Kingdom Banking

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Once we recognise both the need to try to be faithful to these biblical principles (loaning to those in need and avoiding the extra burden of interest) and the need to in some ways go ‘beyond the Bible’ in adapting to the contemporary world, some interesting possibilities emerge.

Church-based organisations that operate rather like banks can accept savings and then make loans at lower than bank interest rates. Note that some interest must be charged to cover inflation and costs, and often to cover an interest payment to the savers (who today may indeed be funding their retirement out of such savings).

There are also cooperative mortgage groups some like Liberty Trust explicitly trying to put these biblical principles to work in the contemporary housing market. In this model people contribute 2% each year of the mortgage they want to borrow. Because they are “sowing before they reap” they will have paid in something like 20% before they borrow, the eventual loan is thus able to be ‘interest free’.

Notice how inspired by the biblical principles, but going beyond the Bible – the biblical texts do NOT envisage “sowing before you reap” but rather someone needing to borrow because of a crisis need, this model succeeds in being faithful to the Bible by going beyond it! (We will need to discuss later the criteria that allow us to assess whether a particular example succeeds in being thus faithful despite going beyond.)


   2 Comments


  1. Judy Redman
      May 4, 2017

    My denomination makes loans and accepts investments from members and clergy (they offer special rates on clergy car and house loans). The interest rates on loan repayments are somewhat less than the going market rates. The money they earn is used to fund church activities that can’t be done at a local level. If you invest money, you can choose how much interest you will receive up to the market rate for low risk investments, so if you have significant amounts of disposable cash, you can donate some or even all of your interest to the church, and you can also be sure that your money is invested in ethical projects and ethical ways and the interest is spent where it is needed to further the work of the gospel.

    • Tim
        May 4, 2017

      Indeed, Baptists in NZ and UK have been doing much the same for many decades. In NZ the service is now available to other denominations. A lovely example of going beyond and adapting the intent of biblical instructions to a completely different set of circumstances. Rules for individuals helping other individuals (or families helping other families) in need have morphed into ways for investments to be managed to allow churches to buy property and build buildings etc… !

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