Monday, April 14, 2008

Jesus, Charity & Socialism?

Great post today over at Craig's My Wise Generation. He defends the idea that, "Jesus Would Have Been Against Socialism."

I encourage you to go to the site and read the entire essay. I really liked the points Craig made in his closing paragraphs:

Christ preached of both personal responsibility and societal responsibility. Christians are to love their neighbors as they love themselves, but they are to choose to love their neighbors as they love themselves, not be forced to do so. For this reason it makes sense that Christ paid little attention to the laws of the society of his time and instead emphasized on changing the hearts of people.

Christ had realized that changing the hearts of individuals will allow for the laws of the society to change themselves. A Christian nation is not one simply with Christian laws, but one with hearts that embrace the truths of Christs teachings and live their lives according to it. As a result, the Christian nation, being of a majority following and believing in Christ will have laws that reflect those beliefs.

It is very unlikely, in fact, counter-intuitive to believe that Christ would have emphasized the government attempting to take control of the social injustices that exist within a society. Instead, it is likely Christ would have placed the responsibility on each individual to come to him so their hearts can be transformed, and after that transformation has taken place in the hearts of a society, their laws will reflect that transformation.

Christ has always started at the root of the problem, and that root is deep within the heart of each and every individual. Christ, as the master of the heart, can transform a sinful man to one who strives and desires to do good. Christ, then, offers himself as a means to be forgiven when the man fails, giving them an opportunity to pick themselves up and again strive and desire to still be good.

My comment there:

Great post Craig! The function of government was, first and foremost, for protection of the people. Taxes became necessary to help fund the military. Then, it was used to fund education. It got way out of hand when the socialistic mindset created hundreds of different "programs" that often result in much waste. Granted, there are some good ones, but many are terribly wasteful and unnecessary today.

Your post brought to mind the following passage of Scripture:

Mat 6:19 ¶ Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

Mat 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

Mat 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

The condition of the heart and to what (or Whom) it is directed should guide us in our charitable giving.

Case in point. When the "Idol Gives Back" show was on, I was tempted to donate. Then, my husband made a remark, "I wonder how much of the money really gets to the people who need it?"

[Add on: Such concerns came up in the past when celebrities were involved with fund raising. There were questions as to where the money ended up. Hopefully, this is not the situation with the "Idol Gives Back" campaign.]

I didn't feel led to donate. [Not claiming that others shouldn't donate.] Several days later, I realized that there was a greater cause in need of financial support. My friend's daughter is raising money to go on a missions trip to East Asia. That is where the Holy Spirit of God has led me to donate.

I received such a beautiful letter from her! She is dependent upon the Lord to make this trip possible. The goal of the trip is to leave behind new churches in areas that lack evangelical witness. The best sentence in her letter: "The Lord will get all of the glory!"


HT: My Wise Generation


Anonymous said...

" 32And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

33And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

34Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

35And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need."

Acts 4:32-35

Christinewjc said...


You must read, comprehend, and understand the meaning of the entire chapter of Acts 4 to gain knowledge about the context of the particular verses you had posted.

Notice this verse:

Act 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. (bold mine)

All of those present were filled with the Holy Spirit (which is what happens at the moment of conversion when people accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives). Therefore, we had the beginnings of a church! They were all believers who came to Christ and gave possessions "at the feet of the Apostles" who represented the teaching "pastors" of the new church there.

Note this commentary of Jamieson, Faucett and Brown:

... that with all boldness they may speak thy word--Rising above self, they ask only fearless courage to testify for their Master, and divine attestation to their testimony by miracles of healing, &c., in His name.

31-37. place was shaken--glorious token of the commotion which the Gospel was to make ( Act 17:6 ; compare Act 16:26 ), and the overthrow of all opposing powers in which this was to issue.
they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and spake, &c.--The Spirit rested upon the entire community, first, in the very way they had asked, so that they "spake the word with boldness" ( Act 4:29, 31 ); next, in melting down all selfishness, and absorbing even the feeling of individuality in an intense and glowing realization of Christian unity. The community of goods was but an outward expression of this, and natural in such circumstances.

This action had NOTHING to do with government re-distribution!

Anonymous said...

I agree, it had nothing to do with government re-distribution but it does speak about the ethics of Christian communities. It is hard to argue that the first Christians supported capitalism. What we see here in Acts is an example of a "gift economy" where private property no longer has meaning. This is quite hard to reconcile with modern capitalism.

Christinewjc said...


You are STILL missing the point! Capitalism allows Christians to be more charitable and generous towards those in need.

Which country is donating 200 million dollars to ease the food crisis happening in several foreign countries? The U.S.! So, our capitalistic form of government can also be a benefit to the needy.

I was listening to the Mark Levin show on the radio while driving home last night. He mentioned that the push to use corn and other grains to create ethanol has taken millions of pounds of food away from worldly distribution.

What does this tell us? It was certainly not a good choice for Congress to pass such legislation to replace fuel oil with ethanol... is it??!

What are better solutions? One that would have helped years ago (but was rejected) was allowing drilling for oil (in an environmentally friendly way)in ANWR. But the liberals in Congress won't pass such legislation.

I heard that recently, there was a discovery in Brazil (I think) of oil reserves that would certainly help us with the fuel we need until we get alternative fuel options (better than the ethanol disaster) going in the future!

Sorry I got so far off topic.

As far as "ethics of Christian communities" is concerned, are you aware of how generously church groups donate for good causes all across this nation and around the world? You might want to research it before disparaging and/or dismissing our Democratic Republic form of government that utilizes capitalism - which gives the best scenario for charitable giving in the world!

Like I stated before, the private property mentioned the Scripture that was VOLUNTARILY GIVEN to the new church (being established in the book of Acts) was the choice made by the individuals. It was not dictated by the government!!