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 America is as much an economic phenomenon as it is a nation. It is built on a system whose driving force is the profit motive. Our economy blatantly rewards greed. In classic economic theory greed is good. A person who is motivated by greed will create, as unintended byproducts, benefits for everyone, such as employment and the development of new goods and services. Let the rich get richer, the saying goes, and the benefits will "trickle down" to the rest of us.

 Under a pure capitalistic system the government keeps hands off and allows the market to decide how the money flows. The problem is, as we have found in this era of deregulation, the money flows to the top.

Tampering with the market system to redistribute the wealth or assure that the poor are protected is labeled "socialism."

By these standards Jesus was a socialist.

 Jesus spoke remarkably often about wealth and poverty. To the poor he said, "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God," (Luke's version). To the rich he said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth," and "go, sell what you have, and give to the poor." When the rich turned away from him because they couldn't follow his command he observed, "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

For Jesus, helping the poor and the outcast is not optional: it is the essence of what it means to love God. In the parable of the last judgement he welcomes the righteous into heaven saying, "I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me." When the righteous answered that they didn't recall doing any of these things, he said, "as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."

We are to "forgive our debtors" and "give to every one who begs from you." But don't handouts contribute to moral decay? Jesus was more concerned about the moral decay in those who are so attached to their wealth that they would hoard it for themselves. In our better moments most of us recognize that giving does not corrupt. We sacrifice to give good things to our children and do our best to provide them with years of carefree existence as they grow up. We do this to give them a sense of security and a foundation for growth. People who have been devastated by misfortune, or for whatever reason are down and out, may need even more help because they may not have what it takes to recover on their own.

 What's wrong with trickle-down economics? Every time I hear that phrase I think of the story Jesus told about a rich man and the beggar Lazarus "who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table." Needless to say, the story ends with Lazarus going to a better place than the rich man. Trickle down theory is about crumbs. Those who say we should settle for crumbs would make us a nation of beggars.

Greed may be a driving force for the economy, but Jesus saw it is as destructive to community. Greed may leave a few crumbs behind for the poor, and it may do some unintended good, but it destroys compassion. Compassion is in short supply in our society today where workers are being downsized in the name of efficiency, prisons are being expanded to insulate society from its underclasses, and the middle class is abandoned by the rich to fight it out with the poor for the table scraps.

Jesus' response to economic inequality is very direct: we are to share the wealth. I once heard a talk about world hunger. The point was that we produce far more food than is needed to feed everyone on earth. The problem is not lack of supply; it is maldistribution. Many people are simply too poor to buy the food they need. This talk gave me a new perspective on the story of the feeding of the 5000. Jesus was out in the desert followed by a huge crowd. The disciples were concerned that it was getting late in the day and they didn't have enough food to feed the crowd. My suspicion is that Jesus sensed there was plenty of food in the crowd, but whereas some had plenty, others had nothing. Sensing an opportunity to make a point, he instructed his disciples to take their five loaves and two fish and distribute them freely to the crowd. By the sheer audaciousness of this act he induced those with food to join him in giving it away. The result is everyone was fed that day with twelve baskets left over. If Jesus simply did a magic trick and made food appear, what's the point? Whoopee! He's divine. He's not like us. But if, by his act of giving away all he had in the face of the overwhelming crowd, he demonstrated the power of a sharing community, he achieved a real miracle! Sharing is a lesson we especially need to learn today.

 

Thank you for your time. James

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Hi James,

That's a pretty good essay on your perspective. Way to go. And I can see that is how the natural man would interpret things. Scripture says the natural mind cannot understand spiritual things, although I totally agree greed prevents us from seeing a good comparison of the profit motive vs social equality since it distorts both in actual practice in the natural realm.

I also agree the feeding of the 5k with 12 baskets left over and the feeding of the 4k with 7 baskets left over have raised questions over what Jesus was teaching us. I would like to hear an interpretation from a Scripture commentator with a lot of Rhema insight, Perry Stone.

My personal interpretation is very limited. I believe the 5k were Hebrew children, "Sheep without a Shepherd" and 4k were Gentiles. "And they glorified the God of Israel." Jesus said, "What have ye?" and when they knew, they gave it to Him, He blessed it and gave it back to them to give out and it continued to multiply as long as it was needed.

The blessing didn't appear as 500 or 1000 baskets all of a sudden, the fish and the bread just kept multiplying as long as it was needed.

He didn't give anything out. They gave it to Him, He blessed it and gave it back and as they gave out, it multiplied. 12 tribes and 7 churches. The twelve tribes were commanded to sit down by ranks, in companies of 100 and 50. There is so much depth here. I have never made it a time study or truly sought Rhema, so I can't extract most of it.

Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.
8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?
9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets ye took up?
10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

I think it means don't do things for ulterior motive or vain glory. When you pray or do alms, do it in secret and and the Lord will reward you openly. When I lost my focus and temper, I shared something that the Lord gave me the privilege and opportunity to do. I killed many of blessing because of it.

The Lord was teaching the disciples lessons they would draw on later. That when the annointing fell, not to get sidetracked by the annointing and lose focus by the miracles it wrought, but the purpose of it all> that Jesus might be lifted up and the Father might be glorified and that many might be saved and redeemed from hell's fire.

The question you ask, James, "Who was this Jesus?" is the question of the ages and eternity rides on our answer.

Thanks for that great opening.
Have a great day!
Mark

James, you have some good insights in what you wrote.

 

Here are some things to also contemplate.

 

What is the difference between virtue and reward?

 

Scripture helps us to see what 'true religion' is:  taking care of widows and orphans.   Being good neighbors - the parable of the good Samaratian shows us that being a good neighbor isn't just saying "Hi" over the fence.

 

Reward is a different matter.   There are lots of teaching in scriputure about rewards:  the person who is faithful in little gets more,  the person who is faithful over one city gets 10, etc.

 

Plus, there are the 'unfair' rewards, the person who only works the last few hours for God gets the same reward as someone who worked the whole time.   And, the person who already has stuff/money/etc., gets more and the one who doesn't have, even the little he has he may lose.

 

Then there is the really 'hard pill to swallow' - those who will not work, should not be fed.  Gulp - that is really tough.

 

The guiding principle of the New Testament is this - virtue flows out of the heart.   Hard work and rewards are linked and should be respected. 

 

How did this balance work out?    The early Christians lived it out..   I see you commented on my post - http://kingdominsight.ning.com/forum/topics/loss-of-christian-peopl...   When the early Christians lived out these principles -in balance- a tangible, visible occurance happened.   It says in Acts - "There wasn't a needy person among them."   This was not because of some forced redistribution of wealth, it was because when we become Christians, we allow Christ to live out His life through us.   That is a mystery.   I have experienced it in my own life and in Christian community.  I can testify, it happens.

 

I, and others, are calling for people to move from the 'church way' that has been not-so-effective to the Kingdom way.   It isn't new, but it will be new for many of us.   It is how people lived out their lives in the early days after Christ died and rose again.   It IS possible.

 

And, it will produce the results that happened in Acts.  

I suppose then , and I've seen it work , the best thing a person can do is say " I WILL PRAY FOR YOU "

The problem with socialism is that it is compulsion.  As you say capitalism is founded on greed, socialism is founded on covetousness.  For the man who has little to use the power of the state to steal and give to him is as much a thief as if he had used a gun to rob someone on the street.  The only difference is who is threatening the victim.  Is the poor man threatening him or is the poor man's AGENT threatening him.

 

Just as the rich man is commanded to be generous to those less fortunate than he, so too is the poor man commanded to be content with what he has.  God is the one who makes one man rich and another man poor.  Socialism simply replaces benificence in the rich with theft by the poor. 

 

Is it necessary for me to point out that greed is not included in the ten commandments but theft and covetousness are?  Socialism is an economic model firmly based upon breaking two of God's commandments.

 

I also want to point out that redistributing wealth lacks the one thing that God wants in us - virtue.  It is virtuous to VOLUNTARILY give to the poor.  It is not virtuous in any way to try to do the same thing by state compulsion.  That is like using the power of the state and the threat of imprisonment to force a girl to love you.

 

Your understanding of the Matthew 25 judgment is completely wrong.  That does not describe how the Christian will be judged, but how the world will be judged.  At that point, the Christians will have already been judged.

 

https://www.facebook.com/bro.cope#!/note.php?note_id=180374025344079

 

 

If anyone from Kingdom Community network is able to attend the Business Expo at Watgens Glen Speedway media center on wednesday April 20 from 4-7 PM, give me a call.  This is an event worth attending if you believe Capitalism is a better choice to bring prosperity and for us to be salt and light.   Bob Pyle 570-539-2506  

I love the discussion. I always learn so much. Thank you. I can only offer one more thing. Jesus also told His disciples that the 'poor will always be with' us. In that context I think He is instructing us to have our priorities right. I don't think it's a Capitalistic vs. Socialistic subject. It is, as with all things Christ taught, a heart thing.

 America is as much an economic phenomenon as it is a nation. It is built on a system whose driving force is the profit motive.

America was built on the Godly principle of individual liberty, of a government that derived its power from the people, not one that dictated to the people what it thought was ‘best for it’.

Our economy blatantly rewards greed.

Our nation is the most generous nation on the planet.

In classic economic theory greed is good. A person who is motivated by greed will create, as unintended byproducts, benefits for everyone, such as employment and the development of new goods and services. Let the rich get richer, the saying goes, and the benefits will "trickle down" to the rest of us.

 Under a pure capitalistic system the government keeps hands off and allows the market to decide how the money flows. The problem is, as we have found in this era of deregulation, the money flows to the top.

We don’t have a pure capitalist system.  We have a highly regulated market that is geared towards lowering the cost of corporations and raising the entry cost for new players in the market system, because it is a de facto oligarchy run by a collection of political/corporate/military ‘aristocrats’ who create more regulations, more licensing fees, always in the name of economic justice, saving the planet, or some such altruistic slogan.  It is not a pure market system.  Capitalism without morals will always devolve to this highly regulated reality.

Tampering with the market system to redistribute the wealth or assure that the poor are protected is labeled "socialism."

Socialism is defined by the forced redistribution of wealth at the end of, ultimately, a gun.  When you consider the whole Word of God, which we as Christians must do, the idea of forced ‘generosity’ goes against a central Christian tenet.  Works without love are meaningless.  Read Corinthians chapter 13.

By these standards Jesus was a socialist.

Socialists believe in separation of church and state.  We are told as Christians that 100% of our lives, everything we do, is connected to God and derives its authority and wisdom from God’s way.  Socialists  are not only for the redistribution of wealth, but for forcing an atheist, secularist agenda on all citizens, ESPECIALLY those meddlesome Christians.  Socialism is a total philosophy, a total godless value system that Christ most assuredly would NEVER endorse.

 Jesus spoke remarkably often about wealth and poverty. To the poor he said, "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God," (Luke's version). To the rich he said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,"

A ‘wealthy’ Christian in the service of Christ recognizes that none of his wealth is lasting, that his wealth is meant to serve Christ.  The ‘poor’ part is inconsistent with other parts of the new testament where Christ recognizes wealthy people, like Lazarus, for instance, like Joseph of Arimathea, for being Godly men despite their wealth.

Remember the parable of the Talents?  A man was given 10 talents, turned it into 20.  Another man was given 5 talents, turned it into 5.  Still another was given 1 talent.  He held onto that talent.  He did nothing to increase the wealth.  When the master returned, he gave that one talent from the man who did nothing with it to the man who turned 10 talents into 20.  To those who have little, they will lose what they have.  To those who have much, they will gain much.  This is not to say that poor people will lose what they have, but rather, if God blesses you, and he does bless us, in many ways, including with real wealth, we are compelled to be good stewards and turn that blessing into more blessings that we might share with others, through direct donations, through sharing our homes with the homeless, or building businesses that provide jobs for people.

 and "go, sell what you have, and give to the poor." When the rich turned away from him because they couldn't follow his command he observed, "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

This moment is quoted often by socialists who seek to use the Word to force their government-mandated ‘kindness’ on the rest of us.  Jesus was not talking to all rich people when he addressed this man, he knew the hearts of men.  He knew who their real masters were.  One man’s master was his father.  He told Jesus he would leave with him AFTER he buried his father.  Should we not bury our parents then?  No.  The rich man had let his wealth become his master.  He served his wealth, instead of using his wealth, which God gave him, to serve the kingdom.  It will be difficult, but not impossible, for a rich man to enter the kingdom.  You will find wealthy men whom Christ called friends throughout the new testament.  One wealthy man, still wealthy, explained how he was paying back his debts to those he wronged.  He did not lose his wealth, but he stopped serving his wealth, and served the kingdom instead.

For Jesus, helping the poor and the outcast is not optional: it is the essence of what it means to love God. In the parable of the last judgment he welcomes the righteous into heaven saying, "I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me." When the righteous answered that they didn't recall doing any of these things, he said, "as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."

Here, you make my point for me...”what it means to love God”…to love God is to obey God..the two great commandments are to love the Lord your God with all your heart and to love one another as you love yourself.  This is directed at individuals, not the state.  State-mandated ‘godliness’ is not even biblical.  The state is instructed (see Acts and the letters of Paul) to follow a godly path when it comes to man’s relation to man.  So, for instance, a godly state would not allow homosexual marriage or abortions, but it would not mandate man’s relation to God.  Loving God with all your heart, loving others, and serving God and others in that love is a PERSONAL relationship with God, not a State-mandated action.

We are to "forgive our debtors" and "give to every one who begs from you." But don't handouts contribute to moral decay?

Are you saying that personal charity is immoral while state charity is moral?  I am not sure I even remotely follow this flawed logic.

Jesus was more concerned about the moral decay in those who are so attached to their wealth that they would hoard it for themselves. In our better moments most of us recognize that giving does not corrupt.

I am not sure I am reading the same bible as you are.  Jesus was concerned about people not following Him, not living in His love, and not living out that love with the people God places in front of you.  For him, sin is sin is sin.  There is not a special place in hell for those evil rich people.  You do not, for instance, have to be wealthy, to hoard.  You do not have to be wealthy to place other masters of Christ.  Wealth is a great temptation to sin, true, but there are other equally great temptations to sin, like, say you are a very handsome man who gets offers from attractive women all the time.  Sexual sin will be harder for you to resist than it might be for a less attractive man who doesn’t get the same amount of ‘offers’.

We sacrifice to give good things to our children and do our best to provide them with years of carefree existence as they grow up.

Carefree existence?  Do you have children?  I don’t think many parents, there may be a few, are trying to create a carefree existence for their kids, rather we try to prepare our children for the vicissitudes of life.  So much of what happens to people in life is beyond their control.  It is how you react to tragedy, to turns of misfortune, that defines your character, who you are.  We as Christians are called to welcome suffering (see James) for it is in times of suffering that we prove our faith in Christ AND we are given opportunities to witness the Christ way.  It is easy to be a ‘happy’ Christian and share the Word when times are good, but when you are dying of Cancer and you still testify to Christ and show total faith in His path for you, despite your suffering, THEN you offer great testimony to yourself about your faith, which brings you closer to Christ, AND serve as a powerful witness to non-believers who have throughout the ages been brought to Christ by the strength of his followers in the face of persecution and adversity.

I sacrifice for my daughter because I love her, because I put her ahead of my own needs, not to give her a carefree existence.

 We do this to give them a sense of security and a foundation for growth. People who have been devastated by misfortune, or for whatever reason are down and out, may need even more help because they may not have what it takes to recover on their own.

My daughter needs, more than anything else, my love and dedication, not my money, and certainly not the cold cash of a government agency that will treat her like a number, not like a child of God.

 What's wrong with trickle-down economics? Every time I hear that phrase I think of the story Jesus told about a rich man and the beggar Lazarus "who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table." Needless to say, the story ends with Lazarus going to a better place than the rich man. Trickle down theory is about crumbs. Those who say we should settle for crumbs would make us a nation of beggars.

Did the rich man go to hell because he was rich or because he did not acknowledge God and recognize his people?  Did Lazarus go to heaven because he ate crumbs at the master’s table or because he put his faith in God.  Your analogy misses the key point of the story, that the things of the world which can be seen, wealth, stuff, fall away in the next.  The things in this world which CAN’T be seen, faith, hope, and most importantly love, live on in eternity.  This parable speaks neither for or against ‘trickle down economics’, and Christ himself did not speak about the economic theories of states, but about the relationships we as Christians should have with God, with our families, with the body of Christ, and with the unbelievers.

Greed may be a driving force for the economy, but Jesus saw it is as destructive to community. Greed may leave a few crumbs behind for the poor, and it may do some unintended good, but it destroys compassion. Compassion is in short supply in our society today where workers are being downsized in the name of efficiency, prisons are being expanded to insulate society from its underclasses, and the middle class is abandoned by the rich to fight it out with the poor for the table scraps.

Greed is a sin, but a state that takes from the people that which does not rightfully belong to it, wealth to ‘generously’ give to other people, is also being greedy.  Lord Acton- Power tends to corrupt- absolute power corrupts absolutely- when you have a body of a thousand or so men and women in congress and the executive branch gaining control of trillions of dollars it takes from those it feels has too much to ‘give’ to those who don’t have enough, you will find that system far more corrupt and riddled with greed than the individual sins of businesses who control, per corporate structure, far less dollars than the small cadre of government big brains you would have given trillions of our dollars so that they can fulfill Jesus’ command to feed the poor and shelter the homeless.  I guarantee you a lot less poor and homeless will be taken care of in that system than in a fully-practicing kingdom people of God who live out in their daily lives the ways of the kingdom.

It is true that American Christians have forgotten the kingdom way, don’t live it out, don’t even understand what it is anymore, and, over the past 150 plus years, have gradually allowed government to take over roles we as Christians are responsible for fulfilling.  Christian families are un-united.  The body of Christ is comprised of thousands upon thousands of territorial silos.  A powerless, spoiled salt, no longer vital in a world now dominated by the State.  But the answer is not more of the corrupting influence of the State, but a return to the kingdom way of living for the whole body of Christ.  A united body of Christ can do far more for the poor, for the homeless, for the widows, than ever the unwieldy, bureaucratic nightmare that is the State leviathan, laden with special interests and government workers who are mostly interested in maintaining their special healthcare benefits and their ‘never get fired’ job position.  You get good deeds in a trickle from a massive money system that keeps the wealth in the hands of the political class, not a one of these deeds based in individual love for another individual, a love based in Christ, not in State law.


Jesus' response to economic inequality is very direct: we are to share the wealth. I once heard a talk about world hunger. The point was that we produce far more food than is needed to feed everyone on earth. The problem is not lack of supply; it is maldistribution. Many people are simply too poor to buy the food they need. This talk gave me a new perspective on the story of the feeding of the 5000. Jesus was out in the desert followed by a huge crowd. The disciples were concerned that it was getting late in the day and they didn't have enough food to feed the crowd. My suspicion is that Jesus sensed there was plenty of food in the crowd, but whereas some had plenty, others had nothing. Sensing an opportunity to make a point, he instructed his disciples to take their five loaves and two fish and distribute them freely to the crowd. By the sheer audaciousness of this act he induced those with food to join him in giving it away. The result is everyone was fed that day with twelve baskets left over. If Jesus simply did a magic trick and made food appear, what's the point? Whoopee! He's divine. He's not like us. But if, by his act of giving away all he had in the face of the overwhelming crowd, he demonstrated the power of a sharing community, he achieved a real miracle! Sharing is a lesson we especially need to learn today.

Here you show your fundamental lack of understanding of who Jesus is.  He is absolutely not like us.  He is Holy and Pure.  We will never be like Christ.  He absolutely performed a miracle and illustrated a point you seem to have missed and turned into yet another attempt to use liberation theology (that is what you are preaching here, did you know that?) to convince Christians that state-mandated wealth redistribution is a godly thing.  Jesus was showing the disciples, and the crowds, though more the disciples, that He has a food which can never be exhausted.  The miracle of the moment was a parable in and of itself of the never-ending sustenance of a Christly food.  That which can be seen will fall away- this is earthly food.  That which cannot be seen will last forever- this is the food of Christ.  Later, these same thousands want to make Jesus a king, because he fed them earthly food.  Whoopee! As you would say.

He told them of a food that has no end.  He invited them to eat his body and drink his blood.  If you understand the tradition of sacrifice outlined in Leviticus you will see the significance of his statement.  He is the holy, the pure sacrifice.  Jews ate the bodies of the sacrificed animals.  Priests were actually required to do it, but it was considered a grave sin to touch blood.  Jesus told them He was a sacrifice that was so pure, you can eat the whole body and even drink the blood.

What is that food?  What was Christ?  He was the Word made flesh.  He is the living Word and the word is his flesh and his blood.  He was more concerned, far more concerned, about your spiritual welfare than your physical welfare.  He wasn’t teaching them good socialist principles.  If that were the case, why would they clamor to make him King and ask him to give them more food?  He performed a miracle and everyone there knew it.  But they wanted the miracle of the earthly food, and not the miracle of the spiritual food he was showing them.

J M J . PRAY 4 R NATION . !  GOD BLESS . !

 

Socialism is when the gov. takes & shares with others. "CHRIST" never  said to do this. "HE" says to help them such as sell all, give to the poor, follow "ME" . If we can find purs social practice it would be O K. The problem is it always mutates into -G_R_E_E_D- on the other side of capitalism, whereas -G_R_E_E_D- on the side of capitalism is portrade as 'evil'  ! The are used to sell this, but GREED = GREED ! This was proven when Communism Colapsed. (suposedly) ! The workers in mining towns were freed by this and found the upper eschulon were living very well behind closed doors while the workers were barely getting by ! The leaders had to flee to save their lives. One side is just sneaker than the other ! The left can't make it on their own(save a few) so they steal it through unfair laws as do the capitalists do through their represenatives in the House !

 

"CHRIST said in answer to ( what about the poor) , you will always have the poor . & we will because of human nature. Some work more than others, some think better than others, some were Blest more than others  some reject these Blessings more than others, some are more intelectual than others, etc,etc,etc, but -G_R_E_E_D- is a human characteristic  The Ten Commandments were written for all, and W_E  'R'  to  -C_H_O_O_S_E- between "HIM" & 'him' . We are to love our neighbor ot to hate our neighbor = it is -F_R_E_E- - - -W_I_L_L- given to US by our "CREATOR" not by a goverment ! ! !

 

We will all be judged by "GOD" who is The Source of ALL JUST LAW , not man !

 

"JESUS" is Pure Love, not a socialist ! Never was & never will be !

 

Our Founders Understood this as well as they did  -G_R_E_E_D-  & used "GOD'S" Law  to give USa Republic of Law not of Man !

Just another opinion............

I opened up my email and wahoo! I love it! James, you hit upon another great topic! Way to go!

Have a great day, folks!

Mark

GREAT POST!

Freedomist said:

 America is as much an economic phenomenon as it is a nation. It is built on a system whose driving force is the profit motive.

America was built on the Godly principle of individual liberty, of a government that derived its power from the people, not one that dictated to the people what it thought was ‘best for it’.

Our economy blatantly rewards greed.

Our nation is the most generous nation on the planet.

In classic economic theory greed is good. A person who is motivated by greed will create, as unintended byproducts, benefits for everyone, such as employment and the development of new goods and services. Let the rich get richer, the saying goes, and the benefits will "trickle down" to the rest of us.

 Under a pure capitalistic system the government keeps hands off and allows the market to decide how the money flows. The problem is, as we have found in this era of deregulation, the money flows to the top.

We don’t have a pure capitalist system.  We have a highly regulated market that is geared towards lowering the cost of corporations and raising the entry cost for new players in the market system, because it is a de facto oligarchy run by a collection of political/corporate/military ‘aristocrats’ who create more regulations, more licensing fees, always in the name of economic justice, saving the planet, or some such altruistic slogan.  It is not a pure market system.  Capitalism without morals will always devolve to this highly regulated reality.

Tampering with the market system to redistribute the wealth or assure that the poor are protected is labeled "socialism."

Socialism is defined by the forced redistribution of wealth at the end of, ultimately, a gun.  When you consider the whole Word of God, which we as Christians must do, the idea of forced ‘generosity’ goes against a central Christian tenet.  Works without love are meaningless.  Read Corinthians chapter 13.

By these standards Jesus was a socialist.

Socialists believe in separation of church and state.  We are told as Christians that 100% of our lives, everything we do, is connected to God and derives its authority and wisdom from God’s way.  Socialists  are not only for the redistribution of wealth, but for forcing an atheist, secularist agenda on all citizens, ESPECIALLY those meddlesome Christians.  Socialism is a total philosophy, a total godless value system that Christ most assuredly would NEVER endorse.

 Jesus spoke remarkably often about wealth and poverty. To the poor he said, "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God," (Luke's version). To the rich he said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,"

A ‘wealthy’ Christian in the service of Christ recognizes that none of his wealth is lasting, that his wealth is meant to serve Christ.  The ‘poor’ part is inconsistent with other parts of the new testament where Christ recognizes wealthy people, like Lazarus, for instance, like Joseph of Arimathea, for being Godly men despite their wealth.

Remember the parable of the Talents?  A man was given 10 talents, turned it into 20.  Another man was given 5 talents, turned it into 5.  Still another was given 1 talent.  He held onto that talent.  He did nothing to increase the wealth.  When the master returned, he gave that one talent from the man who did nothing with it to the man who turned 10 talents into 20.  To those who have little, they will lose what they have.  To those who have much, they will gain much.  This is not to say that poor people will lose what they have, but rather, if God blesses you, and he does bless us, in many ways, including with real wealth, we are compelled to be good stewards and turn that blessing into more blessings that we might share with others, through direct donations, through sharing our homes with the homeless, or building businesses that provide jobs for people.

 and "go, sell what you have, and give to the poor." When the rich turned away from him because they couldn't follow his command he observed, "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

This moment is quoted often by socialists who seek to use the Word to force their government-mandated ‘kindness’ on the rest of us.  Jesus was not talking to all rich people when he addressed this man, he knew the hearts of men.  He knew who their real masters were.  One man’s master was his father.  He told Jesus he would leave with him AFTER he buried his father.  Should we not bury our parents then?  No.  The rich man had let his wealth become his master.  He served his wealth, instead of using his wealth, which God gave him, to serve the kingdom.  It will be difficult, but not impossible, for a rich man to enter the kingdom.  You will find wealthy men whom Christ called friends throughout the new testament.  One wealthy man, still wealthy, explained how he was paying back his debts to those he wronged.  He did not lose his wealth, but he stopped serving his wealth, and served the kingdom instead.

For Jesus, helping the poor and the outcast is not optional: it is the essence of what it means to love God. In the parable of the last judgment he welcomes the righteous into heaven saying, "I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me." When the righteous answered that they didn't recall doing any of these things, he said, "as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."

Here, you make my point for me...”what it means to love God”…to love God is to obey God..the two great commandments are to love the Lord your God with all your heart and to love one another as you love yourself.  This is directed at individuals, not the state.  State-mandated ‘godliness’ is not even biblical.  The state is instructed (see Acts and the letters of Paul) to follow a godly path when it comes to man’s relation to man.  So, for instance, a godly state would not allow homosexual marriage or abortions, but it would not mandate man’s relation to God.  Loving God with all your heart, loving others, and serving God and others in that love is a PERSONAL relationship with God, not a State-mandated action.

We are to "forgive our debtors" and "give to every one who begs from you." But don't handouts contribute to moral decay?

Are you saying that personal charity is immoral while state charity is moral?  I am not sure I even remotely follow this flawed logic.

Jesus was more concerned about the moral decay in those who are so attached to their wealth that they would hoard it for themselves. In our better moments most of us recognize that giving does not corrupt.

I am not sure I am reading the same bible as you are.  Jesus was concerned about people not following Him, not living in His love, and not living out that love with the people God places in front of you.  For him, sin is sin is sin.  There is not a special place in hell for those evil rich people.  You do not, for instance, have to be wealthy, to hoard.  You do not have to be wealthy to place other masters of Christ.  Wealth is a great temptation to sin, true, but there are other equally great temptations to sin, like, say you are a very handsome man who gets offers from attractive women all the time.  Sexual sin will be harder for you to resist than it might be for a less attractive man who doesn’t get the same amount of ‘offers’.

We sacrifice to give good things to our children and do our best to provide them with years of carefree existence as they grow up.

Carefree existence?  Do you have children?  I don’t think many parents, there may be a few, are trying to create a carefree existence for their kids, rather we try to prepare our children for the vicissitudes of life.  So much of what happens to people in life is beyond their control.  It is how you react to tragedy, to turns of misfortune, that defines your character, who you are.  We as Christians are called to welcome suffering (see James) for it is in times of suffering that we prove our faith in Christ AND we are given opportunities to witness the Christ way.  It is easy to be a ‘happy’ Christian and share the Word when times are good, but when you are dying of Cancer and you still testify to Christ and show total faith in His path for you, despite your suffering, THEN you offer great testimony to yourself about your faith, which brings you closer to Christ, AND serve as a powerful witness to non-believers who have throughout the ages been brought to Christ by the strength of his followers in the face of persecution and adversity.

I sacrifice for my daughter because I love her, because I put her ahead of my own needs, not to give her a carefree existence.

 We do this to give them a sense of security and a foundation for growth. People who have been devastated by misfortune, or for whatever reason are down and out, may need even more help because they may not have what it takes to recover on their own.

My daughter needs, more than anything else, my love and dedication, not my money, and certainly not the cold cash of a government agency that will treat her like a number, not like a child of God.

 What's wrong with trickle-down economics? Every time I hear that phrase I think of the story Jesus told about a rich man and the beggar Lazarus "who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table." Needless to say, the story ends with Lazarus going to a better place than the rich man. Trickle down theory is about crumbs. Those who say we should settle for crumbs would make us a nation of beggars.

Did the rich man go to hell because he was rich or because he did not acknowledge God and recognize his people?  Did Lazarus go to heaven because he ate crumbs at the master’s table or because he put his faith in God.  Your analogy misses the key point of the story, that the things of the world which can be seen, wealth, stuff, fall away in the next.  The things in this world which CAN’T be seen, faith, hope, and most importantly love, live on in eternity.  This parable speaks neither for or against ‘trickle down economics’, and Christ himself did not speak about the economic theories of states, but about the relationships we as Christians should have with God, with our families, with the body of Christ, and with the unbelievers.

Greed may be a driving force for the economy, but Jesus saw it is as destructive to community. Greed may leave a few crumbs behind for the poor, and it may do some unintended good, but it destroys compassion. Compassion is in short supply in our society today where workers are being downsized in the name of efficiency, prisons are being expanded to insulate society from its underclasses, and the middle class is abandoned by the rich to fight it out with the poor for the table scraps.

Greed is a sin, but a state that takes from the people that which does not rightfully belong to it, wealth to ‘generously’ give to other people, is also being greedy.  Lord Acton- Power tends to corrupt- absolute power corrupts absolutely- when you have a body of a thousand or so men and women in congress and the executive branch gaining control of trillions of dollars it takes from those it feels has too much to ‘give’ to those who don’t have enough, you will find that system far more corrupt and riddled with greed than the individual sins of businesses who control, per corporate structure, far less dollars than the small cadre of government big brains you would have given trillions of our dollars so that they can fulfill Jesus’ command to feed the poor and shelter the homeless.  I guarantee you a lot less poor and homeless will be taken care of in that system than in a fully-practicing kingdom people of God who live out in their daily lives the ways of the kingdom.

It is true that American Christians have forgotten the kingdom way, don’t live it out, don’t even understand what it is anymore, and, over the past 150 plus years, have gradually allowed government to take over roles we as Christians are responsible for fulfilling.  Christian families are un-united.  The body of Christ is comprised of thousands upon thousands of territorial silos.  A powerless, spoiled salt, no longer vital in a world now dominated by the State.  But the answer is not more of the corrupting influence of the State, but a return to the kingdom way of living for the whole body of Christ.  A united body of Christ can do far more for the poor, for the homeless, for the widows, than ever the unwieldy, bureaucratic nightmare that is the State leviathan, laden with special interests and government workers who are mostly interested in maintaining their special healthcare benefits and their ‘never get fired’ job position.  You get good deeds in a trickle from a massive money system that keeps the wealth in the hands of the political class, not a one of these deeds based in individual love for another individual, a love based in Christ, not in State law.


Jesus' response to economic inequality is very direct: we are to share the wealth. I once heard a talk about world hunger. The point was that we produce far more food than is needed to feed everyone on earth. The problem is not lack of supply; it is maldistribution. Many people are simply too poor to buy the food they need. This talk gave me a new perspective on the story of the feeding of the 5000. Jesus was out in the desert followed by a huge crowd. The disciples were concerned that it was getting late in the day and they didn't have enough food to feed the crowd. My suspicion is that Jesus sensed there was plenty of food in the crowd, but whereas some had plenty, others had nothing. Sensing an opportunity to make a point, he instructed his disciples to take their five loaves and two fish and distribute them freely to the crowd. By the sheer audaciousness of this act he induced those with food to join him in giving it away. The result is everyone was fed that day with twelve baskets left over. If Jesus simply did a magic trick and made food appear, what's the point? Whoopee! He's divine. He's not like us. But if, by his act of giving away all he had in the face of the overwhelming crowd, he demonstrated the power of a sharing community, he achieved a real miracle! Sharing is a lesson we especially need to learn today.

Here you show your fundamental lack of understanding of who Jesus is.  He is absolutely not like us.  He is Holy and Pure.  We will never be like Christ.  He absolutely performed a miracle and illustrated a point you seem to have missed and turned into yet another attempt to use liberation theology (that is what you are preaching here, did you know that?) to convince Christians that state-mandated wealth redistribution is a godly thing.  Jesus was showing the disciples, and the crowds, though more the disciples, that He has a food which can never be exhausted.  The miracle of the moment was a parable in and of itself of the never-ending sustenance of a Christly food.  That which can be seen will fall away- this is earthly food.  That which cannot be seen will last forever- this is the food of Christ.  Later, these same thousands want to make Jesus a king, because he fed them earthly food.  Whoopee! As you would say.

He told them of a food that has no end.  He invited them to eat his body and drink his blood.  If you understand the tradition of sacrifice outlined in Leviticus you will see the significance of his statement.  He is the holy, the pure sacrifice.  Jews ate the bodies of the sacrificed animals.  Priests were actually required to do it, but it was considered a grave sin to touch blood.  Jesus told them He was a sacrifice that was so pure, you can eat the whole body and even drink the blood.

What is that food?  What was Christ?  He was the Word made flesh.  He is the living Word and the word is his flesh and his blood.  He was more concerned, far more concerned, about your spiritual welfare than your physical welfare.  He wasn’t teaching them good socialist principles.  If that were the case, why would they clamor to make him King and ask him to give them more food?  He performed a miracle and everyone there knew it.  But they wanted the miracle of the earthly food, and not the miracle of the spiritual food he was showing them.

Hello Bro!

Great post!!!

Bro Cope said:

The problem with socialism is that it is compulsion.  As you say capitalism is founded on greed, socialism is founded on covetousness.  For the man who has little to use the power of the state to steal and give to him is as much a thief as if he had used a gun to rob someone on the street.  The only difference is who is threatening the victim.  Is the poor man threatening him or is the poor man's AGENT threatening him.

 

Just as the rich man is commanded to be generous to those less fortunate than he, so too is the poor man commanded to be content with what he has.  God is the one who makes one man rich and another man poor.  Socialism simply replaces benificence in the rich with theft by the poor. 

 

Is it necessary for me to point out that greed is not included in the ten commandments but theft and covetousness are?  Socialism is an economic model firmly based upon breaking two of God's commandments.

 

I also want to point out that redistributing wealth lacks the one thing that God wants in us - virtue.  It is virtuous to VOLUNTARILY give to the poor.  It is not virtuous in any way to try to do the same thing by state compulsion.  That is like using the power of the state and the threat of imprisonment to force a girl to love you.

 

Your understanding of the Matthew 25 judgment is completely wrong.  That does not describe how the Christian will be judged, but how the world will be judged.  At that point, the Christians will have already been judged.

 

https://www.facebook.com/bro.cope#!/note.php?note_id=180374025344079

 

 

Socialists believe in separation of church and state.  We are told as Christians that 100% of our lives, everything we do, is connected to God and derives its authority and wisdom from God’s way.  Socialists  are not only for the redistribution of wealth, but for forcing an atheist, secularist agenda on all citizens, ESPECIALLY those meddlesome Christians.  Socialism is a total philosophy, a total godless value system that Christ most assuredly would NEVER endorse.

     The socialist  total godless value system is the state religion of evolutionary humanism, so they really do not believe or practice the separation of religion from the state-an impossibility.  So I think that there will be 2 state religions in the USA, one a theonomy(Christian Commonwealth), and the other the socialist-secularist state religion of evolutionary humanism.

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