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Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Berean, Dec 4, 2011.
continue to serve as an active Deacon after filing Chapter 7 bankrupcy?
I don't think it's a cut and dry answer. I would depend on the circumstances.
Maybe the church should have helped him out. But instead hes gonna be judged from this mishap, typical left foot of fellowship.
Sorry, I'm in a grouchy mood this morning.
I don't think there is a one size fits all answer here. First you need to ask what is the role of deacons in your church? If the deacons give of their own resources to help others who are down and out, it may be that the bankrupt deacon is no longer in a position to do so. He may need help himself. However, if your deacons are more like spiritual leaders and administrators, the bankrupt deacon could probably continue to serve effectively.
The second consideration is why did this person have to file bankruptcy. If it is a business failure, large medical bills or something else that he could not control, it should make no difference. However, if the bankruptcy was brought on by out of control spending habits, then I believe the church should ask him to step aside, at least for a while.
This has happened once in my church and the deacon tendered his resignation. It was a business failure and the church did not accept the resignation.
Until one has found themself totally and completely destroyed financially you will not be able to identify with this burden in your life. I had to file for bankruptcy. It was not something I wanted to do and was contrary to the work ethic for which I was raised..., but things happen.
In his day, Job was the equivalent of a multi-millionaire. Wham! He was destroyed, lost all his children and laid sick for many, many months. His closest friends, many such as the friends of the deacon you speak of..., looked down on him and blame him for his situation.
Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. If your deacon friend is bankrupt due to riotous living then he got what he deserved. If the Lord allowed it to happen there is a legitimate reason for it and if your deacon is a faithful Christian he will come out better on the other end.
As you would not look down on one dying with cancer do not look down on one dying in financial ruin. Sometimes it just happens. Step down as a Deacon...? No.
We had a deacon who went bankrupt in both his business and his personal finances when I was young. He was a fighter and paid all his debts off even though the courts mandated he didn't have to do so. He went back into business and passed it to his sons who run it to this day.
Things happen. Many times they are beyond our control. I think we need to be forgiving in many cases.
Something that I came to realize while going through my ordeal (bankruptcy) is that it is totally legal for lenders to utilize really big screws when dealing with their customers. The idea regarding the Free Market is that if a customer is willing to pay the price then said price is not high at all. Most of us actually believe that legitimate business utilize sound business tactics but they don't.
The problem comes in when the tricky "fine print" is over-looked or not understood, the outrageous way interest is compounded, what you waive when you sign the bottom line, along with that endless list of almost-criminal extortion tactics utilized by the money changers, not to mention their legal avenues to collect even if you're in the hospital and unable to work.
So, our various State Governments have had to step into the arena offering a way to keep Guido and the Boys from breaking your legs for non-payment. The law does however mandate that one can only file for bankruptcy protection once ever seven years. This certainly is a good stipulation as it does protect business from unscrupulous individuals who deliberately go in over their heads on purpose. Otherwise responsible individuals take the necessary steps to ensure they do not find themselves back in that mess the second time.
What I am about to say will seem to be double talk, and maybe slightly judgmental. But I assure you that I do not mean it that way.
I am not going to say that there is never a cause for bankrupcy, or that it is always wrong to declare it. However, I personally have never heard a case where declaring bankrupcy was not wrong. At one point in my life, my wife and I had considered bankrupcy, for we had a lot of medical bills, as well as a lot of credit card debt due to my not being able to hold a job during this time of my ill health. We decided that even though it was not our fault, it would be sin for us to deprive these people of the money that we owed them. We worked and went without, got a company to talk to our creditors and lowered our interest rates, and finally about 20 months ago got completely out of debt.
It is my opinion that (and this goes back to what someone else said, about what your deacons' role is in the church) anyone who files for bankrupcy shold not be allowed to be a leader in the church until it is taken care of. Even though it may not be their fault, bankrupcy is robbing people who are due money.
...anyone who files for bankrupcy shold not be allowed to be a leader in the church until it is taken care of. Even though it may not be their fault, bankrupcy is robbing people who are due money.
With all due respect..., this is Amazing! Absolutely Amazing!
"You", were able to work yourself out of it. Good for you.
My neighbor has been in a nursing home for the past five (5) years with no prospect of ever coming out and, having his wife pass last year. Through a legal guardian his estate had to enter into bankruptcy.
Clearly, not everyone is able to work through it as you suggest. Between you and me I consider your position to be a bit more than slightly judgmental. Not because I had to file bankruptcy and attempting to justify and/or defend my position here but often..., many people simply have no other option and no other way to "work" themselves out of being in debt and there isn't a Believer anywhere in the World justified in looking down on another in this type of situation.
Well, I have looked at the qualifications for a deacon in the bible, but I cannot find one that even mentions "Chapter 7 Bankruptcy", whatever that might be - Chapter 7 of what?
We are told that deacons must be reverent, not double-toungued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, husbands of one wife, and ruling their children and their households well.
I can see that filing for bakruptcy could result from some of those things, such as being given to much wine (and therefore spending a lot of money on it), being greedy for money (and trying to obtain it by risky means, then ending up losing, rather than gaining) or not ruling the household well. But does a person never become bankrupt through no fault on their part?
I don't know your situation, and I don't know others' situations. So I can not definitively say that in every situation it would be wrong to declare bankrupcy. I can, however, say that in no case I have found that is was ok to declare it. As I stated before, when someone declares bankrupcy, they are robbing others who are entitled to that money. Others might even look upon it as a lack of faith (I personally don't, but there is a valid argument there.)
I don't look down on anyone who's had financial troubles, or anyone who's declared bankrupcy. For me, it would be sin. But it is not for me to judge you or anyone else. However, I am entitled to my opinion.
But does a person never become bankrupt through no fault on their part?
Did Job's critics/best friends/brothers in God sit in judgement of him? They certainly did. Five thousand years later a Christian ends up in the soup while his critics/best friends/brother in Christ/Church Body in general sit in judgement. What has changed in the minds of men over all these years?
I met a man a couple of years ago who was a Biker for Christ. Yes, he had been a hard core Biker who was on his way to murder another biker in another gang. On the way he was stopped for speeding and subsequently arrested for out-standing warrants, carrying a concealed weapon and upon release from prison after a five year stint, he told of walking away from that prison and on the road back to town he cried out to the Lord. He turned himself over to the Lord Jesus.
He is now a Born Again Christian, has turned his life around. Covered with Tattoo's, continues to wear the garb in order to be accepted by other bikers to help break down the door to minister to them.
I doubt very seriously there's very many congregations that would even begin to welcome this guy into their fold.
I am almost of the opinion that many Christians are their own worst enemies. Hey folks..., get it through your heads. It's not all about us but all about the lost and dying slipping into an eternity of damnation.
I would welcome this man with open arms. Depending on how recent his conversion was, I probably wouldn't trust him that much, but I would give him the chance to earn the trust.
People make bad decisions. IMO, bankrupcy is a bad decision. It hurts the testimony of the declarer. Does that mean I love someone who's declared bankrupcy less? Not by any stretch of the imagination. I just am of the opinion that they should not be in leadership positions until the entire situation is resolved.
These are good testimonies. It's the wicked that borrow and pay not again, Psa 37:21.
I think in cases of bankruptcy, we should understand the universal, non-optional principle that the borrower is servant to the lender, and you cannot serve God and money. I think it is right that one step out of his office to get his finances in order.
Opinions are like noses. Everyone has one. Needless to say, I've expressed "my opinion" regarding this matter of bankruptcy and rest assured, I am not going to roll over and play dead should some alleged Christian begin to look down their nose at be because I don't meet "their" expectations and not have as much money as they have in the bank.
How much money did Jesus have?
When you read testimonies of people who have come through severe calamities in their lives and lived to tell about them..., often you will hear of the wondrous insights they were provided by the Lord, the wisdom they gleaned from said calamity and usually followed with a greater appreciation for what the Lord showed them as a result of trial and hardship.
Too many great lessons are not being learned as Christians. As I said before, I am of the opinion that many Christians are their own worst enemies.
And how much did he owe? Jesus was poor, yes. But he didn't borrow and not return.
As the other bethren have posted on this OP...
A Lot of this depends on the cicumstances involving why behind financially...
IFmedical, unexpected, beyond control, than think its still ok to remain, as long as getting financially counseled going forward...
IF due to just being greedy, living beyond means and finally had to pay the piper...
Think that person shoukld vol to steep down in order to get their financial affairs in order!
And how much did he owe? Jesus was poor, yes. But he didn't borrow and not return.
How then did He pay His way? Didn't I read somewhere about a coin in the mouth of a fish?
Unlike many today making car payments; big screen TV payments; cable bill payments; cell phone payments; or otherwise giving the appearance of living a Champagne life with a Beer income.
There is a lesson contained herein that most all Christians are completely over-looking, that most preachers do not preach on all the while the need exists.
Would you believe me if I tell you that since my wife and I went through the courts, we have the same amount of income today (with less buying potential) that we had at the beginning of the process..., and the Lord has provided and blessed us with more than we ever expected.
Ask me if we have learned a valuable lesson regarding all of this? For sure, we learned that we don't need all of what we thought we needed. For me, that's a plus..., not something for another to peer over their glasses for.
Three weeks ago I came within about an hour and a half from having a major heart attack. Within 45 minutes, the skill of a medical doctor and a Stent, I now feel like I'm 40 years old again.
Since then, the changes in my opinion, attitude, outlook and strangely enough, even some of my mannerisms have changed. I can now sleep 8 to 10 hours a night rather than the average 6 hours prior to, and waking up with a headache. I've pondered all of this since coming home from the hospital and you would be amazed at what I come to realize from my Lord and this close brush with death or disability.
As stated, sometimes Christian suffer through calamities in their lives for the purpose of the Lord getting their attention. Everything the Lord does for us, allows us to suffer through, is for our benefit and growth and no other Christian in the world has the right to take an opposing opinion.
Don't you see what I'm trying to say here? It's not specifically about the bankruptcy but rather, the position that our peers take to justify them kicking their brothers and sisters while they lay on the floor.
Christians should practice being good Samaritans when a member of the body is hurting for whatever reason.
I agree. And filing bankrupcy (IMO) is taking the easy way out. It relieves you of responsibility that is yours (whether or not it was your fault is irrelevent), and hurts your testimony. It also robs people of money that they are entitled to.
I am not trying to kick anyone. I am simply answering the OP. Anything can be overcome, past or present. If someone has declared bankrupcy, I am not judging them. But for me, it would be sin. And it is my opinion that a leader should step down in that situation, until the matter is resolved.
And filing bankrupcy (IMO) is taking the easy way out.
That's fine. Should you ever find yourself having to face the prospect of bankruptcy..., get back up with me then to explain your position.