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Work: Its Purpose, Dignity, and Transformation

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  89 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Whether you're teaching children in a preschool, operating a cash register at a fast-food restaurant, or performing complex surgeries in emergency situations— you have the power to change the world. God knows the good you do when you serve him faithfully at work, even if you don't see it yourself.

The product of twenty years of thought, Work: Its Purpose, Dignity, and Trans
Paperback, 248 pages
Published April 1st 2019 by P & R Publishing
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Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5. Given the prosaic title (and somewhat tired topic), I wondered if this would be a bland read. It’s not; in fact, several sections are quite provocative. Doriani distilled decades of research and reflection into this book, and it shows. Filled with food for thought, and practical counsel, for disciples in any occupation.
Paul Elliott
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
A really good book about a very important topic.

Most helpful aspect was his critique of the “all work is good” line of thinking.

Yes, all work CAN please the Lord (i.e. ministers and janitors are both doing the “Lord’s work”), but we should all strive to use our skills to make a maximum impact on the world.

Another way to put it: could C.S. Lewis have been a mechanic and pleased God? In a very broad sense “yes”...for fixing cars is part of the way God sustains the world. But at a personal level
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
As someone who works a lot, thinks about work a lot, and actually enjoys work a lot, this book was good to think through. Carson's endorsement on the back is what got me to pick it up.

On a whole, I believe Doriani and I share much of the same heart regarding work, namely, that it is a God-given calling to love our neighbor. I really appreciated his attempt to define "good work" rather than simply saying "all work is sacred".

I almost went 3 stars but the good in this book is worth more. 2 small c
Mark A Powell
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Work is the place that we spend most of our time, use most of our skills, and accomplish most of our achievements. The way we think of our work (both the job we have and the manner in which we perform it) carries vital importance. Doriani provides a well-researched, well-argued case about the nature of work and the value of viewing what we do as a calling that enables us to glorify God with who we are. He begins by exploring the biblical and societal foundations of work, then discusses how belie ...more
Jonathan D
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
Well written, useful illustrations... Otherwise, Doriani wore me out with his anti-capitalistic, one-kingdom Kuyperian, postmillennial transformationalism. He seems to be unaware that specialization does not promote unemployment but rather it frees up more resources to be productive elsewhere. This book lacked a biblical foundation.
Peter Bringe
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very good, practical, not a superficial treatment of the subject, and concrete in its examples (and sometimes provocative, because you are more likely to disagree with the author when he gets specific).
Bill Pence
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read a few dozen books on work, integrating faith and work, taking our faith to work, etc. This new book by Dan Doriani, a respected seminary professor (who I enjoyed two classes with at Covenant Seminary), pastor and theologian, may be the best yet. It is comprehensive, grounded in scripture, and at times, challenging. It covers some aspects of work that I have not found in others books in the genre.
The author, who told me that the book has been 18 years in the making, has interviewed h
Anthony  Lewis
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-living
This is by far one of the greatest topical books I’ve read. Doriani begins to wrestle with one of the greatest threats to doing all for the glory of God which is the sacred and secular distinctions American Christianity has created. He aptly defines work and the importance of allowing our faith to influence those convictions concerning vocational calling.
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Daniel Doriani is a trustworthy pastor and teacher. Anything Doriani writes is going to be thoughtful and nuanced. Work: Its Purpose, Dignity, and Transformation is no exception. I delayed reading Doriani’s book for a bit as I read Keller’s Every Good Endeavor not long ago and Keller’s book was so good. While Doriani comes from a very similar background as Keller, Doriani and Keller’s books are redundant, both are worth the read.

Doriani and Keller share a Kuyperian one-kingdom framework. Keller
Robert McDonald
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“In the arts, we do not claim a sculpture of Jesus is sacred and a sculpture of a servant is secular. All art can be sacred. For Michelangelo, The Pietà is sacred because of the subject matter. But Vermeer’s milkmaid is sacred because he respects her and her labor, and he adorns her with light and color.... Work is sacred if it follows God’s law, if the motive is love for neighbor. It is sacred if it reverses godless and immoral practices that have crept into its guild, if it battles the systemi ...more
Bruce Kessel
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paul David Trip wrote, “Work is not a curse; it is our created identity. One of the reasons we were put on earth is to care for the physical world that God made. It is true that the work that we are called to do in submission to the One who made us has been made more difficult because we now labor in a seriously broken world; but before the fall of the world, Adam and Eve were instructed to work.”

Doriani unpacks this and many more ideas and truths about work, in one of the best books I’ve read
Thomas Creedy
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's been a number of years since, somewhat ironically, I gave a seminar on a Christian/biblical view of work at a Christian Union Houseparty. Ironic, because at the time I was unemployed, but only somewhat, as I was also 'doing' things. I wish I'd had this book available then! Work: Its Purpose, Dignity and Transformation is a thorough, biblical and appropriately theological book about work from a Christian perspective. Rooted in the Reformed tradition, but certainly applicable to any thoughtfu ...more
Gavin Brand
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an exceptional book. Workers in any field will find both comfort and challenge to continue in their work for love of God and neighbor.

There is also wonderful guidelines on how to bring about reform and transformation in the workplace.

Additionally, Doriani opens the curtains of the past by surveying historical approaches to work. In so doing, he allows us to see the pros and cons of our own modern approaches.
Drew Norwood
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Much of the discussion surrounding the Bible’s teaching on work tends to be surface level and fails to reach the areas where wise, biblical counsel is most needed. This book goes deeper and helps the reader have a richer, fuller, more God-centered view of work. Doriani provides wise instruction on how Christians can be faithful in their labor to the glory of God.

This book is highly recommended for anyone who works, which is to say nearly everyone.
Mike Jorgensen
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian, vocation
Finally a Christian book on work that doesn't demonize or romanticize vocation. Dr. Doriani dissects many popular theories of vocation with great academic research yet practical clarity and accessibility. He deals with everything from gig economy to how to lead a revolution. If you're looking for a one=volume study on the topic, this is it. ...more
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Overall appreciate, though there a couple friction points. Those friction points are not of substance for me but demonstrate the complexity of the understanding of our selves, responsibilities in the world, and wrestling with its goals and limitations.
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Found this so helpful in thinking about 'secular' work. Was struck by the idea that we should be wanting to 'serve God with our highest and rarest gifts'. ...more
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thoughtful application of everyday Christianity for the workplace.
Reese Anderson
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly compelling and practical ethic for work. Expands well on Keller’s “Every Good Endeavor.”
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good book on working that challenged how I view my occupation. The author focused on loving God and neighbor in all walks of life in a way that should make Americans think.
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Christians can glorify God in every honest job. We can serve as God's answer to others' prayers through our work. In jobs where morality and ethics are sacrificed we can often use our work positions for reform. All honest work is good. ...more
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After a decade as senior pastor of Central Presbyterian church in Clayton, Missouri, Dr. Doriani returned to Covenant Seminary full time in October 2013 to serve as vice president of strategic academic projects and professor of theology.

In this role, he teaches two core courses for the Master of Divinity (MDiv) program—Christian Ethics and Reformation and Modern Church History—as well as some elec

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