Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The End of Time: Did Christ Intend for Us to Be Socialists?

Forgive me for talking about politics in a religious forum. I have been told we Adventists are not to discuss politics (usually by SDAs who vote Democrat), but given that Ellen White once said that God was punishing the Union because we were not fighting the Civil War to free the slaves at the time, I think I'm on solid ground. Elijah, Elisha and practically all the minor prophets posted criticism of the government on the ancient equivalent of the Internet. Many were murdered by the government for speaking out. Political speech by followers of God has an ancient and honorable history. 

I found this quote the other day by militant anti-religion, pro-capitalist writer Ayn Rand:

  • "Socialism is the doctrine that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that his life and his work do not belong to him, but belong to society, that the only justification of his existence is his service to society, and that society may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good." - Ayn Rand
I posted it someplace and a militant anti-religion socialist wrote back: 
  • The Rand quote makes socialism sound a lot like Christianity. But then historians say the early Christians were socialists.
She has a point, but it's one of those deceptive talking points that liberals, socialists and atheists throw at you to try to prove you are intellectually dishonest unless, as a Christian, you are pro-socialist.

If you take away the word "collective" and substitute "God" the Ayn Rand quote does sound like what Christians believe - sort of!  It's just that whether we worship the collective or God marks quite a distinct dividing point between Christians and secular socialists. The big (and this is very big) difference between the two is that Christians can serve their beliefs according to their own conscience, entirely without forcing any other individual to do so. We believe God gave us free will because he does NOT want to force anyone to love or follow him.

On the other hand, collectivists demand that everyone be a collectivist (socialist) and love socialism (i.e. The State). Look at history and you'll see what happens to anyone who lives in a socialist state and does not serve the state and appear to love it. Hundreds of millions of deaths in the 20th century alone of people are attributable to government intolerance of people who chose not to serve the state.

And while it's true that the Roman Catholic Church slaughtered millions who disagreed with them, such behavior by the organized church led true Christians within the church to break away and worship God as Scripture told them to. The entire massive Protestant movement was a rejection of the Roman brand of collectivism. Over the centuries there was a constant stream of Christ's followers who left the political iteration of the Christian church because in it, they could not follow Christ, who never forced anyone to follow him.

Early Christians combined their goods because they were a spiritual guerrilla movement, both in Israel and in Rome, not because it was the most effective economic system as they quickly discovered. Their collectivist organism, very early became dominated by bishops and prelates who were more interested in accumulating power over the collective than in spreading the gospel. The early Christian collectivism under the care of the apostles (all of whom were good men), gave way upon their deaths to a system dominated by men who saw the position the apostles had held as a means to power.

Power as in the case of the apostles, did not corrupt. It was the power that, the apostles had held up until their deaths*,  which attracted the corruptible to leadership positions in the church. It wasn't the gospel that created the monumentally corrupt Roman church, it was, in fact, the continuation of a social structure that had always been intended as a temporary solution during the early days of the church, when Christians were being actively persecuted.

Christ never intended for us to create the sorts of centralized collectivist power structures that catholicism came to embrace. He always intended that the truth would set us free. It was the powerful Protestant belief that to follow God was an exercise of one's free will that led to the creation of the United States and our incredible Constitution.

For more than two centuries, the power of individual free will has been demonstrated as this country has ascended to hold power far beyond the wildest dreams of dictators, kings and emperors. It is little wonder that Satan and his minions have set their sights on acquiring the power of the United States for themselves. After all, power attracts the corruptible as we have seen.

Any church, any government or any organization that tells you that you must submit your will to the group and its leaders is not speaking to you from God. We must only submit our will to God Almighty and do the right thing as best we can determine from Scripture, prayer and reasoned thought. Anyone who tells you differently is not on the side of the Angels.

As Ellen White wrote in the quotation at the top of the sidebar of this weblog. It bears repeating:

  • The greatest want of the world is the want of men - men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole; men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall. - Ellen White
It is, admittedly, a dangerous world for such men. They inevitably find themselves standing against the tide of group opinion, against men in positions of power and against those who, having no scruples and a deep thirst for power, would do them harm should they oppose their will.

You must not submit ourselves to any group, no matter how noble their cause appears to be if it conflicts with the plain Word of God and your own conscience. I don't care if the person who tells you so is standing in the pulpit of your church or writing emails to you from the church conference office. You are called to stand in the breach and do what is right. Others may have differing opinions. That is their right. They have the same free will that you do.

We are called to do right, to treat others the way we would want to be treated, to keep the commandments and to bear the testimony of Christ to all the wide world. We are NEVER told by Christ to seize power and wield it for the good of the collective or the church. The Army of Christ is an army of individuals who share a purpose, not a homogeneous mass to be shoved around by ranked authorities like pawns on a chessboard. THAT is where we differ from those who call themselves "progressive". That is where we draw the line and go no further....until Christ shall come.

Tom King © 2015

* Note: The apostles, all save John were killed by "government" authorities as was Christ Himself.


  1. If you want to quote Ayn Rand, you should do it in the context of the first demon's message: http://everythingimportant.org

  2. Managed to get a plug in there. Ah well. I'm not saying Rand was right. She wasn't. While capitalism may be an effective way to manage an economy in a sinful world, there is a critical place for altruism (something Rand found repugnant) in a world striving to be sinless. I think if you ever stumbled upon a true Christian civilization, both radical liberals and reactionary conservatives would be uncomfortable. Such a civilization would likely look like communism, but operate like free market capitalism. In the case of the pure Golden Rule/Ten Commandments based Christian society it is the people that are perfected and expanded, not the laws. The laws are simple and obeyed, not at the point of the sword, but by the changing of hearts.