Saturday, May 2, 2009

Was Jesus A Socialist?

It has been the aim of the Democrat party since they lost the Presidential election in 2004 to subvert the Christian doctrine with the claim that Jesus was a socialist. Their goal is to convince Christians that their Social agenda is morally equivalent with the teachings and life of Jesus Christ.

Considering the lack of historical and Biblical knowledge most Americans have, it is not surprising that many have fallen for the misinformation on what Jesus taught (and for whom the teachings were given). These Biblical revisionists have become especially adept at cherry picking Scripture to suit their agenda. Hence, many have come to misunderstand the gospel of Christ by equating it with modern day Socialism.

My first point of contention with the idea idea that Christ was a socialist, is His teachings and the example of His life.

Throughout the time Christ lived with His disciples, He never worked. Instead he was dependent upon the charity and good hearts of those who surrounded Him. Now that is not to say Jesus was lazy or a bum. Jesus was always about His fathers business, and that business was the salvation of mankind. Nowhere in the Scriptures, does Jesus tell His followers to rely upon those who are not willing to hear the gospel or share what they have. If the people refused to hear the gospel or be charitable with them, Jesus told His disciples to rebuke them and go to others who are willing to hear the teachings, as when He sent them out by pairs (Matthew chapter 10)

I must emphasize that all the lessons Jesus taught were for those who followed Him, or would listen to His teachings. When a person asked for healing or for forgiveness, Jesus always told them that their sins were forgiven and to go and sin no more.

As for money, there was only one time He mentioned the wealth of an individual and that was because that individual treasured his wealth over God. Jesus used the incident as a lesson to tell His disciples that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle then for a rich man to get into heaven. Not impossible, but more difficult. He tells us elsewhere that where your treasure is there too is where your heart will be. (Matthew 6:21)

Jesus also taught that we should not let our charitable work be publicly known (Matthew 6:1-4) Those who love to brag about all the good they have done for others through the Social programs of the government would NOT be true followers of Jesus or his teachings.

hen Jesus did finally have His big chance to influence the government and it's rulers, he did not broach the subject of socialism or it's supposed glory. Not only did He not enlighten them upon the benefits of Socialism, He would not even share the Gospel with them If Jesus was the great Socialist leader the left wants you to believe, then why would He not get the government to follow His lead. After all, the perfect time to influence the government was when he was in front of Pontius Pilot or Herod. He did not. The Scriptures tell us that He kept silent in front of Herod.(Luke 23:6- 12)

He said only a few words to Pontius Pilot, (John 18:33-19:11) and that's because Jesus did not come to influence the government, but the people who needed salvation. Christ wanted men to believe in Him not some social agenda that would get the government to do what Christians were called to do. These are the lessons His disciples continued to teach after he was gone, and those lessons would come into play in the Book of Acts.

Most people have heard the story about the early days of Christianity, where everyone sold their possessions and distributed the proceeds to other Christians in need. (Acts 4:34-35) This is one of the main Scriptures used by the left to convince people that the early Christians practiced Socialism. Unfortunately, many people do not realize that this is something that happened mainly among the Christian believers.

By taking into consideration the historical setting of the Book of Acts, you will begin to better understand the reason why there was a need for this kind of outpouring among the early Christians.

During the time when Christ walked among us and taught His disciples, and later after His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension into Heaven, Jerusalem was an economically depressed area. Most of the employment opportunities centered around the building of Herod's Temple, and the only ones eligible to work on the Temple were Jews. The only Jews that were allowed to work on the Temple were those who were ceremonially clean. Anyone that was unclean or found to be unfit by the priests were barred from working on the Temple.

There were various reasons one could be considered unclean or at odds with the Priests who controlled the work force. A Jew who openly confessed faith in Christ and followed His teachings, was automatically considered a Heretic and unfit for consideration of employment in the Temple. Those professing faith in Jesus, the One crucified by the Jews, were also ostracized by their close relatives and the community, and soon found themselves unable to support themselves or their family.

It was under these conditions that the first Christians came together and pooled their resources so that the many who lacked the basics to care for themselves could be taken care of in the face of such harsh treatment in their communities. These early Christians were not only shunned by society, but many like Stephen, were stoned to death for their faith in Christ. All they had was other Christians to depend upon.

So while we do read in the Book of Acts about communal living, where all things were shared, it was from the excess others had that those in need could be cared for. That does not mean that all were equal, or that those who had much shared all they had with those who did not have anything. Rather they provided for the necessities of those who could not do so for themselves. What the Book of Acts records is how early Christians stepped up and did what Christ called them to do.

We can also see in the Book of Acts that a Christian could give as much or as little as they wanted, as in the account of Ananias and his wife Sapphira. (Acts 5:1-10) The Scriptures tell us they were put to death by the Holy Spirit for lying about how much they received because they wanted everyone to believe they donated all the proceeds from some possessions they sold.

The lesson we learn from the incident is that they were not required to give everything but to be honest about their donation. Later when it was prophesied that a famine would come to the land, the disciples in Antioch collected money to send with Paul and Barnabas to be delivered to Jerusalem. (Acts 11:27-30) You cannot read in the Scriptures anywhere that that they ask Herod, Caesar, the Jews, or unbelieving Gentiles for help, they collected the money from other Christians.

For those who wish to equate this outpouring of sharing with the idea of modern day socialism, I would suggest a short course in Biblical Theology. Christianity teaches that it is up to the individual to care for others, whereas, Socialism demands forced equality enacted by the government.

Another misunderstood moment in the New testament is where we are told to look after the widows and the poor. However, they conveniently ignore the time Paul specifically told the Thessalonians in his 2nd letter to them, that if a healthy able bodied brother will not work he will not eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10) Socialism on the other hand, not only promotes but demands that those who work will feed those who are lazy and will not work. This is not what Christ taught.

In his lesson of the Good Samaritan in Luke's Gospel, Jesus did not say that the Samaritan went to the government to have them care for the injured man. No, the Good Samaritan gave of what was his own willingly to care for the man. His money was not taken under duress of the state. (Luke 10:25-37)

Throughout the life of Christ, He always emphasized personal responsibility and love. That is because Christ came to save mankind from the penalty of sin, which is eternal death. It is through the substitutionary death of Christ and His resurrection that we are provided with the means for justification and thus salvation. Jesus said that all who believe and receive Him through faith, will be born again and saved to become children of God.

Christ could care less about the governments and their so-called compassion. That is why you will not find anywhere in the Scriptures a verse that says, “Jesus died for the salvation of the state.”

Jesus died for the salvation of man and it is men's hearts that will be judged on judgment day. No man will be judged according to how much he paid in taxes, or how many government programs he supported. We are told to pay tribute to our rulers if they ask, but charity starts and ends at home with each individual. That is why Christ said, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” Notice that He said, as you did, not as the government did. (Matthew 25:35-39)

Make no mistake about it, Jesus was not what politicians and their mimics in the media claim He was. He was not, and He did not teach, Socialism. He said I am the way, the truth, and the light, no one comes to the Father accept through Me.

Christians are called to be the light of the world. We should influence the world through our lives and share the gospel with those who are receptive. As I stated earlier, we are to share the Gospel with the lost, if it is rejected by those we whom we share it, then we are told to kick the dust from our shoes and go on.(Mark 6:11) We are not instructed to force them to be loving and charitable through the power of a Socialized government.

I pray that those who have ears to hear, will hear His voice and call upon His name.

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