Should Christians Not Get Into Debt? - Hope 103.2

Should Christians Not Get Into Debt?

Podcast listener Bruce asked the 'Money' team to answer that interesting question. They did, with the help of Dave Ramsey and the Bible.

By Ben McEachenThursday 16 Mar 2023Money: Faith & FinancePodcastsReading Time: 2 minutes

No one wants to be in debt but is it really that bad to borrow?

The latest episode of Money: Faith and Finance with accountant Pete Burrows and Hope Morning’s Ben McEachen was sparked by a question from Bruce, a member of the Money community.

Bruce sent his question here – you can do the same, right now – and his question is a ripper.

“Should Christians go into debt to buy things, or should they not buy things unless they have the money to do so?” Bruce asked.

While Bruce excluded mortgages from this question, he included pretty much everything else from cars to TVs and phones.

Not ideal

So, Pete, what’s the answer?

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“I don’t think it’s ideal, especially for living or lifestyle expenses,” Pete said about Christians getting into debt.

“I generally say to clients, friends, myself – live from your income.

Debt needs to be repaid.

“I generally advise people not to go into debt if you don’t need to, especially if it starts to skew your motives.”

Such advice, though, is not entirely specific to Christians.

To head even more towards Bruce’s question, Ben raised Dave Ramsey, an American finance expert who employs biblical teaching and principles in his money advice.

Looking into some of his strategies and talks, Ben put Pete on to Dave Ramsey because of his “super anti-debt” stance.

“One of his big touchstones is ‘Don’t get into debt’.”

“Debt is not sin; debt is not a salvation issue,” Ben described Ramsey’s position.

“[But] Debt is dumb.”

How does my debt fit with everyday life and the Bible?

Seeming to push further than Pete’s initial comments, Dave Ramsey spotlights the “stupidity” and “slavery” of debt to strongly warn Christians away from it.

While Ramsey’s warning was broadly accepted by the Money team – “He seems to talk a lot about taking financial responsibility”, Pete said – they raised queries about how universally he applied his hardcore “No Debt” philosophy.

Unlike Bruce, home loans seemed to also fit under Ramsey’s umbrella.

Pete and Ben struggled to see how borrowing to buy somewhere to live could be a helpful or realistic financial position, in general.

Supportive of Ramsey pointing people back to the Bible as a source of guidance, Ben suggested taking your own look at the verses or passages Ramsey quoted.

For example, Dave Ramsey quotes from Proverbs about money and “foolishness”. He also states that Jesus’ reference to “building a tower” in Luke 14:28 is a divine endorsement of financial planning.

“I found that a little loose,” Ben said.

“Go back and take a look at what Jesus said [there]; he was specifically talking about the cost of following him.

“I’m a bit cautious about… directly applying that to my bank account.”

Listen to the full Should Christians Not Get Into Debt? episode in the player above or wherever you get your podcasts.