by Al Benson Jr.
Over the years I have heard some people try to make a case for the promotion of socialism from the Book of Acts in the Bible, particularly from Acts 2:44-47. This, they claim, shows that the early Christians were socialists and so we should all emulate their “Christian” socialism in our lives and in our countries today. The only problem with these folks is that they want government to implement this socialism in our lives, and that is a system that never works.
Decades ago now, the last Episcopal Church we attended had a pastor that knew a little bit about communism and communists and he would warn his congregation about communism from time to time. I remember once that someone attending the church brought this up and the pastor stated, quite correctly, “You can’t make a case for communism from Acts 2.” For one thing, Acts 5 puts a real damper on the communism idea. This is the familiar story of where Ananias and his wife sold something, a piece of land or whatever and kept back part of the price and lied about what they had sold it for. When the Apostle Peter confronted Ananias about this he said: “Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?” The sin of Ananias and his wife was not that they kept part of the money—they were free to do that if they wanted to. The sin was that they lied about it. Had they given only part of the money and made that point clear there would have been no problem. Their keeping part of it while claiming to have given over all of it was their problem. As far as I can see, this narrative pretty much kills the idea of “communism” in the church. The implication here is that while they owned the property it was theirs to do with as they pleased as long as they didn’t lie about it.
Also, years back, I remember Rev. Ennio Cugini of the Clayville Church in Rhode Island talking about this issue. He noted that when people shared their goods voluntarily it was Christian charity. When the government forced them to share it was communism. He was correct.
In our day, no one but the willfully blind would contend that we live in anything but a socialist country and that fact has become even more blatantly evident since the entrance of the current regime. The president stated, up front, when he ran the first time that he would “fundamentally transform the United States…” No one at that point had a clue as to what he meant except his voting bloc over on the far left and the CFR/Trilateral Commission people that control both political parties. They all knew because their agenda for this country calls for it to be dragged to the far left, kicking and screaming. They stated decades ago that their intent was to so reduce our standard of living here that we could be comfortably merged with the Soviet Union. And when they made sure Obama got elected they knew they had just the man to do that. His followers are still expecting all those freebies he promised them, which someone else has to pay for, and they haven’t yet figured out that, in the final analysis, he will give all of them the shaft along with the rest of us. They’ve been his “useful idiots” and he has made use of them. They have yet to notice that what he says is usually the exact opposite of what he does—same pattern as Abraham Lincoln, who folks thought “must have been a Christian” because he quoted Scripture. So what can you say—Lincoln and Obama—equal opportunity socialists!
Socialism is corrupt, and evil, because it steals from those who work and gives it to those who won’t. Socialist governments “redistribute the wealth,” taking from the producers of that wealth and handing it over to the deadbeats who have no intention of working as long as someone else is forced to foot their food bill, and their cable television bill, and their entertainment bill and whatever else a socialist regime feels they are entitled to at the expense of those who labor to earn their bread and pay their rent.
Most folks have heard of Walter Williams. He is a black man who is the John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University. Professor Williams is a syndicated columnist as well, and he is noted for telling it exactly like it is and letting the chips fall where they may. I’ve been reading his columns for years and I have yet to see him pussyfoot around the truth. I have tried to get some black folks I’ve known to read his articles. Mostly they are not even interested. He won’t play the “Whitey owes me” game and so most don’t care to read the difficult truths he presents. Much easier to listen to Je$$e Jack$on rant and believe his racialist drivel.
Walter Williams has written about socialism over the years. In a recent column he commented on socialism. He said: “It employs evil means, confiscation and intimidation, to accomplish what are often seen s noble goals—namely, helping one’s fellow man. Helping one’s fellow man in need by reaching into one’s own pockets to do so is laudable and praiseworthy. Helping one’s fellow man through coercion and reaching into another’s pockets is evil and worthy of condemnation. Tragically, most teachings, from the church on down, support government use of one person to serve the purposes of another; the advocates cringe from calling it such and prefer to call it charity or duty.” No matter what they choose to call it, it’s still socialism—government redistribution of your wealth to serve the interest of some other person or group who usually can’t be bothered working to take care of their own needs.
Awhile back an article by the late Rev. R. J. Rushdoony appeared on http://www.convergingzone.com and it was about the total control of socialism. Rushdoony observed: “Socialism rests on two foundations: First, managed money, counterfeit money, or paper money. Since money is the life-blood of economics, control of an economy requires control of money. When money controls begin, socialism ensues, whether it is intended or not. Second, planning is the next requirement. To manage an economy it is necessary to increase the controls over the economy and this calls for ever increasing planning and finally total planning…Planning means several things. First, its goal is total control over man in order to provide man all the benefits socialism offers. For socialism to function, total control is necessary…In total planning, the state takes the place of God, and it gives us predestination by man, predestination by the socialist state, as the substitute for God’s predestination…The stronger the state becomes, the more extensive becomes it planning, and the more serious its penalties for non-conformity.” Sound like anything you ever heard of? The Soviet Union? This country? Rushdoony’s comments touch a raw nerve in both.
The state taking the place of God is a theme that runs strongly through all branches of leftist socialism, from the excesses of Stalin and those that followed him right on down to leftist fascism (because fascism really is on the left, not the right, as most folks have been brainwashed into believing). In his book The First Directorate Oleg Kalugin wrote about his mother’s reaction to the death of Stalin. She said: “Our father is dead. It’s not only our father who’s died, but also God, who kept us all under His wing.” And Kalugin, who was just a youngster at the time, wrote, in his diary, “Stalin isn’t dead. He cannot die. His physical death is just a formality, but one that needn’t deprive people of their faith in the future. The fact that Stalin is still alive will be proven by our country’s every new success…” When I first read that I thought “This is the rankest form of idolatry.” Yet this is what socialism breeds, idolatrous leaders who become the leaders of tightly controlled states where there is no real rule of law except what the ruling oligarchy deems acceptable and every other thought is considered treasonous, especially religious thought. Ever wonder why communist and socialist states are so hard on Christ and Christians? They recognize in Him what they aspire to themselves and they consider Him to be their Chief Competition, and so if they can just get rid of Him they can then run the show. They are would-be usurpers of God’s throne. And “would-be” is the proper description for them because no matter how hard they labor or what they do, they will never make it, but they will make the lives of millions miserable in their attempts, and considering who they serve, that might be enough for them in the long run. And Russia isn’t the only place prone to such delusions. On a recent television interview commentator Barbara Walters made a statement about Obama to the effect that “We thought he would be the messiah.” It only proves that socialists in Amerika are just as deluded.
Socialists are guilty of breaking at least three of the Ten Commandments. The first is the one having to do with having other gods before Him. Many socialists and communists are overtly guilty of this one. If they place their leaders or their states above God and try to ignore Him and His Law, they are idolators. Then there is the one that says “Thou shalt not steal.” Socialists are noted for breaking this one because when they confiscate from the so-called “haves” to bestow their goods upon the “have-nots” it can only be called theft. That’s not Christian compassion—that’s theft, pure and simple, just like our fiat money is theft. Then there is the one about coveting. You don’t covet anything that belongs to your neighbor, including his wife, his house, and his livestock. In the case of the house and livestock, these are private property and the right to own them is God-given. Therefore, even Naboth could tell King Ahab, who wanted his vineyard, that he couldn’t have it. Ahab eventually got it the way most socialists do, by eliminating their legitimate opposition. When it comes right down to it that’s usually the way most socialists and communists get anything.
It seems to me that Christians, considering the devious nature of socialism and its adherents, ought to be speaking out against it with a certain amount of vigor. Unfortunately, though, many Christians seem all too willing to make common cause with radical socialists, while at the same time being willing to trash those they consider to be on the “hard right” (that’s anybody that doesn’t agree with them), labeling them as “lacking in compassion and love.” In all honesty, when have the socialist and communist types ever displayed any real love, except for what belongs to others?
In our day maybe some in the church need to get their thinking straightened out as to what constitutes love and what constitutes theft.