The Acts of the Apostles 4:32-35 serves as the first reading for today according to the Western calendar. And what a troublesome text it is often made to be as the locus for the so-called ‘Christian communism’.

“And no one claimed private ownership of their property…”, “And everyone sold their possessions, lands and houses…”, “And they brought the proceeds to the Apostles…”, “And the Apostles distributed the proceeds to everyone according to their need…”, So that no one had any want…”, and so forth in my off-the-cuff paraphrasing…

So Christians ought to support the Left? Is God a Marxist? Was Jesus? Is the ownership of private property sinful? Does Christianity then embrace the now-popular ‘equity of outcomes’?? The answer is a resounding ‘No!’. Here is why…

First, no mention is made of any particular economic system at work or in connection with this event and example of sharing with the less fortunate. How the early disciples of the resurrected Christ earned their livings and under what circumstances, even to how these managed to own properties, is never stated.

Secondly, and most significantly, the element of coercion is utterly absent… If it happened as described, this ‘equitable distribution of wealth’ on the part of the disciple community was entirely voluntary.

Thirdly, any competent interpreter of Scripture recognizes the dangers of making doctrine and practice of historical writing. Because any event occurred does not necessarily make that occurrence a substantial component of the faith.

Fourthly, these gave to everyone equally, so that none had any necessity. The key distinction to be recognized by the adherent of Christian communism is that equality of giving. Witness our government giving only to select groups… New York giving $15,000 only to illegal immigrants who come there, the grants to ‘persons-of-color’ groupings in California excluding whites, money thrown at undefined ‘violence-prone communities’ as I noted yesterday concerning the gun grab executive orders… The point here is that Marxist socialism cannot ever achieve that equitable utopia they present as bait to the victim classes that they must create as their motivating force. No coercive force can ever achieve the sort of equity that a disciple community lovingly gave of themselves so long ago. For these freely gave of themselves as witness to the God who freed them in the Risen Christ, no matter their color or class.

I often inform my hearers that Jesus of Nazareth and His Apostles never once made appeal to a government or power structure to effect any result at all. Neither did they ever force any who came into the early disciple groups to give or to sell whatever they owned for some common good they imagined.

And please take note that I am not employing the “cheerful giver” notion as if the Christian disciple gives only as a matter of personal choice. If one enters the ekklesia, the ‘called-out ones’, they do assume certain obligations. One of the principal obligations is that of a responsible stewardship of what one is given by God. So one makes that decision of responsive stewardship upon renouncing the values of this world and upon committing oneself to the community of the faithful.

And there lies the point that the so-called ‘Christian communists’ twist and bend to assuage their own combination of guilt and self-righteousness, bolstered by their erroneous hermeneutic of Scriptural recording of empirical events. The obligations of stewardship are not imposed on anyone, even on they who have not entered the ekklesia and are yet of the ‘world’. The man or woman who comes to the Savior assumes those obligations (I Corinthians 4:2 KJV, RSV for example).

Government is of this world. Those who seek to use the might of government to coerce a free people and enforce their imagined utopias ought to retake world history and learn of that result in Marxist societies. These do err greatly, and dangerously.

Let the givers give freely as we have been set free to serve the God who gives to us. and demand that all governments support that liberty.

BTW, today is also National Eight-Track Tape Day! A regular feature of my blog will be to take note of the many other holidays observed by many (or few) comprising this country’s culture. For these play their roles defining us as a nation of interesting oddballs. The Eight-tracks were a popular media for recorded music from the late 1960s for about twenty years, when the cassette tapes won out. The CDs were not far behind.

In this age of MP3s and techie things that I have yet to engage, the holiday commemorating the eight-track serves us as a “thanks-for-the-memories” item. The sum and total of these strange-sounding celebrations of things gone by, now extant as collector’s items, testify to the creativity of the peculiar people that we are.

And under-girding our creativity is the freedom to think and to do what our minds can imagine. That is what we do best, as we are a people who prize personal liberty. We always seem capable of improving nearly anything. Then when someone else improves our product, we do not disregard it. Instead we make it a collector’s item, or we create an online website or even a museum to educate and perpetuate our own imaginings. Or…?

Or make it a National Holiday…


Father David+

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