Is it okay to steal even if a minister says it is?

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R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
WSC student, OURC intern, and PB member Dan Borvan joins the Heidelcast today to talk about the application of the 8th commandment.

http://heidelblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/heidelcast-episode-16-jan-10-2010.mp3

Q. 110: What does God forbid in the eighth commandment?

A: God forbids not only those thefts, and robberies, which are punishable by the magistrate; but he comprehends under the name of theft all wicked tricks and devices, whereby we design to appropriate to ourselves the goods which belong to our neighbor: whether it be by force, or under the appearance of right, as by unjust weights, ells, measures, fraudulent merchandise, false coins, usury, or by any other way forbidden by God; as also all covetousness, all abuse and waste of his gifts.

Q. 111: But what does God require in this commandment?

A: That I promote the advantage of my neighbor in every instance I can or may; and deal with him as I desire to be dealt with by others: further also that I faithfully labour, so that I may be able to relieve the needy.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
"Okay" is increasingly used in ethical discussions, but to me it seems to be a term that is void of any kind of ethical motive or imperative. What do you think?
 

AThornquist

Puritan Board Doctor
"Okay" is increasingly used in ethical discussions, but to me it seems to be a term that is void of any kind of ethical motive or imperative. What do you think?

It seems okay to me.

( :) You may certainly be right though because it is often used to mean "not wrong," and therefore neither good or evil. It describes moral nothingness.)
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
"Ok" is a term describing moral neutrality--that is acts that in and of themselves are morally neither commanded nor forbidden. For example, nowhere in the Bible are we forbidden from consuming alcoholic beverages, nor are we commanded to do so. Therefore it is ok to do so.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
"Ok" is a term describing moral neutrality--that is acts that in and of themselves are morally neither commanded nor forbidden. For example, nowhere in the Bible are we forbidden from consuming alcoholic beverages, nor are we commanded to do so. Therefore it is ok to do so.

This is the problem. Neutrality has led to indifference and obscured the fact that there are positive reasons from the law of love for following or not following a course of action.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
That's why there is the qualifier "in and of itself"--the morality of an "ok" act is determined by its motivation--and even then, some choices are morally neutral--my choice between tea and coffee tomorrow morning, for instance.
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
As much as discussion has centered on "okay", I'm as much troubled by the "even if" aspect of that sentence.

:)
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
I have never listened to an audio file online in my life but I'm tempted now.

The theft of usury? So being confessional means you can't have any money in the bank, at interest. :) Mr. Recovering Reformed Confessions is against banking and interest? ( hey go for it, sounds biblical to me!). Do they not use banks if the banks are participating in usury? I can't picture how to not bow in the temple of Rimmon on that one, with bills to pay.

Now the Federal Reserve monetary policy started in 1914 is theft. (but variations have been around on and off since Eden). Inflation steals from savers and pensioners. I happen to think Treasury bonds are theft and buying them is participation in sin, even if a minister says it is OK to have T bonds.

So should I listen and be cheering this audio as they say Ron Paul is just about the only guy in DC who should not be thrown in jail? Is two kingdoms WSC finally addressing the Federal reserve and inflationary theft here? Or is this just a rant against the latest popular TV preacher? Should I ask hubby to burn me a CD? So what's this about? Thanks.
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
Lynnie,

There is a distinction between "usury" and "interest." In the 16th century there were strict regulations in Geneva and Heidelberg on the amount of interest that could be charged. They were not exactly libertarian free-marketeers. They weren't opposed to charging interest. This was a shift from the medieval practice which tended to prohibit Christians from charging interest to other Christians. Jews, however, were allowed (hence the rise of the Jewish banking families).

You should listen to the interview. Why would you not listen to an audio file? There's a lot of good stuff to hear (e.g. Office Hours, White Horse Inn, Heidelcast, Covenant Radio, Reformed Forum, Abounding Grace, WSC Devotions).
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
Thanks for the clarification.

I read at a couple economics board and there are families that have dropped out of the usury system. They cash checks somewhere and use money orders and have no credit cards. (They also tend to load up on guns and survival items and buy remote farms.....somehow I couldn't picture the WSC folks that way, hence my curiosity at this post). And they all equate the system with theft ( I agree in general, good banking ended a while ago when Glass Steagall was repealed and they could gamble our deposits away).

I don't listen to online audios for the same reason I don't do facebook....I need to homeschool, seek the Lord, take care of the home, be part of a church, and read a queue of great books..... and its one more addiction to avoid starting. But maybe I will try and carefully check out a few, thanks.
 

tt1106

Puritan Board Freshman
There is alot of great stuff online. To be honest, it is also helpful to direct your children to edifying content and how to find it.
For example, my daughters can listen and watch Dr. White's channel on youtube and learn about reformed heritage and theology. it has already been helpful in my daughters fight against secularism at Public middle school.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Re: usage of ambiguous terms to denote the morality of an action or thing: I was wondering about the word 'good' being used in two different senses. Scripture says 'every creature of God is good' and 'it is not good for man to be alone' etc.; but it doesn't seem like the same sort of goodness that is enjoined on us by the law, where an action is good or evil. However I am unclear as to what would constitute the difference?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Re: usage of ambiguous terms to denote the morality of an action or thing: I was wondering about the word 'good' being used in two different senses. Scripture says 'every creature of God is good' and 'it is not good for man to be alone' etc.; but it doesn't seem like the same sort of goodness that is enjoined on us by the law, where an action is good or evil. However I am unclear as to what would constitute the difference?

There may or may not be a moral sense to "good" in Gen. 2; commentators tending to take it more as a reference to man's holistic nature. The reference to the creature being "good" is specifically moral, as is clear from the context. This highlights the point of non-neutrality well. It is "good" in the sense that it can be received with thanksgiving and therefore used to the glory of God. An action that was simply "OK" would be neither here nor there with respect to the glory of God, and hence fails to meet the criteria of morality which is taught in reformed theology, e.g., WCF 16.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Thank you, Rev. Winzer: to clarify, the 'goodness' of the creature then does not inhere in the creature, but in the usage of it? Or does goodness inhere in the creature insofar as the creature is susceptible of being received with thanksgiving -- used to the glory of God? (I hope that is not too confused.)
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Aspects like "uti" and "frui" (to use and enjoy) are part and parcel of theistic ethics because of the view that God is the ultimate source of all goodness. It is all one whether we say the creature is good or the creature can be put to a good use since our theistic worldview makes goodness a value that is defined by God and in relation to God.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Thank you again, Rev. Winzer (my 'thanks' button is not reloaded currently :) -- I will think more about that -- the goodness 'inheres' in God, then, primarily.
 
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