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July 1979 · Vol. 8 No. 3 · pp. 15–16 

We Need to Hear About Pentecost

Response to “The Church’s Responsibility in the Marketplace” by Calvin Redekop 8/3 (1979): 3–13.

Carl Wohlgemuth

Recently I read that Jesus Christ is the Truth. The Bible is the truth about the Truth. Theology is the truth about the truth about the Truth. I add that ethical philosophy is the truth about the truth about the truth about the Truth. As with other casuistic systems, a fourth level approach to the marketplace needs to be comprehensive and detailed to cover every possible experience.

For most of my life in the business and academic worlds I have relied almost exclusively on the lower levels of truth, but I only had a casual acquaintance with Truth Himself. The condition of this was knowing more truth than I could implement. The result was personal frustration for me and for those around me. The most eloquent and scholarly economic philosophy can be a heavy load to one who cannot meet its requirements. As far as the article goes, it seems to me to repackage the same load of truth. But Jesus broke through all the complexity of burdensome, man-made truth systems by saying that He, personally, was the Truth—and the Way—and the Life. {16}

Is it even appropriate to apply “Christian” to these lower levels? Is there really a Christian business ethic? a Christian economic philosophy? or Christian labor relations? These concepts would lose nothing if we substituted words like “honorable,” “just,” and “creative” for “Christian.” I think we should make these substitutions, for clarity’s sake. Only a human can be Christian.

It seems so practical to me that our behavior as Christians should be guided by direct communication from the One who knows every situation better than we do and who, more than we, wants the best for all of us. I know that is an affront to our intellects. It invades our deistic commitments. And I know this is easier said than done. But even if we do not experience this guidance consistently, that doesn’t mean it is unavailable.

When Jesus departed, He promised His disciples His Holy Spirit who would later lead them into all truth. In this continuing relationship with Him, He will help us move from property to stewardship, from competition to obedience, from organization to brotherhood, from work to service, from labor relations to love, and from life styles to discipleship. And then we will experience not only the justice and peace which the article calls for but we will also experience joy, “for the kingdom of God is . . . righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).

Every Friday morning a table of ordinary men is one of the places where the church meets. These men are reaching out for reality in every aspect of their lives and so much of the agenda centers on their business relationships. After two years, this group has made little progress in formulating an articulate business ethic. But they have experienced solutions to difficulties and have been led to creative thrusts in their lives. Their prayers have been followed by physical and emotional healing. Many business decisions and solutions have been experienced. There are also times when there is no apparent benefit.

These men love and care for each other. It seems that some are always in trouble and that others are always praising the Lord for victory. Trouble and victory keep occurring and touch each in beautiful and intricate ways. Is this one model for the church to be responsible in the marketplace?

Carl Wohlgemuth is Vice President, Planning, for Hesston Corporation, Hesston, Kansas.

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