It amazes me how so many well-meaning Christians think that Jesus’ teaching is compatible with Socialism (I will address the meme on the right later in this post). As I’ve said many times now, Socialism is a deceptive anti-Christ religion because it seeks to replace Christianity, or Christ, with the State. Its faithful followers pursue a dream of some utopian “theocracy” of sorts, where the State is the “church” that forces total compliance and wealth redistribution in order to fulfill their idea of social equity and justice. Today, I’ll look at a few of the key Scriptures advocates use to say that Jesus was a Socialist and show why these assertions are patently false.
This is a continuation from my last post, “Why Socialism is immoral.” I’m building on what I shared there, assuming you’ve already read that one, so if you haven’t I suggest you do so before continuing here.
I ended the last post with the statement, “…while there are corrupt people who do immoral things under Capitalism, Socialism is immoral by design.” This is important to understand at the outset. While I understand why those who have rejected God want to now put their faith their Socialist god, I’m very concerned that Christians are fooled by this dangerous religion.
There are two fundamentally faulty assumptions with so-called “Christian Socialism.” First, they use the teachings of Jesus’ other-centered love and compassion to justify forcing compliance with their State religion. In other words, they want to help the poor…with other people’s money! Second, they conflate Christian community with collectivism (to understand the difference, see my post: “Christianity vs. Collectivism.”)
Let’s look at key Scriptures that “Christian Socialists” use to justify their position. First, I’ll address the meme above. Here’s the salient part of the passage:
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21 NIV*)
This is not about everyone selling their possessions, nor is it an indictment for being rich (wealthy women like Joanna followed and supported Jesus – Luke 8:3). It’s an indictment against putting one’s wealth before serving God, which has nothing to do with Socialism.
Let me put it this way: if Jesus were a Socialist, He would’ve just confiscated the rich man’s possessions! We saw this very thing with Soviet Socialist Lenin, and later, Stalin, who confiscated property, destroyed livestock, starved out Russian farmers, including killing millions of Ukranians who resisted their collectivism (read about it in Robert Conquest’s book, “Harvest of Sorrow“).
The point is, Jesus didn’t take the rich man’s money to give to the poor! He gave him a choice between serving His wealth or serving God. The man “went away sad” because His wealth was more important to him than following Christ. Again, this is NOT Socialism.
Next, we’ll look at is Acts 4:32.
32 All the believers were one in mind and heart. Selfishness was not a part of their community, for they shared everything they had with one another. (Acts 4:32 TPT*)
Now, on the surface, this looks like Socialism. While it IS an example of Christian communal living, it’s NOT Socialism for the simple reason that their giving of their possessions was totally VOLUNTARY, not by compulsion or law. We clearly see this in the next chapter with Ananias and Sapphira.
3 …“Ananias, why did you let Satan fill your heart and make you think you could lie to the Holy Spirit? You only pretended to give it all, yet you hid back part of the proceeds from the sale of your property to keep for yourselves. 4 Before you sold it, wasn’t it yours to sell or to keep? And after you sold it, wasn’t the money entirely at your disposal? How could you plot such a thing in your heart? You haven’t lied to people; you’ve lied to God!” (Acts 5:3-4 TPT*)
Their sin was in their deception, pretending to give something that they were under no obligation to give. In other words, they were called out on their hypocritical virtue-signaling.
Like before, this passage has nothing whatsoever to do with Socialism. Peter asks, “Before you sold it, wasn’t it yours to sell or to keep? And after you sold it, wasn’t the money entirely at your disposal?”
The selling of possessions was totally voluntary on their part; it was not mandated by the Church.
And we could say the same thing with other verses Socialists use, like Matt.25:31-46, where Jesus commends (or condemns) people for how they treated “the least of these”—those hungry, without clothing, or in prison. Here, again, Socialists are conflating voluntary acts of compassion, done from a place of self-giving love, with the State forcing people to fund their welfare programs.
Here’s another problem with the Socialist’s faulty interpretation of this passage:
32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. (Matt.25:32 NIV*)
The Greek word for “nations” here is ἔθνος (ethnos). It simply means “multitude of people,” specifically, Gentiles (non-Jews). It’s where we get the word “ethnic.” It DOESN’T mean nation state! In other words, it’s not talking about America or any other country. It’s talking about people from all walks of life who will one day stand before Christ (Rev.20:11-15). How do countries stand before Jesus? That’s absurd. It will be individuals who’ll be judged by how they treated others.
We could go through other Socialist prooftexts but the answer would be the same. You cannot compare Jesus or His teachings with giving the State dictatorial power to force other people to comply with your idea of social justice. Jesus calls us to voluntarily take responsibility to help the poor and marginalized, usually in the context of Christian community, motivated to do so by other-centered love, not mandated by the State.