Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2011-12-21


Samford University professor John C. Knapp explores the relationship between church and work in his latest book, How the Church Fails Businesspeople (And What Can Be Done About It). 

In the book, released this week by Eerdmans Publishing Company, Dr. Knapp argues that the church’s ambiguous teachings about vocation, money and business have long contributed to Christians’ uncertainty about discipleship in the workplace.

Knapp, founding director of Samford’s Francis Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership, draws on his expertise in business ethics and interviews with Christians in diverse occupations to offer a new theological framework for Christian life in the world of business.

In a series of blogs related to the book, Knapp writes that many Christians struggling to make their faith relevant to their daily work find the church oddly indifferent to their lives on the job.

As a consultant to business and professional clients, and as an educator of both business and seminary students, he says, “I have known countless believers who say the church does little or nothing to equip them for faithful living in the settings where they spend most of their waking hours and productive years.”

He wrote the book, he said, to shed light on the cultural, historical, theological and educational influences that have led to the situation.

Throughout the book, Knapp incorporates real-life anecdotes and examples. Many are drawn from interviews with 230 Christians who are actively seeking to bridge their Sunday church and weekday work. The interviewees ranged from executives and elected officials to barbers and bookkeepers. They include active members of nine Protestant denominations and Roman Catholic congregations in all regions of the United States.

Knapp’s other books include For the Common Good: The Ethics of Leadership in the 21st Century, Leaders on Ethics: Real –World Perspectives on Today’s Business Challenges, and The Business of Higher Education, three volumes that examine how universities cope with pressures to strengthen accountability and efficiency.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.