I noticed that Christianity Today, which has turned hard left in recent years, is now openly endorsing socialism. So, I thought it might be a good idea to listen to this new episode of the Think Biblically podcast, which deals with the issue of Christianity and socialism. The hosts actually brought an economist on to define socialism, then they analyze the teachings of Jesus.
Here’s the description: (H/T Nathan)
It has not been uncommon for advocates of virtually every economic system to invoke Jesus in support of their views, though some of the most ardent advocates for both capitalism and socialism did not have any particular religious views themselves (Rand, Marx). Over the years, some of the more recent advocates of socialist type economic arrangements have appealed to Jesus and the gospels in support of such systems. Economist Lawrence Reed helps us sort out the application of the teaching of Jesus to economics and its relevance for economic life today. Join us for this provocative conversation as he tackles the question of Jesus and socialism.
Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at: biola.edu/thinkbiblically
- who plans the economy in socialism?
- who should own the means of production in socialism?
- how should wealth be distributed in socialism?
- what tools does socialism use to provide people with health care, employment, security, etc.
- which countries have adopted socialism? North Korea? Cuba? Venezuela? How about the Scandinavian countries?
- what in the New Testament has caused people to think that Jesus was a socialist?
- did Jesus ever advocate for concentrating power in the government in order to meet the material needs of people?
- did Jesus ever advocate for voluntary charity in order to meet the material needs of people?
- in our experience, is government seen to be more compassionate or less compassionate than individual people?
- does voluntary charity have any advantages over forced redistribution by a powerful central government?
- what about the example of common possessions among the earliest Christians?
- what is the Bible’s view of wealth? is it always bad to be wealthy, or does it matter how you obtained it and how you use it?
- what does the parable of the talents tell us about socialism vs capitalism?
- what does the parable of the good Samaritan tell us about socialism vs capitalism?
- what does the parable of the three different shifts of workers tell us about socialism vs capitalism?
- what about socialist policies and higher tax rates in countries like Canada and Scandinavian countries?
I have to be honest. I think that some of the economics reasoning about the parables was a stretch, because those parables are talking mainly about other topics, not economics. But it’s true that the parables aren’t friendly to socialism even if they are interpreted as being about economics.
2 thoughts on “Podcast: Was Jesus a socialist? Does Christianity teach socialism?”
I trust the folks on the Thinking Biblically podcast to handle this topic well. That said, C.S. Lewis was well aware of the persistent attempt to transform Jesus into a political revolutionary/socialist reformer. See “The Screwtape Letters” chapter 23.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read the “Screwtape Letters,” but it seems to me the danger presented (of many) was that faddish theologians would attempt to transform Christ into a modern cult figure instead of the Messiah….that they would try to make it about Christianity and Socialism, Christianity and pop culture (which exploded in the nineties) and so on, which would veer people away from the fundamental message of Christ, that is, salvation through faith…this heresy rears its head over and over again, and true believers must stand fast against it by staying in the Word and living a life of faith!