• Cart:
  • Checkout
Banking and Finance for the Modern Christian

Banking and Finance for the Modern Christian

Banking and Finance for the Modern Christian

Uploaded on: 2020-08-27

  • Institution: Liberty University
  • Author: Robert Sheppard
  • Product Code: Proj596235df
  • Country: United States

$(USD)0.00

The purpose of this paper is to help Christians to better understand what the Bible teaches
with regards to banking and finance as it relates to mortgage lending by applying biblical
theological categories and a diachronic analysis of usury from the reformation period until now
for the purpose of enriching the lives of Christians everywhere while drawing attention to the
cause of Christ. The author will present an analysis of the Christianization of usury in early
modern Europe. The author also discusses the biblical principles of lending, Christian debt in the
modern era, and biblical lending in the present day.
Chapter 1
Introduction
This chapter serves to introduce and overview the need for this study. It will provide
information pertaining to the author’s background, a statement of the problem, a statement of the
purpose for the study, a statement of the importance of the study, a statement of the position of
the problem, the limitations of the study, the methods employed, a development of the thesis, a
review of the literature, and a brief discussion of the results.
The Problem
Modern Christians now operate in the information age. As a result, they are constantly
being bombarded with information from a variety of sources. The term “information age,” does
not just describe an era of technology in general but accurately describes the field of biblical
research as well. There has never been as much information available about the Bible as there is
in the present day. New archeological discoveries, analysis of ancient manuscripts, and modern
statistical analysis have greatly impacted Bible research.1 Many recent translations do not reflect
these advancements. The problem as it relates to modern Christians is two-fold. First, modern
Christians are so overwhelmed by the volume of information that is available that it has caused
many believers to be misled or misinformed about what the Bible actually says with regards to
banking and finance. Researchers must continue to strive to discover, analyze, and present new
data that corresponds to biblical studies.
Second, new data is available that has been ignored or overlooked that corresponds with
the way modern Christians understand the topic of banking and finance as it relates to mortgage
1 Ted Cabal, Chad Owen Brand, E. Ray Clendenen et al., The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions,
Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007), xviii.
2
lending. With a proper understanding of what the Bible teaches about banking and finance the
modern Christian can make better informed decisions regarding how to apply biblical teachings
that surround this topic to their daily lives. To provide direction and purpose for this study the
author has developed a number of questions that illustrate the inspiration and thrust behind the
researcher’s literary investigation and analysis.
1. What does the Bible say about banking and finance as it relates to mortgage lending
among believers?
2. What does Christ have to say about banking and finance as it applies to mortgage
lending among believers?
3. Is there any mention of lending among believers in the Bible where interest on a loan
is approved or permitted?
4. How does God teach us to use the resources that he has provided, especially those
related to this topic?
5. How should the believer relate the wisdom gained from a biblical study relating to
banking and finance to others.
6. What are some of the advantages or benefits if any that are received as a consequence
of following biblical teaching that relates to banking and finance in the area of
mortgage lending?
7. What are some of the problems that arise when believers do not follow sound biblical
teachings that relate to banking and finance in the area of mortgage lending?
8. How might Christians that have failed in applying sound biblical teachings that relate
to banking and finance in the area of mortgage lending begin to apply those
instructions to their lives in order to live better and glorify God?
3
The Purpose of This Study
The overall focus of this study is to multiply God’s word, to magnify His name, and to
increase the adherences of His commands. Obedience to God’s commands is dependent on one’s
understanding, faith, and commitment. While banking and finance strategies that are not biblical
can be beneficial, Christians ought to follow scriptural guidelines with regards to these matters.
When one follows God's plan concerning banking and finance their Christian testimony is
reinforced and their relationships are strengthened. The Bible offers many biblical solutions to
problems concerning banking and finance, and for the child of God the Bible should be the
absolute authority in all matters of faith and practice.2 The purpose of this paper is to educate the
believer about what the Bible teaches with regards to banking and finance as it relates to
mortgage lending. It is directed primarily toward Christian families, leaders within the church,
and educational establishments that help to train future Christian leaders around the world. More
specifically this paper will analyze the Scriptures to provide an in depth look at what the Bible
says about banking and finance among believers as it relates to mortgage lending establishments
many of which are located in the inner city. This will in turn enrich the lives of those who follow
sound biblical teachings and ultimately bring glory to God.
The Importance of the Problem
After a Christian is justified by faith in Christ, “good works” always follow and are most
certainly found together with that faith. True faith is never alone, but carries with it charity and
hope. After faith, and the remission of sins, there is a renovation that follows and good works are
built in. All born again believers will one day stand in judgement before God and give an
2 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996).
4
account for the works they have done in this life. They will be held accountable for all of the
money that they have received throughout their lives. The follower of Christ is justified by faith
but will be judged according to their works.3
Christians are eventually going to have to account for how they earned their money, how
they spent their money, how they saved their money, and how they gave their money away. It is
interesting how the first three of these accountings are related to the last. If the child of God does
not earn their money, spend their money, and save their money wisely then there will be little or
no money available to give away or donate. Christians will not only give an account for the
money that they have earned and how they have used that money, but they will also be
accountable for how they have advised others with regards to these matters.
The author of this paper has a love for his fellow Christians and desires to edify, comfort,
and encourage believers. He desires to guide other Christians in the use of their spiritual gifts,
God given abilities, passion, time and resources for the sole purpose of magnifying God’s name
and bringing glory to Him. In reconciling man to Himself, God has demonstrated his love toward
the believer. Through this love God offers man the opportunity to aid Him in His great work.
God opposes sin and cautions the believer to stand firm in the midst of all opposing forces. In
light of God’s commands the believer must stand firm in the face of peril, prejudice, and
persecution. The Christian worker struggles not just against other people who stand in opposition
to the faith but against rulers, authorities, world powers, and spiritual beings of this time in
which we live.4
3 William Greenough Thayer Shedd and Alan W. Gomes, Dogmatic Theology, 3rd ed. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P
& R Pub., 2003), 807–808.
4 Robert G. Bratcher and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on Paul's Letter to the Ephesians, UBS
handbook series; Helps for translators (New York: United Bible Societies, 1993), 159–160.
5
The Researcher’s Position of the Problem
It is the author’s opinion that the Bible clearly demonstrates that God wants his people to
be free from debt. Furthermore, it is his opinion that the Bible teaches that the exacting of
interest from loans is forbidden among God’s people. Christians are to lend to one another
expecting nothing. Christ commands us to be different from the unsaved people who only love
those who love them in return.5 The author has seen up close what usury does to people. His
perspective is unique in that he has viewed this problem from many different angles. He has seen
how the mortgage banking industry uses and discards people for profit and has seen lenders
manipulate the political system in order to turn ordinary people into servants.
After many years of biblical study, the author came to the conclusion that it was going to
be necessary to separate himself from work that is directly related to banking and finance. As he
continued in his biblical studies the author started learning more about the freedom that Christ
wants for his people. Two things became blatantly obvious. First, either there was great conflict
within the Scriptures or God did not intend for his people to be in debt. Second, either people
have misinterpreted what the Bible teaches about interest or the Scriptures allow for God’s
people to lend freely to the brethren while exacting unlimited usury.
The researcher intends to establish two things. First, God does not want his children to be
in debt. Sound biblical teachings require all Christians to demonstrate care, order, and decency in
matters involving finance. Second, God did not intend for Christians to lend to one another for
profit. Lending to fellow believers while requiring interest is outside of the will of God, and as
such, places the Christian who rejects this teaching in outward rebellion. To conclude this study,
the author intends to provide practical advice to help modern Christians free themselves from the
5 H. L. Willmington, The Outline Bible (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), Luke 6:27-36.
6
bonds of servitude that have been placed on them by mortgage lenders. It is not the researcher’s
intention to lead readers into a study that discusses the difficulties placed on Christians by those
that require unjust usury without presenting a way for people to free themselves from the
agreements that bind them in servitude.
Approach and Methodology
The researcher has a planned design for this study. He will be conducting a library thesis
that compares and analyzes the results of research. More specifically the research paper will
employ Bible exegesis based research that will determine much of the context and content.
Research will be extracted from books, peer reviewed articles, reference works and other
pertinent scholarly sources. The most current data will be utilized in order to draft biblical
recommendations that believers might use to increase knowledge, make applications, and make
corrections to the modern Christian’s life in the areas specifically related to this topic. The Holy
Bible of 1611 will be used for the purpose of gaining a historic look into how Christians have
approached this topic in the past and to compare and contrast new scholarly findings.
The use of tests or questionnaires will not be employed. However, face to face interviews
will be part of the research process. Local church pastors will be interviewed in order to get a
view of this topic from the perspective of modern church leaders. Experts in the field of finance
will be interviewed in order to gather and present an overview of this topic from a scholarly
perspective.
The author will review and analyze data from various sources and provide sufficient
detail so as to make clear to the reader how the researcher arrived at his conclusions. Bible
exegesis will be used to determine canonical context. It will establish such things as text,
7
transition, meaning, historical and geographical context, theological meaning, and the biblical
application as it relates to modern Christians. There are five chapters that include an introduction
and conclusion. The chapter divisions correspond with the five divisions presented in the above
mentioned outline. There are descriptive sub-points included. The Chapters are ordered to
present and preserve a logical flow.
Reading, translation, and interviews have been conducted. This includes but is not limited
to reading of relevant source material, translation and analysis of related words, and personal
interviews of people that are skilled and knowledgeable in this area of study and or practice. T he
research has been conducted in the author’s local community, the surrounding region, local
public libraries, nearby university libraries, and at the author’s home library. The Content of each
chapter is designed to provide detailed information that relates to sound biblical teaching in the
area of Christian finance.
Limitations
Certain limitations will have an impact on this study. The researcher intends to cover this
topic from a biblical perspective and he states plainly that his initial presupposition is that he is a
Bible believer. He writes that to mean that he believes the Bible is indeed the inspired word of
God and that it is accurate and factual from beginning to end. The grammatical and historical
approaches will be used to write this thesis paper. Recommendations will be based upon findings
from the careful analysis of Bible data and information derived from credible scholarly sources.
Definitions
Various terms have been defined in order to provide clarity. When the author uses the
word, “Christian” he is referring to one who follows and professes belief in Jesus Christ as the
8
Son of God and Redeemer of mankind.6 When the author references the term, “conservative
approach” he means those that lean toward the view that biblical usury is a means of gain that is
to be prohibited among Christians. The term, “modified conservative approach” means those
people that lean toward the view that biblical usury is a means of gain that is to be prohibited
only in certain circumstances and to the extent that the Christian borrower must keep the loan
payment current and continue to pay all payments in a timely manner. When the author
references the term, “modern capitalist approach” he means to indicate those people that lean
toward the view that biblical usury is a means of gain that is not to be prohibited.
When the author uses the term, “interest” he means a charge required for borrowed
money that is typically a percentage of the amount that was borrowed. The term, “usury” is a
reference to the archaic or biblical use of the word that refers to interest. When the author uses
the term, “Jew” or “Hebrew” he means to reference those people that are descended from or have
converted to the ancient Jewish people whose religion is Judaism. The term, “Muslim” means
those people that are followers of Islam. When the author references the word, “Islam” he means
those people that hold to the belief that Allah is the sole deity and Muhammad is his prophet.7
Table 1.1 Selected Approaches to Lending
Approaches to
Usury
Conservative Approach Modified Conservative
Approach
Modern Capitalist
Approach
6 Allen C. Myers, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 210.
7 Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary., Includes Index., 10th ed. (Springfield,
MA: Merriam-Webster, 1996, c1993).
9
Definitions Those that hold to the
Conservative Approach
lean toward the view
that biblical usury is a
means of gain that is to
be prohibited among
Christians.
Those that hold to the
Modified Conservative
Approach lean toward
the view that biblical
usury is a means of gain
that is to be prohibited
only in certain
circumstances and to
the extent that the
Christian borrower
must keep the loan
payment current and
continue to pay all
payments in a timely
manner.
Those that hold to the
Modern Capitalist
Approach lean toward the
view that biblical usury is
means of gain that is not to
be prohibited.
Key Proponents Andre A. Gazal, John
Jewel, Joel McDurmon,
Andreas Karlstadt,
Achraf Seyam, and Eric
Kotkin
David L. Baker and
Douglas M. Meeks.
Paul Styger and Miroslav
Varso
Central
Verses/Supports
Exodus 22:25, Leviticus
25:35-37, Deuteronomy
15:6, Deuteronomy
23:19-20, 1 Samuel
22:2, Nehemiah 5:1-19,
Jeremiah 15:10, Ezekiel
18:1-20, Ezekiel 22:12,
Psalm 15:5, Proverbs,
28:8, Luke 6:30-35, and
Romans 13:8
Exodus 22:25, Leviticus
25:35-37, Deuteronomy
15:6, Deuteronomy
23:19-20, Matthew
25:27 and Luke 19:23
Exodus 22:25, Leviticus
25:35-37, Deuteronomy
15:6, Deuteronomy 23:19-
20, Matthew 25:27, Luke
19:23
Source: Data adapted from the, New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The
Lockman Foundation, 1995).
a Item Placement data was produced by the subject thesis paper author and copyright owner.
10
The word, “Rabbi” refers to a Jewish master or teacher that is qualified to expound and
apply Jewish law. When the author uses the term, “Torah” he means to reference the first five
books of Moses which are consequently the first five books of the Bible. They make up the body
of wisdom and law contained in Jewish Scripture and other sacred literature as well as oral
tradition. The term, “Pentateuch” also refers to the first five books of Jewish and Christian
Scriptures. When the author references the term, “Bible” he means to indicate the sacred
scriptures of Christians that make up both the Old Testament and New Testament.8
The term, “Qur’an” means the book that is comprised of sacred writings accepted by
Muslims as revelations given to Muhammad by Allah through the angel Gabriel. The term,
“Near East” refers to the Ottoman Empire at its pinnacle. When the author references the term,
“Church Fathers” he means to indicate the church leaders of the period immediately succeeding
the New Testament.9 The term, “Shari’a” refers to Islamic law that is based on the Qur’an. When
the author references the term, “Sunnah” he means to indicate the body of Islamic customs and
practices that are founded on Muhammad’s words and actions.10 The term, “humanitarian” refers
to a person that promotes human welfare and social reform. The word, “society” means a
voluntary association of individuals that work together for common ends.11
Literature Review
What appears to be behind many of the problems arising from the modern capitalist view
of usury is a perilous detachment from the relevant literature. No single work addresses the issue
8 Ibid.
9 Ibid.
10 Inc. Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary., Eleventh ed. (Springfield, MA:
Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).
11 Ibid.
11
of biblical banking and finance focusing specifically on the problem of usury the way that this
paper does. Modern theologians often approach this issue from a given perspective while
building on assumptions that are based on literature that does not address the issue in its entirety.
There appears to be no existing study that attempts to analyze this problem as it relates to
Christians in the global community.
Abou-Zaid, Ahmed S. and Tesa Leonce discuss the fact that the act of regulating interest
was an ancient practice dating back thousands of years. They suggest that the most influential
books that address this issue are the religious books of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The
authors explain that not only is usury mentioned in multiple places in the Torah, Bible, and
Quran but it is also discussed thoroughly throughout these writings. The writers go on to discuss
the religious stance on usury. They also discuss alternatives to conventional interest-based
financing. The authors take a conservative approach to the problem of usury and suggest that the
Torah, Bible, and Quran make it apparent that earning interest on loans is strictly forbidden in
the three monotheistic religions.12
The authors explain that the practice of exacting usury exploits, extorts, and takes
advantage of the borrower. It is their opinion that when weighing the flaws and disadvantages of
charging interest on loans against the benefits and advantages that the flaws outweigh the
benefits for a number of reasons. First, they infer that high interest rates diminish investment
opportunities that have low profits relative to interest charged in the short run. Second, interest
rate finances lead to money production which allocates tremendous economic power to financial
institutions. Third, lending at interest impacts social harmony in a negative way. Major portions
12 Ahmed S. Abou-Zaid and Tesa Leonce. “Religious Pluralism, yet a Homogenous Stance on Interest
Rate: The Case of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam,” Journal of Contemporary Economics 8, no. 2 (December
2014): 219-228, Accessed March 10, 2016. http://ce.vizja.pl/en/download-pdf/id/344.
12
of wealth in capitalist societies are captured by a small number of wealthy lenders. This in turn
leaves the rest of society burdened with heavy debts that are taxed with high interest rates.13
David L. Baker discusses the practice of borrowing and rental. He indicates that the
purpose for the article is to examine safekeeping, borrowing, and rental in light of ancient near
Eastern and biblical law. His intent is to determine common assumptions within the collections
and discuss any noteworthy differences. Baker begins by discussing ancient Near Eastern law on
the matter of safekeeping. He then discusses the biblical laws that relate to borrowing and rental.
In this section the author discusses the issue of lending at interest.14
Baker suggests that biblical law tends to favor the less fortunate rather than the rich. A
member of the covenant community was expected to grant an interest free loan to those who
were in need. This is in contrast to the laws of the ancient Near East where there was no law
forbidding the charging of interest. The author takes a modified conservative approach to
discussing the biblical laws concerning usury. He proposes that much of the ancient Near East
viewed such monetary loans as commercial transactions, whereas the biblical laws present
interest-free loans as a means of helping those in need.15
Mark E. Biddle looks at this topic from a social and economic perspective. He discusses
the biblical Scriptures surrounding usury as he relates the application of material reviewed to
what might be deemed as the concept of a just financial system. He begins by communicating
data relating to the economic crisis of 2008. Biddle concedes that all three major legal codes in
the Pentateuch explicitly prohibits some form of lending at interest. He suggests that the
13 Ibid., 219-228.
14 David L. Baker, "Safekeeping, Borrowing, and Rental," Journal for The Study of the Old Testament 31,
no. 1 (September 2006): 27-42, ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed July 14, 2016).
15 Ibid., 27-42.
13
command prohibiting the oppressing of the stranger is echoed throughout the Torah as well as
other prophetic writings.16
Biddle concludes that the Scriptures that deal with usury address not only economic
issues but social issues as well. The author deals with several texts that illustrate and support the
biblical laws surrounding usury. In the end the writer takes a modern capitalist view of usury
indicating the Bible simply does not account for issues that have come about during the modern
era. Biddle likens the forgiveness of debt in the Sabbath year to a utopian call while questioning
whether or not it was truly ever practiced. He suggests that biblical usury laws may have been
nothing more than a statement of values. The writer indicates that an argument can be made that
the prohibition against usury was not meant to apply to primarily commercial transactions but
rather that the practice of lending at interest may have been utilized exclusively as a tool for
curving the oppression and exploitation of the poor.17
David Brat reviews the economic and theological intersections of usury in the biblical
and modern economic systems of capitalism. He brings up the point that such an examination
should compel churches and Bible educators to inspect their roles in addressing the problem of
usury. Brat deals with the definition of usury and its various interpretations. The author discusses
the benefits of usury and its impact on people cross-culturally. He also discusses some of the
thought process behind what more conservative leaders may hold to. The writer goes on to
suggest that usury should be regulated rather than prohibited.18
16 Mark E. Biddle, "The Biblical Prohibition Against Usury," Interpretation 65, no. 2 (April 2011): 117-
127, ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed March 11, 2016).
17 Ibid., 117-127.
18 David Brat, "God and Advanced Mammon: Can Theological Types Handle Usury and Capitalism,"
Interpretation 65, no. 2 (April 2011): 168-179, ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed
March 9, 2016).
14
Brat implies that the church must be involved in the political process and work toward
helping the poor that suffer from the exploits of those that are engaging in what he deems to be
improper usury. He then discusses what the Bible has to say about Usury and elaborates in some
detail about the introduction of usury in the modern era. Brat takes a modern capitalist view of
usury suggesting that capitalism is here to stay. This is certainly where many that hold to a
conservative view of this topic would disagree. Not only does he believe that capitalism is
everlasting but he suggests that the church model should correspond with the capitalist model.19
Andre A. Gazal wrote about John Jewel’s opinions of usury. The author explained that
Jewel was not only the principal apologist and theologian for the Elizabethan Church but that he
was also considered to be one of the most highly esteemed authorities on the subject of usury.
Gazel alluded to the fact that Jewel employed the same methods in opposing usury as he did
defending the doctrines and practices of the church against the false allegations of its Catholic
opponents. Jewel used the information offered by Scriptures, the Church Fathers, the Church
Counsels, and the example of the early church to present his argument. Gazal introduced his
readers to a letter written by Jewel to Thomas Wilson commending him on his discourse on
usury and urging him to publish his findings. Wilson would later publish his work on usury
attaching the letter from Jewel to the front of the work dedicating it to the memory of Jewel.20
Gazal indicates that Jewel contributed to the discussion of this topic throughout the 16th
century. He suggests that it was his exposition on first Thessalonians 4:6 that was most
specifically of interest. Jewel is represented as an opponent of usury taking up the church’s
19 Ibid., 168-179.
20 Andre A. Gazal, "Profit ‘That is Condemned by the Word of God’: John Jewel’s Theological Method in
His Opposition to Usury," Perichoresis 13, no. 1 (June 2015): 39-56, ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials,
EBSCOhost (accessed March 11, 2016).
15
position with regards to this issue. The author explains that Jewel described the injuries of the
public sanction of usury inflicted upon the Commonwealth as injuries that culminate from the
judgment of God. The author then presents Jules construct of the diabolical process that brings
usury into practice. Gazal states that Jewel described this process as “Covetousness, desire of
money, insatiable greediness, deceitfulness, unmercifulness, injury, oppression, extortion, and
contempt of God.” Jewel suggests that those who express hatred toward the brethren and hatred
of all men are the “nurses and breeders of usury.” Gazal submits that Jewel’s principal objection
to usury is clear. It is because the word of God condemns it. The author takes a conservative
approach to this topic and likens usury to a manifestation of hatred that destroys the bond of love
within a Christian society.21
John Jewel delves deeper into the Scripture in his work relating to first Thessalonians 4:6.
He applies the command not to “oppress” or “defraud” one’s “brother in any manner” directly to
the matter of usury. He suggests that usury is specifically egregious because it involves
deception against one’s “brother.” He describes a “brother” as another Christian, that is also a
“son of God.” Gazal indicates that this work was originally a sermon and that it is more
exhortation than exegesis. Jewel defines usury as the lending of money or goods for an increase
over and above the principal. He cites Ambrose, Chrysostom, and Augustine in order to show
that the condemnation of usury runs parallel with the interpretations of the Fathers.22
Jewel indicates that the church father’s resistance to usury was a reliable interpretation of
the ultimate authority of the holy Scriptures forbidding this immorality. Near the end of Jewel’s
21 Ibid., 39-56.
22 John Jewel Bp., "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 4:6 and 'A Paper on Usury'," The Journal of Markets
& Morality 15, no. 1 (Spring 2012): 273-313, ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed
July 23, 2016).
16
work he acknowledges the presence of those engaging in usury in Salisbury. He threatens them
with excommunication indicating that usury was considered a just cause for the ecclesiastical
discipline. Jewel makes the distinction between the investment of money for interest when he
calls for an exception regarding investments made on behalf of orphans. The work here edited
and translated by Gazal then plunges into some of Jewel’s much less known work. Once again
the discussion indicates that Jewel’s primary objection to usury in any form is prescribed by the
Scriptures.23
Jewel then discusses the effects of usury on society and suggests that the effects are
indeed harmful. The author discusses the difference between usury, rent, and partnerships. In his
literary works Jewel developed the concept of usury and supplied supporting arguments. The
author based his arguments firmly on scriptural texts. Jewel himself participated in the
parliamentary process regarding the development of a usury bill. It is apparent that the position
for which he argues was one that was commonly shared by the members of Parliament during
this period. Jewel takes a conservative approach to this topic and stands in direct odds with the
many reformed theologians of his time.24
Martin Lewison wrote about the social nuances that surround the topic of usury. He
described usury as the taking of interest on loans and acknowledged that this is the original
biblical meaning of usury as presented in the Scriptures. Lewison suggests that usury was
regarded as an inherent evil beginning in biblical times and continuing until sometime around the
Protestant Reformation. He indicates that in the modern age the topic of usury is often
communicated with moral indifference. The author presents the irony in that the early
23 Ibid., 273-313.
24 Ibid., 273-313.
17
prohibitions against usury emphasized the oppression of the poor while in modern American
society it is the less fortunate that pay the highest interest on loans.25
Lewison explains that some societies have managed to maintain bans on usury even in
the modern era. He suggests that it is especially noteworthy in the case of Judaism. He presents
the Jews as the famed social image of the usurer. The author indicates that the Jewish model for
lending offers a blueprint to follow for modern loan programs. Lewison takes a conservative
approach to this topic and suggests that modern lending systems developed from biblically sound
doctrine may offer a method for helping underprivileged borrowers that are often passed over by
modern conventional lending institutions.26
Joel McDurmon discusses claims made by scholars such as Ford Lewis Battles, G. H.
Williams, and Philipp Melanchthon against Andreas Karlstadt for his work on usury. He also
examines some of Karlstadt’s writings in regards to this topic. The McDurmon suggests that
Some scholars view Karlstad as a radical on this topic due to his personal belief that biblical law
should be placed above civil law. Karlstad appears to take a conservative approach to the topic of
usury. He was criticized by Luther who viewed him as a legalist and derided his followers by
categorizing them as “Jewish saints.” The author also discusses Karlstadt’s stance on reform as it
pertains to “brotherly love.”27
McDurmon argues for Karlstad in reiterating that it was his contention that God upholds
the standard for biblical integrity and that Christ did the same thing when he wrecked the tables
and drove the money changers from the temple. While Karlstad put biblical law above civil law
25 Martin Lewison, “Conflicts of Interest? The Ethics of Usury,” Journal of Business Ethics, 22, no. 4
(December 1999): 327-339, Accessed March 12, 2016. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1006164904326.
26 Ibid., 327-339.
27 Joel McDurmon, "Reassessing Jacob Strauss and the Mosaic Code," HTS Theological Studies 68, no. 1
(November 2012): 1-4, ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed March 12, 2016).
18
the author explains that there were never any demands to replace Roman law with mosaic law in
his writings as his critics suggest. McDurmon illustrates that while Karlstad did argue for
changes in civil law it was merely an appeal for the application of the New Testament concept of
mercy that was in equity a derivative of Old Testament principles. The writer indicates that
Karlstad called for a simple biblical standard as opposed to worldly law. McDormand takes a
conservative approach to this topic in his defense of Karlstadt’s view that government is to be
obeyed unless it requires a positive act against God’s law.28
Douglas M. Meeks probes into this topic by discussing the perils of usury as they apply
to the Christian tradition. He indicates that the Christian tradition upheld the biblical prohibition
of usury and suggests that it was believed to be a means of oppressing both the poor and the
neighbor. Meeks presents lending and borrowing as a source of unhappiness for many people in
modern society. The author advises that it would be better to desist in the practice of lending at
interest altogether. He spends some time articulating about the great recession that began around
the year 2007.29
The writer insists that the long-range consequences of the recession have yet to be
determined. He proposes that the recession was occasioned in large by the misuse of debt and
interest and the exploitation of lending and borrowing. In short, he submits that usury is at the
very center of the problem. The author proclaims that the economic freedom from doctrines of
Christian faith have resulted in great peril. He then takes a more detailed look at the topic of
usury in the Christian tradition.30
28 Ibid., 1-4.
29 Meeks, M Douglas, "The peril of usury in the Christian tradition," Interpretation 65, no. 2 (April 2011):
128-140, ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed March 7, 2016).
30 Ibid., 128-140.
19
Meeks pronounces that in the 17th century people began to reject the tradition of
forbidding usury while taking hold of both human revelation and natural law. The author
explains that the modern practice of esteeming interest as an intricate part of the growth of the
economy has led to an abstract view of interest. He indicates that in order to reclaim the
Christian tradition one must remember that usury was a theological term before it was an ethical
or economic term. He explains that as usury is no longer related to God it has become a mere
utilitarian concept. Meeks illustrates that God’s commands about usury are presupposed by
God’s self-identification as a gracious Creator.31
Meeks then discusses the Scripture surrounding this topic in more detail. He
demonstrates that God’s concern for the poor is the primary content of the biblical teaching on
this topic. The author goes on to discuss usury in the present day. He recognizes that lending at
interest while it is a large part of everyday life leads to the ruination of human lives in society.
Meeks takes a modified conservative approach to this topic and indicates that the most important
contribution that the church can make is to abandon the desire to dominate and witness to the
power of God’s transforming economy of grace.32
Achraf Seyam and Eric Kotkin elaborate on the Bible and Shari’a texts surrounding the
topic of usury. They discuss the rabbinic writings that defined the parameters of lending at
interest. The authors insist that the Old Testament laws prohibiting interest apply only between
Jews or brothers. They suggest that a leniency involved is that the renting of items is permissible.
Another leniency that was discussed is the purchase and sale of stock or investments.33
31 Ibid., 128-140.
32 Ibid., 128-140.
33 Achraf Seyam and Eric Kotkin, “Usury in Jewish and Islamic Law,” International Research Journal of
Applies Science 6, no. 3 (March 2015): 133-140, Accessed March 5, 2016. https://www.irjaf.com/volume.-vi--2015-
.html.
20
The authors infer that by investing the lender in effect becomes a partner in the profits
and losses and is not treated as a creditor. Seyam and Kotkin discuss the problem of lending in
Shari’a. This is deemed to be a more pressing issue as according to Shari’a a Muslim must refuse
to engage in interest-bearing transactions. The writers conclude that the Shari’a views the taking
of interest on a loan as immoral. They indicate that this belief has been derived from scriptural
references, the Qur’an, and the Sunnah.34
The authors advise that both the Jewish and Islamic sources prohibit usury due to the
social and economic problems that occur due to its application. Seyam and Kotkin explain the
main distinction between “ribith” and “riba” which are terms that are roughly translated to mean
usury. The term “ribith” is applied only in the Jewish community whereas “riba” is a universal
concept that applies to all Islamic commerce. Usury is believed to cause economic harm and
social damage due to the fact that interest earned does not come as a result of productive work.
The writers take a conservative approach to this topic and suggest that usury develops laziness,
unemployment, and enables people to increase wealth without effort.35
Seyam and Kotkin discuss the distinctions between commerce and usury in Shari’a. They
go on to explain partnerships in light of the practice of Islamic banking. Just before concluding
their study the authors discuss the necessary facets of accounting with regards to Jewish and
Islamic finance. They indicate that there is a stringent process that applies to the accounting
process for such transactions. The writers take a conservative approach to this topic and indicate
that great care is taken in Jewish and Islamic banking to make sure that God’s laws are not
simply dismissed.36
34 Ibid., 133-140.
35 Ibid., 133-140.
36 Ibid., 133-140.
21
Paul Styger deliberates on the topic of usury by commenting on a previous paper written
by John P. Tiemstra. The author approaches this topic in a way that implies that he is primarily
interested in the economic factors involved. He indicates that there is some misunderstanding
with regards to the Scholastic view on interest. The writer continues his probe by looking at the
historical factors surrounding this issue. He provides the typical reasons economists give to claim
a rate of return on money loaned out.37
The author then moves into the biblical views on usury. This is a very brief section of
study that touches on a number of biblical passages relating to usury. Styger continues his study
by dealing with the factors of production and his thoughts on money as a commodity. The writer
applies a discount rate in a usury transaction involving human slavery to justify his position. At
this point he demonstrates a complete disconnect from biblical and social understanding. The
author appears to be focused primarily on the economics involved.38
Styger concludes by suggesting that when dealing with interest one must differentiate
between nominal and real interest rates. He argues that high interest rates are justified by high
rates of risk. It is his position that as God’s stewards Christians ought to run the economy so that
interest rates that are justified are not too high. He infers that one simply needs to consider
whether or not the interest rate is a just reward for bearing the risk of lending money. Styger
takes a modern capitalist approach to this topic and suggests that monetary authorities should
employ a more systemized approach to justifying interest rates in the modern era.39
37 Paul Styger, “Interest, Usury, and Time: A Comment,” Koers: Bulletin for Christian Scholarship 58, no.
3 (April 1993): 375-382, Accessed March 11, 2016.
http://www.koersjournal.org.za/index.php/koers/article/view/714/827.
38 Ibid., 375-382.
39 Ibid., 375-382.
22
John R. Sutherland discusses the problem of usury in a way that is very compelling. The
author begins the study by pointing out that this topic was at one time of immense concern but is
no longer of interest to the masses. It is interesting that Sutherland points out that the practice of
lending money at interest is presented in Ezekiel 18:13 as a sin worthy of death. The author
points to Luke 6:35 as a focal point in the New Testament regarding the matter of usury. He
explains that Jesus seems to expand the usury doctrine by suggesting that when one lends in the
proper spirit they must expect neither the interest or principal in return.40
He points to the doctrine of the biblical prohibition of usury as one that was not generally
observed in biblical times. The writer references 1 Samuel 22:2, Proverbs 22:7, and Isaiah 50:1
as examples referencing the exacting of usury and the stone hearted nature of creditors during
biblical times. He submits the Scriptures found in Ezekiel 22:12 and Amos 2:6-8 as examples
where the prophets railed against those who were committing economic injustice. Sutherland
then discusses usury in the Christian church. In his argument, he presents the church fathers and
the early councils as those that railed against the charging of interest on loans to fellow
Christians. He explains that the biblical prohibition of usury was absolute.41
The author submits that Jerome saw a progression in biblical teaching on usury. First, he
notices that there is to be no interest from one’s brother in the Torah. Then, he perceives that
there is to be no interest from anyone in Ezekiel 18:8 in the Prophets. Finally, he understands
that there is to be no expected return of interest or principal in Luke 6:35 in the New Testament.
40 John R. Sutherland, "The Debate Concerning Usury in the Christian Church," Crux 22, no. 2 (June
1986): 3-9, ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed July 11, 2016).
41 Ibid., 3-9.
23
The author’s study on the topic delves into the teachings of the Fathers. He then moves into
presenting data regarding how the early church councils dealt with the problem of usury.42
The writer discusses the early period, the second period, and the Scholastic period. He
submits that Thomas Aquinas argued that to charge interest on a loan was to require two
payments. One payment was for the original principal and the other payment was for a nonexisting
thing. Sutherland suggests that Aquinas held the view that money can only be sold with
the repayment of the principal being full compensation. He goes on to submit that Aristotle
advised that money was invented chiefly for the purpose of exchange and that it was improper to
pursue interest for its own sake. Sutherland takes a modified conservative view of this topic and
indicates that John Calvin was chiefly responsible for introducing a new view of usury as a
legitimate form of gain. He acknowledges that this view played right into the hands of those who
were quick to take hold of modern forms of capitalism.43
Mark R. Valeri presents a look at the Christianization of usury in early modern Europe.
The author begins by discussing Europe’s commercial revolution and how it forced
reconsiderations of the use of credit and long-distance trade. He briefly discusses Fenton’s work
as it relates to lending for profit. Then he explores the economic revolution in more detail. He
explains that there were intensive debates that arose during this time. The author suggests that
during the economic revolution moral commentators faced a genuine dilemma.44
Usury in all respects was considered to be a sin. However, developing economic practices
caused Christians to be confronted with a host of perspectives relating to this topic. The author
42 Ibid., 3-9.
43 Ibid., 3-9.
44 Mark R. Valeri, "The Christianization of usury in early modern Europe," Interpretation 65, no. 2 (April
2011): 142-152, ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed July 12, 2016).
24
illustrates that reformed Protestants like John Calvin presented arguments based on economic
factors. Valeri suggests that Calvin had somehow developed a way to distinguish between a
legitimate increase on credit and an egregious or uncharitable return on a loan. The writer takes a
modified conservative view as it relates to this topic and suggests that early modern apologists
for usury conformed the Bible to their particular needs and aspirations.45
Miroslav Varso presents data concerning usury as it relates to biblical law codices. He
begins by discussing the shift in observance of the law in the changing modern society. He
presents interest as a type of religious barometer that demonstrates how biblical doctrines are
perceived and practiced. The author compares and contrasts biblical law with the practices in the
Ancient Near East. He then probes deeper into lending at interest as it relates to the biblical law
codices. Varso then presents a social argument. The writer uses Bible exegesis to illustrate the
ideas that he wants to relate.46
He then moves into what he believes is the motivation for the biblical laws relating to
usury. He proposes that there was a personal, historical, and humanitarian motive behind these
laws. The writer then investigates the laws of interest and usury by analyzing the three biblical
law codices in detail. He advises that the changes that society has undergone throughout the ages
is beyond the scope of biblical law. The author takes a modern capitalist approach to the topic or
usury. He suggests that his investigation of the laws of interest and usury yields results that
indicate that it is necessary to reformulate and reinterpret the important aspects of the Bible
doctrine surrounding this issue.47
45 Ibid., 142-152.
46 Miroslav Varso, "Interest (Usury) and Its Variations in the Biblical Law Codices," Communio Viatorum
50, no. 3 (2008 2008): 323-338, ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed March 7, 2016).
47 Ibid., 323-338.
25
Conclusion
The topic of this thesis fits more into a Global Studies thesis rather than a Theology
Proper thesis because the category of Theology Proper is focused more toward the biblical
teachings that relate to the existence and characteristics of God. It encompasses instruction
regarding the threefold personality of the Godhead, God’s relation to the world, his works in
creation, and His wisdom.48 Global Studies typically relates more to the etiology of combat, the
clash of cultures, creeds, global political economies, the role of universal relations, international
regulations, human civil liberties, general ecology, and the pursuit for world order. As the
creation cultivates increasingly toward interdependence the need for communicating God’s word
cross-culturally in a responsible way has become more obvious. Peace scholars have stressed the
disparagingly imperative dissimilarity between national interest and human interest.49
Communicating biblical finance certainly fits into the overall Global Studies theme. The
formation of communication and communion where opinions and proud complications are
removed so that individuals can concentrate on the cause of Christ is the basis for missionary
science and the biblical foundation of missionary theology.50
The author acknowledges that mortgage lending strategies that are not biblical can be
beneficial. However, it is important for Christians to follow scriptural guidelines with regards to
these matters. The Bible offers a host of biblical solutions to problems pertaining to banking and
finance. What Christians must understand is that for the child of God it is the Bible that should
48 Charles Hodge, vol. 1, Systematic Theology (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 32.
49 Erwin Fahlbusch and Geoffrey William Bromiley, vol. 4, The Encyclopedia of Christianity (Grand
Rapids, MI.; Leiden, Netherlands: Wm. B. Eerdmans; Brill, 2005), 111.
50 Charles Ryrie, Ryrie's Practical Guide to Communicating Bible Doctrine (Nashville, TN: Broadman &
Holman Publishers, 2005), 9.
26
be the absolute authority in these matters.51 This chapter demonstrates that God intends for his
people to live free from debt. The data also illustrates that interest free lending is a biblical
requirement among Christians. There is clear instruction indicating that believers ought to be
focused on leading others away from the bonds of servitude that are created by lengthy mortgage
lending agreements. Such agreements are specifically designed to bind believers under massive
debt for long periods of time. Usury causes harm to the common wealth of the believer and it is
the forbearance of interest which is the very essence of a godly loan.52

Write a review

Note: HTML is not translated!
    Bad           Good
Contents
Chapter 1 – Introduction...............................................................................................................1
The Problem .........................................................................................................................1
The Purpose of This Study ...................................................................................................3
The Importance of the Problem ...........................................................................................3
The Researcher’s Position of the Problem ...........................................................................5
Approach and Methodology ................................................................................................6
Limitations ...........................................................................................................................7
Definitions ...........................................................................................................................7
Literature Review...............................................................................................................10
Conclusion .........................................................................................................................25
Chapter 2 – Biblical Lending Principals ....................................................................................27
Introduction ........................................................................................................................27
Early Concepts of Usury ....................................................................................................27
Borrowing in the Bible ......................................................................................................34
Lending in the Scriptures ..................................................................................................44
Conclusion .........................................................................................................................49
Chapter 3 – Christian Debt in the Modern Era ........................................................................51
Introduction ........................................................................................................................51
Blessings from Obedience .................................................................................................51
Spirit Filled Giving ............................................................................................................52
Directing Our Christian Gifts ............................................................................................54
Preserving Our Christian Testimony .................................................................................55
viii
The Struggle for Purity and Power ....................................................................................56
Conclusion .........................................................................................................................57
Chapter 4 – Biblical Lending in the Present Day .....................................................................60
Introduction ........................................................................................................................60
The Requirements for Biblical Finance .............................................................................60
The Risks for Biblical Finance ..........................................................................................74
The Rewards for Biblical Finance .....................................................................................80
Conclusion .........................................................................................................................83
Chapter 5 – Conclusion ...............................................................................................................85
Introduction ........................................................................................................................85
A Combined Response to Banking and Finance for the Modern Christian .......................85
Suggestions for Further Scholarly Inquiry Regarding Biblical Lending ...........................90
Conclusion .........................................................................................................................92
Bibliography .................................................................................................................................99

Testimonials

  • Abiona Philip
    21/03/2017

    I want to sell my project, how can i do that..

  • Faleti thomas kayode
    17/03/2017

    i want to sell a project how can i go about it. contact me 08134282683..

  • Abubu Joseph
    20/02/2017

    I have a project also to sell ..

  • Maximus
    18/01/2017

    i have up to five faculty of education project to sell, how do i go about it... 08145988604..

  • Grace
    07/01/2017

    Wow.... This is an Interesting Platform to Showcase Research Projects. Very User Friendly and easy t..

Newsletter