No, Jesus Was Not a Socialist
By TBC Staff
No, Jesus Was Not a Socialist (Excerpts]
According to a new poll from the Barna Group, Americans think Jesus was a socialist who would vote for Bernie Sanders. When asked whether capitalism or socialism best aligned with the teachings of Jesus, 24 percent said socialism and just 14 percent answered capitalism. The rest answered “neither” or “not sure…” Socialism is based on the involuntary transfer of wealth from some citizens to others, which is nothing but theft. Just because it is done under color of law, and done by the government rather than a guy with a gun in an alley, does not make it right.
But even a cursory review of the parables of Jesus reveals that he was anything but a socialist. In his parable of the talents (Matthew:25:14-30), for instance, the main character is an entrepreneur who recruits three employees to manage his property while he is gone on a trip. Note that the property was his own and not the state’s; the story is predicated on the concept of private property.
And the entrepreneur entrusts his property to his employees based on merit, not on affirmative action, quotas, or any other such thing. He gave “to each according to his ability.” Note how socialism is upended right out of the chute. Socialism piously asserts “to each according to his need,” while in Jesus’ worldview it’s just the reverse.
The owner expected them to work hard, invest, and return a profit on what he had entrusted to them. And he held them accountable through performance reviews upon his return. The ones who proved dependable, trustworthy and capable were rewarded with praise and promotions: “You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.”
The employee who buried his talent in the backyard received no sympathy from the owner. Rather, he was rebuked as a “wicked and slothful” servant….
This is not to say that Christianity does not teach the redistribution of wealth. Christians believe in the redistribution of wealth just as passionately as the most ardent socialists. We simply believe that the redistribution of wealth is to be voluntary, not involuntary. While liberals believe generosity is giving away other people’s money, followers of Christ believe generosity is giving away our own money, motivated by compassion for the poor.
The bulk of Americans obviously lack a robust and mature understanding of Christ’s teaching and are similarly unlearned in basic economic theory. But fortunately for us all, ignorance is not an incurable disease.