In chapter six of my book, Making Sense of Your Dollars: A Biblical Approach to Wealth, I discuss inflation and its causes. I argue that monetary inflation, an expansion of the money supply, causes price inflation. Monetary inflation, I also argued, was immoral, since it devalues the purchasing power of money as prices in the community rise. I pointed out that the two primary means of monetary inflation were using the presses to manufacture notes and coin and the creation of money through credit. It is this latter method of monetary inflation that we need to understand in relation to debt as well as in relation to biblical morality.
Proverbs 6:1-3 says the following: “My son, if you become surety for your friend, If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth. So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; For you have come into the hand of your friend: Go and humble yourself; Plead with your friend.” These words are an encouragement to anyone who has taken the position as guarantor for any debts that he should do everything in his power to get out of this obligation. While this is not so much a specific command against debt, it is certainly an instruction from God that makes borrowing much more difficult.
It is fascinating to operate in two “worlds” — one of the pragmatic business world, and the other the highly theoretical and philosophical world of ecclesiastical polity and theory.
Trying to get a business man to operate in terms of principles can be a challenging exercise at the best of times. But the businessman is a success to the extent that he provides good product and service, plans and manages the business, and treats his employees with some kind of professionalism. Planning, means setting future goals, then working towards them. It also means holding employees accountable in some form to the plan, or at least holding them accountable to the portion of the plan for which they are responsible.
But the frustration is equalled by trying to get church leaders to operate like businessmen and put plans into place then work the plan. Instead, you get words like this: “We have plans but we don’t make them public. That’s the way of the world. We’re spiritual over here, and God will bless our spirituality.”
One of the issues in Christian debate is R2K. This is “Radical Two-Kingdom” theology – church and state. R2K stands for the idea that the realm of the church is to be governed by the Law of God in Scripture, while the state is only to be governed by “natural” law, not Scripture.
The mistake of this view is obvious. It’s origins are in neoplatonism’s notion of the dichotomy between spirit and matter. But what is not so obvious is that the common response to R2K also contains its own error. The respondents to R2K theology call for functional separation of church and state, but both are under God’s law. While that sounds good and proper, the error is this.
It is amazing the amount of comment on Facebook. A lot of people, including this author, have their own blog — a place where they can comment, hoping the rest of the world will find the words and be influenced by them.
Behind this underlying activity is a belief that people will listen to us; that we are some kind of authority worthy of being listened to. In a few number of cases, that is true. The rest of us are hacks. The word “hack” has many meanings and here I apply the word thus: “a writer who is paid to write low-quality, quickly put-together articles or books.” Except that with the internet, most hacks are no longer paid. They merely write.
My concern here, however, is not so much with the quality of the writing, but with the way writing takes place and what writers hope to achieve. We all write as if we are an authority on something. This is important. If we are not an authority, why would anyone in their right mind read our writings?
But here’s the interesting “influencing” psychology. There are two types of personalities. On the one hand there are those who find their moral standards within themselves. By this, I do not mean theologically being God, making the standards. They just look inside themselves and act accordingly. They do not need anyone to tell them what is right or wrong action. They are inner-directed. When you say to them, “In my opinion . . .” they respond, “I don’t care about your opinion.”