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Is Debt Evil? Is Profit making Biblical? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 13 October 2008 13:34

Deut 28:12 You will lend to many… but will borrow from none.

Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything

Let’s look at the context for these verses-

Rom 13:6 NRSV …pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing.  7 Pay to all what is due them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. 8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

We owe the Civil Government taxes.  We owe people respect and honor.  The text (v.8) does not command us to owe no one anything- to acquire no debt of any kind; that is impossible- we invariably owe others.  The admonition is to pay up what you owe.  Don’t be a dead beat or scoff-law.  Don’t let any debt be outstanding- pay it off.  It is important to keep in mind this caution about borrowing- The borrower is servant to the lender.  Proverbs 22:7
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Last Updated on Monday, 13 October 2008 13:52
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Economic Principles, Part 1 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 22 September 2008 16:08

Economics: “a social science concerned chiefly with description and analysis of the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services”          -Merriam Webster

Economics is about choices people make with regard to scarce resources- about exchanges people make of things [time, possessions, money,labor, knowledge, skills,etc] desired less, for things desired more.  People chose to sacrifice some things in order to obtain other things because there is a scarcity of those things and nothing scarce is free (every scarce thing has a price).  These choices are affected by values and incentives.  They should also be determined by long-range (rather than immediate) consequences.

It is in guiding such choices that the Bible is most relevant on economic matters.  The Bible does not have a blueprint for any particular economic system.  What is has in abundance are moral, principles and Norms (laws) that are relevant to economic topics, e.g.- work, private property, profit, money, employee and employer relationships, etc.

The four fundamental economic principles from Creation [Genesis 1-2]- Stewardship, Sharing, Work and Growth.

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Last Updated on Monday, 29 September 2008 22:32
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Economics Principles, Part 2 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 22 September 2008 16:04

The four creational Principles have (obviously) often been violated throughout history.  This is the consequence of the Fall described in Genesis, chapter 3.  “Man” had become a rebellious, self serving sinner. Stewardship has been universally rejected by human beings and replaced (at least by many, in most parts of the “developed” world) by the concept of absolute private ownership. Along with greed and the exploitation of natural resources for personal, corporate or national gain has been the rule.  The natural world, itself, has been generally uncooperative and resistant to cultivation (“The Curse”).  Blood and great toil have been required to subdue and cultivate it.  The work process has been corrupted, often becoming harsh and demeaning (or jut plain deadening) for millions of people.  The rights and responsibilities of all people to work and to share in the economic process and its products are often denied, limited or commonly manipulated for many, in favor of the few.  Economic growth has become an obsession around the world, even an Idol; prosperity, materialism and consumerism are all pervasive.  Sharing is done, but usually, only out of self interest, or sacrificed altogether by a far more selfish, “me first”, “look out for number one”, attitude.  This, too, applies, not only to individuals, but to corporations and Nations, as well.

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Economic Principles, Part 3 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 22 September 2008 16:00

It is impossible to understand the story of God's Covenant People apart from the Promised Land.  See Genesis 12:1, 15:5-7, 17:1-8; Deuteronomy 11:8-12   God owns the Land.  It is His, as is all Creation; but, He gives a portion of it to His People for their Homeland.  The Land is a gift- the People do not deserve it or anything that comes from it.  Israel (the Covenant people) are totally dependent upon God for the Land.  All they possess will come from this Land, meaning, from God.  They need to believe that God is absolutely dependable to provide the Land and its blessings.  He will keep His Covenant Promises.

The Land-Gift is proof of the Covenant relationship: How do we know (how did they know) Israel is God's People?  He gave the Land to them for their use and benefit.  God entrusts the care of the Land in parcels to families within Tribes.  This is the source for the concept of [conditional, not absolute] Property Rights.  Dividing up the Land this way, at God's instruction, is the main validation of that concept.  It should be noted here that God assigned different amounts of land, subject to great variation in topography, to the different Tribes.  (This is important.  There was equity, but not equality.)

See Joshua 13:1-14, 14:1-5; Numbers 26, 34 and Joshua 13-19

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Economic Principles, Part 4 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 22 September 2008 15:53

God required a particular Lifestyle of those who lived on the Land.  The creational economic Principles, adjusted for life under the Covenant, are as follows:

Sharing remains mandatory.  The Hebrew families had been allotted different size portions of the Land.  Given the differences in terrain, the variety of geographic features, there was need for trade and commerce.  Everyone would have enough, but not the same.  Given changes in Seasons and weather, as well as disasters and violence (especially warfare and crime, many families lost their portion of the Land.  Widows, orphans, indentured servants, as well as resident aliens, unable to support themselves, sank into destitution and became the landless poor. 

These victims of terrible circumstances and oppression are the Poor of the Bible.  Except for the aliens, they belong to the Covenant People of God.  They are righteous people of faith, who look to the Lord as their only hope in their distress.  When Scripture mentions repeatedly God's concern for the Poor, these are the people He is concerned about: innocent victims of tragedy.  Mosaic Law required that such landless poor be provided for by the people who still had their share of the Land.  They were to share it.  Failure to honor and obey the laws about caring for these Poor was considered by God and His prophets to be very serious sin. The primary responsibility to provide for the Poor is given by God to their extended families and neighbors (as a community). This is an important part of what it meant to be a Covenant People.  The State government was not involved.  See Deuteronomy 15:4-11
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