The Greek Debt Crisis And The Christian Response

Anything concerning the ethics of economics tends to get complicated very quickly for two main reasons. First of all it is a gross over simplification to state that there is only one thing wrong and it needs to be fixed. The vast majority of the time it is a combination of many different factors which have usually led to great financial difficulty. No nation decides that it fancies being bankrupt. Secondly, we have to accept that none of us remain neutral when it comes to finances. Each of us bring our own financial baggage to the table, whether wealthy or not, and lay it down before discussions even take place. 

But if we are Christians then this is where we must allow the authority of God’s voice to be heard above the minutiae of human squabbling. Our whole concept for life and living is based on the fact that this world is not all that we have. We await a heavenly city (Heb 11:13-16)! But in the here and now we are to think through these issues biblically and not be drawn into the materialistic worldview of globalized capitalism.

It seems to me that initially we need to look at what God establishes as good economic practice. We see time and again that Israel are to look after those who are most vulnerable in society. This is highlighted particularly in care for those who have no land, no income or no family (Deut 10:18). Added to this there is to be a specific time for restitution of resources to curb the growth of power in one area or family on the simple basis that all of these belong to God in the first place an every human needs to be cared for (Lev 25:23-24). This is not some form of Ancient Near Eastern Marxism; this is genuine care and provision for those who were inevitably going to end up in need.

However this is not how human societies tend to deal with such situations. We tend to adopt a Shylock mentality demanding our pound of flesh forgetting that at some point in our own history we too had cap in hand. It is incumbent then on Christians to reject this attitude. We must make sure that we let the voice of God be heard and give the minority a fair and just hearing. Many of the Greek people face great trials now and for the foreseeable future, yet are the cared for? Banks are not concerned with them; they want books balanced no matter what. It is also fair to say that if this nation is being treated unjustly we must stand with them, as we should with any other nation in difficult circumstances, for God does not look on partiality with favour (Deut 10:17, Rom 2:6-11).

The gospel does challenge the core of the consumerist globalized economy. Christ took our poverty that we may inherit his riches. Pray that this situation will be dealt with justly and not purely with the goggles of financial remuneration at the core. On a personal level, we never know the day that it could be us in such a position of financial vulnerability.

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