Vol.VII No.XI Pg.7
January 1971

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Is it in harmony with the spirit and general teachings of the N.T. for the church to borrow money from worldly people? Is borrowing money for a preachers house borrowing money to support him? Should we not consider be content with such things as you have, Heb. 13:5 Matt. 6: Acts 2: 44-47; 4: 32-37 17: 24-29? HK


Heb 13:5 does not teach a poor man to drop his plans for getting a better job. It urges contentment as opposed to covetousness. The one-talent man was expected to gain other talents. Matt. 6:19-f. teaches us not to make earthly things our treasure, or our master. Acts 2: and 4: teach us selflessness (Phil. 2:4) so that we would, if need demanded, sell our own possessions to help our brother. This does not teach communism as a way of life. The Corinthians were differently prospered, (1 Cor. 16:2). And Acts 17: teaches that we can not worship God with materials per se. But if we have the proper attitude toward God we will, use our materials in His service, as seen in foregoing verses.

These passages have to do with the individuals attitude toward material things, plus the example of collective care of needy saints, and forbid neither church nor individual to borrow money. They certainly teach us that fancy buildings, Keep up with the Jones, covetous living above our means, etc., are contrary to Christian principle — for individual or church. And let us here note that the Spirit of N.T. teaching is always in keeping with the teaching — i.e., what it says. We must be careful never to imagine the spirit of the word to differ from what it actually says.

Alliance with the worldly, sharing or fellowship in evil, is clearly forbidden (2 Cor. 6:14); but this is different from buying his bread, taking passage on his ship, or even doing banking business with him. (Matt. 25:27) Saints are authorized to act collectively (Phil. 4:15) and they buy materials and service for anything in which the collective is authorized to act on the same principle by which an individual buys such. And make no mistake about it — when one borrows money at interest, he buys the use of money, whether from bank or individual. The same is true of bonds. We buy the use of money, even though we call it selling bonds.

Now a church could sin in building an elaborate place of meeting — catering to pride, ignoring more important obligations, wasteful of resources, etc. — even if it had ready cash on hand for the whole thing. I also believe it could sin in failing to accept opportunity to scripturally serve the Lord, even if this meant borrowing money. How can a saint have the right to borrow money to advance his business, and deny the church the same right? What would make it wrong for a church (the moral principles involved) would stop the individual.

Providing housing, clothing, food, etc., for a preacher is providing his support wages. (Study 2 Cor. 11:8) Of course I can not judge the wisdom of various circumstances. I personally prefer money, to buy my own house.