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TomL
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Posts : 456
Join date : 2010-03-25
Age : 61
Location : Lebanon, PA

20140211
PostChristian Economics

CHRISTIAN ECONOMICS

There are several economic systems in this world.  Capitalism, communism, socialism, just to name a few.  There are those that believe that capitalism is established by the Constitution.  But, nowhere does the Constitution state that the economic system of the United States will be capitalism.  And there are those that call themselves "Christian," who believe that capitalism is given by God.  It isn't.  Nowhere in God's Word is it written that we should accumulate wealth for ourselves at the expense of others.  No economic system where there are losers comes from God.   God made a way for losers to be cared for when man's economic systems creates losers.  The winners should take care of the losers.  There are many places in the Bible that tell God's people to take care of the poor.  

The philosophy of Jesus is one of love.  Hence, no matter what  economic system we use, if it based on love, it will work for all, not just a few.  There would not be a class system, because all will have their needs met.  And there would be equal opportunity for all.  Any economic system that shuts anyone out is not of God.  Therefore, capitalism as practiced in the United States of America is not of God.  Communism as practiced by dictatorships where there are a few wealthy at the top and misery is distributed equally among the masses also is not of God.  But, where there is love, there is equality.  

Where there is love, people are as concerned about the interests and needs of others as their own.  Any economic system that is based on the philosophy that poor people do not deserve to be loved is far from Biblical.  Yet, there is a philosophy such as this that is permeating through the conservative movement here in the United States.  It is the philosophy of Ayn Rand, which has been lauded by many conservative leaders such as Paul Ryan, and conservative pundits such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.  This philosophy is dangerous, and it is ungodly to it's core.  

If this country does not get back to a loved-based economy where "people helping people," is more than just a slogan, this country is doomed.  We will be no different than the old Soviet Union where there were a few wealthy at the top, and misery distributed equally among the masses.  

There are evil philosophies like those of Ayn Rand that have many adherents in the governments of the United States.  If this country is to survive economically, we must jettison these evil philosophies and return to the love-based economic philosophy of Christ.  It is the only way to save this country.

Here in America, so much of our lives is based on the money we have. What we can buy, for some, or what we can't buy, for others. It's the difference between having and not having. Greed says never shall the two meet. Love says the two shall meet always, and be helpful to one another. Those who do not have maybe able to help those who do in other ways.

When those who have love for those who do not have, it betters us all. Greediness is a ruination of any people. Just look at America. We see greed everywhere. The idea that this is mine and no one else has the right to it is selfishness.   While it is true, no one has the right to steal. "Thou shall not steal" was established long ago. But Jesus taught that we should share what we have.

No one wants to hear this today because of greed. Greed is not of God. Jesus did not teach us to be greedy. And if you are greedy and claim to be a Christian, guess what... you're not.

Was Jesus a capitalist?   One weekend back in 2009, there was a taxpayer march on Washington.  The only thing that people had in common, is that they all saw that this country (USA) is going in the wrong direction.  A fair amount of them were protesting the socialist direction the Obama Administration is taking this country at warp speed.  All of them were protesting the runaway spending in Washington.

Many of them claimed to be Christians.  They touted the virtues of  free-market capitalism.  I came away from watching the event on C-SPAN, impressed with the idea that those who said they were Christians, thought that Jesus was a capitalist.  

If Jesus was a capitalist, would he tell the rich ruler to sell everything he had and give to the poor.  What Jesus said seems to be more a mandate for the re-distribution of wealth.  And Jesus taught that we should pay taxes.  "Give to Ceasar the things that are Ceasar's."  He said that after being showed a coin and asking who's likeness was on the coin.  Then Jesus chased those engaged in capitalistic endeavors out of the temple claiming, "You have turned My Father's house into a den of thieves."   And, finally, Jesus said, "the love of money is the root of all evil."    When you consider these facts, how can anyone conclude that Jesus was a capitalist?  

What principles can we establish for today from what Jesus said and did?

1)  Rich people should help poor people.

2)  We should pay our taxes.

3)  Buying and selling for profit must not happen in the church.

4)  We must not be greedy (lover of money).

These principles suggests that Jesus would not be a capitalist today.  I have no doubt that if Jesus was a politician He would be condemned by the political right of being a liberal.  But then, I don't believe that Jesus would ever stoop so low as to be a politician.  He might be a community organizer, or a liberal activist.  No way Jesus would fit into the conservative crowd of today.  

So if Jesus was not a capitalist, or a conservative, what was he?  Jesus believed in people helping people, at the very least.  How far can we go with Jesus' commands of love?  How far should we love one another?  By example, the teachings of Jesus are to love one another all the way, even to the point of death, as He died for the people He loved.

Acts 2:44,45 states, "And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need." - ESV

Acts 4:32,34 states, "Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need." - ESV

And you probably thought, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need," started with Karl Marx. I don't know if it started with the church, but it is documented here, long before Karl Marx. And you, as well as I, were taught that Karl Marx was wrong. The only thing he was wrong about was who should administer the redistribution of wealth. He thought it should be the government. In the early church, it was the apostles. Eventually, deacons would do this.

The principle goal of early Christians was the edification (building up) of the body of Christ. There were no individual rights. Everything was done for edification.

Romans 14:19 states, "So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding." - ESV.  Get that! Mutual upbuilding or edification. The building up of one another. This is what the early church did, and this is what they were told to do.

Romans 15:1,2 states, "We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up." - ESV.   "Build him up," or edify him.

I Corinthians 14:12, "So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church." - ESV.  Building up, or edification of the church.

I Corinthians 14:26, "What then, When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up." - ESV.  Once again, building up, or edification.

I Thessalonians 5:11, "Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you are doing." - ESV.  Again, build up one another.

You can also read Ephesians 4:1-16.

So, scripture teaches, by doctrine and example, that Christians are to have all things in common, and that all things should be done for the building up or the edification of body of Christ.

We have no individual rights in the church. We are a community of believers. How is this established?

Acts 20:28 states, "Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which He obtained with His own blood."  -  ESV.   Jesus obtained or purchased the church of God with His blood. That means He has ownership of the church. So, we who are in the church, belong to Him. And, since we are purchased equally, that is, He paid a common price for each of us, we have common value. None of us are more or less important than another. That is how it is established that we have all things in common. For we are commonly owned by Him who purchased us with His blood.

This was acted out in all ways by the earliest Christians, including economically, as we have seen in Acts 2 and 4.

But we are Americans. We don't believe this. We believe in individual rights. We believe the poor should pick themselves up by their own boot straps. That those who do not have a job do not deserve our help. We certainly should not help those who are suffering due to their own failings. This is the conservative view. I hear it on conservative talk radio all the time. But this should not be the Christian view. Yet, the so called "religious right," mirrors this conservative view. They condemn those who agree with the concept of the redistribution of wealth. They fear what they perceive as communism.

Would you believe that Jesus taught the redistribution of wealth as a condition to inherit eternal life? Read Luke 18:18ff.

This is the story of the rich ruler. The ruler came to Jesus and asked Him what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him about the commandments, which the ruler said that he kept them all his life. Then Jesus said, "One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow me."

The early Christians did just that, as we see in Acts 2 and 4. So, why isn't this being practiced by the church today? Is it more important to build satellite TV networks? Is it more important to build multi-million dollar church buildings? Is it more important to have a new car every year? Is it more important to keep up with the latest fashions? And, I could go on and on. We are comfort creatures. Many care more about their own creature comforts, than they do the needs of others.

Philippians 2:4 states, "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." - NKJV.  As Christians we must concern ourselves with the interests of others. We must help those who can not help themselves. For we in Christ are part of each other, as we have been purchased by the same blood.

When studied thoroughly, you will find that Christian economics is based on love, not money, not greed.

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study - Do your best to present yourself to God as an approved worker who has nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of truth with precision. - 2 Timothy 2.15; ISV, isv.com
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