Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Question of the Day

Is charging interest on a loan compatible with Christian teaching?

16 comments:

BruceA said...

I've been wondering about that lately, myself. I don't really have an answer.

doodlebugmom said...

Leviticus 25:35-38 is pretty clear that usury is a sin.

Rev. David Garrett said...

Usury is discussed in the Old Testament, but I don't recall it in the New. Jesus taught that we should "give" to everyone who asks... giving even beyond that which was asked without thought of remuneration, much less interest.

Matt said...

I would like to ask the question again from a different perspective : Is receiving interest on an investment compatible with Christian teaching?

Mat 25:14-30

I would also ask whether you differentiate between usury and interest

John said...

When you give money to someone with an expected return greater than 100%, then it's interest. When someone does it to you, it's usury.

M. Holoerbach said...

It's certainly not within Jewish law. As far as Christian, I would think it debatable. Because of the overwhelming number of denominations within Christianity, and the number of followers who treat the religion as a buffet line ("I'll take some of this, none of that, thank you..."), there may be opposing views on the issue.

John said...

I would like to ask the question again from a different perspective : Is receiving interest on an investment compatible with Christian teaching?

That's a good question. It'd be pretty easy for a Christian to say that s/he shouldn't profit from investments in obvious sins like pornography, but what about companies that engage in predatory lending?

Some sins are more socially acceptable than others. When's the last time any of us used the word "usury" in a conversation? Or heard it in a sermon?

Dan Trabue said...

Comes up from time to time at Jeff St.

I'd agree with those who pointed out that it's clearly not kosher with Jewish law. I lean towards siding with my anabaptist brethren and avoid taking part in investments expecting interest.

David said...

I was about to say that a loan itself was incompatible with Christian teaching, and then I found the text I was thinking of:
Matthew 5:42, "Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."

yipeng said...

Rather than reject interest you receive, why not give it away again?

BruceA said...

yipeng -

Rather than reject interest you receive, why not give it away again?

That's a good point. If you have more to give, you can do more good. In the parable of the talents, Jesus seems to be advocating exactly that.

Tom Jackson said...

How is renting money to people different from renting bulldozers to people?

Marcel said...

"Rather than reject interest you receive, why not give it away again?" Sure; or lend it out again and let it compound...

As I understand it, for a long time Christians regarded charging interest as a sin. Then at some point it became okay. When and why?

lorna (see throughfaith) said...

interesting question - though the bottom line (groan) is are we intentionally and continually investing in the Kingdom instead of storing up our gifts and money in a barn for a rainy day?

BruceA said...

Tom Jackson -

How is renting money to people different from renting bulldozers to people?

If you rent someone a bulldozer, you don't expect them to give you back 1.05 bulldozers.

Tom Jackson said...

But you do expect to get your bulldozer back, plus some money; and, if the customer used the bulldozer for a substantial length of time, the rental fee may well amount to 0.05 of the value of the machine.