Can a Christian Be a Socialist? Part 2

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

Show Notes:

Two ways socialism fails as a worldview biblically:

  • Human depravity: all humans in power grow depraved. 
    • The US has typically understood that it is better to keep power distributed via checks and balances. Government by its nature has incredible power, and when they are put in charge of everyone’s livelihoods, massive corruption is almost always the result.
    • Best to keep the economy free and let the market keep people fair. 
    • If you assume everybody is depraved, the question is how powerful you want any one group depraved people to hold. I’d rather them hold a knife than a gun. So I prefer the way a free market keep’s people’s depravity in check to a group of government bureaucrats with much more expansive power.
  • Second thing: Human dignity: God gave humans the ability to prosper. Government needs to get out of the way. When humans are given freedom and obstacles are removed, they prosper. 
    • Governments don’t help people by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves. 
    • So, bottom line: Government can help us play fair, but it can’t replace human initiative and should itself be held in check because government leaders are still human, and subject to the same vices they are trying to prevent in others. 
  • What does the Bible say? We always need to be careful, because terms like capitalism and socialism are terms developed long after the Bible, but there are certain principles that apply:
    • The Bible encourages human initiative—it certainly commends private property ownership, and it warns us against unchecked depravity.
  • Economically: Time and time again, socialism has destroyed countries that embrace its ideology. 
  • A lot of modern socialists cite countries like Sweden, Denmark, and Norway as examples of socialism’s “success.” 
    • But those countries don’t really have socialist systems – at least not fully. They’re more like welfare states, with some state-run entities (like health care), but those state-run entities are supported by an underlying market economy. 
  • We live in a fallen world… it will never be perfect. Socialism is a utopic vision. The free market is built on the understanding that until Jesus comes back all human structures, including economics, will be depraved, and the best way to keep depravity in check is to keep power distributed across people than concentrated in the hands of a few.

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