Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Twitter Files: The Definition of Socialism

It seems one of Biblical Conservatism's recent posts has sprung an interesting series of responses on Twitter.  Ultimately, the problem is that too many liberals don't actually KNOW the definition of Socialism!

For the record, Wikipedia definines socialism as follows:

Socialism is an economic system characterised by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy.

Seems pretty clear, doesn't it? Socialism is specifically an economic system, and in our modern society it colloquially means a system of government. Which brings us to our mystery tweeter, who will be referred to here as Boo-Boo Bear (Boo-Boo's real name and handle have been whited out):

So much is wrong with what Boo-Boo had to say. For one, he never actually backed up my thesis in the original argument which stated specifically that JESUS was not a Socialist, but rather that Christ's actions were privately charitable by distributing both miraculous which were His to give and tangible gifts that were donated to Him also therefore His to give.

As far as the Church at Antioch, I believe Boo-Boo is missing out on the important theological message of Acts 2:44-45 and is instead reworking it into a political theory. First, the text of the passage:

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

Two major issues with relating Acts 2:44-45 with Socialism. One, and this is perhaps the most important, the believers in Antioch were not FORCED to share their goods with each other. There was no government authority requiring it of them. It was 100% Voluntary.

Secondly, (now we will enter not into the realm of  fact but the realm of theological theory) I believe the early church was not applying some form of pre-Marx Marxism, but a different, very familiar concept: family

Throughout the New Testament, Christians referred to themselves as "brethren" and "brothers." I believe the actions of the Church in Antioch was acting as a family, caring for each other and sharing their possessions. 

Those who have read my blog have heard me mention my good friend and fellow blogger the JC_Freak. We attend church together and lead a Bible Study together. He and his wife are two of my dearest friends. I refer to his son as my nephew. If the Lord someday blesses me with children, they will call him and his wife Aunt and Uncle. In every way but genetics, he is my brother. I consider him, his wife, and his son my family in precisely the same way I consider my parents and two sisters family. The only thing missing is a genetic relationship.

Much like the Church at Antioch, we often share possessions. For example he still has my copy of "Moneyball" which he borrowed. (Dude, I want that back.) When his car needs serviced, he often hangs out at my apartment, even if I'm not at home, because it's close to the garage. When my car was in the shop in October, he and his wife loaned me one of their cars for a couple days. We've shared countless meals together and have supported each other through the most difficult times in our lives.

This is the model of the Christian church that Antioch modeled. Not socialism. FAMILY.

The difference, in a nutshell is simple: Treating people like family is a choice. Socialism is a government requirement. No, Boo-Boo, Jesus did not promote Socialism. Jesus promoted Christians treating each other as FAMILY.

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