That it had to be said out loud is something one has to absorb. That it was said in the State of the Union Address by a sitting President takes the consideration of the statement to an entirely new level. “Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. … Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country,” For good reason, that’s not who we are!
I was blessed to serve as Lead Pastor of 2 great churches in the past 22 years and they understood the biblical role in caring for the needy, the hungry and the hurting. As John Piper once said, “There is built into the Christian faith an inner impulse to make sacrifices so that others have their needs met.” I agree, in fact, all of the Bible, the Old Testament and the New Testament, assumes both the legitimacy and, I think, the necessity of personal ownership regarding these issues.
What I am observing around America by those who are promoting socialism, even in the church, is the attempt to borrow the aims of Christianity while putting aside the realities of socialism’s prerequisite of coercion and forced implementation. Piper continues, “Socialism, therefore, gets its attractiveness at certain points in history where people are drawn to the entitlements that Socialism brings, and where people are ignorant or forgetful of the coercion and the force required to implement it and whether or not that coercion might, in fact, backfire and result in greater poverty or drab uniformity or, worse, the abuse of the coercion as we saw in the murderous states like USSR and Cambodia.”
A recent Barna poll found that more Americans think Jesus would prefer socialism (24%) than those who believe he would prefer capitalism (14%). The other 62% responded neither or not sure, but the poll still reveals a disturbing trend. Millennials have witnessed much in their lifetimes that cause them to ask good questions… as Julie Roys Op-Ed Contributor in the Christian Post writes, “Though it may sound compassionate and Christian, it’s actually antithetical to everything Christianity teaches.”
She goes on to list the important reasons why: First, Socialism is Based on a Materialistic Worldview. This worldview contradicts Christianity, which affirms the existence of both a material and a non-material world — and teaches that mankind’s greatest problems are spiritual. Secondly, Socialism Punishes Virtue… Socialists want to distribute wealth to individuals according to their need, regardless of virtue. As Karl Marx, famously said, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Thirdly, Socialism Endorses Stealing… Socialists don’t believe in private property. And, some Christian socialists actually assert that the Bible doesn’t either. That’s preposterous.
Fourth, Socialism Encourages Envy and Class Warfare… Karl Marx, who viewed history as a series of class struggles between the rich and the poor — and advocated overthrowing the ruling class. Scripture strongly warns the rich and powerful not to oppress the poor. In fact, Proverbs 14:31 says, “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for his maker …” The rich are not causing all the problems in American society… the problem is still sin!
Lastly, Socialism Seeks to Destroy Marriage &Family… Essentially, what socialism seeks is for the state to replace the family. That way, it can indoctrinate children in its Leftist way of thinking, and remove from them any notions of God and religion. Friedrich Engels, co-author with Marx of the “The Communist Manefesto” once wrote that the society he envisioned would be one where “the single family ceases to be the economic unit of society… The care and education of the children becomes a public affair.”
My good friend Dr. James Dobson writes and warns… “The stability of the family is not only important to the nation’s prosperity, but it is critical to every other component of stability and wellbeing in the culture. It is the life-blood of any democracy. I have been trying to say that for 40 years, and yet this God-given institution is coming apart at the seams. It is breathtaking to see how hostile our government has become to traditional marriage, and how both Democrats and Republicans are increasingly antagonistic to parental rights, Christian training, and the financial underpinnings of family life. If Christians and Christian leaders disengage from culture, the result will be that Socialism would replace freedom and free enterprise,”
Socialism is not roads, welfare, and free education. Socialism has always had a more ominous goal and shares close historical and ideological connections with more reviled terms: Marxism and communism. Karl Marx took socialism to what he viewed as its natural conclusion: The “abolition of private property.” Down through the ages, socialism has only wrought destruction, and those who propose that an American execution of the same policies would somehow reap a different result do so at their (and our) peril. With a renewed American interest in socialism on the rise, it is vital that we understand its foundational philosophies so we can combat this fatally flawed government solution to a human problem. Socialism never ends well and as my good friend former Congressman Bob McEwen says so well… it only happens that way EVERY TIME!
Tim Throckmorton is the former executive pastor for Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio, and Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene. He is currently senior pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.