for answers to the economic
crisis characterized as the
worst since the Great
But, as so
often happens, we are looking in
all the wrong places.
it's not fashionable to suggest
the Bible as a source of wisdom
on matters of contemporary
concern. Ask me if I care.
others are turning to their
favorite economists for answers,
I've been turning to the one and
only inerrant book inspired by
the sovereign Creator of the
universe. I think everyone else
is crazy for not looking there.
does the Bible say about our
current economic morass?
thing, it explains how to avoid
such catastrophes – and, I
believe, how to fix this one.
all, you've got to understand
the fundamental problem we have
is one of gargantuan debt.
That's the central problem in
the mortgage scandal. It's the
reason banks and investment
houses are going out of
business. It's the reason the
is failing. And it's the reason
so many Americans, burdened by
has much to say about debt. It
has a radical solution for it,
too. Though, I confess, I doubt
many will be willing to listen –
since our society moves further
from the principles of the Bible
on a daily basis.
what it's worth, I'm going to
offer it as my own prescription
for the economic crisis that is
now affecting the entire world.
I know how America can reclaim
its position as a shining city
on a hill in that world right
now in addressing its own
– not just with a bailout
Band-Aid, but with a permanent
and lasting solution that is
just, fair and compassionate.
is found in Leviticus 25. It's
called the year of jubilee. It
is a system of forgiveness of
debts that occurred in ancient
Israel every 50 years. And,
ironically, it just so happens a
new year of jubilee began last
week on Yom Kippur, or the Day
of Atonement – the highest holy
day in the Hebrew calendar.
not George Bush or John McCain
or Barack Obama or Ben Bernanke
could see our current crisis
coming, God clearly could. He
understood thousands of years
ago that debt would ultimately
spiral out of hand if left
unchecked. So, along with many
other important economic lessons
we have forgotten, He gave us a
prescription that would protect
people from the kind of pain
they are feeling today, from the
kind of injustice our government
is sticking us with today, from
the kind of oppression all but
the very wealthiest are
jubilee year was part of the
– something few Christians even
understand today, despite the
fact that honoring the Sabbath
part of the Ten Commandments.
The last day of the week, not
first, was to be kept holy,
set apart from servile work,
maintained as the Lord's day.
Likewise, every seventh year was
to be kept as a sabbatical for
the land. No crops were to be
grown, no orchards planted.
Storehouses were to be
maintained for grain and dried
during the six non-sabbatical
years for the seventh, eighth
and even ninth years when the
pattern of sowing and reaping
would begin again.
was yet another Sabbath. After
seven cycles of sabbatical years
– a total of 49 years – the 50th
year was special in another way.
The Hebrew year 5769, which
commenced last Thursday, is one
of these special jubilee years.
should happen according to God's
simple. But, as I said, it's
radical. You will be told there
are thousands of reasons we
could never accept such a
solution. And that's why we will
continue to put Band-Aids on the
patient who is rapidly bleeding
In a year
of jubilee, you declare all
debts forgiven. Period. End of
story. It was not only a year to
set captives free and to end the
bondage and oppression of men,
it was also a time to cancel all
think of no better solution for
be better than a tax cut. It
would be better than another
"stimulus package." It would be
better than the bailout. It
would be better than any other
wealth-redistribution program on
the table or off.