The Early Church Was Not Communist - and Neither Was Jesus

You are here

The Early Church Was Not Communist - and Neither Was Jesus

Login or Create an Account

With a account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up


Note Acts 2:44-45: "Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need."

But this was a unique situation that didn't last very long. We later see that elderly widows were to be financially provided for by a common church fund only if they had no family members in the Church who could privately support them (1 Timothy 5:3-16). Obviously, all members of the Church's congregations at this later time were not being provided for out of a common fund—only a select number in real need.

In considering Acts 2, we should note that Christians were being persecuted. Also, thousands of new believers, some from distant lands, had just been added to the Church at the Feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem.

No doubt many decided to remain in Judea at that time to learn more about their new faith and rely on one another through growing persecution rather than return to their homes far away. These people thus had an immediate need for food and lodging, and a voluntary pooling of resources took care of that.   

The believers at the time felt extremely blessed, grateful, hospitable and generous. Many who had extra assets sold some of them to help finance the living expenses of others. The expression "all things in common" means this: "I love you, and therefore your needs are just as important to me as my own needs. I consider all that I have as being yours also."

However, keep in mind that they could not sell what they did not own. They were voluntarily selling some of their privately owned property so they could help others. This was charity, not communism. No one was compelled to sell his property, nor did anyone confiscate one's property or income to give it to others, as many governments do today.

Acts 4:32-35, which follows shortly after in time order, shows that the pooling of resources was still going on. The account of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11 adds further clarity. God did not execute judgment on these two for their refusing to share, but for their telling a lie to make themselves look good.

The apostle Peter asked Ananias, "While it [their possession] remained [unsold], was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control?" The couple was not obligated either to sell their land or to give away the proceeds. Again, this was not communism or socialism.

The words of Jesus Himself should make it even clearer. In His parables of the workers in the vineyard in Matthew 20, He portrayed God as a vineyard owner paying different employees the same agreed-on amount even if they worked for less time.

The employees who worked longer thought it unfair. But the owner, representing God, replies to one: "Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things?" (verses 13-15).

To the final question here, communists and socialists, and those with such leanings, would answer no—since in those systems the community or state decides. Jesus' statement, while figurative of spiritual principles, is nevertheless a ringing endorsement of both private ownership and free market exchange without wage control. He was certainly no communist—and neither were His followers. 


  • ucgadmin

    Hello all

    Thanks for your discussion - it sure has been an interesting dialog.

    Over the weekend we've received numerous comments on this article - the conversation looks like it is becoming a debate and not a discussion. Nobody will change anyone else's mind on this subject, nor is this the place to do so.

    We're closing the comments on this article - at this point the commenting is not being constructive.

    Tom Disher
    Senior Web Developer

  • Don Hooser

    Hi Susan. Excellent points. Thank you.

    Hi dziwczyna. Excellent points. And I learned a couple of years ago about the forced famine in the Ukraine. That must be one of history's most horrific and evil tragedies. Thank you for your posts.


  • Don Hooser

    Dear Durango. This is primarily my reply to your second post. I appreciate the exchange of ideas though I have little hope of changing your mind about any of this.

    Let me emphasize: evil is evil, regardless of who, what, where, etc. God hates evil-doing by rich, poor, employers, employees, government leaders, private citizens, etc. Please don't construe anything I say to mean I'm excusing sin anywhere.

    More than once you bring up wars. Yes, war is horrible. How thankful I am that Christ will soon return to bring peace on earth! It seems you've blamed wars foremost on big corporations, which amazes me. I agree that often some of them are partly to blame. But it seems obvious to me that it is government leaders who are usually the instigators and driving force. Think Pharaohs, the kings of Assyria & Babylon & Persia & Greece (Alexander "the great"), & Rome. Think Stalin & Hitler & Pol Pot & Idi Amin & Saddam Hussein, etc., etc.

    A fundamental point is that when human beings gain power, they are strongly tempted to abuse it and use it for self-serving purposes. That includes all kinds of power--financial, governmental, military, corporate, celebrity, etc. It's true that power often corrupts. However there have been countless powerful people who have been noble enough that the power has not gone to their heads and they have not abused their power.

    We believe that God has given mankind 6000 years to experiment and try every form of government and every other idea to prove that mankind without two things can never solve the world's problems. The two things are the rule of Jesus Christ (teaching His ways to the world) and a drastic change to the human heart.

    In Deut. 5:29, God said, "Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!" In Deut. 29:4, Moses said, "Yet the LORD has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day." And regarding the world after Christ returns, God says in Jer. 24:7, "Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart."

    Every human being, whether rich or poor or in between has a "heart problem" (human nature) that is only overcome by God calling the person and then the person comes to have real faith in God, repents of his sins, is baptized for the forgiveness of sins, and receives the in-dwelling gift of God's Holy Spirit (John 6:44; Acts 2:38).

    Regarding what we should be doing now, I've already emphasized that we should follow the example of Christ in respecting and loving everyone, treating everyone fairly, and be doing whatever we can to help others who need help.

    What the Bible does NOT advocate or condone is expecting or allowing civil government to go way beyond the purposes that God intended for civil governments by becoming nanny states that oppress the people with heavy taxation to take over the roles that should be fulfilled by individuals, churches, and charities.

    The Bible says a lot about helping the poor and needy. But WHERE does it ever say that a civil government should take over countless roles of "social programs"?? It wouldn't be bad if a civil government limited itself to offering emergency aid, but our U.S. government has so many huge departments & agencies & programs & regulations that no one could count them all--things that a civil government has no business being involved in.

    You spoke of the bad state "that our economic system has morphed into in the past decade." I ask you, which direction has it been morphing? It has been morphing from less freedom into more socialism. That's a big part of why our national problems are rapidly getting worse!

    Sometimes you make dogmatic broad-brush statements. For example, speaking of "the wealthy who could care less for their employees." (I think you meant "couldn't" care less.) Do you really think that every wealthy employer "couldn't care less" for his employees?? You have a caricature in mind that is far from reality.

    To me, you're promoting class warfare. It's great to love the poor, but why make statements that sound like we should hate the rich??

    You spoke of those who demonize socialism but much of what you say sounds like demonizing capitalism. (Let me add that there is tons of demonizing everywhere. We often hear people on all sides of issues demonizing those who disagree.) My intention is not to demonize socialism but to point out that based on the record of history and especially the teachings of the Bible, the fruits of socialism are far worse than free enterprise.

    Look at it this way: There are selfish and evil people in all walks of life--in government, corporations, education, entertainment, etc. But where there is more power over the people, there is much more potential for harm. Any corporation is small compared to the giant federal government. A corporation has power over its employees, but an employee can quit and go elsewhere. But a citizen can't "quit" being a citizen who is taxed and then highly controlled by countless regulations, restrictions, etc. (I realize that companies do influence government in various ways, such as through lobbying, campaign contributions, etc.)

    If being poor is noble and being rich is evil, then I guess a perfect world would be one where everyone is poor? If everyone is poor, then no one has any discretionary income to give to anyone else. It's everyone struggling just to survive. There would be virtually no manufacturing, research and development, new innovations and inventions. It would be a primitive world. No one would have an automobile, appliances, modern tools and machinery, or high-tech anything. There would be hardly any "jobs" because no one could afford to hire anyone else. The world would be more "level" all right. Everyone would be miserable with no hope of much improvement.

    I realize I'm using two extremes to make my overall points. I suppose you're not suggesting that everyone be "dirt poor." I suppose an ideal world would be everyone being "lower middle class." However much of what I said in the previous paragraph would still apply but to a lesser extent.

    Durango, I look forward to the day when we can meet, shake hands, and sit down for stimulating talks face to face. However, where would we meet? We wouldn't want to meet in a coffee shop owned by some rich guy. Hah. I couldn't resist joking with you in that way.

    I plan to reply to your next post later. Don

  • pe700

    Durango I hope you do not mind me chiming in? I received this in response to my message, too.

    "If being rich is bad, how do you account for all the very rich people who were some of God's chosen leaders: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob,
    Joseph, Job, Moses before he fled Egypt, King David and other righteous kings, Joseph of Arimathea, and others????"

    I can account for it by the teachings of Christ. Christ is the one that was sacrificed for us ,not the patriarchs, and he is the ultimate instructor. The parable of the rich man who accumulated wealth and was comfortable enough to retire. The condemnation of striving after riches instead of "Being Rich toward God" Luke 12:21. The Israelites at the time of Samuel wanted a King and were told what would happen if they accepted a political leader. You mentioned this in part but God tolerated people being rich for a purpose, like he tolerates this system to prove human systems fail. God tolerated Slavery. Do you think that God advocates an institution like Slavery? Of course the tolerance of Slavery in the so called Old and New Testaments has championed Anti Religious fervor. It is the allowing of these institutions to prove a point. You seem to miss the point that these human systems based on human philosophy do not have God's approval. Our fight is in part against the philosophies of this world, reference Colossians 2:8.

    "Likewise, He created the laws of economics (long before there were any human governments or political systems".
    Really, why did Satan offer Christ "All the Kingdoms of the World"? Jesus did not deny they
    were his to give to him for an act of worship. Do you think these Kingdoms had no economic base? No, the laws of economics were created by humans. Again proclamations by men do not make it true.

    "What is your proof or evidence to the contrary?"
    My proof would be the buying and selling of human beings on the Free Market, then a so called Civil War in an attempt to free them. The wars made for profit reference "War is a Racket" by General Smedley Butler. Genocide of Native Americans because of money, "There is gold in dem der hills". Everything money touches it corrupts. Black Markets that exist like Marijuana, Exploitation
    of Illegal Aliens, Pornography, reference Eric Schlosser's 'Reefer Madness". White Slavery and the exploitation of children in factories. The death of untold laborers in coal mines (Matewan, WV), the Triangle Waist Shirt factory, Homestead, PA, eg,. If you really cannot see this terrible mechanism as part of Satan's system then you are either in denial, in error, or a minister of untruth. Again, “By their fruits you will know them”.

    I noticed you skipped my point that it really is the corporate infrastructure that is the large government. It is actually global now. Ever hear of the IMF? The majority of wealth eventually is consolidated at the top which Free Market Capitalism will lead to Monopolistic Capitalism. Power is Power, Mr. Hooser, and the label does not matter because the distortion still exist. "Absolute power corrupts absolutely".

    "You think you have read in our lit that "all man-made governments are Satan-inspired."
    Really, What about the Nazis? Was God the "Ultimate Civil Authority" behind them? Jesus told Pilot "You would have no power over me unless it was granted to you from above". So did the Almighty God kill his own son, Christ? No, it was the Bible tells us, the enemy of man and God that was the power behind this scenario. You are on dangerous ground!

    There will be a dictatorship but by a just dictator. Your attempt to separate the mechanism of greed and Free Enterprise is really pitiful. If we are to be Christ like, and treat our neighbor as ourselves, plus sacrifice for others well that is not a promotion of selfish
    free enterprise for monetary gain. True freedom comes, like freedom from death, from God not men.

  • Durango


    That says it all. Butt also

    Mr Herbert W. Armstrong has statted that there is "the way of give" and " the way of get"
    Arrmstrong criticized" the way of get" as the way of competition and the way of give as the way of cooperation and outgoing concern for others. He further stated that the governments of this world are following the way of get, the way of competition, self centeredness. The way of get is the way of Capitslism without restraint

    Lukr 6 : 24 "WOE UNTO YOU WHO ARE RICH! FOR YE HAVE RECEIVED YOUR CONSOLATION." those scriptures are so clear a child could understand. Moreover the poor in spirit refers to the poor because they are downtrodden and abused by those with great wealth. Verse 25 ~ "Woe unto you, ye that are full now! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you, ye that laugh now! for ye shall weep."

    The Patriarchs you referred to are the exception NOT the rule. Being the exception prooves the rule -
    The vast majority of the time the wealthy abuse the poor.

    Further, the Patriarchs were ruled by G_d, the vast majority of those with wealth today are not. Addittionally Moses as an example bofore he left Egyptbproves nothing because the book of acts says he gave up all the wealth of Egypt to do G_d's will. The wealth of egypt at any rate was built upon slavery and oppression ~~ thats the reason the Israelites needed deliverance ~~

    The propsperity the patriarchs received was by the direct hand of G_d, that cannot be said for the vast majority today; thats why we have wars- its out of competition, the way of get.

  • Don Hooser

    Hello Durango,

    This is a reply to some of the points in your first post. You said, "The only government structure that's in the Bible is a monarchy." Not true. Most of the history in the book of Genesis can be described as a patriarchy. From Moses through Joshua and some of the judges, it was a theocracy with very limited human leadership provided by "judges." Then when the Israelites begged Samuel, "Give us a king to judge us" (1 Sam. 8:6), God allowed them to start having monarchs. When the Jews came back from Babylonian captivity, Judea was led by governors (first being Zerubbabel, later Nehemiah) and priests (first being Joshua, later Ezra). Later the subjugated Jews were led by the Maccabees. In Jesus' day, the Romans allowed a government divided among King Herod, a Roman procurator, and the Jewish Sanhedrin.

    It is when the Israelites asked for a king that God warned them what a curse it would be to have big government. Notice God's wording--how it describes the curses of a top-heavy central government that can manipulate, micromanage, oppress and tax a people to death: From 1 Samuel 8:11-18--"And he [Samuel] said, "This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day."

    He was not warning about "rich people" or "corporations" even though plenty of them have caused serious problems. But the most dangerous monopoly is a central government that has the power to pass more and more laws and regulations and then use its police, military, IRS, etc., to enforce them.

    Yes, there has been "exploitation" by big corporations, but historically there has been MUCH MUCH more exploitation by civil governments (that are often uncivil).

    You think you have read in our lit that "all man-made governments are Satan-inspired." Not exactly. We say that Satan is always trying to influence humans and their endeavors. But God is the ultimate authority behind civil governments as we read in Romans 13:1--"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God." Paul goes on to call the leaders "God's ministers", but he also indicates what is the God-intended purpose of civil government: to prevent and punish "evil" (verses 1-6). Peter wrote that civil “governors… are sent by [God] for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good” (1 Peter 2:14).

    You quoted Luke 3:11, which is John's instruction to be compassionate and generous toward the needy. He wasn't saying anything for or against any kind of economy or government.

    You quoted Matthew 19:21 where "Jesus said unto him [the very wealthy man], 'If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.'" Jesus never said this to anyone else. He said it because He knew the man was materialistic and was putting money before God. So Jesus put him to the test and proved what Jesus had already surmised--the man's money came first. You don't believe that everyone should sell everything he has to give to the poor, do you??

    The "capitalistic system" does not depend on "greed." The Bible condemns greed but endorses free enterprise. However, God did create us to have healthy minds that have the proper level of self-love and self-interest for the sake of SURVIVAL and ambition to accomplish anything at all. Eph. 5:29 says, "For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church." God wants us to be motivated to take care of ourselves so we can help and serve others, including our families. 1 Tim. 5:8 says, "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

    Consider this verse in Eph. 4:28--"Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need." Does it occur to you that the more you earn, the more you have to give to others? Does it occur to you that the bigger you build your business, the more customers you are satisfying and the more people you can provide employment to?? God wants people to use their brains, talents and energies to be productive so they can serve more people and in bigger ways.

    The "way of get" means selfishness. Many, many hard workers who earn good money are not selfish--they are very kind, compassionate and generous.

    You say that you think "Democratic-Socialism" is a better parallel with Christianity. Please point to one scripture that indicates that God wants Christians to push for socialism so civil government will forcibly take taxes in order to give that money away to whomever the government wants to give it to! To put it in the extreme, a person subconsciously can think, "Even though I'm personally stingy, I feel like I'm really righteous because I vote for socialistic leaders who will lay heavy taxes on the people so they can dole part of it out to the people the government decides is needy." Of course, a big percent of those taxes will pay the big salaries of the bureaucrats who are running the big welfare bureaucracies.

    Excessive taxes amount to stealing from the people a big percent of the money they worked hard to earn.

    The Bible teaches obedience to God's Ten Commandments plus individual compassion and generosity. Plus it teaches personal freedom and free enterprise because that will bring more happiness and prosperity to people in general, not just the "rich."

    You said F.D. Roosevelt was one of our greatest presidents. However, many people think he was one of the worst in some ways since his schemes of government control and manipulation greatly prolonged the Great Depression.

    Here is what Wikipedia says about the depression of 1920-21:
    "The recession was short but extremely painful. The year 1920 was the single most deflationary year in American History; production, however, did not fall as much as might be expected from the deflation. GNP may have declined between 2.5 and 7 percent, even as wholesale prices declined by 36.8%.[26] The economy had a strong recovery following the recession."

    Why did that worst-ever depression recover so quickly? Largely because the US president, Warren Harding (March 1921 to August 1923) did hardly anything to get the federal government involved. The free market forces corrected the problems. The Great Depression was partly caused my meddling by the federal government. And why did the Great Depression go from 1929 to past the end of WWII? Because presidents and congressmen tried to fix everything with socialism. If they had kept big government out of the way, the recovery would have been much quicker. And once socialistic laws get on the books, it is usually hard to get rid of them. That’s largely why the U.S. is going down the tubes now--because we have been departing more and more from free enterprise every since Herbert Hoover and FDR.

    Yes, Jesus said "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:24). Being rich is a huge temptation to become proud and self-reliant instead of God-reliant.

    Here is Paul's command to the rich: "Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life" (1 Timothy 6:17-19). Notice he didn't say the rich were necessarily evil and he didn't say they needed to give everything away and go live in a monastery.

    Yes, I agree with you that we need God's "regulations"! The Ten Commandments plus other laws that define specific applications of the Ten Commandments. But God is not going to force anyone to obey Him. However, as this nation and most of the world is turning their backs on God, God is withdrawing His blessings from them. We have come to the point where there is virtually no hope of this nation or any nation turning back to God. So I'm hoping more than ever that Christ will return SOON!

    As soon as I get time, I'll reply to your second post. Thanks for the stimulating discussion.


  • Don Hooser

    Hello Durango,

    With this, I'll reply to your last post. Luke 6:20 does indeed say, "Blessed are you poor, for your is the kingdom of God." But this is a parallel to Mt. 5:3--"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God." People who are materially poor can have terrible spiritual conditions. What God wants to see is people who have humble, God-dependent, God-reliant attitudes rather than proud self-reliant attitudes.

    Likewise, Luke 6:21 says, "Blessed are you who hunger now," whereas Mt. 5:6 says, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness." God is not going to reward people merely for being physically hungry.

    You said, "Jesus was FOR the poor not the rich" (my emphasis). A major principle of the Bible is to show no partiality in judgment or justice--no partiality to the rich or to the poor (Ex. 23:3; Deut. 1:7; 10:17; Pro. 28:21; Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25; 1 Ti. 5:21; Jam. 2:1, 4, 9; 3:17; 1 Pet. 1:17). God doesn't play favorites. God judges everyone by his character and his actions and based on the spiritual understanding that he has.

    Jesus was the ultimate example of love and compassion toward everyone! To teach people to love and reach out to everyone, He did go to great lengths to illustrate this. He touched the untouchables and didn't hesitate to do what was politically incorrect at the time.

    One of the focuses of the gospel by Luke (the beloved physician) is on Jesus' concern that the neglected and rejected of society be treated with equal respect and rights and, when needed, a free-will helping hand. He made a special effort to reach out to outcasts, the sick and injured including lepers, the poor, women, children, sinners, tax collectors, Samaritans, Gentiles, etc. We should all follow that example.

    But Jesus NEVER suggested the civil government take care of the needy, and He NEVER suggested the people should lobby government to solve social problems!

    Why did Jesus drive out the money changers from the temple--and twice? First, it was totally inappropriate, irreverent, and disgusting that the temple of God was turned into a "house of merchandise" (John 2:15-16). Furthermore, the money changers were taking advantage of the worshipers and cheating them. How do we know? He said what should be a "house of prayer" was turned into a "den of thieves" (Mt. 21:12-13; Mk. 11:15-17).

    The Bible is not against material things but it condemns materialism. It's not against money but lust for money. It's not against alcohol but any misuse or overuse. It's not against sex but it condemns any immoral sex. It's not against good quality things but it condemns placing too much importance on things. The Bible also condemns asceticism.

    Jesus was not prejudiced against well-to-do people and often socialized with them, accepting invitations to their homes to eat, etc. For this, as tells us, the self-righteous religious leaders criticized Him. Jesus said, "The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, 'Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!'" (Luke 7:34).

    If being rich is bad, how do you account for all the very rich people who were some of God's chosen leaders: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses before he fled Egypt, King David and other righteous kings, Joseph of Arimathea, and others????

    Enough for this post. Next I'll reply to your first post. Thanks again for commenting. Don

  • Don Hooser

    Hello Steven,

    Thank you for your posts. I definitely agree with your second post. Not sure I totally understand all that you said in the first post, but you'll know my views more after I further respond to Durango.


  • pe700

    Don Hooser's article on "Freedom and Enterprise". You Mr. Hooser give Christianity a bad name. Christ would never advocate a philosophy like Adam Smith's as described in "Wealth of Nations". Since the Bible clearly states that "The Whole World is Lying in the Power of the Wicked One". Christ said "Many would come in his name and deceive many". Just because a Philosopher like Adam Smith claimed the market was guided by the invisible hand of God does not make it true. Adolph Hitler claimed the same God was guiding the German nation of that time, too. Reference "Triumph of the Will" a 1934 propaganda film made by the Nazis besides references in Mein Kampf. Christ never advocated greed or profits before human concern. I could give scriptural references
    but I am sure you know them? If profits are fine then why did he overturn the money changer's tables at the temple? After all they were just trying to make a profit. Why did Christ condemn the Religious Leaders of his time and turn to the common people? Was it because they were not truly representing God but their own selfish interests or traditions? Could it be they had cohort with other affluent people of their time and did not teach people God's truth? Just because men in power or affluence make proclamations that their views are from God does not make it true. We are told to test teachings to make sure they are true. "Every good tree produces fine fruit". Parable of the wheat and the weeds should teach us about those who claim to be teaching and representing God's truth.

    Would Christ have taught people to compete and fight against each other like the Free Market system demands? The basic business model proves that this is not a system advocated by the Head of Christ. Here is the basic so called ethical business model : One person is selling and the other is buying, both are trying to get the most money or profit. Ethical or even Godly behavior is the last thing on most people's minds when the profit motive is involved. The pain and suffering caused by the Free Market philosophy through out history besides the Great Depression is easily seen. People with extreme wealth are in positions of power and they influence governments to do their bidding. Do not believe it then explain the real purpose of a lobbyist? I could site many more examples if you would like? Christ said "My Kingdom is not of this World". The Book of Revelation points to "The Merchants" , Political, and Religious ties of this world and not in a favorable way. I will not even get into the article by Mr. Snow and others in this issue because yours is “The straw that broke the camel's back”. Needless to say I will not be renewing my subscription to the Good News.

  • dziwczyna

    One more thing:

    Christ sayd "Blessed are the poor in spirit". Not the poor. He was talking about people who rely on God spiritually, unlike the Laodiceans (Rev 3) who think spiritually they are rich, wealthy, and have need of nothing.

  • dziwczyna

    There were many rich people in the Bible: Job and Abraham for example. God did not strip away their wealth because they were too rich.

    God also gave the command in the OT to not wholly reap the corners of the field nor gather any gleaning, but to leave them for the stranger (Lev 23:22). The poor had to go out and collect it themselves; it was not given to them without them having to work for it.

    I agree with Mr. Hooser. One only has to look to history to see the effect communism has had on society. A great book to read is called: Execution by Hunger by Miron Dolot. It is about the famine in Ukraine which was caused by the communist party in Russia.

    There was a lot of propaganda (ie. advertising, news reports) that made 'rich' farmers (they were not even rich) look evil. Don't you think that this propaganda is still going on today in western countries?

    Communism destroyed their lives. Millions of people died. People were eating their own children. They couldn't own anything of value. They couldn't even keep extra food in their homes. They couldn't go to church. This was only about 80 years ago.

    As wise King Soloman said "there is nothing new under the sun". Eccl 1:9.

  • Durango

    Dear Mr.Hooser,

    When Jesus, Blessed be His Holy name, walked the Earth he did not come as a rich man and his sayings advocated for the poor while condemning the rich -- as I'm sure you well know. This is BEYOND debate.
    As far as Capitalism being demonized in the U.S - that is not the case. The fact of U.S. history demonstrates that it was "Socialism" and "Communism" that has been demonized and destroyed the lives of many American citizens as a result. I am sure you are familiar with THE MC'CARTHY ERA inthe US where American citizens who may or may not in actuality espoused socialist principles were BLACKLISTED and could not work as a result.

    In fact socialist principles in this country continue to be demonized in the media notwithstanding the fact that socialist " principles" actually parallel Chritian principles ~ that being "the service of man" and being motivated to do things for the service of your fellowman in contrast to doing things and working for self motivated profit which typically with even the most well intentioned person more often gets out of hand.

    My uncle was a veteran of the Korean War -- he won an award but was "shell-shocked" in the process. He had to have his motor skills and nervous sytem rehabillitated in a hospital in Japan because he would shake to the point where he was non-functional. Although he made a short term recovery in the long term he was damaged by his experiences in that war, his life was never the same afterwards. My uncle could never fulfill his potential as a human being as a result. As well i have a brother who was a United States Marine, he even won the Ironman competition when he was there; yet the results were not postive which is an understatement. Wars have been fought over so-called socialist and capitalist ideologies ~~ yet in truth these wars are truly fought over power and domination.

    We cannot debate the fruits of these political and economic ideologies without placing them into a very detailed historical context. However we can see in the general the fruits of the wars being rotten fruits and for the most part being motivated by the control of territory, resources and strategic military objectives to achieve domination of world markets and the destruction of the potential for the success of any countries in the past with the common goals of establishing markets with so called socialist goverments- a federation of such nations. But i digress.

    I personally, am not against Capitalism or a free market; but I am against Capitalism and a free market without any restraint whatsoever because it has shown historically that it lends itself to abuse and exploitation of the poor and maintains a permanent underclass which serves the rich and makes it extremely dufficult if not almost impossible to escape poverty and climb from the bottom of the economic ladder.

    While i beleive there are ample scriptures commonly known that advocate for poor and against the vices of the rich to support what I am stating i could probably find more scriptures than discusses and condemns trade without ant restraint in the Bible; which i will post when i get a chance.

    As for little johnny selling lemonade on the corner, thats a bit disengenuous to reduce these principals to a "child" selling lemonade on the corner. The abuses in a free market economy with no restraint whatsoever typically come from moguls devoid of conscious that pay slave wages to workers who cant even feed their families. And from transnational corporations who milk the
    Ife blood from workers in developing nations because existing laws allow them to exploit making huge profits off shore without having to a pay any taxes bc its outside the US

    The Bible mainly focuses on espousing defending the poor and the sick because they are
    The rich can defend themselves.

    they use thier billions to fund private interest groups that have pretty much hijacked our US Govt and own politicians who are supposed to serve intersts "the people".

    Its the greedy rich that have destroyed this economy - not "evil poor people" many poor people who have no way to survive usually turn to crime bc of their poverty~~ its been shown historically how women in all countries turn to prostitution to survive ~~ there is enough wealth in this world so that we could ensure that that never happens.

    Also to Steve Brit ~~ the Bible shows that G_d will redistribute the earth -- the key word being "redistribute" the land -- it doesnt say he will put it up for sale so that anyone working at MC donalds wont be able to afford purchasing it with a mortgage.

    The Bible regulates ~~

  • Susan Durnil


    Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple because they shouldn't have been there. They were polluting a holy place. Matt. 21:12 & 13 explains that the temple was a place of prayer, not a market. It wasn't what they were doing; but where they were doing it that made Him so angry.

    In order for the poor to be given to, there has to be somebody with something to give. A free market economy helps to ensure that there are more people who can give and fewer who need to receive.

    Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven," in Matt. 5:3, not just, "poor". He meant that a person who comes to Him with a humble, open-minded, teachable attitude will be in His kingdom.

  • Durango

    Jesus was for the poor not the rich

    Blessed are the poor

    He didnt say blessed are the rich who do not want market regulation and wage control

    Jesus threw out money changers in the temple - why ?

  • Steven Britt

    I don't think that anyone is arguing that greed is a suitable foundation for an economic system or that capitalism as we know it in America is the ideal form of government. Indeed, concern for others, especially the poor, is an integral part of God's admonish for how we live our lives. Perhaps the disagreement that you and I seem to have is one of where the responsibility for this concern lies. I believe that it lies with the individual rather than the state - if a person doesn't want to generously give to those in need or if they don't want to tithe, then that's their choice and they will be held accountable for it by God.

    By contrast, I don't think that the role of government should be to enforce economic fairness in the form of wealth redistribution, but rather that each person ought to do what is right of their own accord. While I nowhere see the scriptures advocating the redistribution of wealth by compulsion, I do see an underlying principle of freedom to choose what to do with one's money, whether that choice be for good or for evil.

  • Don Hooser

    Hello Durango,

    I'm certainly glad you are a reader of The Good News magazine. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I certainly hope you will read GN (and especially read the Bible) with an open teachable mind, including articles that expose flaws in your ideology.
    This response will be general and I'll follow up with more specific responses to your first and second posting.
    United Church of God and the GN are not political. We're concerned with absolute principles which have been in effect from God's creation of the world. We learn from the Bible (the Book of revelation) and from the "book" of creation. Regarding the latter, we learn about the laws of science, mathematics, etc., from observation, testing, etc.--all of which are God's laws that He created and instituted. Likewise, He created the laws of economics (long before there were any human governments or political systems).
    You expressed disagreement overall with free enterprise (which you prefer to call "capitalism," a word that has been demonized, but the article presents abundant evidence from history and especially the Bible for its conclusions. What is your proof or evidence to the contrary?
    If you and I were to debate this on the basis of history (what have been the fruits of freedom and small government versus big government and less freedom), the evidence of history overwhelmingly shows that the former has brought about much more peace, contentment, progress in scientific development, better living conditions, prosperity for people in general, etc.
    But a more important debate would be based on the Bible. I would be happy to debate with anyone the evidence for free enterprise from the Bible. (The article in the GN was based largely on a previous article I wrote that was five times as long. There is MUCH more evidence from the Bible than what the space of that GN article allowed.)
    When we write about what's wrong with the world today, our purpose is NOT to try to solve the world's problems, to influence any election or politics, etc. It is to direct the hope of our readers to the hope of a much better life and world to come after Jesus Christ returns to the earth. The article concludes with this:
    "So does the Bible teach free enterprise. Yes, it does. But the world has never seen free enterprise at its very best. That will happen after Jesus Christ returns! He will give the world ideal economics combined with godly ethics. The results will be spectacular—liberty, peace, prosperity and joy to the world!" Then I quote Isa. 65:21-23--and I could have quoted MANY more--about the world of tomorrow. "The Bible makes it clear that free enterprise is the best economic system. When people combine free enterprise with faith in God and obedience to His spiritual laws, they not only survive, they thrive."
    Because of the influence of Satan and the downward pull of human nature, virtually everything in the world today gets corrupted. Free enterprise is not a solution by itself! During the Millennium, there will be no Satanic influence, the world will have God's perfect laws, Christ will give us perfect government, ALL people will have their minds open to God's truth, and ALL people will have the opportunity to receive God's Holy Spirit.
    In human history, I agree that there have been lots of very evil rich people and "capitalists," just like there have been lots of very evil poor people and socialists. So what does that prove? People can choose to be good or bad. But you want us to think that money is evil and all rich people and "capitalists" are bad.
    "Capitalists" include the kid with a lemonade stand or the one who mows grass or delivers papers. They are just trying to make some money. Is that evil?
    I'm curious (but don't tell me) as to how much income you have and what is your occupation. To most of the world, you probably are relatively "rich." At what income level or level of assets do you consider "rich"? Have you sold everything you have and given it to the poor? Have you made an effort to move to Cuba or North Korea? Or even France or England? I'm glad you are in the U.S. where you've been able to enjoy the wonderful fruits of freedom and free enterprise. Our nation is going down very fast, especially because of the departure from God and His laws but also because of the steady erosion of the freedoms and the decline of free enterprise.
    I'll write more later. All the best to you.

  • Don Hooser

    Derek, I heartily agree with you!

  • Durango

    Thats not accurate -- In Socialism the Goverment does not own "all" wealth.

    There are elements of Socialism in modern Western nations including Great Britain (taxation itself is a form of socialism, better to use it to benefit people than to perpetuate war for the greed of 1 % of the wealthy). And we all know the British pound is stronger than both the dollar and the Euro. The British pound being worth twice as much as the dollar and the I believe its close to the same for the Euro. The provision government provided medical care,eduation, and fiancial asssitance for the poor are socialist principals. And these things reduce ills in a society.

    I love the United States, however, there is so much propagnada circulated by the private interest groups of corporations and banks that demonize the "socialist-type" principals in modern western european nations because it affects their profit margin and goals of profit over people - IN Christinaity it sthe opposite people are important and excessive wealth is a serious vice that serves no one. The former is a complete diservice to the public and a service to the wealthy - who could car less for their employees.

    When I take the train home at night I see so many older people on the train who appear as though they have been used up by the harshness of the extreme that our economic sytem has morphed into in the past decade.

    When I see these people it deeply disturbs me, many work there whole lives but they cant afford when they are old to provide for themselves - actually it angers me because there is a lack of compassion for the American people but we iin the US use our tax dollars to spend trillions on expanding wars in the middle east- its outrageous and insane.

    The manipulation by wealthy private interests to manipulate Americans to vote against policies that would benefit them is a revolting manipulation; this is done by associating "socialism" with evil - its rediculous, its wrong. And the motive behind the 2% wealthy advocating against such policies is NOT a Christian motive, just the opposite.

    This article talks about a free market system without wage control( basically means no regualtion,) which always results in more exploitation of the poor -- this is endorsed by Biblical Christianity? - No, I dont think so - actually I know so.

    Jesus fed the masses of poor with two loaves and a fish. Jesus healed the sick. And a portion of tithing is to be used to assist the poor.

    If G_d's concern is always with the poor then should that be the driving force of our concern both as indiviuals and as a nation?
    This is the foundation of a nation that espouses Christian principals, and can only be a blessing nationally if carried out along with other principals of individual morality of course.

  • Steven Britt


    The statement about the "ringing endorsement" was referring to the scripture that preceded it, where the man in the parable said "Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things?" The modern political theories of socialism and communism generally advocate that the government owns all wealth and is the authority that distributes it for the common good, and I think the bible clearly teaches against that in principle.

    Also, I definitely agree with you that capitalism is ultimately no better, being driven primarily by that infamous "invisible hand."

    The point to consider is that self-ownership is not an idea that is exclusively bound to capitalism, just as giving to the poor is not inextricably bound to socialism.

  • Durango

    I thought this organization did not advocate for any political system.

    This article states that Jesus Christ would have "...a ringing of both private ownership and a free market exchnage without wage control"?

    Really?! I never have seen that in the Bible. Private ownership yes but not "free market exchange without wage control. Nor do I see any condemnation of "socialism" in the Bible.

    The only government structure thats in the Bible is a monarchy.

    In fact Jesus stated to not be attached to worldly possessions. The Capitalist free market system is not a benevolent socio-econmomic political system. Al you have to do is look at all the exploitation form transnational corporations that has wreaked havoc in this world.

    I have read some literature from this church website that states that all man-made governments are satan-inspired; and one need only open up th enewspaper to actually see why this church organizaton and others assert such a postion.

    The Bible also states - Johns said -- "He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise"

    And Jesus stated to the rich man-- KJV MATHEUW 19:21 " Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

    (so He directed him to give away all his goods to the poor and he would have riches in Heaven -- THIS does NOT sound like the Capitalist sytem to me or a ringing endorsement of any kind of political system; the Capitalist system which depends on the motive of "greed" which St Paul said is the root of all evil)

    It was my understanding that the Christian way of life was to be motivated by the serving G_d and serving the good of mankind; one's community.

    And while that is not exactly Socialist or Communist, it certainly is not Capitalist free market sytem which is focused on the self-the individual and the "way of get." In my lay person opinion I see more parrallels between Christain principals and Democratic- Socilism which allows for private property but also serving the common good of the community, than Capitalism which is not inclined to serving our fellowman. I believe thats why Franklin D. Roosevelt was considered on of our greatest Presidents.

    All Capitalism has gotten us is endless war and exploitation of the poor by corporations that have hijacked political offices in the US and worldwide.

    MATHEW 19:24
    And also Jesus stated...."And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

    That doesnt sound like any ringing endorsement of Capitalism to me - quite the contrary. Not to say that it prohibits private ownership either.

    Im not trying to judge anyone but I really dont see at all any of Jesus' sayings as "a ringing endorsement of the free market system without wage controls."

    If we didint live in man-made governments that are so self centered and exploitative then we wouldnt need wage conrols.

    Yet G_d compassionately regulates human conduct through his instruction - so according to the Bible there is "regulation" taking place - Divine regulation of human conduct necessary because of self centered flawed man-made socio-economic political sytems reflect "the way of get" to borrow Mr. Armstring terminology - "not the way of give."

    Which I am moved deeply by the compassion of that principal and need divine help to live up to it and resist my own self centered attitudes.