Day 13: Christianity and Socialism

Acts 2:44-47 :

All who believed were together, and had all things in common. They sold their possessions and goods, and distributed them to all, according as anyone had need. Day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. The Lord added to the assembly day by day those who were being saved.

Christianity may seem a lot like socialism if you pick out only the parts you want to hear. Some think that they are compatible, but that is definitely not the case. Even though some of the same words are used, the context or “worldview” is all wrong.

A good way to illustrate the difference between Christianity and Socialism with this passage, is to draw out the parts of it that overlap with socialism and study what is left behind in order to see the difference. The part of this passage that agrees with socialism would probably read like this: “All were together, and had all things in common. Their possessions and goods, distributed.” Now, that would not necessarily be an incorrect statement about this passage but it leaves out a lot of important information. For one, it leaves out how they got that way. For another, it doesn’t talk about how the distribution occurred. It also doesn’t say how this kind of relationship lasts or what context it happens in.

One of the first things I had to remove was the word “believed.” Without believing in Jesus as the One who saves us from our sin, we remain in our sin and have an unhealthy relationship with God. People who have an unhealthy relationship with God cannot have an appropriate relationship with mankind. We must first get our relationship with God repaired by believing in that which brings peace between God and man. Socialism rejects this and makes man the one who must make peace while still in sin.

Another important part I had to leave out was that “They sold…” their possessions and distributed them. It wasn’t the government that did the selling and distribution. “Distribution” was a willful response from those who believed in Jesus and the government was not involved.

It’s important to note that I took out: “according as anyone had need.” This is because economic systems are far too complicated for human government to control accurately. As a result, many of those who have needs are overlooked as is witnessed in communist countries today. Sometimes, government even “disposes” of some of those in need in these horrible situations. When all the people are good and look out for each other, then they are better than the government at finding those in need and taking the opportunity to help them when they need it.

I had to leave all the rest of the verse out because there is no support for this in socialism. Socialism depends on mankind not God and that is the worst problem of all. The only way for us to live together as God wants us to is to recognize our God and how He wants us to live. If we try to do things without Him, we will ultimately fail to live well together. If we do things His way, we will do things “with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people” and God will cause our churches to grow. Notice it won’t be man that cause the growth of a community but God.