I have been reading the traffic concerning "communism," perhaps a literal
translation of "koinonia," found in the early church.
Yet, at least in 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, it appears that stewardship
eventually replaced unlimited giving:
"10. For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if
anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.
11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life,
doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.
12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to
work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread."
And, I believe in the OT, the law required that a certain portion of harvest
not be gathered so that the poor could gather the leftovers.
I think, overall, the scriptures seem to support work-fare, rather than
welfare, when considering the able-bodied. In fact, we are assured that
"...if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his
household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever..." (1
Timothy 5:8, NAS)
When charity evolved into welfare, and an "entitlement," similarity between
our system and Biblical "compassion" became purely coincidental.
From: Jan de Koning [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, February 25, 2002 9:51 AM
Subject: Re: Darwinism/Compassion
At 02:05 AM 25/02/02 -0500, PHSEELY@aol.com wrote:
>And shortly thereafter, the Church in the rest of the world had to send
>donations to Jerusalem where they had tried this experiment. Socialism has
>never worked on a long term basis.
Why is it that being against "capitalism" is immediately seen as
"socialism?" Sending donations to Jerusalem was not seen as a "bad" thing,
to the contrary. In the same way I can say "capitalism" has not worked on
a long time basis. It causes large groups of people having nothing, and
smaller groups having a lot. Serving "money" is not advocated in the
Bible, taking care of the poor is.
><< And he certainly would have approved of the many attacks against private
>property one may find in the writings of the church fathers. Usury was a
>for Christians until about the thirteenth century. Medieval theologians
>found Cain guilty of two sins, the murder of his brother and the taking of
>what belongs to all and making it private property (when he founded the
>city). While we may have a different view of things now, it would do us
>to ponder the church's thinking for more than the first millenium of its
>existence about what constitutes an "un-christian economy.">>
>This went hand in hand with people selling all that they had and becoming
>monks sworn to poverty. It was the Reformers who turned away from this
>mentality and taught that every occupation was holy.
Yes, but that is not "capitalism.
> <<For all the good capitalism may have brought in raising living
>it has also brought great evil in exploiting classes and populations. I
>think Christians should always take a prophetic stance against any economic
>system and in particular the dominant one, as many Christians are taking
>today against Consumerism, the engine of modern capitalism and the dominant
>civil religion of America.>>
>Certainly capitalism has its evils; but, everyone, even the supposed
>communists have lived off of capitalism. Who is not living off of
In the Bible we read in the OT how God had wanted Israel to live. That was
not supposed to be a capitalist society, but a society where properties had
to be handed back to their original owners. Not doing so, not following
the law of Jubilee, caused the misery of exile: see 2 Chron.36: 20-21
referring back to the Mosaic Sabbath laws. It should be a warning to us
living in a society where the "Economy" is god for most people. Our God
wants us to take care of everyone around us
>Insofar as consumerism is materialism, Christians should take a stand, but
>this is different than opposing capitalism per se. I cannot see any way for
>person who is picking up a paycheck or a donation to oppose capitalism
>without being hypocritical.
Consumerism (living to consume) is a sin as well, but that is not the issue
you are arguing against. "Capitalism" may be a system we cannot escape in
N.America, but that does not make it right. We cannot just step out of
this world. That is what the monks did, and you thought that it was wrong.
Please, realize that any system based solely on one issue is
wrong. Socialism, Communism, Capitalism all put the Economy in the top
place of society, which is un-biblical. We may not be able to escape the
system as the monks did, but we should think in other categories than just
Jan de K.
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