Christianity & The Workplace

A very stimulating article appears in the UK Independent documenting the rise and impact of Christianity among the young professionals working in the financial districts of London. Apparently the Alpha Course and Rico Tice's Christianity Explored are having a tremendous impact.

I am struck, however, by the pressure felt by these young Christians to keep their religious convictions to themselves. Many of them seem to just live in the paradox of identifying with Christ in private but carefully refusing to be "outed" in the workplace. Devotion to Christ first, apparently, will be seen as a challenge to the mentality of "Firm first."

This is a vivid illustration for us that there is no neutrality whatsoever. Having one's identity in Christ inescapably has direct implications for the workplace, and the powers-that-be in these financial firms seem to recognize this. My question is this: does it not seem that if one were to hold fast to a Two Kingdoms model of Christianity and culture, these Christians are doing exactly the right thing by keeping their faith private and succumbing to the pressure? After all, if the economic marketplace is a "common" realm in which Christian distinctives have no relevance, then why not simply "Do as the Romans do" when working on Lombard Street in London? I submit that such a seemingly comfortable position is a mirage, and this article illustrates why. It is natural and intrinsic for new believers to understand that their loyalties and actions in their daily lives are to be thoroughly transformed, even their labors in economic markets. And by stifling Christian identification across the board, the upper management in this so-called "common" realm make clear that this common realm is anything BUT neutral.

Christian discipleship is holistic. There is no area of life not directly affected by one's identity in and loyalty to Christ. In my estimation, a Two Kingdoms model would turn being "ashamed of the gospel" in one's workplace into a virtue rather than vice.

Brian Mattson