Recently, Christian Left leader Jim Wallis recently said:
Christians across the theological and political spectrum believe that social justice is central to the teachings of Jesus and at the heart of biblical faith.
Actually, not only is there no consensus on this issue, but in fact, Jesus did not speak of such a concept as it is understood today.
Further, Jesus said that there would be false teachers coming in his name. Paul, arguing for strict traditionalism, steeled future Christians against heresy by writing:
Therefore, Brethren, stand fast, and hold to the traditions which ye have been taught. …” (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
While any Christian can agree that the first Christians held all things in common and virtually forbade owning any personal property, we find no mention that a theocracy should be established by Christians to enforce this socialism on others. And those who insist that Christian socialism must be enforced by political means are in fact endorsing a form of theocracy not less rigid than that of Muslim countries.
Further, Paul forbade welfare as we practice it today with the words:
For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should they eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
While Wallis and his followers – as well as many other Christian leaders, both Protestant and Catholic (including priests here in Panama where I live) – insist that the story of the fishes and the loaves is all about the rich sharing with the poor, Jesus was very short with those of his day who sought him out to increase material gain or to receive welfare-style handouts, making it clear that he had come not to feed the poor the physical bread but rather to feed the poor in spirit His spiritual bread.
Elsewhere it is clear that Jesus does want Christians to share their sustenance with the less fortunate, but not by enforcing a political sharing system through taxation, as Wallis endorses.
According to the book “The Socialist Phenomenon” by dissident USSR Academy of Sciences member Igor Shafarevich (available in its entirety on the Web), such radical socialism is the heresy that was spread in the 13th and 14th centuries in Europe, and even earlier in Persia, where the first socialist state was set up – and failed ignominiously.
Shafarevich shows that the first European socialists were heretics, some of them quite violent and murderous (see the chapter “The Socialism of the Heresies” starting on page 18). The Taborites, for example, took over large regions around Prague and later in other countries, plundering and burning churches and brutally murdered priests and peasants who refused to go along with their policies. Like the other socialist heretics, they “held everything in common.” But the possessions they held in common were mostly the fruits of other people’s labor, including gold and silver items stolen from churches. They were more antichrists than Christians.
If we consider this behavior on the part of the earliest socialists, the behavior of the French revolutionaries and the fact that the socialist phenomenon (Shafarevich, like all Soviets, made no distinction between socialism and communism) killed 100 million in the places it was practiced in the 20th century, it should be clear that American “Christian” leftists like Jim Wallis are playing with fire.
Donald Hank is a technical translator and editor-in-chief of Laigle’s Forum.