We are going to deal with another controversial issue here: Should a Christian borrow money and take out a mortgage on his home? Should the congregation borrow money to build a new church builidng? If a Christian borrow money from another Christian, is that acceptable?
In modern economics and monetary system, taking out a loan and be in debt seems to the norm. I mean, most people have mortgages, companies borrow money to operate business, church borrow money to build a new addition and people even borrow money to renovate, go on a vacation or buy a new car. Have you ever thought about how does a bank work?
Banks make profit when they lend money to you and me. If $1 end up as a deposit in a bank, depending on what “reserve requirements” that deposit has, the whole sum or almost the whole sum can immediately be lent out. If the deposit has no reserve requirement the whole dollar can be lent out, and the borrower can buy an asset, and the seller of the asset can place the proceeds in another bank. The money supply is now $2 or close to $2. That money can then in theory continue to increase many times over. The banks could issue credit notes with nothing to back them up and put them into circulation as interest-bearing debts. No-one would be any the wiser. They calculated that they could safely issue notes for up to ten times more than the gold deposits they held, because the depositors would never ask for their deposits back all at the same time.
The principle of modern banking is: invent money from nothing, put it into circulation as “running cash notes” that have to be paid back with real wealth that is produced from our labour, sit back and become unbelievably wealthy and powerful men: hidden rulers of nations.
Most of you know about the subprime mortgage breakdown, the astounding U.S national debt, rising credit card debts and people lose their home because of foreclosures, etc. Everyone know that being in debt is a very unpleasant situation and let us examine what the Bible teaches:
Consequences of Borrowing
- It violates Scripture
The message of Scripture on borrowing is quite clear: Do not do it. God commands Christians to keep out of debt altogether. “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another …” (Romans 13:8) In the context the previous verses are talking about paying taxes, so this verse is about personal finances.
- It Constitutes a Judgment of God
God clearly relates borrowing to His judgment upon His people for failing to follow His ways. “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee …He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.”(Deu 28:15,44)
- It Produces Bondage to Creditors
“…The borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7) God intends for christians to be free from earthly entanglements in order to server Him. Yet the very nature of borrowing is entanglement because it is allowing another person to have a claim against you.
- If Presumes Upon the Future
Borrowing is based on the assumption that future conditions will allow us to repay the debt. God warns against such presumption. “Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow…..” (James 4:13-14) “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1)
If you have a mortgage, your are assuming you will have a job tomorrow. In addition, you are assuming you are going to have the same salary level on your future job. You are also assuming you will be healthy enough to earn you the mortgage payment in the next 20 years. However, we all know that we cannot even tell what is going to happen to us the next second. What if you got sick? What if you are unemployed? The bank has no mercy on you.
- It Gives the Illusion of Independence
Borrowing gives the temporary illusion of independence from authority. It allows final decisions to be made apart from God’s provision of funds. It causes an individual to feel that he is his own authority and that he does not need to wait for wise counsel or sufficient funds. Such an attitude is condemned by God.
- It Eaves Self-Examination
When God withholds fund, there is a good reason. It is His signal for us to re-evaluate our lives, our plans for the money, and our faith in Him. Borrowing evades these purposes and allows the Christian to continue on his own wisdom and efforts.
Borrowing causes pressure upon those who are depending on your leadership and provision, especially those in your family. They are aware that unexpected events can transfer the burden of debt directly upon them. The anguish of this consequence is illustrated by God in the plight of a widow in Elisha’s day.
Her husband was in training for serving the Lord. However, he borrowed money while he was in training. When he died, his creditors demanded their money from his wife. She lost everything she had. Since she could not pay off the debts, her creditors demanded that she turn over hersons to be their bondservants. (See II Kings 4:1-7)
- It Interferes with God’s Provision
God wants to demonstrate His supernatural power through the lives of men and women of faith. Only in this way can He contrast the false confidence which people have placed in their own wisdom, abilities and riches. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…” (II Chronicles 16:9)
- It Removes Barriers to Harmful Items
There are many things which we think will be beneficial to our lives, but God knows that they will be harmful to us. In His mercy and wisdom He may limit our funds so that we cannot afford them. This is explanied in James 4:3, When God does not provide the money, Sata tempts us to get the money in other ways. In so doing, we “… fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” (I Timothy 6:9)
- It Demonstrates Disconent with Basics
God has promised to provide food and clothing. He wants us to be content with these things. (I Timonthy 6:8) Borrowing is usually done for items other than these basic necessities. If money is borrowed for basic needs, it usually indicates that money which God provided for food and clothing was used for non-essentials.
God warns about the consequences of coveting the power to buy whatever our heart desires. “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (I Timothy 6:10)
- It Devours Resources through High Interest Payments
Most people who borrow money do not comprehend the final price tag of using someone else’s money. They are taught to think only in terms of monthly payments. Those who borrow money usually look upon the interest as a small amount ,but in the final analysis interest payments constitue a very large part of the total cost of the loan. In any case, God expects Christians to be good stewards of His oney. To do so requires faithfulness in small amounts as well as large amounts.
“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (Luke 16:10-11)
Interest payments constitute a deadly trap for every borrower. Each time a loan is repaid, the borrower tends to be reassured that borrowing is the way to meet the next financial urgency. God has given us ample warning, however, that unexpected troubles and needs are a part of life. When they come, and when they cut off or use up the expected income, the real damage of past, present, and future interest on a loan is painfully clear.
- It Stifles Resourcefulness
Christ gave two significant illustrations of men who wanted to buy expensive item. Although neither man had the mnoey for the purchaes, neither man borrowed any money. Instead, they sold what they had; and with the mnoey from the sale they bought what they wanted. (See Matthew 13:44-46)
Only when a man makes a firm and final decision that he will not borrow money, can he be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually free to be creatively resourceful. “Easy” money is a deadening influence on creative solutions to financial needs.
- It Promotes Impulse Buying
God expects christians to prayerfully consider their decisions regarding the management of the funds which He provides. In contrast to this, the world encourages buyers to make impulsive decisions based on the desires of the moment. Easy access to mnoey lends itself to impulsive purchases which by-pass prayerful thought and wise counsel.
- It Damges God’s Reputation
God has promised to provide for the needs of his children. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) When Chrisitans borrow, they are saying to the world, “God is not taking care of my needs, so I have to make up for the difference with a loan.”
- It Weakens Personal Faith
In reality, a Chrisitan who relies on credit does not feel that he needs to trust God during the most critical time of decision making. He is convinced that, if he can afford the monthly payments, he can by the item. However, God wants him to discern whether it is His will to buy it.
A clear evidence of God’s will can be obtained by trusting God to provide the funds ahead of time. This is the kind of faith that please God. “… Without faith it is impossible to please Him …”(Hebrews 11:6)
- It Excludes Help from Others
God uses the needs in the life of one Chrisitan and the abundance in the life of another christian to bring them together in Christian fellowship. The one with abundance is given grace to distribute to the necessity of the saints, and the one who receives is filled with joy and gratefulness because God’s grace through the giver.
The principle of interdependence is clearly explained in Scripture. “But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be asupply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.” (II Corinthians 8:14-15)
- It Causes OverSpending
The credit card system is a major way of borrowing for depreciating items. Credit card users tend to buy more than those who pay cash, and they tend to pay more for the items that they do buy. There is a clear Scripture explanation of this. Since credit card represents additional money, the desires of the user increase accordingly. “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase ….” (Ecclesiates 5:10)
Overspending is destructive in itself. However, when overspending produces pressures and conflicts which damage family relationships, it is especially destructive. Most studies show that the majority of arguments in the home center on money. Behind overspending is a basic lack of self-control. When this is conquered by the power of the Holy Spirit, the habit of borrowing mnoey can also be overcome.
*Most of the material above is taken from Basic Life Seminar published by Insitute of Basic Life Principles.