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This is part of a series of posts based on the Churches Together in England publication one light: one world. If you click on the link you will find the biblical texts. This post of the same name covers the purpose of this series.
Romans 13: 8
Debt is one of the most destructive to human society. We have in recent years entered a recession, caused in part by billions of pounds of personal debt.
My father's advice to me as I set off for university was to avoid debt. Interest, he said, is of no use to you, you are simply giving money away to other people. I have found this to be good advice and apart from a few years with a mortgage, I have always lived within my means.
But how many people manage this, today? Debt was a source of great fear for Jesus' and Paul's contemporaries (and indeed control of debt a major concern of the Torah). If you owe money, you are in effect enslaved to your creditor. It messes up relationships; where money is owed it gets in the way of relationships.
This is, therefore, advice from Paul for Christians. Don't get into debt with one another, all you need is love.
It is interesting the churches can get into debt with one another through ecumenism. For example, where premises are shared and one tradition contributes to the development of another's property. A few years later, the ecumenical partnership ends and the property owner, under the Sharing Agreement, owes the other church for their contribution.
Should churches enter into this type of relationship? It is not an easy question to answer.