I’m at that point in life when you realize that ideas and trends repeat themselves. Solomon noticed that a long time ago, and his comments regarding that phenomenon include an observation that serves as a warning we ought to carefully consider at this point in our nation’s history:
That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new?” It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come By those who will come after. Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 (NKJV)
Sequels, Prequels & Reruns ~
There are at least two noteworthy things here. One is that things tend to come around more than once, but then there’s also the compelling reminder that we tend to forget what it was like before, and that forgetfulness can be dangerous. But reruns in life are mostly harmless, and seeing old ideas dusted off and presented in a fresh context can be appealing, right? Hollywood does it all the time. When a production turns out to be a hit, the parade of sequels begins. When the stars have aged beyond anything the plastic surgeons and makeup artists can manage to conceal, the storyline goes in the other direction and prequels with younger stars begin to emerge. The fashion world does it, too. Styles are wildly popular for a while, then disappear and we wonder why anyone ever wore them. Then a few years later, they emerge again with a different name and another generation thinks they’re new and pays exorbitant prices for them.
Most of our recycling is harmless and sometimes helpful, but some is not so benign. There’s an old concept growing in popularity among young people these days that is dangerously toxic. More and more of our young millennials are responding to the siren’s song of socialism and flocking to politicians greedy for their votes. If we fail to recognize and expose this destructive plague for the threat that it is, America will join the ash heap of other great nations destroyed by it.
A Pernicious Lie ~
When I was younger, the terms “Communism” and “Socialism” triggered images of masses of people killed by their own government. Those who survived were enslaved in abject poverty and ignorance, held captive by a system that had promised them a utopian existence where everything would be provided for them. Students nowadays are being lured by that same pernicious lie. Apparently, we’ve forgotten what Socialism really looks like. Universities are presenting murderous socialist leaders who destroyed countries and killed millions and enslaved their own people as brave, patriotic visionaries to be emulated. Meanwhile, real heroes like Thomas Jefferson who helped to lead a revolution that set more people truly free than any other in human history are maligned and decried as “racists”.
God warns us not to be taken captive by vain philosophies and not to be taken in by a godless world system (Colossians 2:8). The rise of interest in socialism and the widespread ignorance of what it really is deceives many, and there are those who would use the church as a promotional vehicle for socialist ideas. They point to a passage in Acts as evidence for asserting that the early Christians were a socialist/communist society. Let’s have a look at the text and then consider whether those claims have any validity.
Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47 (NKJV)
Unprecedented Time — Supernatural Unity ~
This passage is descriptive of a unique time in history. The Church of Jesus Christ had just been born. Thousands of people were embracing this transcendent new faith. Lives were being transformed daily as people abandoned sinful lifestyles and adopted a new set of values. The impact on the community was widespread and profound. Believers comprised a new kind of community characterized by a supernatural unity based on a transcendent kind of love that they all shared. Their faith in the same risen Savior produced a common connection and fostered genuine compassion for one another. It was a community open to all races, genders, ages, and ethnic backgrounds, and it was distinctly and emphatically non-political. An expression of personal faith in Jesus Christ was the only entrance into this community and it bonded them into a spiritual family.
As people in a loving family are prone to do, Christians were willing to share their possessions with one another whether it involved giving items directly or selling property and sharing the proceeds with those in need. The picture of people relinquishing their possessions to meet the needs of others might sound like socialism to some, but there’s a vital difference.
Taking vs. Giving ~
Those who shared their possessions in Jerusalem did it willingly, and they gave out of what they already owned, out of their own bank account, as it were. The Church of Jesus Christ didn’t confiscate anyone’s goods in order to distribute them to others. The Church never restricted anyone’s freedom to handle his or her own property however they chose–quite the opposite. Christians were admonished to handle their possessions with honesty and integrity. Socialism disallows private ownership and knows nothing of personal freedom.
The “concept of ownership” that is so attacked by socialists is vital to God’s own design for economic prosperity, familial organization, social stability, and redemptive efficacy. Consider what the loss of personal ownership would mean:
- Ownership establishes the boundaries of responsibility in everything from commercial endeavors to the distribution of family resources.
- Clear designation of ownership is vital to developing a social structure that militates against corruption and unjust manipulation.
- Ownership is primary in the pursuit of individual justice and establishing protective boundaries.
- The reality of ownership is indispensable in God’s plan of salvation
Confession means we willingly and honestly “own” our sins and failures.
- Jesus achieved “ownership” of a lifelong record of perfect, unblemished righteousness by God’s standard.
- When certain conditions are met, ownership can be transferred to others. Calvary’s cross established a basis for transferring ownership of our sins to Him and ownership of His righteousness to us.
Socialist regimes, like sin itself, never produce what they promise, and the “revolutions” they incite result in an unwilling surrender of ownership and every freedom that comes with it. Every socialist government ever established practices an intense oppositional relationship to Jesus Christ, His Church, and every principle He advocated. No wonder the nations that adopt it eventually fail miserably. Socialism promises that “the rich” will pay for everything. If you wonder who that really is, grab a mirror.
“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to Tweet & Share from the pull quotes below. Each quote links directly back to this article through Twitter.
- “God warns us not to be taken captive by vain philosophies and not to be taken in by a godless world system (Colossians 2:8).” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “The picture of people in the early church relinquishing their possessions to meet the needs of others might sound like socialism to some, but there’s a vital difference.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “The ‘concept of ownership’ that is so attacked by socialists is vital to God’s own design for economic prosperity, familial organization, social stability, and redemptive efficacy.” Consider what the loss of personal ownership would mean … @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Every socialist government ever established practices an intense oppositional relationship to Jesus Christ, His Church, and every principle He advocated.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
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