"If we find ourselves in debt, the New Testament is clear in showing we are to pay what we owe. Romans 13:7-8 says, "Render to all what is due them: taxes to whom taxes are due, respect to whom respect is due, fear to whom fear is due, and honor to whom honor is due. Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law." Christians are to be people of integrity which includes our financial dealings. When we have entered into a contract, we are obligated to fulfill the conditions, sealed by our signature. If we have contracts or agreements with a credit card company, then we are to be honest, paying the company back. Declaring bankruptcy due to credit card debt but still having some of the items we purchased is a form of theft, not only ruining our credit rating, but damaging our Christian witness." -- Jared Laskey
Owe no one anything. I agree and the type of witness damaging debt accrual spoke of here I would also warn against. If you willingly run up debt for things that are not necessary then you run the risk of damaging your Christian witness. The problem is that Laskey leaves no room for mercy. Even the world recognized that sometimes people run into untenable situations and have provided a means of mercy through bankruptcy. This person may lose all of their possessions, home, car and whatever else there may be and have their financial record tarnished for ten years. So they pay a price for the world's mercy. The mercy from the church should at least be better than that of the world. The notion that if I had charged something two years ago and then got blindsided by an expense I could not manage that led to bankruptcy that still owning what was charged is theft is absolutely absurd. It is just more of the shaming that Laskey has engaged in here and let us not forget that he gave us his motivation for this -- you are not giving to his church.
'I would like to recommend that if your spending is out of control or if you are facing credit card debt, then enroll in a Christian based financial course such as Crown Financial. With Christ, you can climb out of debt, and live the abundant life. John 10:10 says, "The thief does not come, except to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."' -- Jared Laskey
If Crown Financial's opening position is as merciless as yours, no thanks. Beloved let me be very clear. Using credit unwisely is not a good thing regardless of being a believer or not. God is right; you become a slave to the lender. The problem here is that a Christian leader paints all debtors with a broad brush of condemnation that leaves no room for mercy. Most of the bible verses involving debt have to do with personal debt. So please do not hand me this nonsense about contracts with credit card companies when they charge exorbitant interest, which is also condemned by Scripture. We can discern how out of Scripture this teaching has been in the complete misuse of John 10:10, which is often mishandled in this manner. It is not the will of God for everyone to live an abundant life as the world measures abundance. Here is the entire context:
So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. -- John 10: 7-15 (ESV)
What is Jesus talking about here? The thief spoken about is not the devil but rather those who would teach falsely. The hireling who cares more about contractual obligations to non-human entities than to the sheep themselves and the situations they must face. Jesus came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly does not speak of worldly riches but of eternal treasures. Jesus is speaking about the Gospel. If you listen to someone who is teaching outside the Gospel then you are being robbed. The eternal life is one of abundance in Christ, not in bank accounts.
I do not know Mr. Laskey so perhaps he writes from a place of genuine concern but you can be sincere and sincerely wrong. This world and the devil that runs it love to heap misery, condemnation, guilt, and shame upon all who walk in it. I refuse to heap more upon the shoulders of those who I call my brothers and sisters in Christ. We should always try to live within our means but should life happen, do not allow people in Christian leadership to shame you beloved. Repent if your heart was truly being deceitful in how you amassed your debt but do not be further enslaved by those who have been granted so much mercy regarding their own sin yet cannot extend any to anyone else when it comes to money. Remember the key verses which apply to those in debt, out of debt and who shame debt -- the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil. Do not wander from the faith over it.