Is there one set of ethics for the marketplace and government and another set of ethics for the home and church? Some in business and government say that personal values have no place in decision making in public life. Oil baron John D. Rockefeller thought so.
John D. Rockefeller’s Contradiction
Rockefeller, influenced by his devout Baptist mother, had a strong personal religious ethic. He donated nearly half a billion dollars to numerous worthy causes. But he was ruthless in business, giving kickbacks to railroads, violently suppressing labor unrest, and bribing competitors’ employees to give him inside information. Rockefeller resolved this contradiction by compartmentalizing his life into two separate realms. (G. Steiner and J. Steiner, Business, Government and Society). What is wrong with this view of work, and how does God’s view differ?
One Authority, One Set of Ethics
“Such a segmented ethical system is inherently unchristian because it ignores the twin doctrines of creation and sovereignty. The apostle Paul argues that no realm of life is beyond the lordship of Christ. Indeed, all things were created ““through him, ““in him”” and ““for him.”” His authority sustains the created order, extending over ““thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers”” (Col. 1:16 KJV).
“As such, Christ has power over all beings and institutions. No human activity-including the practice of business-falls outside of his lordship. To argue otherwise is to denigrate his authority. The sacred-secular split embodied by Rockefeller must be rejected, because Christian ethics cannot be relegated to part-time status, applied only on evenings and weekends. On the contrary, Martin Luther correctly asserted that Christian vocation is best expressed in life’s most common experiences.” (The Complete Book of Everyday Christianity, Robert Banks and R. Paul Stevens)