Thursday, March 19, 2009

Do Christians “Own” Innovation?

Do Christians “own” innovation? Absolutely not. Innovation has been ably informed by many faith traditions through the centuries, and this richness should be recognized and celebrated by all. Christians do, however, have a unique perspective on the Source of imagination and creativity. They possess the record of God’s remarkable innovations through the millennia as recorded in Scripture, a world-view that supports and encourages innovation, and innovation methods that often contrast with those of other faith traditions.

Is innovation simply a collection of methods to make customers happy and generate cash for a company, or might it be more? As renown psychiatrist Rollo May questioned, “Suppose the apprehension of beauty is itself a way to truth? Suppose that ‘elegance’—as the word is used by physicists to describe their discoveries—is a key to ultimate reality?” (May, 1975). Innovation may be redemptive: Scripture and the personal experience of Christians worldwide show that God uses innovation for humans to know more of Him, to communicate with Him, and to ultimately accomplish His earthly will for mankind. What makes innovation Christian innovation? As Francis Schaeffer said of art, “The factor which makes art Christian is not that it necessarily deals with religious subject matter” (Schaeffer, 1973). It also is not because the innovation was accomplished by a professing Christian. Instead, innovation is Christian when it is ultimately aligned with God’s purposes and methods.

Dr. Gary Oster
Regent University
School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship


Innovation, Christian innovation, faith, tradition, diversity


May, R. (1975). The Courage To Create. New York: Norton.
Schaeffer, F. (1973). Art & the Bible. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.