As an ordained minister and Christian attorney who has primarily practiced bankruptcy law for the past 13 years, I am often asked if it is acceptable for Christians to file bankruptcy.
While the consideration of filing bankruptcy is difficult for the vast majority of people, it presents a serious spiritual struggle for Christians. Most Christians feel that they have failed God by being poor stewards of the financial resources He has given them. Most struggle with feelings of guilt regarding creditors who will not be paid. Some believe that the Bible condemns bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy contemplates the “forgiveness” of debt. The Bible, likewise, contains debt forgiveness laws. Under U.S. law, a debtor may only receive a discharge of debts in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy once every eight (8) years. Under Biblical law, the release of debts came at the end of seven (7) years.
Christian attorneys Matthew Tozer and Ben Lofstedt have written an article titled “Is Bankruptcy Scriptural?” They begin with the premise that bankruptcy laws contemplate the “forgiveness” of debt and that the Bible also contains debt forgiveness laws:
“At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts. And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the LORD’s release.” Deuteronomy 15:1-2 (NKJV).
The authors go on to discuss a number of Old Testament and New Testament verses that discuss the concepts of sin, mercy, forgiveness and equity.
Their ultimate conclusion, and one with which I agree, is that it is not a sin for a Christian to file bankruptcy. However, a Christian’s decision as to whether or not to file bankruptcy should only be made after spending much time in prayer seeking wisdom and direction from God and then seeking legal advice from an attorney with extensive knowledge of the bankruptcy laws.
As a Christian attorney and ordained minister, I am sensitive to the spiritual struggles Christians experience when contemplating filing bankruptcy. If you have serious debt problems and would like to discuss how bankruptcy may be able to help, contact me today by phone or email to schedule a FREE initial consultation. I would count it a privilege to be able to visit with you in a relaxed and confidential environment where I’ll answer all of your questions in plain English and give you the straight scoop on the pros and cons of bankruptcy as related to your specific situation.