Articles

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT SOCIALISM?

"Now this was the sin of...Sodom. She... [was] arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned; [she] did not help the poor and needy. [She was] haughty and did detestable things.” (1)

One of the greatest criticisms that God brings against an economic system is that it is arrogant, greedy, and foolish. These evils always express themselves in lack of true compassion for the poor. Of course, the proponents of Liberation Theology and the Social Gospel blame the oppression and hunger in the world on "uncaring" Capitalists promoting a "Protestant Ethic" (i.e. private charity, private property rights, limited government, efficiency, hard work, and saving). This "ethic," they claim, is selfish and unjust because some always get more than others. "God created us all equal," they state. Socialism, thus, is the answer to injustice and hunger. Socialism is "Christ's way" of unselfishness, sharing, and "humanity."

What is Liberation Theology's Socialist "Social Analysis"?
Because these theologians follow so-called "marxian insights," they teach that all private accumulation of property comes because the profits of those who "possess property" are actually wages robbed from the "have nots" — the oppressed workers. The "have-nots" need what the "haves" have stolen. The "haves" cling to their stolen privileges and refuse to share with the "have-nots" what is their due. These "haves," they say, manufacture a "bourgeois" religious ideology that sanctifies what they possess. This ideology, then, justifies the use of "state violence" to protect the property owner from the desperate, but just attempts of the "oppressed" to rightfully regain what was stolen. Thus, they claim, privately owned property is actually the cause of "class conflict." "Class conflict," in turn, causes theft, murder, rape, and all the other evils. All these are the attempts of "the people" to express or "re-take" their oppressed "humanity," albeit in non-constructive ways.

This "social analysis" gives a solution to evil: 1) abolish private property by 2) taking over the state (either by revolution or ballot box). This new "humane state" must then 3) redistribute wealth "equitably." All must have their basic needs met so that they won't have to resort to "anti-social" behaviour. All must receive the "just" wages they should have been receiving if the Capitalists had not been stealing from them so that resentment will not boil over into just violence.

*Please note: this paper is designed to be read together with no.s 4 and 5.

Socialism is Not Founded on Biblical Principles
Socialism, thus, sees the cause of evil in society as a total economic system: Capitalism. Its solutions are not personal nor spiritual but state oriented. Thestate must own or control everything so that all can receive a "just" share of life's goods. Socialism teaches that only a powerful state can change men by abolishing the cause of evil: private property (2). The solution to all evils, the socialist teaches, is to let the state do everything needed to meet man's basic needs. They claim that the state alone — not the Church, private individual(s), or family —can be truly "wise, fair, and compassionate." The Socialist state, thus, usurps areas of responsibility which in traditional Christian Theology have been the exclusive reserve of the family, private groups, and the Church (3). Contrary to the Bible, socialists teach that evil is not in man's heart. Evil does not come from mankind's rebellion against God and His holy Law. Evil is, therefore, not cured by God's powerful redeeming grace which changes sinful mankind's inner nature and which causes men to obey God and His Law in every area of life (Rom. 3:9f, 8:1- 4). That Law, they teach, is only a "bourgeois" document written to defend the property-owning class!

Because Socialism calls upon the impersonal state to solve all evil, it destroys personal responsibility, involvement, and compassion. The growth of this socialist teaching in society causes people to blame "the system," not personal sin, for poverty and oppression. The result is that people don't sense a need to repent from personal sin. Neither do they want to get personally involved in changing people's lives any more as Christ commanded in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. In addition, people don't want to take the responsibility to work to uplift themselves and their families. They claim that they must ask not God but the socialist state to give them what they need (cf. Ps 23:1, 34:8 -12). All the "compassion" that is required of an individual is to vote for a socialist or Social Democratic party, pay taxes for more redistribution programmes, and/or get involved in the revolution! The socialist actually believes that only the socialist state can "redeem and make mankind new" without God, His Law, or His grace! Liberation Theologians, therefore, are teaching an idolatrous new religion (Dt. 8:17f; Rom. 1:18-31; Pr. 10:22).

Christians know that God requires more than this — personal involvement, self- sacrifice, and compassion (1 Jn. 3:13-17; Phil. 2:1ff). He requires repentance and turning from violations of the Ten Commandments. He requires us to trust and obey all that Christ has commanded (Matt. 28:19) (4). Only those who are personally involved can teach discipline and accountability at the same time as they help. A person must not eat unless he is willing to work (5). Clearly this call to obedience includes both the oppressive rich and the socialist who calls on the state to "steal" property. Only when such repentance and obedience occur will society be transformed and the poor uplifted without the state being involved (read Deut. 15:4-11).

Callousness, Theft, and Greed are the Sins of Socialism
Contrary to what our socialist theologians tell us, then, true lack of compassion, greed, theft, and oppression are actually the great sins of Socialism. This secular "religion" in its various forms has oppressed hundreds of millions. It has caused the deaths of at least one hundred and twenty million people in this century alone.

Socialism in all its forms has been tried in over fifty countries with no real long term successes. Now, perhaps, to our Socialist Churchpersons "success" is state- sponsored robbery from the innocent rich, impoverishment of the common man, enrichment of state bureaucrats, man-made famines, and the suppression of the Church. All these things are happening in socialist lands. Prosperity and freedom comes to a land which obeys God's Law-Word, but His curse falls on a people who have allowed the state to play god and control everything (Pr. 3:33, 14:34; Dt. 28)! (6)

'"Enough, you leaders.... Put away your violence and destruction, and practice justice and righteousness. Stop your expropriations from My people,' declares the Lord" (Ezk. 45:9).

Socialist "Compassion" is Biased Injustice
"Do not follow the multitude in doing wrong.... Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favouritism to the great, but judge your neighbour fairly."
(7)

Socialist "compassion" is partial, prejudiced and discriminatory. Socialism is biased against the innocent rich. It heavily taxes the hardworking and those who save. Liberation Theologians call this "taking a preferential option for the poor and oppressed." They call this discrimination "justice." The Bible, however, says that partiality is a perversion of both justice and compassion for "even the greatest compassion of the wicked is cruel" (18). The Bible says that the greatest compassion to the poor comes when the state stays totally impartial and unbiased, neither favouring the poor nor the rich. The Bible often says that that the righteousness which is totally unbiased, is also compassionate to the poor, needy and the alien (9). Therefore, the compassionate state in the Bible is strictly limited to the one function of being an impartial Umpire and Judge. It cannot twist justice so as to give an advantage to any class or group without being unjust (10). All taxes, therefore, must be the same percentage for everyone. Marx's progressive income tax (PIT), whereby the richer one is, the higher percentage tax one pays, is biased and unjust (11). That type of tax is also in violation of the Golden Rule (12). Would the "poor majority" want to be taxed at the rate of the rich if they were also wealthy? It is the PIT which the socialist state uses to finance all its unjust and enslaving redistribution programmes.

Why "Compassionate" Socialism Promotes Oppression
The real source of the "oppression" of the poor and now the middle class is not private property but sin - the refusal to obey God's impartial and just Law (13). This rebellion expresses itself first in covetousness — the desire to possess what is not my own (Rom. 7:7ff) (14). When lack of contentment and covetousness becomes widespread in a society, then theft is the inevitable result. When covetous thieves control a government, they use state-sanctioned violence to enforce their system. Such oppressor states always call themselves "Benefactors of the People," (15) but always enrich themselves — as Party members - by theft. Inevitably the poor suffer in the long run. When socialists gain control of a state, they always seem to preach an eleventh commandment: "Thou shalt not steal except by the will of the majority!" Government then becomes, as St. Augustine rightly stated, "a band of robbers." (16)

Why Socialist "Redistribution" Programmes Are Foolish
State wealth redistribution programmes always do a little good, but in the end create more evils than they solve. They teach people to be dependent upon an idol — a state that thinks that it is the creator and giver of all things (19). These state programmes, thus, break down family ties and Church attendance. How this occurs is simple. People ask: "Why do we need to care for our elderly parents? The state will do it. Why do we need to save for or be concerned about our children's Christian education. The state will do it. Why do we need to give to a Church-based job training, poverty alleviation programme that starts with evangelism? The state will do it. Why do we need to have intimate and personal care for our poor brother. The state will do it. Why do we need to worry about a husband? If I have a baby out of wedlock, the state will be my husband! If I lose my job, no-one feels a Scripture-taught obligation to help me in love! The state will help!" Is that Christ's way?

Conclusion: The Results of Anti-Christian Socialism
What is the result of Socialism? The breakdown of the family. Moral chaos. Everyone living for himself and the cravings of his glands. Lonely autonomous individuals stripped of family and Church bonds and thus of personal compassion and care. Any time family and Church are destroyed by the all-encompassing, socialist welfare state, then sin runs rampant. God designed the family and Church to teach and build internal Spirit-taught morality. Socialist democratic individualism creates "groupless" individual "persons"— drunken, God-rebellious, calloused. The USSR is a perfect example. When a whole society becomes like that.... We need the Gospel and a return "To the Law and the Testimony!" (20)

Socialism has had many names in history: "Babylon," "monopoly Capitalism," "Social Democracy," "Communism," "true Christianity," "Keynesian economics," "social justice." These are but a few of the names for the same anti-Christ, oppressive "system." We must not fear. Christ has defeated it forever in His Resurrection!

"Why do the nations rage and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth... plot together against the LORD and His Messiah [to] 'tear their fetters apart, and to cast away their cords from us.'"

But now listen carefully with spiritual ears...

"The One enthroned in Heaven laughs…Then He rebukes them...and terrifies them in His wrath, saying, 'I have installed My King on Zion, My holy hill....' Ask of Me, and I will make the peoples your inheritance.... Therefore, you kings, be wise.... Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you be destroyed..., for His wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him." (21)

(1). Ezk. 16:49-50.
(2). cf papers 4 and 5 – “Oppressed Poor" and "Capitalism."
(3). Pensions, medical care, education, welfare, etc.

(4). Acts 17:30; Matt. 28:18-20; Dan. 7:14.
(5). cf 2 Thes. 3:6ff; Pr. 6:6f, 10:3-6; 14:16, 23.
(6). cf D. Chilton. Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators. This is the best book on Christian economics.
(7). Lev. 19:15; Ex. 23:3f; Deut. 1:17, 10:17f; Acts 10:34f; Jms. 2.
(8). Prov. 12:10
(9). cf. Lev. 19:11-18: the last phrase sums up the passage; Deut. 10:17-19; Jms. 1:27-2:13.
(10). Cf. paper no. 2 - "Justice."
(11). Cf. paper no. 5 -"Capitalism”.
(12). Lk. 6:31; Mt. 7:21: This is the summary of God's just Law and Prophets.
(13). 1 Jn. 3:4 KJV
(14). cf. Mt. 19:16f: "The Parable of the Rich Young Ruler." This man kept all the commands except not to covet.
(15). Lk. 22:25
(16). St. Augustine, The City of God. Book IV.
(17). Hab. 2:6-12: concerning the Babylonian socialist state. Though specific, about a robber gang, Pr. 1:10ff deals in principle with an oppressive, communal-socialist robber state.
(18). Cited by Chilton. Productive Christians, p. 316.
(19). James 1:17: Matt. 5:45.
(20). Is. 8:20 —"To the Law and the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light in them."
(21). Ps. 2: Acts 4:23ff, 13:33: 1 Cor. 15:25f; Heb. 1:5, 5:5; Rev. 2:26-27,12:5, 19:15.

Mark Kreitzer, August 1988.

Gospel Defence League
P. O. Box 587 Sea Point 8060
Cape Town South Africa
Tel/Fax: 021-510-6854



Our website is protected by DMC Firewall!