Debt, Interest and Finance

John Hayward, March 2011
The financial crisis working its way through the US and Europe, mutating as it goes, demonstrates once more the dangers that debt-based finance poses to savers and taxpayers.
Statue of John Calvin, Geneva © David Niblack

Statue of John Calvin, Geneva © David Niblack

Our latest Cambridge Paper, The great financial crisis: A biblical diagnosis by Paul Mills, aims to set out a biblically-based alternative to conventional financial thinking, stressing the relational aspects of our financial interactions. This perspective, while new, is not novel. Rather it reapplies the Church’s traditional stance on debt and interest that was upheld into the 17th century.

From Calvin onwards, Christians have mistakenly elevated human reason above biblical revelation in this most practical of areas. As a result, today the Church has no prophetic voice when confronted by this debt-induced crisis because it has lost faith in its best weapon-the eternally relevant Word of God. It is time to shatter the deafening silence.

God’s intention is for those made in His image to enjoy freedom and stewardship. Instead, we indebt ourselves and others, inverting our moral and common sensibilities in the process and repeating the same mistakes time and again. But God’s intention was not only to show us how to achieve financial liberation. Rather, His ultimate purpose was to embody the gospel principle of debts forgiven and debt-slaves redeemed (Matthew 6:12; 18:23-35; Luke 7:41-43). Christ cancelled our certificate of debt on the Cross (Colossians 2:13-14). Christians should seek a debt-free future for ourselves, our churches, and our society to point to the vitality of the truly debt-cancelled life.

 

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Category: News and Reviews

March, 2011

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