“Communism is in the Bible!”
I’ve heard this defense of Communism a number of times, mostly by people who despise most everything else in the Bible!
In one sense, yes, communism is in the Bible. But there are big differences between biblical communism and political communism.
A. Biblical Communism was Voluntary
There are two main ways you can get people to do stuff: force or voluntary cooperation. If my grandma asked you to drop and do 50 push ups, I’m pretty sure far fewer would do them than if Adolf Hitler backed by SS troops had asked! Biblical communism was entirely voluntary. The apostles never said to do it. God never even said to do it. It was a spontaneous response to the newfound glories of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
B. Biblical Communism was Based on Joint Belief
The people who voluntarily sold their stuff and distributed it, were distributing it to people who agreed with them. In both Acts 2 and 4 (passages dealing with this communal living), it is stated that they had unity of faith first. Their unity of faith brought unity of priorities. There was a joint belief that they were doing what was right. No one was forced or manipulated, nor did they include anyone who did not share their faith. There will be no communal unity if people are coming from different and competing belief systems.
C. Biblical Communism is Centered in the Church
Individual members sold their stuff and laid it at the apostle’s feet. The apostles then distributed the funds to those who had need. The state was not involved at all. The apostles and all the individuals had a shared faith. There was no disagreement between them, thus there was also no mistrust. If, however, mistrust entered, communal living falls apart. This is what happened with Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5.
Biblical Communism is voluntary, it was not brought about by force. Read histories of communist nations. Note the force and the violence. Political Communism can’t work unless there is tremendous government force. Most communist nations have extensive police forces to monitor their people.
Biblical Communism has next to nothing in common with political communism. One huge area of commonality between the two is that NEITHER OF THEM WORKED!
Human nature does not naturally think about doing what is good for others. Human nature thinks about me, me, me.
The Gospel will lead you to think about others more than you. This is all over the place in the New Testament. Believers are to care for the poor, sick, and the defenseless. The rich are to look to give away their money. All of us are to be pleasing our neighbor for their good to edification.
This is what Christ did for us, and it’s what the Gospel teaches you to do for others. Don’t worry about everyone else and whether they are giving their fair share. Make sure you are!
Few who want political communism think about what they have to give, only what they will get. They support it because other people will buy them stuff. This mentality is already chipping away at the foundation of their system before it’s even started! Communism can’t work if you are thinking about your benefit.
Unity is impossible until everyone stops thinking about their own rights, demands, wants, desires, needs, and benefits.
This is why unity is next to impossible for us to achieve.