Does Socialism Agree with Christian Doctrine?

                Another one that I have seen argued a lot, Christians should have no problems with socialism because Jesus was a socialist and the early church held these values. But upon further examination, does this argument hold water? What I would like to do here is to look at the textbook definition of socialism, and see if there is scriptural evidence for this train of economic thought versus anything else.
                So if I look up the definition of Socialism on the merriam-webster site, the first definition is this: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means or production and distribution of goods. So we are looking at governmental ownership of everything, with no private ownership as in capitalism. This would also necessitate administration by individuals. This would also mean that individuals are needed to work, and those that produce more shall be forced to give up some for those who produce less. To me, socialism can be summed up as equality of outcome as opposed to equality of opportunity.
                But let’s focus on the “equality” of socialism. Should the government be stepping in and forcing people to give up their excess to take care of those around them? We can look at the rich young ruler story in the Bible, where Jesus stated “one cannot serve both God and money”. (Matthew 6:24). We also see parts in Acts where the church members sold what they had and took care of those who had need (Acts 2:45). I think in both cases these verses are taken out of context. In the passage in Matthew, a rich young ruler had come to Jesus asking for the secret to eternal life. Jesus knew the ruler’s heart and that his security and trust was in his wealth and possessions. Jesus asked him to give up what he held most valuable and to follow Jesus, who was and is the secret to making it into Heaven. As to the church selling their possessions, there are two points here. First, the people had their own possessions, which seems to contradict and fundamental tenant of the socialism definition that I found. We can also augment this with 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

                So in both of these cases, one can see strikes against both capitalism and socialism, but I would like to explain why. Yes people are greedy and the capitalist market has enabled corporations to feed people’s greed, but we have also seen the collapse of socialist and communist countries because the greedy people found themselves in the leadership of these countries. One could also argue that forced generosity isn't generosity at all. I think this breeds contempt for our neighbors, which defeats the purpose of being a cheerful giver. I don’t think we should be putting our faith in any sort of system or any earthly thing. I do think that a free people under a free market have the capacity to help, and we actually see this from all sides of the aisle, whether it be volunteering for meals on wheels, funding the arts, or helping the poor. I believe that the church should be able to help where it can, instead of being fined for helping the homeless. God wants us to help and love our neighbor, but I think he is far more interested in the eternal than the temporary. While we may not be rich or powerful here, but if we put our faith in Jesus as our savior and acknowledge him as Lord, we will all be truly equal as we enter the kingdom of Heaven as sons and daughters of God. Thank you for reading, and may God bless you and have a good rest of your night.

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