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Social Responsibility and Socialism; Part 1

June 29, 2017

More and more Christians are beginning to think that in order to be Christian, they must be socialists. This is especially true of young people today. 1 Timothy 5 and 6 bring up a few issues that show that socialism is not consistent with biblical principles.

First of all, in 1 Tim. 5:3-16, Paul explains that when someone in need is to be taken care of, the primary responsibility for such care belongs to the family. Before a need would come to the church community, the family was to help if they could. Only if there was no family to help, was the need brought to the entire community. Here we see a principle: family is the primary way to help those in need, and only second and subordinate to this is the community to be involved. In socialism this principle is reversed. The community overrides the family. The demand to aid is brought to the community without consideration of the family. This cannot be justified with the Word of God. (Also notice how socialist education portrays this principle as well. Is socialism, it is the community’s responsibility to educate children first and foremost, instead of the family. In Scripture, the family is to have the primary responsibility to educate. See Dt. 6:7-9, as an example of the family responsibility to educate).

Second, in regards to rich people, Paul does not assume that they are evil simply because they are rich, and he does not force them to give their money to others through legislative compulsion. Paul says that the rich are, “to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,” (1 Tim. 6:18). Notice that Paul uses reason and love as the motive for rich people to give willingly. In Philemon, Paul directly opposes the idea of forcing someone to do something based on authority, and instead favors reasoning with people to do the right thing willingly (Phlm. 14). We find the principle of people doing the right thing willingly and not by compulsion, specifically giving to the poor, in 2 Cor. 9:7. Paul encourages people to give to the poor, but says, “Not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” The gospel is about changing people’s hearts so that they do the right thing willingly, not changing the laws so that people are forced to do the right thing by the power of the government. Under socialism, people’s wills are not a major concern. Socialism teaches that the rich should be forced to give to the poor by compulsion, not love and reason. Further, Scripture cannot justify the idea that some people are to be forced to give a higher percentage than others. In fact, in the Old Testament, we find the opposite stated (e.g. everyone gave the same percentages in tithes, see Ex. 30:15a, “The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less.”).

Third, it is difficult to not see the demand for the rich to be taxed an exorbitantly high amount in order to re-distribute their wealth, as legalizing covetousness. Listen to some of the language used to justify higher taxes on the rich. Do we not hear people talking about how it is not fair that they have money when others do not? Do not people look at what the rich have and say, “I should have that,” or, “others should all have that too,”? Is this not coveting your neighbors house and money? Are we to design a governmental system based on coveting what other people have and then demanding them to give it to others? Is this love? Is this in accord with biblical morality? Is this in accord with the Paul’s language in 1 Timothy 6, where Paul speaks of encouraging the rich to be “ready to share,” and not, “demand through Roman legislation that they give their money to the poor,”? Is this in accord with the gospel that is about people’s hearts being changed so that they do the right thing willingly?

Further, is it biblical to assume that all rich people only have their money because they are evil and corrupt, and did not earn it honestly? Are we to treat one group of people indistinctly as if they are all the same, and not take their individual situations into account? Is this not showing partiality? Can we not call this discrimination? Are not these ideas also unChristian?

These are just four principles we find in socialism that are unChristian. Many more aspects of socialism, especially American liberal socialism can be examined, and shown to be unbiblical (e.g. property taxes, inheritance taxes, and the moral issues that are coupled with socialistic politics in America like the redefinition of human nature, homosexuality, transgenderism, and abortion rights). Christians are obligated to take every thought captive to the word of Christ. We cannot advocate a system that violates the Word of God so repeatedly. Christians do have social responsibilities, but socialism is not the Christian way to fulfill those responsibilities. God cares just as much about the means as the end.

Let us pray that people stop being deceived with unbiblical uses of the term love, and would hold fast to the Word of God. Let us pray for our young people who are so viciously attacked with the idea that Christians must be socialists. Let us pray that we have wisdom in dealing with unbiblical worldviews. Let us pray that those following such worldviews would see the unbiblical nature of such views, are return to the Word of God as their authority in all things.

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