1. The Genuine Epistles of the Apostolic Fathers, trans, by Wake, George Rontledge and Son, Ltd., London, 1893.
2. Il Stromatum, 1.2, c. 18, Migne, P.G. t. 8, cols. 1023-6.
4. Tertullian. Adversus Marcionem, Lib. IV, c. 17, Mig ne, Patrologia Lat., t. 2. and De Lapsis, c. 6 Mig ne, P.L., t. 4 cols. 470-1.
5. Hartel, W., S. Thasci Caecili Cyprian, Opera Omnia (Corpus Scriptomm Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum III, i-iii) Vienna, 1868-1871, p. 153 1. 16.
6. Divine, Thomas F. Interest. Milwaukee, WI: Marquette Univ. Press, 1959.
7. Jones, David. A Discourse upon Usury, or Lending money for increase. Printed by Samuel Crouch, Cornwall, Eng.,1692.
8. Luther, Martin. Werke. Erlangen ed.,XXIII, p. 283.
9. Luther, Martin. An den Christlichen Adel, Werke, Erlangen ed., VI, p. 466.
10. Luther, Martin. Sermon on Usury, 1519.
11. Luther, Martin. Tischreden, 1542.
12. Luther, Martin. Werke, Erlangen ed., XXIII, p.294
16. Bender, Harold, ed., The Complete Writings of Menno Simons. Herald Press, Scottsdate, Pa., 1974, p. 146.
18. See Blench, J.W. Preaching in England, Oxford, 1964, pp. 133, 244, 270 and M. MacLure's St. Paul's Cross Sermons 1534-1642, Toronto, 1958, p. 123.
19. cf. Bieler, A. The Social Humanism of Calvin. Richmond, 1964, p.51 and also cf. Wallace, Ronald S. Calvin, Geneva, and the Reformation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1988, pp. 5-7.
20. As quoted by Mullins, The Curse of Canaan, p.81.
21. Calvin, Sermon on Deut., 15:11-15, CO., 27:342.
22. Troeltsch, E. The Social Teaching of the Christian Churches, vol. 2, London, 1931, pp. 6445, 915.
23. Sampson, Antony. The Money Lenders. NY: Penguin Books, 1981, p. 57.
24. Epperson, A. Ralph. The Unseen Hand. Tucson, AR.: Publius Press, p. 133.
QUESTION 4. Don't people need incentive to pay off their loans, aren't they spoiled by no interest?
The nation of Israel was directed by God not to be slothful—note for instance the proverb calling them to learn from the industry of the ants. If not having to pay interest makes people slothful, then God gave a command that was harmful.
However, the scriptures against interest are forbidding it out of the principles of love and kindness. Jesus indirectly confirms this by stating that on love hang all the law given to Israel. Mt 22:40 The prophets of Israel (meaning their messages) were also according to Christ sent to Israel out of love. The prophets condemned interest taking.
If people are observing scripture by not taking interest, then they must also deal with Rm 12:11 "Not slothful in business" and 2 Thes 3.
QUESTION 5. What about inflation?
In 1929, $100 would have bought a good dairy cow. Five years later $100 would have bought 3 or 4 cows. This was a case of money gaining in value. Locking someone into anykind of a fixed interest arrangement can not be justified on the basis of inflation, unless someone knows for a fact what the future will bring.
It would be possible to peg the repayment of a loan on the purchasing power borrowed rather than a monetary amount. This would not constitute interest, and would actually be the most ethical type of repayment.
Unfortunately, the U.S. government under the control of the World-Order allowed the International Power to issue Fed. reserve notes contrary to the U.S. Constitution. When the Constitution was written it was plain that a monetary system on an honest medium of exchange-silver, gold, etc. clearly was in the best interest of the nation. Christians are best off, if they can find alternatives to being in the system's perverted financial system. As Christians discover better methods than working through the One-World-Power's banking/financial theft system, some of these issues will take care of themselves.
As much as possible the Christians should keep Christ's money among the Brethren, as the world can not be trusted to use it for God's glory. Receiving interest from the world, encourages lending to the world rather than keeping the money within the Brethren. Should we not take care of our own needy first? Gal 6:10, 1 Tim. 5:4, 8,16. All of us who are keeping money within the Banking system are helping prop up one of the biggest evil powers the New World Order has.
QUESTION 6 May we pay interest?
Jer 15:10 "I have neither lent on interest, nor men have lent to me on interest, yet every one of them curse me."
The receiver of interest makes a giver of interest- he makes a thief. Where there are no buyers there are no sellers. Where there are not bribe givers, no bribe takers.
But what if it is a necessity? the Bible has some strange cases of necessity. Adam's sons married sisters, David ate the shew bread (1 Sam 21:6), and the disciples healed on the Sabbath (Lk. 13:10).
In Gen 21:32, Abraham received an unlawful oath. Abraham made a covenant with Abimelech and swore by God. Abimelech swore by the false Gods. Laban swore in Gen. 31:53 by the God of Abraham, the God of Nahor, the God of their father. Ur, city of the Chaldees worshipped Nanna the moon god and had this idol in their homes. This father was a Chaldean. Was this an oath to the gods? Anyway Jacob swore by the fear of his father, Isaac, which was the Lord
Yahweh. Why the difference in oaths? Did Abraham receive unlawful oaths and not sin? Didn't Christ show it is lawful to suffer injury by paying tribute in Mt 17:29?
Doesn't the Scripture of Isa 24:2 "And it shall be...as with the taker of usury, so with the giver to him." mean we may not pay interest?
No, the verse actually says this, "Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress, as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him." These verses tell the greatness and universality of the ruin and judgment on these people. If this verse means paying of usury is evil, then we must also rediculously say anyone who is a priest, servant, maid, master, buyer, seller, lender, or borrower is also evil. God wasn't judging men for wanting to be priests or pay usury, but for not worshipping him as obedient servants.
"This I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment (Phil 1:9) Isa 24:2 does not condemn paying interest. However, neither does it allow paying interest.
"If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." (Jn 7:17) the man who gives himself 100 percent up to living and finding truth will understand that interest is the same as robbery and extortion, and paying interest should not be intentionally done. Sometimes, we are taken advantage of unawares. A man may allow himself to be robbed, but we are guilty of the crime if we encourage, tempt, or help the robber (or interest taker). We should not lean unto our own understanding. Many of us would not have thought Abraham should have accepted an oath to a strange god. Our understanding would have been different than God's. God's desire in our lives is not impossible to discover. Pray the situation through, keep praying until you know his will. "If you want to know God, love him." 1 Cor 8:13 Otherwise I believe, "he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know."
As Naaman in 2 Kg 5:18, I would also say "neither do or do not. I will not condemn thee-but if thy conscience condemn thee then do not."
QUESTION 7 What is required of the userer by God and his church.
In referring to church our meaning is that of the Bible's where those Christians within a certain city were of one church. In other words a local body, where the person regularly fellowships.
Interest is a work of the flesh and should be treated the same as "adultery, fornication, uncleaness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkeness, reveling and the like." Gal 5:19-21.
Sins should be confessed to God (Lk 15:18) and proper restitution (Lk 19:8 and others) and repentance done. (Acts 19:19, Lk 18:6, Job 42:6, Rev 2:5, Hos 14:4 and others)
Unfortunately, few who charge interest understand how God looks at it. "They know not what they do."(Lk 23:24) And most people living by it will want to defend it; people who don't live by it won't defend it, just as the silversmiths and the Image of Ephesus. (Acts 19:25) Will you plead for Baal? (Judges 6:31)
The Bible warns usurers, "thou hast taken usury (interest) and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbors by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord God. Behold, therefore, I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hast been in the midst of thee." (Ez 22:12-13) "The wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just." (Prov 13:22) It appears then that usurers shall receive two payments. 1. the first of money, 2. the second of judgment.
So repent sinner and make restitution. Don't be like Samuel who ask, "Whose goods did I take?" (See 1 Samuel 12:3); but be like Zacheus.
"And Zacheus stood, and said unto the Lord, Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house." Lk 19:8-9 Restore it sinner, for the sin is not remitted until the money is restored.
Amaziah in 2 Chr 25:9 did not know what he would do when he gave a hundred talents of silver. "And the man of God answered, The Lord is able to give thee much more than this."
The interest taker (usurer) is out of fellowship with the Lord until this sin is fixed. He has no communion with Christ nor with the saints. Not only has he stolen, but he must not try to pass this money which is not rightly his onto his children, rather "Set thy things in order before you die." Isaiah said to Hezekiah. (Is 38:6)
So sinner, if Christ is in your heart and speaks to you as Zacheus, then restore now as Zacheus did.
QUESTION 9 If I loaned money to a man would it be wrong to accept interest if he insisted on giving it?
There is a difference between accepting interest and demanding it. The best way to avoid the attending evils of interest is not to accept it, but encourage the debtor to give it to a worthy cause. This would be preferable, over accepting it oneself, if one is to avoid encouraging evil. Interest is a practice leading to the oppression of the poor. If the situation seems to be a special case, then the best answer is to put the issue before the Lord. I have myself had best results if I cleared my slate with the Lord first. I believe at times the Lord doesn't answer, simply because the plain answer is in his Word. Be honest with the Lord.
QUESTION 10. Are there times interest taking is O.K.?
Area Three- Questions concerning Biblical teachings on rent.
QUESTION 1. Is rent the same as interest?
Obviously, rent is not the same as interest. The very fact that the two words can be used without any problem of the mind confusing the two ideas shows that they are not the same idea.
"Should rent be viewed the same as interest?" is a deeper question. Unfortunately, our modern Bible translations have confused the issue greatly. The modern Bible translations have attempted to put scripture in terms we can understand. In doing so they have given us words we understand, but that are not faithful to the original meaning. For instance, the parable of Jesus which occurs in Mt 21:33-41, Mk 12: 1-9 and Lk 20:9-16 in modern translations appears to be a rental situation, when it was actually a SHARECROPPING ARRANGEMENT in the original language and the parable shows this.
In fact, all the Biblical examples of "rent" which the modern translations present (with the exception of Paul renting a room in Rome (Acts 28:30) are not really examples of rent at all. Ex 22:15 speaks of loaning an animal, Deut 24:15 indicates work for wages, and Lev 25:15-16 refers to a buyer paying for a share of the crops.
The question remains is rent forbidden or not? Although rent was not part of the life of ancient Israel, and is not the optimum method for a Godly Society to operate under, it is not expressly forbidden. It is this Author's conviction that rent is different from interest and can be paid. Rent inherently suffers from some of the same defects of interest and in an ideal situation would be have to be eliminated. Because we do not live in an ideal situation, and we are not expressly forbidden, rent is permissible. A major difference between the Israelites and the modern man is that modern governments in effect believe they own all the land, and in effect "rent" the land to its citizens. If you do not believe this try missing your rent payments (taxes) and see if the government doesn't come for what they think is theirs. In contrast to this ungodly system the Israelites were given the land for their families for an enduring inheritance. It genuinely belonged to the people, rather than their government, although the final title holder was always God who held the people responsible for their treatment of the land. God will again someday bring to ruin those ruining the earth, according to various scriptures. How can we honestly quibble about rent, when in effect that is what all "property owners" are doing today?
This Author does not wish to say that it is always right to charge or accept rent, but that although there may be some similarity between rent and interest, there are also some big differences. For instance, the owner who rents his property, but pays the taxes and maintenance, etc., but receives no rent would be better off financially, if he didn't own the property. This would not be the case where money is loaned and no interest received.
What if money was loaned and not returned? It would be a total loss, while if no rent was received couldn't the property be sold?
In some cases the property could be sold, while in other cases it may be the owner's home where he is unable to farm it himself. Thus to never allow rent could cause hardship. The man that could use property tax free and upkeep free - that is free of charge - has a better chance than if he would own the property. In contrast, the man who borrows $5000 without interest is not better off than someone who owns $5000. Again rent and interest are not alike. This does not give us any overall rule, circumstances vary in case to case, but it does indicate that the rules applying to interest do not have blanket application to rent.
The poor can be oppressed as severely by rent as interest. Some mining companies and other companies around the world have oppressed people to the point of actually keeping them in slavery to the companies by the use of rent. Rent originally served as a system of tribute, a tax in ancient times. It is clear that rent has its own harsh effects, but it must be examined in the context of being rent, and not as a type of interest.
QUESTION 2. Was rent forbidden by the Law of Moses?
After clarifying that rent is not interest, we then can ask, is rent forbidden by the Law of Moses? Yes and No.
The origin of the word rent is helpful. Rent comes from the Latin "rendere". Rendere could mean either a payment or the surrender of a city to an army. In the word "sur-rend-er" the rend comes from "rendere". The connotation has historically been a type of tribute or tax payment. Although to demand this type of payment might not be acceptable under the admonitions to love others, the scriptures do not categorically forbid rent, or taxes, or tributes. Certainly tributes, taxes and rents can and should be paid according to Christ's teachings. Whether Rent should be charged depends upon the exact situation. Again much of what we might offhand refer to as rent can or is actually something else.
QUESTION 3. May a Christian rent and not sin?
This question and question 2 are really extentions of question 1 and are being answered in the context of the answer to question 1. If you haven't read the last two questions please do. QUESTION 4. Why would rent have been necessary when they had no taxes nor very little upkeep of fences or buildings?
QUESTION 5. If rent is not paid the property can sold, but if the loan is not repaid then what is the security for the lender?
QUESTION 6. Can't the poor be oppressed through rent?
Area Four- Questions concerning lending and giving. QUESTION 1. Are the Biblical provisions for the poor still in force?
QUESTION 2. Suppose we lend money to a needy person and he wastes it, are we responsible for that?
QUESTION 3. What are some of the duties of the borrower? QUESTION 4. What is the secret teaching of giving?
One of the reasons Christ's and the scripture's teachings on giving are being lost is that "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor 2:14 "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise." 1 Cor 1:27
God's secret formula of success is to give abundantly, freely, wisely, cheerfully, humbly, and secretly—for which He sees in secret and He richly rewards you in return in secret. As one man has often been quoted, "I shovel into God's bin, and He shovels back into mine, and He has a bigger shovel."
St. Cyprian, bishop of the church at Carthage, was one of the first Christian leaders. His writings condemn interest taking. His writings were very interesting to read, because they emphasized alms giving to an extent that is rarely if ever heard today. In chapter 2 and 3 of his writings he brings out in scriptures in a way that is not taught today how important it is to give alms to cleanse ourselves of the sins we commit as Christians. In chapter 4 he brings out how if we do not here the needs of those around us, then we can not expect our prayer life to be fruitful. In chapter 6 he brings out that Tabitha's almsgiving had qualified her to be raised from the dead. In chapter 7, he brings out that we must be faithful with unrighteous mammon, if we are to expect God to commit to us true riches, (cf. Lk 16:11) Chapter 9 through 13 are to encourage Christians not to fear about giving too much, and their resources failing them. In chapter 18 he advises those who have many children in their homes with stretched budgets to give much because in doing so they cover the multitude of sins that come from a multitude of family members. The reader is encouraged to read St. Cyrprians writings for a more indepth study of the power of and the need for giving alms.
Area Five- Questions concerning my hermeneutics
QUESTION 1. How does the original Hebrew read concerning interest?
The following are Hebrew words meaning to take interest. 1. "masah". "masah" comes from "nasah" (verb) and signifies in "qual" to take or demand interest.
2. "nesak". "nesak" comes from "nasak" (verb) which means to bite to oppress, to take interest. A picture of the pain of interest to the borrower is inherent in the word. The word "nasah" which meant interest taker has been translated extortioner in various scriptures. It was understood in the early church that the N.T. greek references to extortioners were applicable to interest takers.
3. "lavah". "lavah" signifies in "qual" to borrow and "hifil" to lend.
4. "marbit and tarbit". from "rabah" (meaning to increase or to multiply) comes two other names for interest "marbit" and "tarbit" (which also means a surplus or increase). The equivalent word in ancient Mesopotamia "Sibtu" which meant increase, carried with it a negative connotation meaning increase by attack such as an attack by pirates, or an attack of epilepsy.
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