Does the Book of Acts Command Socialism?

“A truly strange thing has happened to American Christianity,” Gregory Paul writes for The Washington Post‘s “On Faith” blog. He claims that Christians who defend the free market are in a profound contradiction because Acts 2-5 is “outright socialism of the type described millennia later by Marx—who likely got the general idea from the Gospels.”

Does Acts 2-5 really command socialism? A quick reading of these chapters might make it seem so. Acts 2:44-45 says that immediately following Pentecost, “[A]ll who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.” And Acts 4:32-35, referring to the early congregation, says,

Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. . . . There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

Though these passages may sound like socialism to the average reader, such a superficial reading may miss what a closer examination of the text reveals. There are three major reasons why Acts 2-5 does not teach socialism.

This is not an example of true communal sharing. — Acts 2-5 portrays a spirit of communal sharing rather than an actual commune. The people did not sell everything they owned to legal title, as those typically do in a commune. This is evidenced by the imperfect verbs used throughout the passages. Craig Blomberg says in his study Neither Poverty nor Riches, “[Chapter 2] verses 43-47 are dominated by highly marked imperfect tense verbs, whereas one normally expects aorists [once-for-all actions] in historical narrative. There is no once-for-all divestiture of property in view here, but periodic acts of charity as needs arose.”

This point is even clearer in Acts 4-5. The NIV translation of Acts 4:34b-35 says, “From time to time, those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet.” Blomberg comments:

Again we have a rash of imperfect verbs here, this time explicitly reflected in the NIV’s “from time to time.” The periodic selling of property confirms our interpretation of Acts 2:44 above. This was not a one-time divesture of all one’s possessions. The theme “according to need,” reappears, too. Interestingly, what does not appear in this paragraph is any statement of complete equality among believers.

John Stott affirms Blomberg’s conclusions on property in the early church, also underscoring Luke’s use of the imperfect tense:

Neither Jesus nor his apostles forbade private property to all Christians. . . It is important to note that even in Jerusalem the sharing of property and possessions was voluntary . . . It is also noteworthy that the tense of both verbs in verse 45 is imperfect, which indicates that the selling and giving were occasional, in response to particular needs, not once and for all.

There is also sufficient reason to believe that the early followers of Christ did not sell all they had, but rather occasionally sold part of their possessions and gave the proceeds to the apostles for distribution. For example, in Acts 5, Ananias sold a piece of property (v. 1) and kept a portion of the proceeds for himself and his wife, Sapphira. The problem was not that they were required to sell their possessions and give all of the proceeds of their land to the apostles, but that Ananias lied about the true price he received for the land (v. 7). Peter points out that he could give or keep the money as he saw fit (v. 4) but still lied to Peter and to the Holy Spirit (v. 5).

But even if, for the sake of argument, we grant that all believers sold all their possessions and redistributed them among the community, this still would not prove socialism is biblical. The next two reasons explain why.

The act in Acts was totally voluntary — Socialism implies coercion by the state, but these early believers contributed their goods freely. There is no mention of the state in Acts 2-5. Elsewhere in scripture we see that Christians are even instructed to give in just this manner, freely, for “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:8). Even if the believers sold all their possessions and redistributed them among the community, this still would not prove socialism is biblical, since the state is not the agent selling property to those in need. There is also plenty of indication that private property rights were still in effect, therefore this was not even even be considered socialism if the term were used to refer to a regulated system of community ownership.

The narrative was not a universal command. — To prove Acts 2-5 commands socialism, you would have to show that this historical precedent is a mandatory prescription for all later Christians. You cannot get the imperative (all Christians should do this) from the indicative (some early Christians did this). The fact that some Christians “shared all things” does not constitute a command that all Christians should follow their example, because it is not clearly taught in passages of Scripture elsewhere.

R. C. Sproul explains how Christians must interpret biblical narratives through the lens of broader Christian teaching: “We must interpret the narrative passages of Scripture by the didactic or ‘teaching’ portions. If we try to find too much theology in narrative passages, we can easily go beyond the point of the narrative into serious errors.”

The communal sharing in Acts 2-5 was not the practice of the early church in the rest of the New Testament, so it is clear that this practice is not a mandatory command. Thus, even if Acts 2-5 was socialism, it would hold nothing other than historical interest to later believers and would have no binding power on the later church.

Certainly, the communal sharing illustrated in Acts 2-5 was a beautiful picture of generosity and love. But it is impossible to show that these passages teach socialism given their temporary, voluntary, and strictly narrative nature.

Note: A longer treatment of this subject by Dr. Lindsley can be found here.

  • the Old Adam

    They (many) tried it.

    It doesn’t work.

    Because of our fallen, sinful nature.

    • Christian Vagabond

      Capitalism doesn’t work either for the same reason.

      • Akash Charles

        yeah it does not work but it works better!!

        • Christian Vagabond

          Not necessarily. Canada survived the recession much better than capitalist countries did. Also, Sweden is consistently listed as one of the strongest economies in the world.

          • netprophet

            The issue is not about pragmatism. It is about what is biblical. God created us to be able to create. God comamnded us to subdue and multiply. Yet work is difficult because of the fall. Yet, God calls us to be stewards and thre free enterprise system is the most consistent with using our talents to be able to create. Socialism goes against human nature because it denies one’s ability to succeed with the gifts God has given that person. Marx argued that “all thought and belief is a consequence of the economic struggle” based on dialectical materialism which is by definition atheistic. Further, if all thought and belief is a result of the economic struggle, then Marxism (a belief system) must have been borne out of the “economic struggle” and is therefore not only self-refuting but does not correspond to reality. Canada survived better because their Federal Government did not create a phony mortgage market (see Fannie Mae). Sweden is one of the least religious and anti-Christian nations on earth. Nonetheless, it has lowered its Corp tax rate and pays for job retraining while the US has the second highest Corp tax rate in the world.

            • Curt Day

              first, you have to identify which kind of socialism you are referring to. There is more than one kind and many socialists, like myself, have disagreements with the solutions that Marx has proposed.

              Second, at the same time, Marx draws a pretty good picture of what capitalism is like and how it commodifies labor and thus makes people, and their communities, disposable. Such is not a Biblical picture of the value of people who have been made in God’s image.

              Third, what we can do is instead of picking the lesser of two evils of past systems, we use what is good in all systems, add something new, and then see if we can do better.

              Finally, it wasn’t socialism that created the phony mortgage market. In fact, it was the conjunction of deregulation and the lack of enforcement of regulations that caused the problem. We have to be able to escape ideological tribalism in order to arrive at more Biblical and helpful solutions.

    • Tate

      “They (many) tried it. It doesn’t work. Because of our fallen, sinful nature.”

      Socialism not only does not work because of our fallen, sinful nature but also because of the socialist calculation problem as described by Ludwig von Mises. A central planner has no access to market prices and therefore has really no information on what to decide to produce or how much. This is why centrally planned economies would frequently have shortages of goods that people waited in long lines to get as well as warehouses full of goods that they didn’t need.

      “Not necessarily. Canada survived the recession much better than capitalist countries did. Also, Sweden is consistently listed as one of the strongest economies in the world.”

      We need to be especially careful when we designate what a “capitalist” country is. It can often serve as a label that conceals meaning rather than reveals it. According to the Index of Economic Freedom ( Canada is more economically free than the US.

      “Second, at the same time, Marx draws a pretty good picture of what capitalism is like and how it commodifies labor and thus makes people, and their communities, disposable. Such is not a Biblical picture of the value of people who have been made in God’s image.”

      Marx believed in the labor theory of value, meaning that value derives from the amount of labor that it took to produce it. But upon further examination, we see that this is incorrect. Value comes from subjective valuations: I could spend many hours digging holes in your yard but if you don’t want them then I have destroyed value, not created it.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “commodifying” labor. What does that mean? According to Wikipedia, a commodity is a marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs. It would seem that labor fits such a definition.

      “Finally, it wasn’t socialism that created the phony mortgage market. In fact, it was the conjunction of deregulation and the lack of enforcement of regulations that caused the problem. We have to be able to escape ideological tribalism in order to arrive at more Biblical and helpful solutions.”

      We surely cannot say that free markets created the phony mortgage market, either. A central bank that controls the currency, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, banks that receive bailouts (both explicit and implicit), etc. are not features of free markets. So, again, I think the terms, “socialism” and “capitalism” obscure meaning rather than revealing it.

      • Curt Day

        Hate to tell you Tate that our current way of life is failing because it is self-destructive.

        In addition, which form of socialism are you referring to? Not all forms rely on central planning. If only people would read the different socialist material written by socialists rather than rely on the critics of socialism to get their information, perhaps more informed responses with accurate descriptions would be posted.

        Finally, yes we can say that the free markets create the phony mortgage market since the free market tries to shed itself of regulations and laws that interfere with what one does with their capital. The reversing of the Glass-Steagal act was the first strike along with Congresses bribed stand not to regulate derivatives were major factors in the mortgage market.

        • Tate

          “Hate to tell you Tate that our current way of life is failing because it is self-destructive.”

          I don’t know if you’re assuming that I defend the status quo because I surely do not. The US economy is so interventionist that it would be foolish to think it represents anything close to a free market.

          “In addition, which form of socialism are you referring to? Not all forms rely on central planning. If only people would read the different socialist material written by socialists rather than rely on the critics of socialism to get their information, perhaps more informed responses with accurate descriptions would be posted.”

          Well, I’m referring to the type of socialism that involves central planning, if that wasn’t already clear. Why don’t you recommend a concise example of socialist material written by socialists so I can understand your brand of socialism?

          “Finally, yes we can say that the free markets create the phony mortgage market since the free market tries to shed itself of regulations and laws that interfere with what one does with their capital. The reversing of the Glass-Steagal act was the first strike along with Congresses bribed stand not to regulate derivatives were major factors in the mortgage market.”

          I think, as you say, “We have to be able to escape ideological tribalism in order to arrive at more Biblical and helpful solutions.” I don’t think we have the same understanding what a “free market” is. I understand it to be a market free from government intervention.

          Consider the following:
          1) The Federal Reserve, the central bank (which is one of Marx’s pillars of Communism) controls the money supply in the US. They set the interest rates, set the reserve requirements for banks, and have a discretionary monetary policy. With this, they are able to fuel asset bubbles that would NOT be possible but for their money monopoly. Half of every transaction (unless it’s barter) is conducted with money. This means that the central monetary planners have huge influence on macroeconomic variables. This is not a feature of a free market.

          2) The gigantic banks, as they exist today, are not a feature of a free market, either. They enjoy huge political favor including regular bailouts by the Fed (the Fed can loan them new money out of thin air, taxing anyone holding US dollars through inflation) and explicit bailouts by the taxpayer. They also are insured by the taxpayer through the FDIC. All of these things create moral hazard, essentially encouraging banks to engage in riskier behavior. Thus, any regulation to mitigate the moral hazard is an attempt to fix the problems of the previous intervention. “Shedding regulations and laws” at this point does not bring us to a free market, but simply a different interventionist scheme that doesn’t have the regulations that try to mitigate the moral hazard created by the previous interventions. Thus, the repeal of Glass-Steagal was not a return to a free market but instead changed the prevailing banking system from a monopoly banking system with (some) controls to a monopoly banking system without those controls. Please let me know if this doesn’t make sense.

          • Curt Day

            And I was referring to libertarian socialism.

            And also, the basic tenet of Marxism is workers’ control of production.

            Also, to equate central anything with Marxism is rather simplistic. Besides the fact that I don’t agree with everything Marx says, realize who has been heading the Fed reserve. It is your capitalist leaders from the private sector, the leaders of the free market. This tells you something that you already realize about the free market. That it has been hijacked by elites in the private sector.

            • Tate

              Mr. Day,

              Thanks for finally responding.

              I feel as though you are setting up a series of straw men in your responses to me.

              I don’t know how I am being simplistic in pointing out the fact that one of the demands set out in the Communist Manifesto is “Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.”

              I also did not state that you agree with everything Marx says. My illustration was simply to point out that a central bank is not a feature of a free market.

              And, as I said months ago, “I don’t think we have the same understanding what a “free market” is. I understand it to be a market free from government intervention.” I don’t know why you insist on saying “YOUR capitalist leaders from the private sector, the leaders of the free market.” I am against cronyism and corporatism and state capitalism.

              The irony here is that if you do, in fact, advocate libertarian socialism, and actually read what I wrote instead of put me into some preconceived ideological box, you would probably find that we share a lot of common ground.

          • Curt Day

            Did you ever think that what the Free Market depends on for fuel is what is used to step outside of the Free Market?

  • Trevor Minyard

    ***The fact that some Christians “shared all things” does not constitute a command that all Christians should follow their example, because it is not clearly taught in passages of Scripture elsewhere.***

    This is a very sweeping statement… Are you sure you want to speak in such absolutes about how we are commanded to live?

    I’ll concede that nowhere are we commanded as Christians to champion a socialist style of governance, but a lot of the New Testament is going to point us towards living completely open-handed as opposed to cherry-picked sacrifice.

    Thoughts? Clarification?

    • Brad Schneck

      Trevor that sentence concerned me as well. Not because it is untrue but rather we use our interpretation that Acts 2 is not teaching Socialism as an excuse to therefore be greedy. (not the author’s intent I’m sure) We correctly say that this passage is descriptive and not prescriptive but fail to see their extreme generosity and we fail to see their living out the Kingdom priority.
      Though Socialism was not commanded nor practiced living a life of generosity was commanded and practiced in the NT and early Church.
      1 Timothy 6:17-19 17 “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

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  • Chancellor C. Roberts, II

    Acts is narrative, not imperative. Just because the Jerusalem church did things a certain way doesn’t mean this is what the rest of the Church is commanded to do. We don’t see this practice in any other first century church.

    • Joe Monte

      Pardon me, CCRII, isn’t the whole point of the Book of Acts to show us how a church is supposed to work and thereby emulated? Think about the (now hackneyed) WWJD. Why is it not WWJS (say)? It seems to me that if you want to act like Jesus did you should follow his example from the Gospels. Anything that falls short of his example is defined as sin, is it not? Likewise, if we want direction as to how to behave as a church we need to follow the example in the book of Acts. I have a hard time believing that in a world of 5,000+ denominations this is what was intended by the writer of Acts.

      • Chancellor C. Roberts, II

        No, the whole point of the Book of Acts is NOT to show us how a church is supposed to work and thereby emulated. The Book of Acts is NARRATIVE, it tells a story. It isn’t imperative, giving commands or instructions.

        • Joe Monte

          Well then what are we supposed to do with a “narrative”? Does that mean you are free to ignore it? What else in the Bible are we free to ignore?

          • Curt Day

            We learn from narratives but we remember that, though they carry the same weight as teachings, they are not the same and thus we cannot treat them in the same way.

          • Chancellor C. Roberts, II

            Joe Monte, are you serious? Do you really NOT understand the difference between various kinds of biblical text? Do you NOT know the difference between historical narrative (a statement of facts, of this is what happened) and imperatives (commands, e.g. the command to love one another, to be holy as God is holy, etc.)? Do you read prophetic language (e.g. the prophetic visions) the same way you read Paul’s epistles? What about the poetry in Song of Solomon? Do you read that the same way you read the two books each of Kings and Chronicles? Do you NOT understand context or author’s intent?

            I guess “Judas hanged himself” is as much a command to you as Paul’s “bear one another’s burdens.” I guess John’s vision of the multi-headed beast has some sort of instruction in it for you to obey.

            It’s true that “these things” (the things in the preceding five verses of the text) “took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did” (1 Corinthians 10:6 ESV). It’s true that “these things” (the things in the preceding two verses of the text) “happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come” (1 Corinthians 10:11 ESV). However, this doesn’t mean that just because Abraham was commanded to leave Ur and go to the promised land that we’re being likewise commanded to leave our homes and go elsewhere. It doesn’t mean that just because the Israelites were commanded to paint blood on the door posts and lintel (Exodus 12:7) we’re to do likewise. And just because God made certain temporal promises to individuals and to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament doesn’t mean those same promises are for us.

            So, do you really NOT understand the different kinds of writing in scripture and the different functions of that writing? Is every word of scripture some how a command for you personally to obey?

            • jeremiah

              Chancellor C. Roberts, before you keep ridiculing Joe, just step back and deal with what he is actually asking or bringing up- which is the NT narrative of the life of the church in how the Holy Spirit moved the body of Christ in a loving and generous fashion.
              Joe is not advocating that thrust swords through fat kings or something. Please deal with the topic at hand because that is the actual bearing of this conversation.

              What are we to learn from and what is the example for us as the body of Christ in this account in Acts that we area dealing with?

            • Curt Day

              Chancellor Roberts,
              Though I disagree with Joe on not adequately distinguishing the different styles in which the scriptures are written, considering that I know ministers who approach the scriptures in a similar way Joe does, I thought your response was too heavy-handed.

            • Joe Monte

              Hmm, I was looking for civil discourse but imagine how foolish I was to find it here!

              Why do you not simply answer my questions? Since you have launched into petty ad hominem attacks and straw man tactics it is obvious you have something to gain by clouding the issues with petty philosophical dirty tricks.

              While I don’t care whether or not Acts condones socialism of whatever flavor I am certain it does not condone capitalism in the way Ayn Rand envisioned it. Many Christians nowadays embrace the, shall I say, Darwinist capitalism especially those from Liberty University and particularly the late corpulent billionaire Jerry Falwell (would Jesus have a private jet?).

              Some have said that Islam is a religion of “peace”. Well, I’m not convinced. Others say that Christianity is a religion of “love”. Again, I remain unconvinced.

              Here’s something you can learn from Acts:

              When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

              From my point of view, Chancellor, you have not been with Jesus and you’re not even trying.

              BTW, I much appreciate those who attempt to engage me in civil debate. I hope to hear from you in the future. As for you, Chancellor, you should reread Acts. Apparently, you missed a few pages.

            • Chancellor C. Roberts, II

              Jeremiah and Curt,

              Even people who haven’t been in Christ for a long time, if they have even an upper elementary school reading level (e.g. they can read their local newspaper), can figure out that there are different kinds of language in scripture – even if they don’t use terms like “narrative” or “imperative” or whatever.

              I wasn’t ridiculing Joe, but I was questioning his seeming lack of basic knowledge that he should have. There also seems to have been a somewhat sarcastic tone in his question “What else in the Bible are we free to ignore?” It’s as if he was accusing those of us who make the distinction between historical narrative and other types of Bible writing (e.g. the imperative nature of the epistles) of saying that we can just cast aside some parts of the Bible.

              The examples I used are related to the subject at hand – at least to part of the subject at hand, which includes the nature of the book of Acts and whether it can be used as normative for the Church in all times and places (and, yes, I’m well aware of the teaching that what took place in the book of Acts, particularly on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, is normative for the Church today). Joe seems to think that there’s only one way to look at the entire Bible: as a command for us to obey – everything is imperative in one way or another or the actual context of a particular passage (including the author’s intent, which is the only correct interpretation of scripture) is irrelevant, that it’s all about what a passage means to the person reading (a vile and perverse post-modern concept known as reader-centrism). That’s what underlies his questions. That there are “ministers” who approach the scriptures in the same way Joe seems to doesn’t make it right and, worse, approaching the scriptures the way Joe seems to bears false witness against the word of God.

            • Oscar


              Do you think your response accords with 1 Peter 3:15 or Colossians 4:6? Doesn’t seem very gentle or respectful. “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

              “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

  • Brendan

    We also read our Marxist understanding of Socialism into Acts…. So, can we find socialism in Acts? No. Because our idea of socialism has not been developed when Acts was written. Communal living? Maybe…. There are a few large groups of Christians who have been driven by this idea of communal living… Monastics and Anabaptists to name a few.

    • Chancellor C. Roberts, II

      Brendan, if groups of Christians want to do the commune thing they’re free to do so. However, I agree with the article that no such thing is commanded of the Church as a whole. Acts is descriptive, not prescriptive; narrative, not imperative. Gregory Paul is just plain wrong and, in fact, bears false witness against the word of God.

  • Josh


    I think the point the author was making is that this passage, like much of Acts, is descriptive, as opposed to prescriptive. In other words, Dr. Luke is acting as a historian describing the development and character of the young church in a particular location. The plain appearance of the passage is not as an idealized archetype for the conduct of members of the church, but is a description of what certain members of the church were doing in a certain place at a certain time.

    Certainly Christians should be charitable with one another, but this passage is not a call for political socialism or religious communalism. In fact, it’s not a call for anything — merely a description of what particular Christians were doing in a particular place.

    Just my two cents. Hope it helps.

    • Chancellor C. Roberts, II

      It’s interesting that it was the Jerusalem Church, the church that did the commune thing, was the church that later needed financial help from other churches, leading Paul to take up a collection from Gentile churches. Maybe one of the lessons to be learned was that this particular model didn’t work too well.

  • Tommy O’Keefe

    Trevor is correct about the thrust of the New Testament. Sometimes when I read articles like this it feels a bit like an attempt to justify our own consumer-driven lifestyles. While Gregory Paul is making obvious category mistakes, we shouldn’t over correct by singing the praises of free market lifestyles as “The Way” of Christ. We ought to be constrained by love, moved with compassion, loving and serving from a place of having “more than enough” in Christ. It isn’t just narratives that portray a lifestyle of giving to others freely. Jesus, particularly in Luke’s account, puts a pretty fine point on things time and time again. Clinging to our possessions can and often will prevent us from following Him. James tells the rich man to “weep and howl”. Paul exhorts us to do good to all men. John says if we don’t love our brothers the truth is not in us. A lifestyle of “freely I have received – freely I give” is the fruit of a transformed life… it isn’t optional.

    • Adam Hawkins

      You beat me to it! Thanks Tommy.

    • Christian Vagabond

      Great post, Tommy.

  • Russell Johnson

    Here’s the real issue. Theological leaders (like yourself) feel it’s more important to make the case that the Bible doesn’t teach socialism than to teach Christians throughout the world that we may actually be required (by the Holy Spirit) to sell our stuff and give to the poor. If the US was faced with a Great Depression how many of the rank and file would be willing to make that sacrifice. Many Christians would be more likely to line up to buy their neighbors house in the foreclosure sale.

    • Tommy O’Keefe


    • Joel

      I’ll have to disagree.

      The real issue here is that so many Christians have taken what should be a movement by the Holy Spirit in our lives, as individual believers, and therefore a voluntary act, and determined that this voluntary act should become a forced act, and that we should be held to this forced act by a secular government, and that we should hold all others (whether they have the Holy Spirit working transformatively in their hearts or not) to that same forced act by that same secular government.

      This is Pharaseean Legalism at it’s worst for not only are we telling people that they ‘must’ do as we believe they should do…we are using the threat of violence to force them to it.

    • Josh

      Why are you so quick to rebuke the author’s supposed motives? Nowhere in his post does he indicate that he thinks it’s “more important” to understand that Scripture does not teach political socialism than to teach Christians to be charitable. In fact, he states the opposite, right at the end: “Certainly, the communal sharing illustrated in Acts 2-5 was a beautiful picture of generosity and love.”

      To be sure, it *is* important to understand that the Bible does not contain a clarion call for a particular type of political order, particularly socialism. This in no way detracts from the Church’s call to care for the poor, the needy, the widows and orphans. It is vitally important that Christians understand *both* of these important teachings. This post was merely focusing on the former, rather than the latter.

  • Ian Smith

    In the book of Acts, the redistribution of material wealth is voluntary and spontaneous–there was no centralized leadership in how it was administered. Later we see the churches in the diaspora raising money to give to the church in Jersusalem as relief aid–once again, Paul in writing to the Corinthians affirms that this was voluntary and spontaneous.

    Socialism as it is practiced in many countries in the world today (including to a limited degree in the United States) is involuntary and centrally administered. There is a coercive nature–and just try withholding your taxes and see how the IRS responds to that.

    As one of the previous commentators pointed out though, too many Christian leaders (and theologians) spend time attacking socialism when they should instead be faithful to preaching the Word. When Jesus says ‘if someone asks you for your coat, give him your tunic also,’ how does this apply to the situation? I believe that Christians are called to live within the laws and rules set by their governments (kings, dictators, democracies) whenever those rules do not constitute a clear violation of scripture–and oftentimes we are called to live beyond those rules!

    In the letter of Mathetes to Diognatious, one of the early church leaders writing to a Gentile who had yet to put his faith in Jesus said that Christians ‘have children but do not leave them to exposure, have a common table but not a common bed.’ They lived in the world, and in many cases beyond the morality of those living among them.

    In the case of socialism what does this look like? The government is going to ask for a higher amount of taxes to pay for the social welfare of others. Ok, as a faithful Christian I pay those taxes. Beyond that, I continue to serve in my local church, I am a good father and husband (when that applies), I am a good employee, I am a good citizen and beyond that I work among the poor, provide for their needs, and love the orphan, widow, alien and stranger in my midst. Then any unbeliever who looks at my content will see the good works of God in me.

  • scott

    What many do not address in dealing with this issue are the commands of Christ regarding possessions and the stories of disciples parting with their possessions as they appear in Luke’s Gospel that precede Luke’s account in Acts 2. You see in Luke’s Gospel first, John the Baptist’s command for repentent sinners to give one of two coats to the poor as fruits of having turned to God, then you see Christ’s commands to His disciples to sell their possessions and give to the poor and store up treasures in heaven, then you see Christ’s very same command to the rich young ruler, then you see Zacheus giving half of what he owns to the poor and the other half he restores to those he cheated. You also see Jesus chiding the pharasees for neglecting the weightier matters of mercy and justice. Neglect of mercy to the poor and justice for the poor are the lynchpins of God’s judgement against the Jews for hundreds of years in the OT. Christ in Luke’s Gospel just repeats the theme over and over again. So, is it any surprise, given Luke’s Gospel accounts of selling possessions and giving to the poor in neighborly and God centered love that the first Acts of the new church is to sell possessions and give to the poor. Enough explaining away and just do what HE commands. This isn’t a political issue for non-Christians, it is imperatively and urgently a love issue for God’s people. Those who say that the account of selling possessions in Acts 2 isn’t presecriptive but rather is descriptive are right. But the question is what is it descriptive of? It is descriptive of the Holy Spirit pouring God’s love into believers hearts for the poor and needy brethern even to the point of sacrifice with joy as the end point for the believer. Check out the Macedonian church joyfully out of poverty giving to the brethern in Jerusalem in 2Cor. for proof of this fact. ( Keep in mind that the Macedonians were proof positive to the Jews in Jerusalem that sold their possessions of Jesus’ committment in Luke to beleivers who sold their possessions to the poor that God would care for them with their daily needs. )

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  • Akash Charles

    the big difference with Acts are the so called “true” christian’s who support socialism is the fact that it was voluntary – something that the free market allows- a person is generous only when they want to do it voluntarily not when they are forced – socialism basically disguises generosity with resentment.

    Free markets on the hand allow people to genuinely be generous or selfish- and that is exactly what God does, we have the freedom to follow him or not- if we are forced we are not really choosing him.

    and yeah- socialism never works

    • Christian Vagabond

      Free markets have never existed. All markets are regulated in some form via interest rates, labor laws, tariffs and taxes, environmental regulations, stock market regulations, and advertising laws.

  • Curt Day

    First, we have to realize that Biblical examples do not necessarily yield Biblical commands or principles. They are examples. And thankfully, this point is made in the article.

    Second, what is troubling to me as a socialist is that people who condemn socialism talk as if it was a monolith. Just as there is more than one form of capitalism, there is more than one kind of socialism and Socialists themselves disagree sometimes on whether certain systems were truly socialistic.

    The first concern of the kind of Socialism that I follow most closely is who is making the decisions. In some forms of socialism, Acts 2-5 could not possibly provide examples of socialism because there was no self-rule or democracy; rather, there was an elite-centered authoritarianism as seen in the rule of the apostles. The second concern, the sharing of the public wealth, would be how joint resources would be distributed and this would be decided by the community, rather than the apostles. Socialism does not always result in egalitarianism. BTW, socialists recognize private property. They just believe that what is jointly needed should also be jointly owned and democratically controlled–Eugene Debs.

    But why should Americans be concerned about Socialism in Acts when the rest of the Bible speaks so vigorously against our current system of Capitalism which teaches that we can live off the energy produced by greed while controlling its toxic emissions? Is the reaction against socialism here another way to avoid seeing our own sins while flattering ourselves?

    • Tate

      “BTW, socialists recognize private property. They just believe that what is jointly needed should also be jointly owned and democratically controlled–Eugene Debs.”

      What are things that are jointly needed?

      What makes democratic control legitimate?

      • Curt Day

        What is jointly needed?
        1. food– right now Monsanto is seeking or have pushed through laws that make them immune to lawsuits for their products and to prevent the labeling of GMOs.

        2. Water–we still get water here but in some countries, American beverage companies try to monopolize the water for sale elsewhere.

        3. Air– with geoengineering, metal fragments are put in the air in order to control the weather. But little is said and the people are not allowed to prevent this based on health problems it could cause.

        5. Healthcare and education–Healthcare is the leading cause for personal bankruptcy. And college debt is in the trillions of dollars while the job market does not allow many of these students to pay their college loans.

        6. Housing– how you implement this can be complicated but currently we allow homes to go vacant while many families are without homes.

        Why democratic control? There is no guarantee that the right decisions will always be made but what democratic control does is disperses power rather than consolidates it. This can make for a more just society. Currently, what we have and have had it for a long time is rule by elites whose first concern is either maintaining or improving their privileged position regardless of the costs to others.

        • Tate

          I guess I don’t understand the purpose of the modifier, “jointly.”

          And the US is often described as a “democracy.” How is the prevailing electoral system different from democratic control?

          • Curt Day

            First, we are a Republic which means we are a representative democracy and so far so good. But when we look at what we jointly, which means what we all, need, fewer and fewer of those resources are managed through our representatives because, for example, land with water can be bought and controlled privately. When gov’t does not pass the regulations that people want, then things like the air can be compromised through pollution. Healthcare is managed by a Capitalist venture, through private ownership of resources which, btw, makes our healthcare the most expensive per capita. And housing and education are at least partially funded and controlled publicly but also partially funded and controlled privately.

            In addition, in a Socialist setup, the workplaces would be owned and run democratically by the employees. In this country, we have worker collectives that operate this way but they such a small percentage of workplaces.

            We have a representative democracy politically speaking. But our economy is based on private ownership and control. So I guess it depends on whether a country is politically responsive to its people in those areas we jointly need and whether a country’s economy is run democratically by the employees or the stakeholders.

            • Tate

              So, all basic human needs must be provided by the government (or, more accurately, taken from producers by force and distributed to consumers by a plurality of voters)?

              [Forgive me, but I feel compelled to comment on some other things. I’m not sure what you mean by health care being managed by a “capitalist venture” (whatever that means), but the fact is that over half of all health care spending in the US is done by the federal government, which regulates who can practice medicine, who can purchase insurance from whom, created a tax code that encourages the third-party payer system, etc. The outrageous cost of medical care in the US cannot be blamed on free markets.

              And if “education” in the US does not count as a socialized institution, I’m not sure what does.]

  • jeremiah

    I think a good question would be , is there anything else in a historical narrative that describes the Holy Spirit leading the body in a certain way that we may be fine with calling the body to follow?

    Anything come to mind to you guys?

    Also, are we open to living in the generous pattern should the Holy spirit lead us? Are we willing to follow the Lord no matter what people would label it?

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  • Jonathan McGregor

    No,the Book of Acts doesn’t command socialism. But it does portray a kind of Gospel anarchism of prodigal charity–and it does so for our benefit and instruction, if not precisely for our imitation. Their having all things in common was not coerced by the state, but it was motivated by Christ-like love; it was voluntary, but it wasn’t optional, like all Christian obedience. Cf. 2 Cor. 8:1-15 on this point, particularly verse 8: “I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine.”

    Demonstrating that the Bible doesn’t teach socialism merely takes down a straw man.

    Would that such a “spirit of communal sharing” prevailed among us!

    • Curt Day

      Where I would struggle with your analysis here is that anarchism refers to a leaderless group where decisions are made by consensus. What we see in Acts is an authoritarian Church that has a collective spirit.

      • Tate

        Mr. Day,

        I think your problem could be semantics. If we take a dictionary definition of anarchism (according to [] it is “a doctrine urging the abolition of government or governmental restraint as the indispensable condition for full social and political liberty.”), I don’t think Mr. McGregor’s usage is erroneous. Even if the church is authoritarian towards its members, I think it would still be anarchistic in the sense that those members are not forced to join it and are free to leave.

        • Chancellor Roberts


          If God does all the work of salvation (and He does; if He doesn’t then He is not sovereign and man is the final arbiter of his own salvation, making man sovereign over God), then it is God who has, in effect, forced His elect into the Church. Are we really free to go to whatever local church we want? Or are we in rebellion against God if we don’t go to the particular local church He calls us to? The people in the Jerusalem Church were there because God put them there. That doesn’t seem particularly anarchistic to me.

          Anarchism (as indicated in the dictionary definition you provided) promotes liberating people from the shackles of government (and not necessarily referring only to national, regional and local political entities that we call governments). Anarchism in the Church would be a rejection of God’s ordained leadership structure (elders/overseers). There are, in fact, people (allegedly Christian) who go around from church to church and never submit themselves to the leadership. Thus, they don’t give account to anyone. There are even some (allegedly Christian) who reject the whole idea of the “organized” church (As opposed to, maybe, a disorganized one?) and who don’t want pastors or teachers telling them anything. There are others who maybe aren’t so full-on anarchist, but who go around insisting that they “don’t want to be part of any church that teaches doctrine” (never mind that “doctrine” is just another word for “teaching”). They just want to be affirmed where they are and made to feel good about themselves.

          Is the United States of America anarchistic since people are free to renounce their citizenship and go live in another country that will accept them?

          Further clarification would be helpful.

          • Curt Day

            Chancellor Roberts,
            Though I agree that anarchism in the Church is not Biblical, the Church is, after all, an authoritarian structure, the question is, can anarchism in society be Biblical? That depends on the form of anarchism. But what people don’t realize is that anarchistic societies can be very organized. The difference between anarchy and a ruling power is that all people gather to make binding decisions so that the community, whatever size it is, is self-governing. That is the point behind anarchism.

            And the question we have to ask ourselves regarding changing society to one that leans towards anarchism is whether we want to put the time in to become self-governing or do we want give ourselves over to the rule of others in order to pursue individuals riches?

          • Tate

            Chancellor Roberts,

            Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond. Forgive me if that definition was ambiguous; sometimes I use “government” and “state” interchangeably, and I see this can be confusing. So please replace “government” and “governmental” with “state.” Or more basically, to me the key to anarchism is voluntaryism. Voluntary self-governing institutions exist, and I think the church is one of them. We voluntarily choose to submit to God; forced submission would be meaningless.

            Hopefully it’s clear that the US is not anarchistic based on this refined definition.

            • Tate

              Nor would the US be anarchistic based on the first definition since people are forced into association with it.

  • jeremiah

    James 2:17,18
    If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good (or benefit) is that?

    Is didactic?

    If we see a Christian brother in need and have resources to help, are we not obliged by love of Christ to move in love in this matter?

  • Trevor Minyard

    We’re all talking pretty tough…but let’s not be internet apostles and actually roll the window down and help the beggar on our commutes home tonight.

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  • Jonathan Aceves


    I agree (somewhat)with you. The Gospel speaks out against the American idols of individualism and greed, and although ACTS 2 is descriptive and not prescriptive, trying to prove that Socialism isn’t commanded in scripture is true but misses the point that Acts 2-style generosity and hospitality is challenging to our current culture. It SHOULD offend our sensibilities.

    • Curt Day

      But once something becomes a sacred cow, it is difficult to be effective in speaking out against it. Your note here is really good.

    • Chancellor C. Roberts, II

      Jonathan Aceves, the only correct interpretation of any written text is the author’s. Thus, we bear false witness against the word of God by trying to say that Acts 2 teaches “socialism” (government-controlled and imposed collectivism in particular as well as forced redistribution of wealth by taking from those who have in order to give to those who don’t after the government takes a substantial cut for itself).

      Generosity, giving to those in need and charitable acts in general are certainly taught in scripture as things we as Christians (and the Church as a whole) should be doing. But it’s WE who are to be doing it, not the government doing it on our behalf.

      The Bible doesn’t teach that Christians should be pursuing a particular form of national/state/local government. It doesn’t matter whether a country is a republic (which the United States is), a democracy (which the United States is not, democracy is the evil referred to as tyranny of the majority), a monarchy, a dictatorship, whatever. We are to obey the laws of the land regardless of the kind of government (except where those laws specifically require us to disobey God). It doesn’t matter what kind of economic system a particular nation has (socialism, communism, capitalism, mercantilism, corporatism, etc.), and the statement once made by Rev. D. James Kennedy many years ago bears false witness where he said “Capitalism is of Christ.” It doesn’t matter what governments are doing – they will give account to God alone – it only matters what the Church collectively and Christians individually do.

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  • Dick Maloney

    Lindsley’s ‘refutation’ of Acts’ socialism is flawed in each of his three points:

    1. Lindsley conveniently forgets Acts 5:3: “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?” (KJV) Ananias’s crime is that he didn’t give everything to the church; both he and his wife are murdered for failing to do so.

    2. Coercion by God is still coercion. If God commands it, then man cannot do it freely: he must abide by God’s will or suffer the price (see above; death).

    3. Either the words in Acts are good for all Christians, or the Bible is true sometimes and not others. This means the word of God is, from time to time, errant, and believers should question if Biblical content is relevant to their contemporary situation.

    The three special pleadings Lindsley makes ignore critical evidence about specific Bible verses and the nature of God. Because that’s pretty much the only way the New Testament extols capitalism.

    • Josh


      I’ve responded to your points in order. Just offering my two cents.

      1. You have to read the Ananais and Saphira narrative at the beginning of Acts 5 in context with the very end of Acts 4. Their sin was not holding back a portion of the proceeds of their land for themselves; their sin was lying about it.

      2. This point is not directly relevant to Christians denouncing socialism. We must obey God; God will not be defied. This premise is not inconsistent with believing socialism to be improper coercion by the state.

      3. The words in Acts are good for all Christians; they are scripture. This does not diminish the descriptive/prescriptive distinction. Acts is a book of history, Romans (e.g.) is a book of teaching and instruction. In order ascertain the objective meaning of each, we read them differently.

      4. To your last, un-numbered point: the NT need not “extol capitalism” in order for the whole of scripture to shy away from secular socialism. It’s not a mutually exclusive proposition. Throughout scripture, Christians are called to relate to God, to one another, and to the world in a particular way. That way does not require coercion by the state.

  • Oscar

    “You cannot get the imperative (all Christians should do this) from the indicative (some early Christians did this).” Your hermeneutics is slightly suspect when applied to other writings. Does it apply to Paul’s assertion that women must remain silent and not teach women? Only in Corinth, right? If you applied this interpretation to Paul’s writing’s their then I assume you would take the position that it was simply for that time and place that women should remain silent. Is that your view? If not, what is the difference? Thanks.

    • Josh


      The author’s imperative/indicative distinction is not necessarily applicable to other books. Acts is a book of history; it is narrative, descriptive, and indicative — i.e., it describes the way things were. Paul’s epistles to the Corinthians are books of teaching; they are directive, prescriptive, and imperative — i.e., they prescribe how things ought to be. We read different types of writings differently and that is a perfectly consistent hermeneutic.

      • Oscar

        Using your hermeneutics of descriptive and prescriptive isn’t this principle directive? How would emancipation ever take place with your type of biblical interpretation? Paul was writing to Ephesus. It is the same as when he was writing to Corinth. “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.” Ephesians 6:5. If you think there is a difference then the letter to Corinthians then please explain it to me. I don’t think it is reasonable to have a consistent position on that but maybe you can persuade me. Also, if you think the slavery command is merely prescriptive then what about the rest of the commands in Ephesians 6? They certainly seem prescriptive. At the very least, it appears that Christianity would be acceptable under your hermeneutic? Correct? See below. Thanks,

        6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”[a]

        4 Fathers,[b] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. 5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him

  • Michael

    The differences are pretty simple:

    Socialism is when the state says, “what’s yours is mine,” acting against our will and free choice.

    Christian charity, in contrast, says, “what’s mine is yours,” as a free choice willingly offered to the needy.

    • Curt Day

      First, you have shown that you have not read many socialists. You are more-less using a worn out stereotype and speaking of socialism as a monolith, which it is not.

      Second, collectivism, which is what you referred to in your second point, applies to those things that are jointly needed only and is not the most important part of socialism.

  • N.B.

    Could the year of Jubilee, as practiced by the nation of Israel be considered a form of proto-socialism as it constituted a massive redistribution of wealth (in the form of land), capitol (in the form of debt forgiveness), and labor (in the form of the release of slaves). Jubilee was an institutional mandate, in the way that a socialist country institutionalizes wealth redistribution. The only difference is that the political authority to perform Jubilee came from Theocracy (a monarchy legitimized by God) where Socialism gets its political authority from a constitution.

    Would seem to me that you can make a clear biblical argument for capitalism OR socialism.

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  • Ven

    Reading supporters of socialism I am amazed by your naive adoration of socialism. First of all, if you like socialism – you are free to go to Sweden but prepare that you will be as the second class of citizens as the Christians. Is this what do you see in Book of Acts? How about moving to North Korea or maybe Russia where Orthodox extremist Christians would throw the rocks at you calling you Antichrists?

    • Curt Day

      Having spoken with, read, and worked with Socialists, as well as reading history, I believe that I am far more familiar with Socialism than you are and lack the naivety you accuse me of having in abundance. First, Socialism is not some monolith. Like any other form of social organization such as capitalism, there are some believe elite control and some who don’t. I reject the elite-control because it contradicts the definition and concerns of socialism and yet it exists there. However, elite-control is fully consistent with capitalism and those who are second class citizens in capitalism are those who can least afford to be. So as a Christian, I have to ask myself is it better to oppress or be oppressed? Hopefully, I can avoid both but if I must make a choice that is consistent with my faith, it is better to be oppressed.

      Also, what you don’t realize about certain forms of socialism is that they are simply calling for greater participation by people in society so that all of the people in society become self-governing.. Certainly that hasn’t occurred on a large scale even in Sweden but it is beginning to grow as some businesses around the world, including the US, are now worker-owned and democratically operated. See, that is the epitome of Socialism. But it is also what you will not realize by restricting your reading and learning about socialism to its antagonistic sources.

      So Ven, just as you are amazed about my naivety of socialism, I am not surprised by your ignorance of the same.

      • Ven

        Curt Day,
        I do not know about Socialism? Really? I was born in USSR. I learned from my childhood about socialism and communism from life and the school, even when I hated that system. I had no other choices. By the way, Socialism is tending to focus on worshiping the government or humans promoting humanism, while humanism is not Biblical. In addition, I had a chance to learn about different kind of ideologies in the American University. First of all, I see how many American Christians romanticize socialism even trying to find out the Bible verses that would support this ideology while the Bible and Jesus have nothing to do with it. You wanted that Socialism would be from Bible, but you forget that any kind of Socialism is anti Christian or atheistic. It is not smart to chase persecution purposefully which I would call this desire as Sadomasochism. I have never seen in the Bible when Christ or Apostles were chasing persecution. When they were in persecution they did not panic because they knew what is going on. But when you live in free country and thinking that it is better to be persecuted it is totally different approach. Even Ap. Paul used the Roman citizenship to escape some humiliation of persecution while he could enjoy it. For years living under Soviet system I have seen many Christians were persecuted and sent to prison. What I was amazed that many of them are always trying to escape the persecution. For instance, many Christians even were in prison because they wanted to immigrate to America. Do not forget that Ap. Paul tells the persecuted church to pray for the government officials that they would be changed and church would have a time when there is no persecution. In the same time, if we think that we would love God more as many former persecuted Soviet Christians now living in America, recalling those times, we think that love cannot be voluntary. We want somebody to force us to love God. It is sound like Sadomasochism. Think about. We will be persecuted and even is already persecuted even in America in the spiritual realm, if we want to have godly live. Satan hates us when we live godly live and it does not matter what country you living in, you are his enemy.

        • Curt Day

          Yes Ven, I am saying you don’t know about socialism especially if you lived in the USSR. What the USSR called socialism actually branched away from socialism through Lenin who turned to an elite-centered running the party to act as a “vanguard” to protect the party’s purity. In other words, he broke away from workers’ control to elite controlled. Trotsky joined Lenin afterwards and what was seen was a dismantling of worker control and the consolidation of power under individuals.

          Russia, as did the USSR afterwards, retained the label of socialism for popular appeal while the US kept calling the USSR socialism as a pejorative.

          Now, even if you want to call what was practiced in the USSR socialism, which some leftists still do, realize that socialism, like capitalism, is not a monolith. There is elite-centered socialism and non-elite-centered socialism. For Capitalism, there was the Bretton-Woods system as opposed to today’s neoliberalism. BTW, the latter form of Capitalism is far more elite-centered and therefore more centralized. To conflate them is to ignore key differences. We see socialism springing up in villages (see or we can see socialism spring up in individual busionesses (see and listen to how Lenin and Trotsky changed the direction of the revolution to the Right (click

          • Ven

            I know there is the difference between Soviet Socialism and Western Socialism. Socialism presented by the Lenin and Trotsky has the difference but the same Trotsky killed many people. There was not peaceful transition from Capitalism to Socialism. You did not say anything new for me but the problem is that you do not know a lot about it and you try to find something positive where there is nothing positive about it. You spend too much time listening on propaganda instead of thinking by yourself and finding what is right and what is wrong. If you want to say that Western Socialism is good when Lenin went in different direction, do not forget that Marx was proclaiming hate toward rich people calling the people to get rid of them and in addition to the hate of the religion. Remember the Christianity is not a religion of hate. Therefore, I do not agree with you on the Biblical standpoint because for you ideology is more important that the Book of Acts and the Christianity as the whole. Your main point is to change the political system. Sounds like, Christianity is not important for you but to promote Socialism with some additive of Christianity that Christians would be attracted to this ideology. Jesus never called folks to get rid of rich people and change the political system. There were some strange people in that time called Zealots who believed in that ideology but Jesus did not support they ideology. Capitalism is not bad but some capitalists need resurrected Jesus (I am not talking about being a member of the church) to change their hearts to get rid of the greed. I do not believe in humanism, Christian socialism or Christian pacifism. All of those ism are not based on the Bible.

            • Curt Day

              Let’s get some things straight here. When you first described socialism, you described it monolithically. And now you are making a distinction between the two The actual distinction is not east vs west but elite-centered vs non-elite-centered.

              Second, I favor neither Lenin/Trotsky nor violent revolution. Nor do I agree with Marx on everything. I see pick and choose from Marx according to what I have read in the Scriptures. Other non-elite-centered socialists pick and choose according to other criteria. But what we agree on is the dispersing of power. And calling everything I have written about socialism as a mere product of propaganda is nothing more than a way to dismiss my views rather than engage with them.

              And your judgments on my Christianity without knowing me is further proof that you might prefer to dismiss what I am saying rather than engage.

              I believe in both preaching the Gospel to individuals, which is what I have sometimes done while protesting, while challenging an unjust system to repent. In addition, I try to warn Christians that to embrace our current system is to embrace an unjust system. If they want to disagree with my politics, that is fine. The important point to me is for them to see that they are enabling injustice by supporting or even embracing our current political-economic system.

              Finally, you say that capitalism isn’t bad while you can’t agree with Christian socialism or Christian pacifism? First, you have stated an agreement and disagreements with terms that are not well-defined here. Second, if capitalism isn’t bad, why is it wreaking havoc on the world?

      • Ven

        You cannot consider Abraham, the father of all believers as the Socialist. You cannot consider great apostle Paul as the Socialist. He made money on making tents with his fellow ministers. Under Socialist system he would be considered as the enemy of the government ideology. Actually, Jesus is the King and king is the representative of the monarchy but not Socialism. In addition, I would suggest you to read this article again with the fresh look. I agree with the author. Nobody forced first Christians to sell their houses and bring money to the church. By the way, who stop you to do it right now even you are living in America? Go ahead, sell your house and bless somebody. Why you want to praise and promote atheistic ideology instead of living according to the Bible? Nobody stop our church to have a generous Sunday when everybody has a precious gift of any kind to bless somebody in the church. See, the capitalist system does not stop us to be generous and to bless needy.

        • Curt Day

          Our current capitalist system, however, creates more and more needy, and that is the problem.

          What we define as socialism is different. You use the traditional conservative American definition of gov’t that centralizes power while I use the definition of the dispersing of power through an extended democracy. In socialism, the extension of democracy is accomplished by giving workers control over production. Further extensions of democracy must also take place to disperse power.

          I will leave with you what I wrote on facebook:

          “The Conservative dilemma is this: for all of their complaining about the centralization of power by gov’t, they support the consolidation of wealth by corporations and financial institutions. What they forget is that most of the time, wealth is power in politics.”

          • Ven

            By the way, if you want to say something about Israeli communes or kibbutz (Some people like to talk about communes with connection to the Book of Acts), I have news for you. They are not popular anymore. That idea was brought from Soviet Union by Russian Jews who had communist nostalgia. Right now, people are disappointed in kibbutz in Israel.

        • Ven

          Curt Day,
          I want to repeat. It SEEMS like that for you Socialism is more important than Christianity because you talking more about what socialism is than what the Bible says. Those who used to leave under Eastern bloc would never agree that capitalism is bad. Do not forget why that block was dismantled, because socialistic economic system cannot exist forever and cannot create prosperity. Sooner or later it will crash. The capitalism in America needs reform but not socialist reform. American Capitalists need God but not Buddhism, New Age and other stuff that they involved in. It brings havoc because people who is in the power they pretend to be Protestant Christians why sometimes they just sinners with the cool and accepted label. I do not agree with Christian pacifism because it is more pagan that Christian like and it was built on the philosophy of Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism. What are those religion which some of them pagan religion have to do with Christians when Bible prohibit any connection with philosophy and paganism? Hindu religion prohibits killing some animals, because this is the Hindu religion idea not because Bible said so. All this idea based on the religions which God make illegal to have connection with.

          • Curt Day

            And your accusation is nothing more than a distraction. It’s a distraction from the challenge that is being applied to the status quo, something you embrace to some degree.

            What I am saying is that Christianity needs to go beyond talking about repentance from individual sins; it needs to also preach repentance against system sins. Those Christian Germans who lived during the 30s and 40s participated to varying degrees in the sins of the Nazis if they did not demonstrate some form of resistance. Southern Christians participated in the sins of slavery and Jim Crow if they did not resist those systems.

            Finally, you still have not provided precise definitions of Christian Socialism or Christian Pacifism. All you have done is to make broad accusations as to what it is based on. At the same time, you correctly want capitalism to reform. I appreciate that. But since capitalism relies on greed for its energy, how can it reform without bearing the thorns and thistles of greed?

            • Ven

              Christianity is not a political party and there is no sense to mix it. What you are talking about 30s and 40s has nothing to do with my opinion because I am against pacifism. The problem is the church allowed Hitler to come to the power not because they were opposing or not opposing his bloc but because they adopted destructive ideology as from God in their churches. As the result minority of church were in danger because they proclaimed that fascism is not Biblically acceptable. This is what I am against but you are trying to promote socialism as the revelation from God which is not. When you trying adore Socialism why not to show what the Bible says about it. Please do not use only Book of Acts. Book of Acts as you wanted to present was for very short period and later Apostle Paul stated that Abraham is the God of all believers who was not socialist but rather a capitalist. Christian Socialism – is the ideology that you promote. Christian Pacifism is the movement I cannot consider as the Christian because it was based on the pagan religions but not on the Bible.
              For your information, Lee Oswald was deceived by paradise like socialism until he had an opportunity to try what is like to live under soviet system and ran back to US. In the same time in the beginning he wanted to refuse the American citizenship and stay forever in US. Therefore, I suggest you to go to Sweden and try to live there and then maybe I would listen to you. I heard that many Swedes does not like they socialist system. That’s why they come to USA. Capitalism is not perfect but the problem you want to resolve issue by political muscles instead of born again experience. Alas, it is a liberal ideology when you can be a so called Christian and never have supernatural change in your heart. It is against Biblical teaching. I do not see any reason to support socialism. Socialism is totally nonsense. You just do not want to accept it. If you would spend less time to listen to the propaganda of those who wants to use you to come to the power, you would see the life from different prospective. Why not to recognize that socialism is based on the greed more than capitalism? Read all the parables of Jesus and you would see that they were about investment money and similar subject which is nothing to do with socialism.

          • Curt Day

            Agree, Christianity is not a political party. But the Word of God caries implications into what political parties should and should not pursue. And so when we look at the Christian Germans who lived during the 30s and 40s, the question becomes, what was their Christian duty in terms of responding to the Nazis? Should they have resisted? Should they have focussed solely on their immediate duty to be good citizens? Should they have supported the ruling Nazis because of Romans 13? See, they are a prime example of what Christians in every society must face. For if German Christians of the 30s and 40s should have just supported their gov’t, and their gov’t was one of the worst in history, then we would have support for every Christian doing the same in their respective countries. And we would have the fascinating question of how does a German Christian Soldier respond to an allied Christian soldier on the battlefield? Does one Christian have the duty to kill another thus implying that national duty is more binding that spiritual duty?

            But if the German Christians of the 30s and 40s had the biblical duty to resist, then lest we say that the Nazis provided the minimum standard of evil, Christians from other countries must resist the system and social sins of their countries as well.

            BTW, the churches accepted Hitler because people were taught not to question authority. And the churches accepted Hitler because of the benefits Hitler promised to the churches. And the Catholic Church supported Hitler because he was anti-Communist.

            Finally, you have yet to well-define Christian Socialism and Christian pacifism in your own words. I would never claim that my socialist views as a christian represents all of Christian Socialism.

            Finally, stop with the personal attacks. That doesn’t bode well for your side by comparing me to Lee Oswald and claiming that I believe in a paradise on earth. First, I don’t. Second, the comparisons are pejorative rather than precise. And it is capitalism that is based more on greed than socialism. That doesn’t imply socialism is pure. There are parts of some kinds of socialism I disagree with. But it seems that you have conflated Christianity with capitalism to some degree and so your reaction to my writing is more based on that than on your prior experiences in the USSR.

  • Ven

    The end of Swedish Socialist Paradise? Really? Where is equality? Segregation is worse than in America.

    • Curt Day

      Why would you call it a paradise unless you were putting what they had down?

      Also, before painting a whole picture of what is going on in Sweden, I would consult Swedish sources. Sources here tend to be biased and have been for a while. I am not saying that there are no changes in Sweden. I’ve been aware of growing tendencies for a few years now. But then again, we must all be aware of the results of our decisions. And we must realize that though you must respect democracy, you must also be honest about the dynamics of why groups change.

      Finally, segregation is rebounding in America as well.