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Old 08-18-2011, 02:54 AM
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Default The impossibility of a socialist Jesus

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...AHJJ_blog.html

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Posted at 11:48 AM ET, 08/16/2011
The impossibility of a socialist Jesus
By David French and Jordan Sekulow

Jesus was “pro-socialist,” American Christians are in thrall to Ayn Rand, and the early Apostles concocted a system of “egalitarian socialism backed by fear of death.” Such are the wild claims Gregory S. Paul made Friday on this site.

Socialism is a relatively modern construct, a governmental system invented roughly 1,800 years after Christ’s death, not a biblical mandate. The question, then, is whether socialism is compatible with Christianity, not whether the Bible mandates socialism.

How can Mr. Paul claim Jesus was “pro-socialist?” Jesus, after all, despite many demands from His followers, pointedly refused to establish an earthly government. Undeterred, Mr. Paul interprets Jesus’s “substantial encouragement for the poor” and warnings against the moral pitfalls of wealth as support for socialism. Yet one has to travel quite the intellectual and theological distance to equate admonitions towards charity and warnings against greed with divine sanction for the destruction of private property rights and the forcible redistribution of wealth.

But this isn’t Mr. Paul’s main argument. He claims the Jerusalem church’s famous voluntary sharing of goods and property wasn’t voluntary at all but instead represents a “form of terror-enforced-communism imposed by a God who thinks that Christians who fail to join the collective are worthy of death.” This theological assertion -- a reading of Scripture that has completely escaped theologians for two millennia -- rests on the story of Ananias and Saphhira, who were struck dead after they “lied to the Holy Spirit.” They had sold land, given part to the Apostles but claimed that they had given all. Here are the Apostle Peter’s words to Ananias:

Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.

Catch that? The very passage which Mr. Paul believes clinches his argument that the Bible endorses “terror-enforced-communism” actually reaffirms private property rights. The land belonged to Ananias, and after he sold it, the money was “at [his] disposal.” (Indeed, Jesus Himself declared that “the worker deserves his wages.”) His crime wasn’t withholding money; his crime was lying.

While the Bible is hardly an economics text, some economic and social themes do endure, and they are incompatible not just with socialism but also many aspects of the modern welfare state.

While the Bible calls us to help the poor, it is also clear that the poor must help themselves to the extent they are able. In 2 Thessalonians 3, Paul warns against idleness and says, “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” In 1 Timothy 5, Paul also declares, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Even inclusion on the widows’ “list” (which entitled widows to receive aid from the church) was conditioned upon age and good conduct.

The requirement that the poor be industrious is also found in the one earthly government that God did explicitly create: Old Testament Israel. In the midst of comprehensive laws that govern everything from religious ritual to sexual conduct to diet comes this instruction: “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner.” Not only is private property recognized (“your land”) but the welfare that does exist requires the poor to actually engage in the harvest to collect the gleanings.

Finally, it should be noted that Scripture hold societies responsible for outcomes, not just intentions, and the verdict of history is clear: Socialism creates poverty. The old Eastern Bloc fell, collapsing under the weight of their command economies. China has tossed aside the socialism of the cultural revolution and has surged behind its capitalists to become the world’s second-largest economy. The few remaining, truly socialist, countries are mired in poverty and dependent upon the largesse of others to survive.

Even the capitalist/socialist hybrids of Europe, created in the short window of history when their capitalist success provided the excess wealth for socialist experimentation, are finding that fifty years of welfare is enough, that their safety net cannot be sustained.

Mr. Paul wrote his article as London burned, as Greece and Ireland are picking up the pieces from their collapse, and as Spain and Italy teetered on the brink of oblivion. Their idle but well-fed youth, demanding ever-more from a state they give nothing, are either in the streets or threatening chaos.

There is a reason why Christians have overwhelmingly rejected socialism, and that reason is not found in the pages of Atlas Shrugged, but instead in the pages of a much older -- and better -- book.

God’s people should “strengthen the hand of the poor,” not create poverty. Yet socialism impoverishes. How can a Christian be socialist?

David French is a Senior Counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, a graduate of Harvard Law School, Lipscomb University, and a Captain in the United States Army Reserve. Jordan Sekulow is the Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice, a graduate of Georgetown Law (LL.M.), Regent University School of Law, and the George Washington University.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:43 AM
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Jesus is a King.

Ergo He would never advocate Socialism. In all honnestly, he would never advocate Democrasy either.

Jesus Reigns as Absolute Monarch, and therefore would advocate himself as Dictator.

It is true that GOD was weary about allowing a Monarch over his chosen, because he perfered to BE the Monarch himself and have a number of people who he chose to speak for him when he stopped speaking as a booming voice from the sky. This happened during the time of The Judges...but eventually he permitted a King.

He also permitted a King during the Restoration, and a line of Kings under the Roman Empire existed for a time as well as the Governers.

Really...thought Politics is a misnomer for Jesus, you cant claim that because he is a King he is totally in favour of all monarchies....because its not true.

He wishes to rule, and wishes us to follow, we are to abide by the law of wherever we find ourselves unless it is in contrivention of his laws...then we have divine permission to work to his Rules regardless of the law of the land
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:13 PM
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just a question, and it may be a bit off topic, but in the bible, Jesus had a great disdain for the "tax collector" .. what is the definition of a tax collector in today's society??? was it someone sent out by the ruling gov't at the time to collect money on income? like a roving IRS guy? or more like a mafia that made unsanctioned collections for a street boss to provide protection ..
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by rearnakedchoke View Post
just a question, and it may be a bit off topic, but in the bible, Jesus had a great disdain for the "tax collector" .. what is the definition of a tax collector in today's society??? was it someone sent out by the ruling gov't at the time to collect money on income? like a roving IRS guy? or more like a mafia that made unsanctioned collections for a street boss to provide protection ..
No the thing with tax collectors in those days is that they made their money on the backs of the people.

They would buy the right to collect taxes from the Romans and any monies they collected above what the Romans required in their tax they wwere alllowed to keep for themselves.

If I owe Rome 1k and then tax collector says I owe 1.5k he takes my money sends the 1k to Rome and keeps the .5k for himself.

It was a hated profession for 1) collecting the taxes for the Romans and 2) over taxing the people and stealing their wealth.
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:05 PM
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Zacchaeus is a good example. He was the chief tax collector and when he asked what he should do to make up for his sins he was told only to collect the taxes he was required and nothing more.. He then went on to pay back four times that which he had stolen.
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Old 08-18-2011, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Crisco View Post
No the thing with tax collectors in those days is that they made their money on the backs of the people.

They would buy the right to collect taxes from the Romans and any monies they collected above what the Romans required in their tax they wwere alllowed to keep for themselves.

If I owe Rome 1k and then tax collector says I owe 1.5k he takes my money sends the 1k to Rome and keeps the .5k for himself.

It was a hated profession for 1) collecting the taxes for the Romans and 2) over taxing the people and stealing their wealth.
indeed, the thing with tax collectors was that they were corrupt...I didnt know HOW they were corrupt until reading the above though. You seem to know a fair amount about Roman Society
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Old 08-18-2011, 04:39 PM
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indeed, the thing with tax collectors was that they were corrupt...I didnt know HOW they were corrupt until reading the above though. You seem to know a fair amount about Roman Society
Before becoming saved I was always a bit of a historian especially on Rome..

After I was saved it kind of took on a whole new meaning for me.

It's a bit of a passion I'd say
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Old 08-18-2011, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Crisco View Post
Before becoming saved I was always a bit of a historian especially on Rome..

After I was saved it kind of took on a whole new meaning for me.

It's a bit of a passion I'd say
I had no idea

I appreciate The Roman Civilization because of its Architecture, and what it brought to England, I appreciate it because it was a mighty imperial power, not to dissimilar to my own at one point in time.

I had to do a little work on studying it in terms of what the Ludi meant to Society when I was doing my Dissertation, and had to try and show a progression in an instinct that allowed watchers to enjoy dangerous sports and activities...and in London I started to get an understanding of the Language, Latin, that they used to speak. Which has led me to understand a little bit about their culture.

I dont know much about Roman History though Certainly not details like what you said about Tax collector
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:36 AM
que
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Well in all honesty, considering Jesus was a middle-eastern man, if he had a political stance it would not be socialist or non socialist, it would have been Shiite or Sunni, or something along those lines.
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:37 AM
que
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But then again it's all speculation because Jesus was not political.
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