The Reformed Deacon

Biblical Financial Wisdom

March 01, 2024 a Podcast from the OPC Committee on Diaconal Ministries Season 3 Episode 7
The Reformed Deacon
Biblical Financial Wisdom
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, Shiloh OPC, Raleigh, NC Deacon and CDM member Tim Hopper welcomes Dr. Jim Newheiser, professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC and author of the book, "Money, Debt and Finances: Critical Questions and Answers."

Dr. Newheiser says the goal of his book is to bring together finance, accounting, and investing with a Biblical perspective that is rooted in sound theology. "I really believe in the sufficiency of Scripture to guide us in life," he says.  In this episode, Dr. Newheiser wisely points out that we have freedom to spend money, "and we can't tell someone how to spend, but to use godly wisdom. So much of our life involves our vocation, our responsibility to provide, [and] our stewardship of the resources God has given us."

Referenced in this episode:
"Money, Debt and Finances: Critical Questions and Answers" by Dr. Jim Newheiser
Review of "Money, Debt and Finances: Critical Questions and Answers" from New Horizons December 2021
Financial Crisis: What to Do When the Bottom Drops Out by Jim Newheiser
Money: Seeking God's Wisdom (31-Day Devotionals for Life) by Jim Newheiser
How to Love Difficult Parents: Wisdom for a Challenging Relationship by Jim Newheiser
The Institue for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship

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Dr. Jim Newheiser:

So I guess one thing that struck me the most was how often you come across something where the Bible gives principles of wisdom that we have to apply with a realm of freedom, and even in counseling, not to tell people exactly what they must do in a particular situation.

David Nakhla:

Welcome to The Reformed Deacon, a casual conversation with topics specifically designed to help local Reformed deacons. There are nearly a thousand deacons in the OPC alone, so let's take this opportunity to learn from and encourage one another. We're so glad you could join us. Let's jump into our next episode.

Tim Hopper:

I'm Tim Hopper, a deacon at Shiloh Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. On today's podcast, I'm joined by a special guest, Dr Jim Newheiser, who is the director of the Christian counseling program and a professor of Pastoral Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. Newheiser is the author of several books, including the one we're going to discuss today, "Money, Debt, and Finances Critical Questions and Answers". This is a book that's very useful for deacons and we asked him to come on the podcast to discuss it with us. Welcome, Dr. Newheiser. Thanks, glad to be with you. Can you share a little bit of the background of this book? You have your own unique background that may be something people wouldn't expect and that has helped lead to the writing of this book.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

I majored in accounting and finance and management at University and spent the first several years of my career working with computers and finance and accounting, originally for what's called Accenture, and then what was what is ExxonMobil, and also, had experiences in my 20s where we worked overseas and were able to save money and also watching what people did when they were making more money than they ever had in their lives. As we saved money, we're very young, or made a lot of money, at least for us at the time. We had to learn to manage it and it became just an area of interest of mine. Now, I would add, the whole time I was also very involved in ministry. We were actually in Saudi Arabia where I was pastoring a group while I was doing my work with the computers and the finance stuff.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

But I had a desire from many, many years before to try to bring together the background in finance, accounting, investing along with a Biblical perspective that would be rooted in sound theology. I heard about Dave Ramsey many years ago and I think many people like his very practical and also folksy advice that he gives. But even the way I pitched it to the publisher I would like to provide Kind of Dave Ramsey but with exegesis and theology, and also there's some things in Dave Ramsey that I think are a bit legalistic, and so I think we need to point out here's what the Bible says we must do like, we must work, we must give, but then I think that we also have a lot of freedom and some matters where he can be a little more strict.

Tim Hopper:

Yeah, that's helpful. What are or what audience did you have in mind as you're writing it? It's it's not an academic, know p ublication, it's very practical. Is that—— I assume that was the goal going into it.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

Sure, yeah, and even though I teach at a seminary, I don't feel like I'm the academic guy. I think I'm an ordinary pastor and I'm now teaching future ordinary pastors and counselors. So I think that the audience would be the same mainstream audience for other practical Christian books. Money is an issue that you know affects everybody and I would say, you know, I would hope people who could read Dave Ramsey's book could read my book and mine might be a bit, well, a lot more references to scripture and explanation, not maybe not as folksy, but I think certainly people who can read on that level.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

The book can be used in a couple of different ways. I've had some people who would just read straight through the book, but it's arrangement in a question-and-answer format also makes it possible for people to use it as a reference. So you know my friend's trying to get me involved in a multi-level marketing scheme. Hey, what do you know? There's a chapter on considering multi- level marketing. Or you know my extended family's going on a trip to Las Vegas and they expect me to gamble with them. And how does the Bible speak to an issue like that? Or I just won a bunch of, I just, I hope you didn't win it in the lottery because I wouldn't like that, b ut you know, I just inherited some money and what are biblical principles of wisdom, practically of how to invest it, so you can kind of jump around. I could see counselors using it as a reference as they encounter people with various issues, or even getting their counselorees to read certain parts of it. So I hope people are finding it useful in various ways.

Tim Hopper:

Yeah, this is just occurring to me, but one of the times that our deacons try to encourage people to be financially thoughtful and wise is especially when young couples are married, you know, try to take the opportunity to talk to them as we're able, but I think this would be a great book to get in the hands of those young couples as they're getting married and combining finances and, you know, often starting off their adult financial life. I think it'd be really helpful. As the years go on, there are a lot of questions that will become relevant.

Tim Hopper:

You know, you have things, even the wisdom of you know buying car, financing cars, leasing cars, and a lot of very practical things. As we get into that, what does the Bible have to say about money? Is the Bible this is a 300- page book, a lot of chapters is the Bible have that much to say about money?

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

I feel like I was in summary mode rather than exhaustive mode. II Timothy. 3, 16 and 17 says the scripture equips us for every good work, and part of that I mean so much of our life involves our vocation, our responsibility to provide, our stewardship of the resources God has given us. And so from Genesis, where we were given a dominion to be productive, and then the troubles with our productivity because of the fall, you have many principles for commerce and the law have still wisdom for us, although we're not under the Old Testament law. The book of Proverbs addresses virtually everything in terms of how to be successful in earning money—the problems of the sluggard, the wisdom of saving, the folly of debt. The New Testament also Jesus has many parables and teachings about financial issues. And then Paul also brings up the exhortations to the rich. James addresses rich and poor. So I think 300 pages is barely enough to summarize what the Bible says about financial issues..

Tim Hopper:

Yeah, that's really helpful. As you were writing it, did you change your mind or really develop your own opinion on things, on any particular thing?

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

I think that probably the most encouraging aspect to me is that I really believe in the sufficiency of Scripture to guide us in life. Every single question or topic that I can think of, there is wisdom in the Scripture to address that. Sometimes even you come across something and you think, well, I'm not sure. Then you start doing some research and you can see there are principles there. I think another aspect is that there are situations in which the Bible gives us freedom. Some people want specific answers.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

An example would be in 1 Timothy 6, as Paul speaks to the rich. He says let the rich in this present world not trust in the uncertainty of riches, but to be rich in good works. He's not shaming them for being rich. He's not saying they can't continue to save some of their money. He doesn't have to give it all away. He says even that God has given all things to enjoy. Wealth brings greater enjoyment of the things that God has made in the world.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

He also says we should be generous, but he doesn't define specifically exactly the lifestyle we should live, exactly how much we should give away, how much we should save. We have a lot of responsibility there. It also brings concerns of legalism, comparing it to other approaches, where like Dave Ramsey would say you can never have a credit card or here's the way to get rid of your debt, I would say those are a way to approach things, but there's nothing in the Bible that tells you you can't have a credit card. If you use it responsibly, there can be benefits. It's true that many people misuse them. So I guess one thing that struck me the most was how often you come across something where the Bible gives principles of wisdom that we have to apply within a realm of freedom and even in counseling, not to tell people exactly what they must do in a particular situation.

Tim Hopper:

Yeah, that is a very relevant point for deacons, as we meet with folks in our church and advise them and counsel them and try not to bind their consciences on things that scripture doesn't require. As we think about that, I've been in deacon now for 12 years. I think one of the things I've realized over the years is how much deacons are counselors, and something even with that lesson I've learned from David Paulson and others is how much Christians are counselors. As we just interact with one another, we have the opportunity to counsel one another, but particularly as deacons, we sometimes write checks to help solve problems. But I think a lot of times the bigger work we do is just in meeting with people who are in situations of financial need or sickness and we're able to give them comfort in Christ. So, that connects to your interest in Christian counseling and wondering if you might be able to then connect that back to thinking about how this book could be useful for deacons in their work and how they might use it in a church situation.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

Yeah, I can think of several ways. I've had couples come to me in financial trouble and maybe not all pastors and elders are the best people to be helping into those situations, but in my background it's something I've been comfortable working with. And, so, here they are and they're in debt and they're every month losing money. And, so, for example, the book after the general principles of money, it tells what does the Bible say about earning money and the summary would be work hard like go to the ant, P roverbs 10, the hand of the diligent will be blessed. But also to work smart, Proverbs says, "Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings. He will not serve ordinary men. If you're working at minimum wage, you can work 70 hours a week and not provide for a family. You can acquire a skill where you can make $50 an hour instead of $15 an hour and provide for a family. And, so, in some cases it's sitting down with people and analyzing their situation is how can you acquire better skills so that you can make more money? Or how do you need to be more diligent, perhaps even to do side jobs or something to provide for your family? And, so, that would be one aspect is if you're falling short financially, then do you need to increase income? There's also a lot in the book about creating a budget wisely. I've often sat down with couples and just making a list of where do you think the money's going. Let's go back over debit card and credit card receipts or statements and figure out where it's going and seek to,

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

Proverbs 21:5 is one of my favorite financial verses. The plans of the diligent lead to advantage and those who are hasty come to poverty. I've many times sat down with an individual or a couple and we make a spreadsheet. Just what are your expenses? This is an example of legalism. I can't tell you what kind of phone to buy, what kind of phone plan to have, how many Starbucks you can have. I can't tell you the debt is very bad and that you need to have more money coming in, or at least equal to what's going out, and you need to be prepared for the future. Then let's look at your budget together, which you're spending and decide well, maybe I can't have Starbucks six days a week or whatever.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

I think there are steps of creating a budget. There are principles of where we should be spending our money and giving. Those would be some examples, I guess, moving to the latter part of the book, if somebody gets an inheritance and there are many bad investment advisors out there who are self-interested and I've had some really tragic things happen to people I know how do we wisely navigate the responsibility of an inheritance. For example, I had a case of a man who inherited a sizable amount of money and he met a guy at church who convinced him to buy a certain type of annuity and lend money to actually the business of the man in church. The money in the business was lost and the money in the annuity was locked up. And terrible. And so, warning people about how to choose investment advisors and then how to wisely steward our finances that we may have savings for the future.

Tim Hopper:

Yeah, that's helpful. In the OPC we have a lot of really small churches and many with small diaconates, and I think I've been blessed to be at a church with several deacons. We're always able to talk through issues and bounce ideas off one another. But I think even for churches with small deacons this is a helpful resource and the book can become your sounding board as maybe your solo deacon and you think through these things and it's really helpful to just be able to have somebody else's input and I think especially the way the book is structured in a Q&A format makes that particularly accessible.

Tim Hopper:

Something you just alluded to that comes up actually fairly regularly is the idea of earning more money. I'm a graduate of Grove City College, a reputable Christian college, and our career services department was always telling us of how employers just love Grove City students and how they get snatched up and hired right away. I had a friend in college who was a little bit cynical, who used to share the perspective that employers just like Grove City students because they were Christians and taught to be content and not complain, and then they wouldn't ask for raises and cost the company a lot of money, which there's maybe some truth to. But one of the pieces of advice that we often need to give to people is you need to earn more money when people are being careful and still not being able to make ends meet and they need to think about that. Is that wrong for Christians to have that perspective of aspiring to making more money?

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

The warnings in Scripture regarding finances is about the love of money and putting your trust in money in 1 Timothy 6, not in having resources. There are actually many verses in the book of Proverbs describing the blessings that God gives with a certain amount of wealth. It's a protection against trouble and being prepared for the future. So 1 Timothy 5 says that if you don't provide wealth for your family, you're like an infidel or worse than an infidel. And so for most of us to earn well, the motive being we can give more to the Lord that we can provide wealth for our families.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

There are many couples where the wife would love to have children and it's being delayed because they're not making enough money, or she'd like to be home with her children, and for the husband to figure out how can I earn more money or budget more carefully so that my wife can be at home? Or, instead of driving a 25-year-old Corolla with five people in our family, I could buy a decent minivan. So I think the desire to take care of your family, to give to the Lord's work yes, it's the motivation, as opposed to my meaning is established by how much money I have and how nice a car I drive, and I dedicated my book to productive people that the reason I have a building to meet in and a salary I'm being paid as a seminary professor and for 30 years before that, as a pastor, is because people have worked hard and worked smart and they've been productive and they've given generously People who had skills that other people valued, and produced goods and services that other people were glad to pay well for, which then enabled them not only to be comfortable in this world but also to be able to be a blessing and invest in the kingdom. And so, again, I think it's the motivation and the trust and it's a good thing to be successful. I'll give you what other is that.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

Our church has some men who are entrepreneurs. Not only are they creating valuable goods and services for others, as they've been successful, they've been able to employ other believers, train young men, to gain skills by which they can provide for a family, and so all of this, as you read Proverbs, it's how the Lord has set it up, and you see people engaging in commerce, engaging in gaining skills, providing valuable goods and services. That's a blessing for those who receive those, as well as a blessing for that person and those he can bless.

Tim Hopper:

That's a very, very helpful answer. Thank you for that. Also. I've also been privileged to serve as our church treasurer for a long time. We have two pastors who we're able to provide for, and I get to really make that connection between seeing people who are able to give and then being able to provide for our pastors who serve us so faithfully. And if we had everyone adopting a monastic vow of poverty or something that wouldn't be the case, and the Lord's able to use those. And so, yeah, you mentioned RTS and just so many ministries that are supported that we're so blessed with in our day, yes, missions, yeah. Are there any common misconceptions that you think American Christians have about money and finances? We live here in one of the most, if not the most, affluent societies ever, where even our poor often have more than a lot of the world. Are there common misconceptions that we've fallen into? Yeah, yes.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

I think that there are some that maybe come from bad theology, where you have people saying the name and inclaim it prosperity, gospel people who, quite frankly, there's so many ways that people undermine God's way of gaining wealth, which is working hard and working smart, and they'll try to say, well, if you give a bunch of money to this ministry, then God's going to make you rich, or even that whatever, if you follow a certain rules spiritually, that God is going to make you rich. And yet we have many faithful brothers and sisters all over the world who aren't rich and are struggling financially. So I think, even understanding in a fallen world, people who may be working hard and doing the best they can, may struggle. And then, living in our particular culture, I think there can be a problem of being discontent where you can.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

First of all, comparison isn't good anyway. First, Timothy, if we have food and clothing with these, we should be content. Paul, for Philippians 4, talks about being. He's alerted to be content in all circumstances. But I think if you're driving whatever 10-year-old Corolla and somebody else has got the New Tesla, we can be tempted to envy and be tempted to think that those who have the nicer house, the nicer car are better off than we are. And then, because our culture does so much with debt, christians can be influenced by culture and make unwise financial decisions, which borrower becomes the lender's slave. So just even that money will make you happy, and even secular studies show that wealth does not correspond to people's happiness. And yeah, so just I think the world tries to. Romans 12 says don't be conformed to this world. I think the world is constantly pressuring us to adopt their values, that money and stuff, for what matter most and the great treasure we have, proverbs says, is the Lord and the wisdom he gives us.

Tim Hopper:

Yeah, amen, that's very helpful. You've mentioned debt a few times. Do you think it's outright wrong for Christians to have debt?

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

Yeah, that's a great question. I think that debt is generally well.. t The wisdom of Proverbs is the debt is to be avoided. I don't think there's a law in the Bible saying you can never borrow money, but Proverbs describes the bad things that can happen when you do borrow money, as you become a slave to the debt, and so we can see all kinds of bad things that happen. Practically People charge up their credit cards.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

I actually have a case this afternoon of a couple who have gotten deeply in debt with their finances and are all messed up, and so debt is very dangerous because you have the allure I can have something now and I'd have to come up with the money to pay for it, and so it can be misused in many ways. It's very vivid when it talks about incurring the debt of others. It says why should you have your bed taken out from underneath you? And Proverbs says that's a very vivid picture of what can happen to you. They take your car, they take your house, and I've counseled people who've gone through bankruptcy, have had their houses foreclosed, and it's because, generally because of unwise use of debt, of gratifying instant gratification without planning for the future, being prepared. But it's not forbidden to have any debt and you could say well, if you charge a dollar on your credit card, technically you're in debt until you pay the bill. But if you incur this very short-term debt and immediately pay it off again, that's another thing. Debt is destructive because of the interest, so you pay twice for things and the rates are exorbitant on credit cards. But somebody could go into debt for whatever and he pays it off because he's planned to pay it off.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

Not many people can buy a house without debt.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

I saw an interesting statistic about how, when I was born late 50s, the average house cost about double the average salary, and now the average house costs many, many more times the average salary, and so sometimes you can pay a mortgage and if you're paying rent, I guess you're paying somebody else's debt.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

So I think we're free to very carefully use debt, but we realize debt can be like playing with fire. So we need to be extraordinarily careful and really the situation I think the Bible would emphasize is don't incur debt that may put you in a position of shame, of not being able to repay, or disaster that would even apply to a house, is that you buy a house. It's good to you know, buying a house could be a good thing for your family for many reasons. It could even be economically as good or better than renting. But if you buy the house that things are so tight that you can't make the payment after a couple of years, that was a bad decision and you want to be in a position where, even if something went wrong, you've got some margin in your finances so that there's very little possibility human speaking, humanly speaking, you'd be in a position where you could not pay back what you owe.

Tim Hopper:

That's very helpful, that's you know. My fear as a deacon in 21st century America is not that I'm going to find out that someone in my church is destitute not being able to eat, but going to find out that somebody makes $50,000 a year and they're $75,000 in credit card debt, you know, 15% interest rate, which is particularly scary to me because it's such a hidden thing, right. Those things can just be going on and you have no idea. Somebody's not talking about it.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

I mean I've even several years ago I would meet college students who hadn't even really worked in the real world yet and they had $100,000 a debt with school and or credit cards. And so I think you know I can't from the Bible say you can't have debt, but I would say that any debt you incur should be done so in a very careful, responsible way. I'll give you another illustration. Like with college, debt is to borrow. You know, college costs $50,000, $60,000 a year and you wind up borrowing over $100,000 to get a degree in some field.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

I do want to mention for less, less to offend people, but there's certain degrees. When you're done you're not making as much as a novice electrician or something. That to incur debt on something that will not be worth what you incurred the debt for is unwise and it's going to be harmful. Now, if you're accepted to medical school, maybe just like buying a house you can't buy a house without debt and maybe you can't go to medical school without debt. But there's also a reasonable prospect that would you have invested in that education will result in you having an income that will make it easy to pay back the debt.

Tim Hopper:

Yeah, very helpful. As we work towards a conclusion, I'd like to ask a few questions about specific diaconal things and how we be proactive in church, and this forms right out of this question about debt. Are there ways, besides buying everybody a copy of your book, that we can help people in our church avoid financial trouble and putting themselves in bad situations?

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

Yeah, I mean a lot of churches do Dave Ramsey financial peace seminars. I've got plenty of work to do without coming to everybody's church and doing this, but I think the idea of offering classes or training on what the Bible says about earning money, saving money, planning for the future, avoiding debt, I think would be valuable to not just on a pragmatic level but to show people explicitly from scripture where that wisdom is. I also think that if we talk about it to people then sometimes that will drive them out of the woodwork. To seek advice is probably for you know, tim, as a deacon or myself when been a pastor, that oftentimes by the time you learn about somebody's debt problem or their financial problem, the boat is already sinking. I've had people come and again borrowing money, took all the equity out of their house and just in desperate situations. Well, if you had come six months ago, it would have been much easier to try to salvage the situation. It is in the Bible, so I think in the preaching ministry the word.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

Some of these things can be brought up Sunday school classes, other matters, and then I guess in individual relationships and visitation. You're not going to catch everything, but when you, you know, when people, a lot of people will talk about, we're struggling financially. A lot of times a wife will tell other wives, and I think, to be proactive and offer and sometimes I'd say like if you don't want to show me your stuff, you don't have to, but if you want to show me what's going on, I think I can probably help you and to make those offers, or even to make general offers publicly, the announcements or whatever means of communication that you know. We have deacons, who, from God, is gifted in managing such matters. And if you, you know, want some counsel or wisdom, here it is. I actually have.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

Actually, I'll mention two other resources that you might be able to use, realizing that not everybody in the church will read a three-hundred page book. I have a mini book by New Growth that's called Financial Crisis, which is just, you know, 20 pages and it's talking about if you find yourself in desperate trouble. Here are steps to take to address the emergency, and it begins by confessing to God where you've sinned. I mean, sometimes we're just victims. Covid happened and your business got clobbered, but you know, examining oneself spiritually and then wise principles in the Bible for digging out of a bad situation.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

I also have in the 31-day devotional series by a PNR. I have one on money which really, in a devotional way, covers a lot of the same principles that the larger book does. It's just two pages per day for 31 days, so it's very. You know, it's less than a fifth the length, but it's really dealing with the hard issues behind our finances, and so that could be. I would encourage you to consider many of those have a bunch on hand for people not just mine but others in that series for families that aren't doing family devotions. They're a really great entry-level opportunity. But then you know, on financial, I've given this to people just, you know, to get the basic principles of wisdom from the scriptures but also dealing with their hard issues as they face these challenges.

Tim Hopper:

That's very helpful, and I'll also mention your book. It does have an audio book edition. That's very good. The chapters are not terribly long, so I mean you could easily listen to a chapter a day and they're 10 minutes or something and get through this book in no time. A little bit of commitment, so, you know, for people who are on the go. I was listening to some of it as I've been preparing for this, thanks, a related question to that, and then you've alluded to I guess really I'm putting on your counseling hat how do deacons help and encourage those who are facing financial troubles outside of just handing them a book, recognizing that, as I said earlier, it's often not just writing a check that solves the problem. But those who are facing financial struggles are likely having anxiety and, you know, maybe doubt and stress. How do we counsel and encourage people in that situation?

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

Yeah, I think that we need to do a lot of listening and different. You know everybody's going to have a different situation and different causes and so I think we have to listen both to what they've been doing, but you know the way they spend money. You know Jesus talked to Luke 6. Out of the heart come our words and our deeds. And so I have a couple cases where a wife, who's at home, I think, is using spending money as a drug, buying more clothes or more jewelry or whatever, and she's using it just like somebody could use food or drink or something just to kind of relieve boredom or stress or something. And so just putting on her budget isn't going to solve the problem If in her heart she believes she needs to every day or every week have new stuff to be happy. Others it could be comparison I need to have what other people have. And we had a case in our church where a guy had a lot of friends who were better off than he and they were living in a certain lifestyle and he spent to keep up with that lifestyle and then he lost his house because he, you know he would have if he would have been content with what he had. But there was comparison and so I think trying to figure out what are the heart issues that led into this, and then I mean with I understand too, with the anxiety. I guess it's certainly something if it's a family for the husband and wife Philippians 4, that be anxious for nothing and everything, with parents' application, with Thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God. It should drive them to pray.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

Some people are victims financially. More people have been foolish. That's where confessing to God and asking for his mercy the psalm says he does not treat us as our sins deserve Seeking his help and trusting him and hoping in him and seeking his wisdom. Where they haven't been following that wisdom, seeking accountability, that's where they are willing to have that accountability with their deacons and elders pastors. The financial crisis was also written for that type of situation. There are some people who don't read anything, and so it might be that the deacons who are helping might need to familiarize yourself with some of this material for myself or others, so that you could bring those principles to them, even if they may not be the ones to read. I'll also add that you've already mentioned the book. There are other resources on the. I'm the director of a ministry called IBCD, the Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship. There's a website, ibcdorg, and there are audios, including audios I've done on financial topics. A lot of people will listen to an audio who won't read a book? And so that's another possibility.

Tim Hopper:

Very helpful, thank you. Another related question to these, something that's been on my mind lately, is thinking about our churches and old age. In America and a lot of countries around the world we have aging populations, so likely our churches are going to be having more and more people that are older. Our deacons study books together in our deacon meetings and I had suggested a couple books, including yours, for our most recent study, and we actually decided to go with another book, a short book by an OPC minister called Honoring the Elderly, about caring for aging parents, but really with the mind for our deacons to be prepared as our own congregation ages and also we just have people in our church dealing with aging parents. What are some ways that you can think of that we can help people prepare for old age and retirement, as well as helping people help others do that, as we have people in our church helping their parents or others in the church.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

Yeah, I guess it goes back that I see a lot of like millennial aged people who spend everything they have to maintain a lifestyle, and Proverbs 6, the ant gathers food in the summer, preparing for the future, and so I think that I think sometimes, just where we have opportunity to encourage people when they're younger to have some wisdom to put aside for the future rather than to consume it all now, and I think even I mean as the church employs people, pastors, I think a lot of churches cut corners by how much do you need to survive and that's what they get paid to, making sure that part of their pay package is that money's being put into 401k or 403b or something. And so I think, encouraging people as we have opportunity to plan for that. First, timothy 5, we're told for widows that family has responsibility to care for them, even before the church does. I think it's interesting that Jesus, when he talks about the Fifth Commandment, rebukes the Pharisees from that commandment because they claimed they were tithing and they weren't honoring their parents by helping their need.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

In their old age and again there'll be different situations I think the greatest need of most older people is not money, but it's love and most people between social security and savings and everything else. You know I'm in the boomer generation that's retiring. In most situations I'm aware in the church the parents are. What they need is time with their kids and their grandkids and not to be ignored by the busyness of life. Some people have parents who have been foolish and irresponsible and it puts them in a very awkward position because your parents are gambling and whatever, vacationing, and now they come to you and they want help. I actually have a mini book that addresses that how to Love Difficult Parents. But I mean, that's another situation. Another wonderful distinction of Christians really both addressing the financial and the personal need is so many Christians, as their parents or grandparents become elderly and needy, invite them to live in the home, or at least very nearby, and make sure their various needs are cared for. Obviously, inviting them into home is going to save them a lot of money.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

A major work of the Deacons is caring for widows, going back to Act 6, james 1. And so I think just to be aware of that, and most of the needs of widows I see is they need somebody to come fix stuff and they're saving a lot of money. Maybe you have this. I don't have a lot of situations like Act 6 where you have widows who are totally destitute. We're having to feed them but they're lonely, or just their house is deteriorating and they need help managing even managing their finances. Just to be very aware. I mean, that's the center point of where the Deacons office began, in my understanding, in Act 6. So I think our Deacons and our church feel a strong obligation to be on top of whatever the needs of the widows are. I also think just many of older people don't have children who honor the Lord and therefore the church has to step in if the children aren't fulfilling their responsibilities because they don't have biblical values.

Tim Hopper:

Thank you very much. A lot of different things to consider there and, I think, an important thing for our Deacons to keep in mind. One final question Do you have any future plans on working on money and more books or resources on this?

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

I thought I was done and then I wrote the one on financial crisis. I feel like I've been studying this my entire life, both from a common grace, economic standpoint I've read a lot of books and then biblically, and what the Money Debt and Finances book is is kind of an overall summary of what I've been learning over decades. So at this point I might at some point, when people like you recognize things I could have done better, I might revise it, but I don't on that particular area. I have other book projects on various counseling issues, but I think I've said most of what I have to say, especially in that book. So no radio show. Yeah, maybe if Dave Ramsey retires I'll take his spot Sounds good, but if I do, I won't try to sell you all these different things. Great.

Tim Hopper:

Thank you for coming on the Reformed Deacon podcast. We really appreciate your perspective.

Dr. Jim Newheiser:

Thank you for inviting me. I've enjoyed getting to know you better and it's a privilege to have you talk about my book.

David Nakhla:

Thanks for joining us. Go to our website, thereformdeacon. org. There you will find all our episodes, program notes and other helpful resources, and please make plans to join us again next month for another episode of the Reform Deacon podcast.

Financial Wisdom From a Biblical Perspective
Biblical Perspectives on Finances