Westminster Theological Seminary and the Center for Christian Business Ethics Today, LLC have joined to host the 2012 conference on the application of the 9th Commandment to business on June 1st and 2nd at the Union League of Philadelphia.
Underlying the Conference is the belief that the Protestant Reformation created a culture for business that is fundamental to the commercial world as we know it today. As a society moves away from the acceptance of Christianity, the principles arising from this culture are at risk. The Conference structure enables a reflection on the core beliefs as articulated in the Westminster Confession of Faith and their impact on doing business.
Plenary speakers include Westminster alumni Phillip Ryken and Wayne Grudem, as well as Barry Asmus and David Cowan. William Edgar, professor of apologetics, will be speaking at one of the breakout sessions.
Why is "lying" the topic for this year? Lying in the business world is a fundamental issue. The positive way to put it is that business based on trust is much more effective. The fallen nature of man led to this commandment – do not lie. In business there are many opportunities to lie, to mislead, to destroy others through false statements. Thus, the importance of understanding that we are not to lie; but also to understand what lying is, and what situations lead to lies and how to avoid both the situation and the lie.
Who are key speakers, and why they are influential on the topic of business ethics? The group of speakers represent the broad spectrum of those who participate in business. We have large public company people, and small private company people. We have faculty and pastors. All of these encounter lying situations and have had to wrestle with this concern. The Conference is about applied theology and in that we have both great theology and great experience in which to understand the applications.
Why is business ethics an important topic for Christians? It is the Center’s belief, based on our research, that Christianity has and does create distinctively good business behavior. In today’s post-Christian era, we who are Christians need to engage in the discussion and practice of what leads to the better business ethics. As Christians, our problem is that there is little material available or discussions to become engaged that address the details of God’s Word applied to business behavior or practices. The Reformers wrote much more, and much more clearly, on this topic. Therefore, the Center is reaching back to the Westminster Confession and its related material as the touchstones for these discussions.
What is the format for this year's conference? The structure is a Friday afternoon, evening and Saturday morning series of sessions. A theologian and business person are aligned to address a component of this Commandment giving both a series of practical issues and the theological analsysis.
Who is the conference for? The Conference is geared towards the business person at all levels, the pastor who needs to better minister to the business person in the congregation, and to the professor who teaches on business or should teach.
Why has CFCBE partnered with Westminster for this particular issue? The Center has enjoyed working with Westminster for the past two conferences and this third conference. Because the Center’s research points to the Confession as the distinctive Christianity for influencing business practice as we know it today, the Center wants to partner with centers for Christian theology that is consistent with the Confession as foundation. Westminste has the premier reputation in this regard. Therefore, the partnership is natural!