Saturday, July 29, 2017

WAS JESUS A SOCIALIST?



As socialism grows in popularity, the socialist has become more strident about claiming Jesus as one of their own:

  • Jesus, if viewed politically, was definately a socialist, possibly an anarchist:

In support, the socialist offered this "evidence":

  • “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:21-23) The capitalist society we live in now is far from Jesus teaching.

However, this verse says nothing in favor of socialism. Instead, rather than equalizing wealth, it seems that Jesus was ready to increase the disparity:

  • “For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” ‭‭(Matthew‬ ‭25:29;‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

Jesus found no problem that some would be left with nothing, while others would have everything:

  • “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear." ‭‭(Matthew‬ ‭13:41-43‬)

Jesus' teachings were based on those of the OT, where we find that God had often blessed His servants with riches, as He had done with Abraham and Job. 

Besides, it also taught that the diligent would be blessed by their labors while the slothful would justly suffer need:

  • A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame. ‭‭(Proverbs‬ ‭10:4-5‬)

Although the Mosaic Law made provisions for the poor, it's law would not dis-empower them by providing for the lazy. Instead, it was acceptable that both the lazy and the diligent would reap the just fruits of their own labors:

  • The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor...Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth. ‭‭(Proverbs‬ ‭12:24, 26)

In many ways, the OT taught that we will reap what we sow, and this principle had been carried over into the NT (Galatians 6:9).

Were Jesus' Apostles socialists? They had been commissioned to carry abroad Jesus' teachings. Although they often wrote about the need to voluntarily contribute to the needs of the poor, they didn't enforce income equality. Nor did they teach that the Church should support every needy person among them (2 Thess. 3:10). Instead, widows were singled out for support but only if they met certain criteria (1 Timothy 5).

Jesus too emphasized voluntary alms giving. However, this was often to be given as a loan and not as an entitlement (Matthew 5:42).

It seemed that Jesus was in favor of the economic status quo. No one ever accused Him of overturning the Mosaic system in favor of income redistribution. Instead, His remedy for the human malaise was our reconciliation to God through the Cross and not through a new economic vision.

1 comment:

  1. "It seemed that Jesus was in favor of the economic status quo."
    On this I think we can agree. The gospels don't seem to have much to say about earthly politics or economic policy.

    "Instead, it was acceptable that both the lazy and the diligent would reap the just fruits of their own labors"
    This is certainly not how it works in the USA (and I dare say it didn't apply in the reality for which it was written).

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