Biblical socialism

Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.- Acts 4:32-35

This sounds a bit like socialism and in fact it might be biblical socialism. To be sure free-market principles which are supposed to drive our economy are based more on greed than in taking care of our neighbors. The Old and New Testaments regularly describe the kind of relationship we ought to have with our neighbors. This description from the Book of Acts is one of my favorites, for it describes a society of love based on the ideals of Jesus. This might be true Christianity. Wouldn’t this kind of display in our town squares and even on the lawns of our churches be more poignant than a creche? What is the real impact of the birth of the Christ? The Incarnation is about love. Christ came into this world because of God’s love for his creation.

2 Replies to “Biblical socialism”

  1. Early instance of pure communism! Just think! I point out to my students that it differs from what existed since. The early church stated, “What’s mine, is yours”, as where communist nations emphasize, “What’s yours, is mine”. Heady, early days of the church, what with persecution, uncertainty, moral decay, etc. Kinda like today…. You touched on a key point of the love of Jesus that we, as the body, need to have that transcends all else.

  2. Thank you. Whenever I hear someone complaining about shops using “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas”, I find myself wanting to ask them whether they’ve read Amos. I want to know if they’re planning to make the day Holy or only Merry.

    Where is the love of Justice today? Our neighbors are losing their homes, our children are being sent to kill and die in a foreign land, our veterans return to be denied care for their wounds, mental and physical. How merry, how holy is that? Our courts and our government protect the rich while further burdening the poor. We imprison and torture in the name of freedom.

    When will we heed the voices crying out from the wilderness? When will compassion and love be born in our hearts? When will we have the wisdom to love our neighbor, to bring the gifts of loving-kindness (chesed) and holy justice (tsedaka)?

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