The Creation, the Kingdom of God, and a Theory of the Faithful Corporation

Stephen N. Bretsen

Stephen N. Bretsen argues that the corporation is the result of several elements, both ancient and modern, that were combined by law and market forces in the mid-19th century. The creation of the corporation has led to various theories of the corporation, some viewing the corporation as a private entity solely serving the interests of its shareholders, and others viewing the corporation as an entity separate from its shareholders with public obligations to a larger group of stakeholders. These corporate theories define the ends and means of the corporation and become especially important when ownership and control of the corporation are divided, as in a publicly traded corporation. The faithful business as a publicly traded corporation moves the debate about the ends and means of the corporation beyond these secular theories. By holistically integrating Christian and theological principles throughout its operations, the faithful corporation is primarily serving God rather than shareholders or stakeholders and, in the process, rejecting the assumptions underlying secular corporate theory. Mr. Bretsen is Associate Volkman Professor of Business and Law at Wheaton College.

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Last Updated: October 27, 2008
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