We’re living in strange times… People in Hong Kong are flying the American flag and singing our national anthem, crying out for the same freedom we enjoy. Yellow-vested protestors in France are shouting, “We want Trump!” And in our own nation, there seems to be a growing desire for socialism and even communism. Is socialism a good idea? Does the Bible say anything about it? And doesn’t the book of Acts portray the early church operating by what we would identify as a socialistic model?
The Bible clearly commands us to care for the sick, the poor, the widows and the orphans, but 2 Thessalonians 3:10 tells us that “Anyone who does not want to work for a living should go hungry.”
Socialism violates the spiritual principle of free will, in that caring for those in need is mandatory instead of voluntary and from the heart. It also violates the law of sowing and reaping. Our heavenly Father and healthy earthly fathers know how to encourage growth and maturation by keeping privilege connected with responsibility. Socialism, on the other hand, can be counterproductive to the maturation process, often producing laziness, lethargy and an entitlement mentality.
For every “real” there is a counterfeit. Socialism is a demonic counterfeit of what we see in the book of Acts, when the early church had all their possessions in common and gave to everyone who lacked. That church was a living organism, led, governed and protected by the person of the Holy Spirit. Because He knows and reveals the hearts of all, no one was able to manipulate or exploit – think Ananias and Sapphira! And each person received, not what they wanted, but what God knew they truly needed – whether generosity and compassion or an opportunity to grow and accept responsibility. Even the best government system with the most sincere people cannot do that.
Even a casual glance at dictatorships or communist countries teaches us that giving government excessive power to do “good” also gives it that same power to do evil, opening the door to oppression and persecution.
Any counterfeit, including socialism, only exists where there is a void of the real thing. Darkness is no more than the absence of light. This trend toward socialism will only shift when God’s sons begin to proactively steward the earth, with wisdom and selfless compassion, from our heavenly position of authority.