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Does the Bible Promote Socialism – Part 2

by Providence Crowder

Wealth is Not Evil

The Bible indicated that certain believers had been entrusted with riches (Abraham, Joseph, David, Solomon, Job, etc.) and others had lived in poverty.  Although Christ encouraged the idea of community and admonished believers to care for the poor, He never guaranteed any man an income, poor or otherwise, nor did He rectify inequalities in material wealth (see the parable of the talents Matt. 25:14-30).  In the book of Luke, a man from the crowd asked Christ to make his brother share his wealth with him.  The man demanded, ‘“Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’  But Jesus said to him, ‘Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?’  And He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses’” (Lk. 12:13-14). 

 Jesus observed men’s attitudes towards money and possessions, and He addressed the very condition of their heart, which Scripture taught was deceitful and wicked (Jer. 17:9).   Christ rebuked men, both rich and poor; those who would make money their idol, those who suffered greed, those who coveted, and those who would seek after riches instead of seeking the kingdom.  Over and over again Jesus redirected mankind away from being consumed with material possessions and the accumulation of them, because serving God and serving possessions were incompatible.  Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matt. 6:24). 

 Community not Communism

Certainly some modern Christian communities have taken to modeling after the first century church in Jerusalem, where the believers were said to have given all of their possessions and they held all things in common (Acts 2:44-45; Acts 4:32-35).  This idea of a communal church in which no property was privately owned and all things were shared equally has had some appeal for modern believers.  Yet, in the context of the early church, which suffered great persecution at the hands of the Roman government, community was all they had.  Until the rule of fourth century Roman Emperor Constantine, Christianity was outlawed and Christians did not share in the wealth that is common for some Christians today.  Christians held no positions of authority, they had no political power, and they did not live peacefully among other Roman citizens, and they could in no way look to their government for any type of assistance or help. 

 Because persecution was so severe in the land, these citizens voluntarily gave all they had for their common good, so that all of their brethren may both worship God AND eat.  Consistent with the teachings in the Bible, they did what they wished with their own property.  As in Jesus’ parable of the workers in the vineyard, the landowner proclaimed, “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own things?  Or are you envious because I am generous?” (Matt. 20:15) These early Christians did not cling to material wealth or possessions but lived each moment not knowing if it would be their last. 

 The early church’s communal experience in Jerusalem ended as early as the first century with the scattering of the saints to other regions due to persecution (Acts 8:1).  And despite persecution, Christians preached the gospel everywhere.  They, like their Messiah, cared for the poor in spirit above all and in addressing the physical needs of a man, that man became more receptive to God’s message of salvation and redemption.  Christians were generous in giving and they served the underprivileged while sharing God’s message of love and hope to the unsaved masses.   Secular governments, on the other hand have robbed and oppressed in the name of righteousness, tyrants have abused their citizens in the name of goodwill; all under the guise of equality.

The Need for Evangelism

Many societies have felt the social and moral obligation to help those working poor who struggle to make ends meet and to provide for those who are unable to care for themselves; and rightfully so.  Still, with more people on the welfare rolls than ever before and billions of dollars being pumped into impoverished communities all over the world, poverty remains.  Resultantly, many Christian proponents of socialism have become, as Justo Gonzalez has asserted, “preoccupied with the existing social conditions” instead of focusing on Christian evangelism and discipleship.  Were the needy to know the true and living God, they would recognize that their existing social conditions are temporal and that their happiness doesn’t persist in material wealth.  Were the more fortunate to rightly know Him, their hearts and desires would be turned from self toward others, generosity would be instinctive, and they would take to the business of blessing other people.  Were people to know God through His Son Jesus, serving one another would be an inherent virtue.  However, because of the perpetual selfishness and wickedness of the ungodly, and because many in the church often fail to “remember the poor” (Gal. 2:10) in their clamor to erect buildings instead of building people, greed, vanity, and covetousness reign above charity.

Government “Charity”

In any nation, governments do not produce wealth but merely collect and redistribute it.  In a constitutional republic such as America, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land; and under the U.S. Constitution, Congress has the authority to collect taxes so that the government may properly function in its governing.  As the Apostle Paul said, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing” (Rom. 13:1, 6).  Taxes do serve their purpose and through paying them, taxpayers receive some product, good, or service from their government in exchange for their money; as well, the citizens who pay no taxes directly benefit from the public services that are provided at taxpayer expense.  Yet concerning taxpayer subsidies to the poor, no such exchange exists.  Giving in exchange for nothing in return is charity.  Christian charity is voluntary; government charity is extortion.  The term government charity is an oxymoron because the term implies choice. Outside of our biblical responsibility to those in our family and of our household, no person should be forced to pay for another person’s education, health care, or housing. 

 Joel McDurmon has noted that although, “God does require that we not let our poor neighbors languish,” the question remains, “Does He authorize the State to use force toward this end?” That answer is no.  Government should not exercise force upon its citizens unless, as Charles G. Finney has warned, “It is demanded to promote the highest public good; it is the duty of government to inflict penalties when their infliction is demanded by the public interest.” But what if a man is poor and starving?  Should the government then force its citizens to feed the poor?  The biblical answer is no.  The Bible proclaims, “People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving.  Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house” (Prov. 6:30-31).  And though most can empathize, stealing is wrong even in the worst instances of poverty.  Like Dr. Martin Luther, Jr. proclaimed, “It is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends.”  Government is not justified in stealing from one family to feed another. 

Jay W. Richards said: 

The government functions stem from our inalienable rights.  We have a right to protect ourselves, for instance, so we can delegate that right to government.  We don’t have the right to take the property of one person and give it to another.  Therefore, we can’t rightfully delegate that function to the state.  Delegated theft is still theft . . . Using the state to redistribute wealth from one citizen to another is different from general taxation for legitimate governmental functions, such as those enumerated in the U.S. Constitution.  Rather than promoting the general welfare, redistribution schemes involve a group of citizens voting to have the government take property from others and give it to them.  Rather than celebrating such schemes, Christians should be holding them to the light of moral scrutiny.

Stay tuned for Does the Bible Promote Socialism Part 3, “So How then Can Government Help?”

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Contradictory Thinking in the Black Community, by Vanessa Jean Louis

Black Culture critics typically don’t get as much airtime as those who perpetuate victim hood. However, if we are to make progress as people of color, we must combat some of the counter-intuitive and counterproductive views that plague our communities. Shedding light on the issues is only one of a series of steps that must be taken to foment an “Urban Conservative” counter culture.

“Low-skilled jobs typically held by minorities in the inner city are being outsourced, yet let’s continue to support/vote for Democrats so they can raise taxes on the rich to close the economic gap.”

Leftists call it “greed,” I call it “common sense”. Most corporations get into business to make a profit and share the dividends of theirs profit with their shareholders. In the midst of making money allocating scarce goods and resources (capitalism), these corporations hire people giving these employees means of economic subsistence. Since the 1960s, because of increased labor costs, many corporations have outsourced their companies into countries where the cost of operating is cheaper. In other words, as prices to operate business in America go up, profit margins go down-so it only makes sense that these businesses harbor in places that will help increase their profit margins. That’s not greed, that’s Business 101.

During the Great Depression, whatever toils experienced by White America were felt at least two-fold by those in the Black community. The same holds true today. While the national unemployment rate hovers around 10 percent, it’s over 50 % higher in the Black Community. Understanding how tax policy and regulation can have a retardant or stimulative effect on the economy is pivotal. Hence why Conservatives like Jack Kemp wanted the Federal Government to play an integral part in “Enterprise Zones/Communities”. In Enterprise Zones/Communities, states and federal taxes are lowered temporarily. Moreover, regulation that would otherwise be confiscatory is lifted in order to foment economic activity and increase employment in areas with high poverty and other social maladies that are often correlated with decrepit social conditions.

I always ask my liberal brothers and sisters to explain the contradictory nature of complaining about lack of jobs and opportunities when they support a political ideology that supports raising taxes and increasing the regulatory burdens placed by bureaucrats–which has an inevitable effect on employment opportunities. So, if low employment opportunities are a huge problem, why support politicians who are for hurting the small business owners who are most likely to employ low-skilled workers who disproportionately represent the inner city cohort?

Moreover, many business owners assert that since demand is low due to the recession, the temporary “tax-credits” that are being offered by the Obama administration aren’t going to be enough of an incentive for small businesses to hire new workers.

Black Conservatives and Republicans are “sell-outs”, but the criminals involved in the penal system aren’t?

After years of working in the inner city, some people who have come to know me through my writings have called me a “sell-out” by virtue of not identifying with the Black monolith, politically. As unabashed Black Conservatives and/or Republicans, it’s just the name of the game that we have to deal with. I must admit, it’s growing on me (like fungus would grow on a host)-albeit very uncomfortable since I pride myself in being a “conscious” (semi-Afrocentric) Conservative…never mind the fact that I’m in the trenches everyday…

How is it that the criminals and the street thugs who terrorize their neighborhoods aren’t considered “sell-outs”? I’ve grappled with this for a while. I’ve read the writings of other black/urban conservatives lamenting on this very issue. I can’t seem to understand how my “blackness” is constantly questioned, but those who kill, maim, and get people who look like me addicted to drugs aren’t ever really questioned about their allegiance to the Black community? What’s even more ironic is how rappers who glorify the “thug life” (who have helped in part produce a generation of what I call the “un-conscious”) rarely have their “blackness” questioned. I find most disheartening the members of the Black Intelligentsia who defend these culprits involved in the penal system as “victims”—when the people who they oppress by their actions are really the ones we need to worry about.

“Despite centuries of oppression that only ended in the past few decades, Black people are incredibly resilient BUT the proverbial “system” has enough power to hold us back?

The resiliency of Black folks is something that should never go unspoken. With over 250 years of chattel slavery, and decades of Jim-Crow- the Black family managed to stay virtually intact (until the 1960s) ONLY through faith in Christ, and self-sufficiency coupled with mutual aid networks. The fact that the “Black Wall Street” (Greenwood, Tulsa Oklahoma) was rebuilt to bring about another economic resurgence in the 1950s after it was burned by angry White men in the 1920s (who envied the economic prosperity that the free markets and capitalism brought to blacks) is also testament to that fact.

If we are such “victims” of a purported establishment, why were we able to accomplish so much before it became politically opportunistic to help us? I’m not in any way diminishing the role of Government when it came to acting as a fiduciary for Black civil rights. What I’m saying is, what excuses do we really have in 2010 when there are hoards of programs in higher education actively (to the point of frivolous lawsuits) seeking more and more members to add to the growing numbers of the Black Intelligentsia?

In addition to many minority recruitment initiatives, when it comes to small business development, there are special set asides for minorities to start their own businesses. The fact is that our progenitors who opened up their own businesses didn’t have the opportunities that we have today.

Moreover, if we are indeed resilient how can we believe that our economic, social, and political achievements can be stifled…in 2010? I’m not deluding myself about there being barriers to success; I just refuse to believe that those blockades can stop us (in theory and in practice).

Unfortunately, any attempts to say “Enough is enough” are clouded by culture apologists who are more comfortable with the status quo because it cements their position as power brokers and “leaders” in the Black community. While I don’t necessarily automatically discount the validity of some of the views I feel are contradictory to our objectives as people of color, I think it’s important to shine light on these blatant contradictions for the sole purpose of our social advancement. As an urban conservative, I experience first hand how the liberal side seems to dominate the dialogue and thus the agenda. That needs to stop.

http://blog.afroconservative.com/

 

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