Can a Christian Be a Socialist? Part 1

In the first of two parts on the topic, Pastor J.D. addresses whether or not a Christian can be a socialist.

Show Notes:

  • This is a great question, and while we don’t usually get into partisan politics on this podcast or in my preaching, this is a little different. If we’re honest, socialism is a worldview that’s also becoming increasingly prevalent in our culture, both explicitly and implicitly. 
    • A 2020 poll showed that 40% of Americans had a favorable view of socialism, up from 36% in 2019.
    • I saw a survey that said 47% of millenials and 49% of Generation Z viewed socialism as favorable. 
  • So, what is socialism?
    • The World Socialist Party (WSP) of the United States says: “The establishment of a system of society based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of society as a whole.” 
    • The government becomes the sole authority and controller of the means of production. So, in reality, it’s under control of an oligarchy, not individuals.
  • What is the difference between communism and socialism?
    • Interestingly, the WSP/U.S. says that these terms are synonymous. But, technically socialism usually refers to an economic system in which the state controls most businesses and factories (the “means of production”) while communism usually refers to a system where the state controls not just those things but also owns most of the property.
  • We should at least recognize that socialism definitely arises out of an underlying ideology.
    • Specifically, Marxism, put forth originally, of course, by Karl Marx. Marx was not a good man: He was a misogynistic, racist tyrant. His own son called him a devil.
    • He hated Christianity, which he labeled as a source of oppression. Religion, he wrote, is the “opium of the people,” and for communism to prosper, the church needed to be replaced by the state in the hearts and minds of the people. 
      • Marx’s successors – Stalin, Castro, Pol Pot, etc.–have all shared that same view.
  • Dr. David Jeremiah has a great little book on this called Socialism: What It Is. What It Means for You. Dr. Jeremiah writes that…
    • Marxism is totalitarian
      • One of the key ideas of Marxism is a total, undying devotion to the state. There is no individual ownership of property, there is no free thinking, there is no free speech–in fact, totalitarianism essentially removes the meaning of truth, and the state attempts to define truth as whatever the state says truth is. 
    • Marxism seeks the destruction of the nuclear family.
    • Marxism is divisive
      • It splits people into two categories: the oppressed and the oppressors, pitting them against each other.
    • Marxism is deadly
      • Socialist countries have a staggering death toll resulting from political carnage and state-ordered deaths to political opponents:
        • Latin America: 150,000
        • Eastern Europe: 1 million deaths
        • Vietnam: 1 million deaths
        • Africa: 1.7 million deaths
        • Cambodia: 2 million deaths
        • N. Korea: 2 million deaths
        • USSR: 20 million deaths
        • China: 65 million deaths

Next week, we’ll talk about two ways socialism fails as a worldview from a biblical perspective.

Want to ask J.D. a question? Head to our Ask Me Anything hub to submit your question.

As always, don’t forget to rate and review this podcast!

Find Pastor J.D. on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

Other Sermons