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Was Jesus A Socialist? Part II

In response to my site’s thesis posting, Why This Site?, Mr. Ralph Henderson wrote:

Let’s skip what you think the founding fathers saw (most historians hold a strong opinion against yours) and skip to what Jesus taught. “Do not not store up for yourselves treasures on earth”. Matthew 6:19-21.

“Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow…I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father”..Matthew 5:42-45.

Of course He goes much further, but this does not hold with capitalism or our current government at all. Guess what He said the final judgment would be like. “I was hungry and you did not feed me, thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” This is Jesus version of the great judgment and it’s all about helping those in need. And one more quote from the Lord Jesus “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”. Heed the warnings and teachings of Jesus.

My response:

Mr.  Henderson,

Thank you for your comments to my site thesis Why This Site?.  In responding to your letter I found myself so full of comment, that I was inclined to post the response as a sequel to my posting, Was Jesus A Socialist?.  Thus, thank you for the inspiration.

When someone writes a blanket statement such as “Most historians hold a strong opinion against yours,” my first inclination is to ask whom the historians are.  For every five historians you may find, I can find five to refute.  Fortunately, for both of us, the quotes of the Founding Father’s have been wonderfully preserved through their own memoirs and the public record (see two of these quotes in the sidebar).  It would be of great interest to me if you could find Founders’ original quotes to back up your statement.

I commend you for your knowledge of the Scriptures.  But Jesus never addressed governments in these quotes.  All the Bible quotes you gave were Jesus addressing individuals.  This was the whole point of the posting, Was Jesus a Socialist?.  But I do encourage you to keep up your individual habit of giving.

Did you know, of the general U.S. Population, that Christian conservatives give the most?  The “right-wing zealots” that leftists assail actually give more of their money and time than secularists, liberals, and even left-leaning Christians.  These same Christian conservatives also give more to secular causes.  Thus when you write of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the prisoners, or building the hospital, or sheltering the orphan, American Christians have already been doing this for over three hundred years – many years before 19th century Socialism was even conceptualized.

As I wrote in other articles, Capitalism proper is not contrary to Biblical teaching.  Yes, it can be abused when God is separated from it, but so is Socialism … with a 100 million deaths in the 20th century to prove it.  But again, the point of my blog is to accentuate the Founders’ coupling of Christianity with Capitalism.

Because we share God’s image of “creator,” entrepreneurial creation is a prevailing disposition of our being.  I don’t see any Commandment that says, “Thou shalt not create.”  But I do read Commandments that say, “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not covet.”  The existence of these Commandments are God’s implicit approval of property rights.  The Scriptures you quoted do not outlaw the possession or accumulation of wealth (i.e. The Patriarchs, Solomon, Nicodemus, Lydia).  These Scriptures are actually meant to give a God-centered heart to the possessor of that wealth.

The Christian Capitalist experiment of our Founders has actually given you, Mr. Henderson, the right of dissent, the leisure time to write to me, and probably the computer you type on.  Your dissent emanates from a very privileged position indeed.

Very respectfully,
Ken

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