31 Dec How Should Christians View Socialism?
Understanding a Biblical Perspective of Socialism
Socialism continues to become a hot-button item in today’s society. With changes in our political environment, more people find themselves wondering if socialism is really the answer to the problems we face in America. While we are not under a socialist government currently, many candidates have run on this platform making it an important topic to discuss. As Christians, we must carefully educate ourselves on what the Bible has to say about topics such as socialism.
How should Christians view socialism? Even Christian communities are divided when it comes to the topic of socialism. Jesus calls us to care for those less fortunate than ourselves, a key aspect of socialism. However, the Bible also shares important lessons and commands regarding personal property and rewards for your labors. By carefully gleaning the scriptures, we can determine that socialism is not a Biblical approach to government.
The topic of socialism can bring up great debate and division even amongst groups with similar values. In order to properly discuss this topic with those around us, we must carefully educate ourselves on what the Bible has to say on the matter. In this post, we will take a look at what socialism is before diving into what the Bible has to say regarding this approach to government.
What is Socialism?
The Encyclopedia Britannica describes socialism in the following way, “Socialism, social and economic doctrine that calls for public rather than private ownership or control of property and natural resources. According to the socialist view, individuals do not live or work in isolation but live in cooperation with one another.
Furthermore, everything that people produce is in some sense a social product, and everyone who contributes to the production of a good is entitled to a share in it. Society as a whole, therefore, should own or at least control property for the benefit of all its members.”
In a socialist society, everyone works to promote the “common good”, relying solely on the government for everything from their daily meals to healthcare. It may sound tempting to receive free healthcare, education, or sustenance. However, individuals in this type of society are at the mercy of the government to provide for their every need.
Socialist societies essentially eliminate the existence of personal or private property. One can not work to better their situation or achieve a higher quality of life. Everyone receives the same treatment, goods, and services through the government.
Why Some Christians Support Socialism
It is important to note that there are many Christians that believe socialism is actually promoted in the Bible! Additionally, there are benefits to this type of governmental system. However, this does not negate the fact that it is against many lessons in scripture.
The most popular argument Christians who support socialism have is that in a socialist society, everyone is cared for equally. This fulfills our calling to care for orphans, widows, and those less fortunate than ourselves.
However, as Christians, we have a calling to care for unfortunate and oppressed people groups regardless of our political climate.
As John Piper states in an interview regarding how Christians should think about socialism, “…there is built into the Christian faith an inner impulse by the Holy Spirit through the gospel to make sacrifices so that others have their needs met. And there is no such impulse built into human nature or the human heart apart from God’s grace.”
As Christians, we should actively be looking for ways to sacrifice. We must provide for the needs in our congregations and communities. We should not wait until the government provides an easy way to care for the needs of the less fortunate.
Verses in the Bible That Speak to the Topic of Socialism
As in every area of life, it is important that we turn to Scripture for guidance on important topics such as socialism. While the Bible does not directly address socialism, we glean many important lessons regarding personal property, stewarding your possessions, and caring for the less fortunate.
You Shall Not Steal
Deuteronomy 5:19, one of the ten commandments says, “And you shall not steal.” This commandment makes the assumption that the individual has personal property that can be stolen. In socialism, personal property does not exist, making this command pointless.
Honoring Work As a Means of Eating
We know the Bible values hard work and rewards those who are productive with their time and talents. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 says, “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”
In a socialist society, one does not have to work in order to access food and sustenance. It is good that we have to work for our food. Not only does this force us to use our time wisely but it also makes us grateful for the food that we have been provided through our efforts.
You can read more about what the Bible says about not working here.
Steward Your Resources Well
Perhaps the greatest passage in scripture that goes against the ideology of socialism is a popular parable in Matthew. In this parable, we learn the value of caring for your personal resources. The servants were commanded to care for their resources and praised for increasing the amount they were initially given. This directly opposes the idea of socialism where everyone contributes to the general good. In socialism, there is no ability to earn or steward personal resources.
The Parable of Talents
Matthew 25:14-30 says, “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more.
But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’
But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.”
How Should Christians Approach Socialism?
As our country continues to change, many Christians find themselves becoming fearful about the possibility of living in a socialist society. First and foremost, we must remember that ultimately, God is in control of our nation’s future. Even if it seems out of control, the Kingdom will continue to advance despite the social politics of the day. There are, however, a few practical steps we can take to prevent socialism in America.
Use Your Right to Vote
The best way to ensure that our nation remains true to our foundational beliefs is to exercise your right to vote! By voting, we have the privilege of electing political leaders who reflect our convictions and beliefs. You can learn more about what the Bible says about voting here.
As Christians, we are not to shy away from running for political office. In doing so, we can make an incredible impact on our society by influencing change in policies and procedures. This is a very effective way to prevent socialism in our country.
Additionally, we should use our voice to promote common-sense rules for government seeking to preserve our nation’s liberty, equality, and justice. The foundational truths on which our country was formed are of utmost importance to preserving our freedoms. By educating ourselves and others on these matters, we can provide future generations with the ability to live in the nation of which we are proud.