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July 1979 · Vol. 8 No. 3 · pp. 17–18 

We Need to Interact

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

Herbert D. Neufeld

Redekop’s article pricks our conscience. Though he tends to generalize, he is perceptive in his analysis of the church’s failure to wrestle seriously with the questions which a Christian philosophy demands. It seems that “evangelical Christians” are often more guilty than some others of allowing them to be “resolved by default.”

If, as Redekop suggests, the Judeo-Christian faith is “the most materialistic religion in history,” we must wonder if this is the cause of the minimal impact of the American brand of Christianity. On the other hand, I cannot help but believe that this indictment is a bit too general. Christian compassion has greatly influenced the giving of material aid to underprivileged nations by both church and government agencies. Despite the many negative aspects, we must not ignore the positive witness that has also been generated.

He raises valid questions regarding property, competition, organization, and our life style. The question remains: “How do I as an individual Christian respond to this challenge?” Can it be resolved on a conference floor? Or is this a matter of personal commitment? Perhaps the answer to the problem of competition lies in the application of a biblical understanding of what it means to love our neighbor as ourselves. It seems to me that there are cases where good relationships exist between employees and between employees and employers. Some examples would have balanced the argument and provided some positive alternatives. Some further observations:

1. There must be greater dialogue between spiritual leaders and business leaders. We must not categorize fellow Christians with labels which alienate us from one another. Too often we want “brotherhood” applied only to those areas which are unrelated to the practical expression of our faith. We talk only with those who agree with us when what we desperately need is interaction with those various viewpoints.

2. We must learn to accept the wealthy as well as the poor. Many of the wealthy have had to struggle with problems that most of us were totally unaware of. In some instances loneliness was further reinforced by suspicion from others. God has given various abilities to different members, and we must become more accepting of each other as equals regardless of academic or economic standing.

3. We must focus on current spiritual and ethical issues at our conferences. We must ask for the input of the business leaders. We must also hear the Word regarding these issues. If we are prepared to hear the answer, then we will not need to fear each other, nor will we need to fear asking honest questions which perhaps we have never {18} asked before. God will most likely reveal His answer to us most clearly when we seek Him in the context of the larger church.

Herbert D. Neufeld is Pastor of the Willingdon Mennonite Brethren Church, Burnaby, British Columbia.

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