Were early christians socialists?
Here’s just a few random thoughts from one of the key texts on the subject. I’ve been studying Acts and know I can’t get to all this in one sermon so I wanted to throw it on this little platform here. Hope it helps you to grow in the knowledge of the Lord.
Acts 2:44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
1.) The early church continued to believe in the flat tax of the tithe wherein everyone regardless of economic status gave a just and equal amount of 10%.
2.) The tithe disallowed any politics of envy. No one was allowed to vote on whether or not others would have to pay for them.
3.) This account demonstrated a spirit produced generosity where free will offerings were given on account of the great need of others. Each determined in their own heart without compulsion how much they would share. This is genuine generosity and unity flowing from the spirit.
4.) Funds were not stolen by force. Funds were not redistributed by a centralized state government.
5.) Socialism is an attempt to ape this spirit produced unity and community. But all of man’s towers descend to babble. The attempts at building heaven on earth always lead to hell on earth.
6.) The church eradicated poverty within their numbers because they enjoyed spirit produced fellowship. (Acts 4:34) Sharing and generosity is a mark of the spirit. One who says they have fellowship with the church and yet does not share of their increase is a liar.
7.) many in the early church continued to own homes and to gather in them for bible studies. They did not eradicate private property, hand over their stewarships or liquidate all equity placing it in the hands of a central planner.
8.) This is a great example of how the church should behave when under persecution. Many who are bold for Christ will lose their jobs and opportunities for promotion. They may have property stolen from them. Their new community should rally around them to help them rebuild and restore their household.
9.) Seeing that Jesus prophecies the eventual destruction of Jerusalem and the conquering of Judea by the Romans these early Christians knew they would not be holding on to their estates anyway. Therefore, those who believed God’s word freely gave without hesitation. Those who truly did not believe held tightly to their possessions. Like Lot’s wife they looked back.
10.) Socialism is an atheistic and statist economic theory that denies private property and exalts in the powers of collective man to eradicate all the deadly effects of sin and the curse on this world. It is anti-Christ. So, were early christians socialists? We must answer with a resounding, No!
11.) This episode in acts was a fulfillment of prophecy. Deut 15:4 “But there will be no poor among you; for the Lord will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess”
12.) Although our needs are somewhat hidden on account of prosperity, social security, state infrastructure, etc. we sill need the church just as much as they did in that day. The needs may not be exact, but the need remains.
Pastor Brandon has a series on the Proverbs which might also interest you HERE.
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