Baptizing Business: Evangelical Executives and the Sacred Pursuit of Profit

ISBN : 9780190055776

Bradley C. Smith
224 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Oct 2020
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Baptizing Business sifts through popular perceptions regarding the relationship between business and religion and the agenda of conservative Christian business leaders, drawing on personal interviews with the most diverse group of evangelical executives yet studied. While stereotypes and previous research both emphasize the perceived incompatibility of religious mandates and business objectives, Bradley C. Smith argues that evangelical executives experience tension not because business and religion are inherently opposed, but because they are made to feel like second-class citizens by members of their own faith communities. Indeed, in cases of apparent conflict between faith and business, evangelical executives insist that it is faith, not business, that must be reconceived. Smith reveals that evangelical business leaders are as inclined to export business concepts into other domains as to import religious objectives into business contexts, prompting us to reconsider the direction of influence between religious and economic life. Baptizing Business is filled with compelling stories that paint a nuanced, unbiased picture of the increasing influence of intensely religious business leaders. The "spirit of capitalism," defined by Max Weber as a positive attitude toward work and wealth, finds ongoing embrace and new expression in evangelical executives and their accounts, with implications for our understanding of the faith at work movement, evangelicalism, and the role of religion among elites.


Introduction: In Search of the Christian Mafia
Chapter 1: Rethinking the Conflict Narrative
Chapter 2: A Place for Saints
Chapter 3: Affirmative Religion
Chapter 4: Success to Significance
Chapter 5: Islands of Influence
Chapter 6: Into the Headwind
Conclusion: Baptizing Business

About the author: 

Bradley C. Smith is a multi-disciplinary executive with Wall Street and corporate experience and expertise in finance, strategy, and investor relations. A Princeton-trained sociologist with a master's degree in theology, Smith's academic and professional background affords an ideal vantage point from which to investigate the intersection of business and religion.

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