Is debt wrong? Well, yes and no. Let me explain.
But allow me to ask another question: Is our national debt a moral, ethical, theological and biblical issue? Yes!
However, at a pastors/Christian leaders conference, I was unsuccessful in persuading several pastors and lay leaders of this fact, when I tried to get them to pass a resolution from our denomination regarding the morality of excessive national debt. It was not viewed as a moral or biblical issue.
Allow me to describe, and make sure you read all the way down to the \”Back to the Pulpit\” section below.
Campaigning in 2008, Obama rightly condemned George Bush to take the national cumulative debt of $5 trillion – all the previous presidents – and accumulating another $4 trillion, for a staggering total of $9 trillion. What did Obama call Bush for doing this? Irresponsible and unpatriotic.
The issue is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China within the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents. added $4 trillion by his lonesome, to ensure that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we're going to have to pay back – $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That's irresponsible. It's unpatriotic.
And Obama was correct. But what did he, Barack Obama, do during his presidency? Doubled the debt from $10 trillion to $20 trillion. If what Bush did was irresponsible and unpatriotic, that which was this?
When a government refuses to restrain an immense, unpayable debt, it dooms its country's economic well-being. Don't believe this can happen? Remember the Weimar Republic after World War I? Germany was in such economic debt that hyper-inflation rendered the currency of the day virtually worthless.
Moral and Biblical Issue
Bush added a lot more than $4 trillion, while Obama a lot more than doubled that, adding almost $10 trillion towards the debt. Both presidents were within the wrong. Both signed off on spending far more than America could budget, and created a burden for future generations to carry. Oh, but there's more. Much more. The national debt climbed under Trump and it is about to skyrocket in Biden's first 50 days in office.
When Ronald Reagan left the presidency 33 years ago, the U.S. national debt was under $3 trillion . If this current Democrat special interest and \”Blue State Bailout\” bill, masquerading as COVID Relief, at $1.9 trillion dollars, is signed into law, the U.S. Government National Debt will reach $30 trillion . Which means it has increased 10 times in only 33 years! This really is immoral!
The Bible is clear relating to this. It says, \”You shall not steal\” . That does not only applies to us today, it means we should not steal from future generations. The presidents and the Congress, by running up unsustainable, unpayable debt, have stolen the future of our young adults and children. It is wrong. It is sin. The national debt has become a moral, theological, biblical issue. Every pulpit in the usa ought to call out our national leaders for this sin. The greatest greed is not on Wall Street. It's in Washington, D.C.
What number of the members of Congress attend a Bible-teaching church? One congressman told me 20 percent. That means 80 percent aren't in a biblically-centered church. But for the 20 % that presumably do attend this type of church, how many of those hear their pastor preach sermons around the moral, theological, and biblical underpinnings in our nation's economics? Probably very few. Maybe none.
These otherwise good and sane men and women, our congressional members, continually approve budgets which are spending us into economic oblivion. It's irresponsible. It is immoral. Method . sin. Yet how can we possibly expect the members of Congress to do what is right if pastors will not address this from the pulpit? Exactly how should we possibly expect parishioners to consider this problem in the voting booth if their pastor does not speak on it from the pulpit? The Apostle Paul, talking about disseminating the truth, raised a great question: \”And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?\” .
Pastors do not need to become more political. They need to become more biblical. The Bible has numerous verses that speak to economics, whether it is the economics of a family, the government, or any entity.
The good news is that there are those in Congress who do care about economic integrity, and they are fighting to correct this. Nevertheless, they're still too few. Similarly, too few preachers are willing to preach about this topic. This is actually the classic case of sinning by omission that James 4:17 warns about: \”Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.\” We want pastors, the voters, and the elected to become more well-versed, to understand that this obscene debt will someday profoundly injure our nation, our kids, and our future.
Bribery and Greed
The reason our debt towers so high is actually quite simple. Politicians bribe the American people – with their own tax money – to grow government programs. It has been said, \”The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it may bribe the public with the public's money.\”
Back towards the Pulpit
I tried to convey this message once at a pastor's conference. Some looked at me and said, \”That's too political; why would we care about the national debt?\” Cleaning it once a to make the case that this was ultimately not political, but biblical. Sure, it has implication for the political realm, but at its core the issue of debt – national or personal – is really a moral, ethical, biblical issue. If I run up a high debt, someone is going to have to pay for what I have done. And that's theft.
America's pastors will need courage to help make the sin of massive national debt known. Apathy rages amongst our citizens because the threat of catastrophic consequences seems so far off. Pastors need to instill a sense of urgency about the issue along with a strong sense of morality to buck the tide of entitlement mentality and once again reintroduce into the American consciousness a feeling of frugality, discipline, and restraint.
President Obama's correct. The amount of national debt run up under George W. Bush was unpatriotic. I'd add immoral and unethical. And then doubling that debt by Obama's even more unpatriotic, immoral, and unethical. And underneath the next Republican and Democrat administrations, it has increased enormously. Our government is setting an incredibly poor example for its citizens by showing actual and true contempt for that wealth of its citizens and the devastating impact this wastefulness is wearing industry, initiative, and family welfare.
Earnings, Debt and Work
There are, of course, acceptable instances of debt – unforeseen hospital healthcare emergencies, for instance. Most of us have debt on our house, cars, and in school loans. The Bible never explicitly says debt is forbidden, but issues clear warnings from the danger of debt. The truth is, \”the borrower is servant to the lender\” .
And we are a debtor's nation. We're becoming the servant to the nations from which we borrow. In addition, our children and grandchildren will end up the slaves of those who own their financial notes. This is an untenable situation.
Debt becomes wrong when it burdens future generations. Those who have allowed the debt situation to spiral are affected none of the consequences, as the next generations will need to pay the debt. The biblical lesson is that this: being presumptuous on the future have a devastating impact on us like a nation and as families. James 4:14 warns that people do not know what the future holds. Why, you don't even know what will happen tomorrow.
Let us state the problem positively. Paying one's debt is biblical. Does our government have intention of paying off its obligations? If not, then it is incredibly ungodly and untrustworthy. Psalms 37:21 states, \”The wicked borrow and do not repay.\”
No country has the authority to consider money that people need to offer their own families, while the government squanders it on useless and counterproductive activities. Scripturally, government is to only take that which is needed for this to perform its fundamental, biblical role of executing justice against evil-doers and inspiring the growth of good . How much of the annual federal budget would fall into either of these two categories?
The Chance of Debt
What if we first saved the money, then made a purchase? Whatever happened to earning the money to pay for something in advance, being patient, being appreciative of what has been worked for? 1 Timothy 6:6-9 says, \”But godliness with contentment is excellent gain. For we brought nothing in to the world, and we can take nothing from it. But if we have food and clothing, we are content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.\”
Debt permits us to enjoy things sooner than when we had to work hard for them first, but having debt doesn't permit the risk associated with unforeseen major problems that may impact us. To operate up consumer debt, that is, on depreciating items, would be to presume on the future. What's true in the life of a person is true of a nation. Wise investment is to be praised, as Jesus himself taught in the Parable of the talents , but squandering wealth or excessive spending – beyond one's income – isn't biblically promoted or encouraged.
A massive unsustainable national debt isn't biblical. It is morally wrong. Our leaders are squandering the people's wealth. When this happens, the people groan , and that groaning will grow until responsible men and women, both at a government level and also at a personal level, become good stewards again.
National Biblical Economics Resolution
Here may be the resolution I mentioned above regarding the moral, biblical aspects of our national debt:
Memorial towards the 2012
General Conference of The Wesleyan Church
Pacific Southwest District – The Wesleyan Church
National Biblical Economics Resolution
Whereas, a biblical knowledge of government affirms that God has built four forms of government,
and that all of these recognize God as their ultimate foundation; and
Whereas, the Bible says render unto God what is God's and unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, but in recent years, voices have risen that try to intimidate godly people from speaking out on biblical issues resulting in \”Caesar\” demanding that which is God's; and
Whereas we, because the people of God, will not be intimidated from lovingly and winsomely speaking scriptural truth; and
Whereas, The Wesleyan Church was rooted in an understanding of the application of biblical principles to national life around the issue of slavery because this issue was inherently spiritual and never merely \”political\” in nature; and
Whereas, The Wesleyan Church was rooted in an awareness of the application of biblical principles to national life within the issue of women's rights, as demonstrated in the fact that the first women's to vote conference was housed in a Wesleyan Church in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848, because this issue was inherently spiritual and never merely \”political\” in nature; and
Whereas, The Wesleyan Church was rooted in an understanding of the application of biblical principles to national life within the issue of women's rights, as demonstrated in the fact that a Wesleyan pastor – Luther Lee – preached in the ordination of the first women ever ordained in America; and
Whereas, The Wesleyan Church demonstrated an ongoing understanding of the application of biblical principles to national life within the issue of abortion by making a strong stand in defending life within the womb as this issue is inherently spiritual and never merely \”political\” in nature; and
Whereas, The Wesleyan Church demonstrated an ongoing understanding of the application of biblical principles to national life within the issue marriage by making a strong scriptural stand on the definition of marriage composed of one man and one woman because this issue is inherently spiritual and not merely \”political\” in nature; and
Whereas, The Wesleyan Church demonstrated an ongoing understanding of the application of biblical principles to national life on the issue scriptural, traditional, natural marriage by Wesleyan pastors across America being involved in defending marriage as this concern is inherently spiritual and not merely \”political\” anyway; and
Whereas, The Wesleyan Church, in following Scriptural truth, does not make the false dichotomy of separating what are known as \”social issues\” from so called \”fiscal issues,\” since Wesleyans are concerned with a more sweeping category known simply as \”biblical imperatives\”; and
Whereas, a lot of the members of Congress have violated the essential biblical economic principles including such clear commands as \”thou shall not steal,\” may it be from one's neighbor or from generations to come; and
Whereas, economic irresponsibility has been demonstrated by Congresspersons and Presidents of both political parties for a dangerously long duration; and
Whereas, the moral compass of a nation is to be determined by godly pastors proclaiming biblical truth on all issues, be they personal, family, church or national in scope; and
Whereas, Wesleyan pastors and parishioners know – as our founder John Wesley did – that holiness is not merely personal holiness but social holiness; and
Whereas, Wesleyan pastors have the freedom not merely to speak forcefully and clearly on all issues about which the Bible speaks, including the economic underpinnings that affect national life; and
Whereas, Wesleyan laypersons desire and should confidently affirm biblical principles for national life; and
Whereas, whenever attempts happen to be made for the President and Congress to reside within their means, they have consistently resorted to increasing the tax burden on Americans or borrowing more funds;
Therefore, be it resolved that The Wesleyan Church hereby resolve our President and the Congress must immediately started to act in an economically responsible manner worthy of their offices; and
Resolved that – because of the failure of either obama or the Congress to demonstrate economic wisdom – a constitutional amendment is necessary to force Congress and the President to confront and resolve our cancerous fiscal crisis, end the annual budget deficit, and address the massive and unsustainable national debt; and
Resolved the Wesleyan Church urges the immediate passing by both Houses of Congress of The Good sense Balanced Budget Amendment, which would include three new principles to the Constitution:
- A requirement that federal receipts and outlays balance every year, unless Congress declares a war or a national emergency, as defined in the amendment;
- A requirement that future tax increases must be passed by a two-thirds supermajority vote in the House and Senate; and
- A limitation on spending that will tie future federal outlays for an external standard, specifically 18 percent of Gross Domestic Product , which matches the historical average level of federal revenues.