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Jesus Christ, socialist?

Last month, Hugo Chavez was reinaugurated into office, saying, "I swear by Jesus Christ -- the greatest socialist in history." Was Jesus a socialist? Did the church which He founded (Matthew 16:18) and the apostles which He required all men to accept (Matthew 10:40) practice socialism?

Certainly not!

Socialism is practiced through state control. As we have seen, Christians are prohibited from exercising state control. Christians are also prohibited from practicing taxation, which is required in order to commit the redistribution of wealth that is the basis of socialism. Christians simply cannot be socialist.

But the early church was commanded to care for the poor, was it not? Isn't this the same as socialism?

No, there's one gigantic difference. Read Acts 5:4. "While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control?" Nobody in the Christian Church was required to give all of his property into common control, nor even a set percentage. Nobody was compelled to give. God left this all up to the freedom of each individual and their own personal sense of the obligation to God to help the poor in the name of Jesus (as well as their own individual judgment about holding the recipients accountable, which is required in certain ways, for example, by not helping those who refuse to work (II Thessalonians 3:10)).

Hugo Chavez doesn't offer anyone in his country the terms Peter did in Acts 5:4. Nobody in Venezuela is going to get the choice whether they want to participate or not. The state wants their possessions and industries to be socialized, and they will be. Chavez is taking the Lord's name in vain when he applies It to this.

The early Christian church did not practice socialism. The early Christian church practiced charity.

1 comment:

Michaela said...

Who cares? Honestly, is it a big deal if Jesus is a socialist or not?