Management and the Gospel

Bruno Dyck (2013), reviewed by Vern Ratzlaff

Dyck, professor in the Dept. of Business Administration, I. H. Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba, Canada, describes what management theory and practise looked like in the Palestinian first century, examines what Luke’s gospel says about management, and draws out contemporary implications.  Management (oikonomia) and money, reminders of Luke’s special emphasis on these topics.  Dyck examines management in Luke by sketching the theology of the topic:  how does salvation help us to manage the created world in ‘the image of G=d’, engage in meaningful work, live in and nurture community (p 13).  Luke’s management interest had relevance for the first century as well as for the 21st.

Key to Dyck’s approach is his outline of first century Palestinian management perspectives, a close examination of two parables (the shrewd manager, investing ten pounds), implications for 21st management theory and practise, and a close examination of the use of kurios, 'lord,' in Luke to describe both G-d and Jesus.  A powerful exegetical paradigm is offered that uses Luke’s narrative journey motif (Luke 9:51-19:40) with the Kingdom of G-d theme:  identifying the problem, focus on the KOB (kingdom of G-d) solution, develop new ways of perceiving issues, challenge the social elite to change existing institutions.  One of his appendices uses this four-phase process as a suggested paradigm using the Socratic method (p 213) and Paul’s usage, especially with his Areopagus address (p 214ff).

A top-notch reference of Palestinian culture and Lukan theology. 

Vern Ratzlaff is a pastor and professor of historical theology at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.