To read other parts of the series, go here.
It’s finally time to end God vs Wealth. And in this final part, I want to talk about some practical implications of this teaching and adress some questions that I think some of you who have followed the series have.
Question 1: Are you really saying that everyone should have everything in common?
I think economic equality is the goal and community of goods is an effective means to reach the goal. In fact, I don’t really know any more effective way to reach equality than Acts chapter 2. The model most churches use today clearly doesn’t work, and for many of them equality is not even the goal.
Of course, community of goods requires more than one person, so start with connecting with others who has the same thoughts as you. get inspired by New creation Christian Community and The Simple Way, and start building. Remember though that Christians communities should include the really poor and marginalised. Get to know poor folks in your area or neighbourhoods, invite them for dinner, love them, and if they’re up for it, live with them.
Also urge your church to start building international community of goods. Connect with say five churches in other parts of the world, look what common budget you have and split it equally. Then, rich churches will learn simplicity and poor churches will have more resources to meet needs and spread the Gospel. Win-win!
Question 2: If you don’t think a Christian should be rich, why are you using a computer?
There was a time when I hardly used electricity at all, where I refused to use a computer. Then, I realized that if I wanted a publisher to publish the book I was writing about what the Bible says about wealth and poverty, they wouldn’t accept hand-writing. So I started to use a computer to write this book. And then I realized I could spread this message on the internet as well. The God vs Wealth teaching on my Swedish blog is widely read, with over 5000 views.
I hope and pray that doing this I would help the poor more than if I sold my computer and gave the money to an organization that would use computers to help the poor. But I’m well aware of that this is a slippery slope. Rich Christians hold on to their stuff using this type of argument. The important thing to distinguish though is if the object is blessing people with needs or if it’s just for the satisfaction of the rich and priviliged. I use to call unnecessary products LEB-products; luxury, entertainment and beauty products. We should get rid of that in order to alleviate suffering and save lives through aid instead.
Question 3: Isn’t this just Christian communism?
I once heard a pentecostal pastor speak about how the “communist experiment of the apostles obviously didn’t work”. Communist experiment? How about apostolic example? You can critisize communism for a lot, but not that it wants equality between the rich and poor, bacuse that is what God wants also. That being said, I think the Kingdom is neither capitalist nor communist but goes beyond human political ideologies. Thinking that you can ignore what the Bible teaches by labelling it communism is just false logic.
All right, that’s the end of my God vs Wealth series. But don’t worry, I’ve already made a sequel! When I was in South Africa I recorded five videos called God vs Poverty, which simply consists of some Bible studies about poverty reduction in its various forms. I’m going to publish them one by one this fall, so keep your eyes open. After you’ve sold everything you have of course.
- Community (ryanjames531.wordpress.com)
- Rich VS Wealth (staflyyane.wordpress.com)
- God and Money: A LAUP Testimony (arendsarticulations.wordpress.com)
- The Rich and the Kingdom of God (dryan659.wordpress.com)
I think Jesus and his early followers were obviously communist, which means that they held property in common. There are several examples of this in Scripture and early church tradition. That is the original definition of communism, and the term communism was coined by Christian philosopher Etienne Cabet to described the apostolic example. Please don’t confuse Leninism or Stalinism and communism.
Well, with such a broad definition yes, but I’m not sure if many would accept such a definition. Since communism normally refers to a political system it’s hard for me to use that term referring to the apostles. It was interesting to know that it was founded by a Christian though, however I think that he as well put more things in the concept than just common property.
God bless you!
Actually, my definition of just holding property in common is both the original and most common definition in dictionaries. Most other aspects of communist history are then derived from the principle of holding property in common. For example, most communists want a classless and stateless society, which this is derived from holding property equally and in common. This is the definition of communism throughout most of history, and in most forms of Marxism and anarchism. The political ideology, which is often called Communism with a capital C, is a recent phenomenon and is historically inaccurate.
Terms such as communitarianism or communalism have faced similar fates. They were originally synonyms for communism, but now refer to political ideologies. Communitarianism is a term often used by American and British conservatives, and in Asia refers to states like China and North Korea (even though neither of these are actually communitarian). Communalism refers to the political ideology of Murray Bookchin in the US, but in the former British Empire, it refers to racism and ethnocentrism.
All three of these words — communism, communitarianism, and communalism — technically refer to the practice of holding property in common, which is what the early church practiced. It was only in the 20th century that they started being co-opted to mean different things, and sometimes to even mean their opposites.
And sorry for making such a big deal about this, but as a former member of the Communist Party USA, and someone who still advocates for the economic practice community of goods/communism/communitarianism/etc, it is a pet peeve of mine when people use the term “communism” to refer to Cold War political ideologies or failed states.
The more a clean heart have the more the clean heart can give … to use the wealth and distribute it as God want …