Sunday, December 16, 2018

You're Wrong - Marxist Socialism Is Not a Viable Model for Church Governance.

A recent piece in Adventist Today
by Stephen Ferguson | 16 December 2018 posits that
Marxism's governance model has a lot to offer the church.
Ferguson admits that "
...the world is fundamentally corrupt and human nature is a long way from ideal, which is why Marxism has consistently failed from Russia, to North Korea to Venezuela." Yet throughout, he flirts with the idea that maybe the church should embrace a little Marxism, as though the church is immune from the problems of a fundamentally corrupt human nature somehow. It is not.

A link to this article was posted on Facebook and Adventist Today seems invested in defending its premise. No matter what anyone says, in the comments section, if they disagree with the author of this piece on Facebook, they are going to get Adventist Today saying "Please read the article before commenting."

I did read it and once again they pull some nonsense out about how Karl Marx's philosophy is like Jesus'. This guy's final point is that Jesus owned no property in this life. Balderdash! He owned the entire planet and he knew it and he went down fighting for a planet full of real estate and billions of people who were destined to become His. No one owning property was one of Marx's brilliant ideas and all it's every led to is starving millions.

As to Marxism being some kind of preferred style of governance for the church, I don't see it. Marx and Engels wanted to do away with religion altogether and create a human driven Utopia. There is no such thing. Man is corrupt. There is one system that will work eternally and one only. Good people harvested from the hellish challenges we face here on Earth (or spiritual bootcamp as I like to think of it),
serving their God who is Himself, incorruptible. No hierarchy of authority. Just God and his people - one layer of authority. That's it..

The church on Earth will inevitably go the way of the genocidal socialist nations of the 20th century if it adopts a communist collectivist model of governance. We can see it happening in the recent shift of power to the GC administration. At Marxism's core is that somehow if we create a centrally planned and controlled collective, men through their own efforts can create some kind of Earthly utopia.

The truth is it won't. Human beings can't do that. We can be washed clean and transplanted to a place where the only ruler we need is God and where we are free indeed as God promised. There, we won't need to worry about the rich for we will all be rich. Nobody will have to send out jackbooted troops to force us to do right. We will do right because it is right.

Capitalism has a lot wrong with it, but it's one of the only systems on Earth where a good man can make himself successful and even wealthy by providing his fellow humans with something they need or want. He doesn't have to steal it from someone else as Karl Marx claims. He merely works hard and provides something other people want.  There have been communal, collectivist Christian societies, but if you notice something about groups like The Shakers, and other communistic religious societies, they tend to die out. Those who work hard wind up carrying others who have no interest in hard work. In the early American colonies there were groups that experimented with commune living. They disappeared, scattered or died off. Even early Christians did something similar. But that wasn't a permanent thing. It was designed to meet a crisis. Once the Christians scattered away from their persecuters, they went free market capitalist at once.

Are there corrupt capitalists? You bet, but even those guys produce things like affordable goods, four dollar medications, convenient services and jobs to high school dropouts working on their GED's. There are far more corrupt Marxists too and they do far more damage these days. Marxist socialist models always put power in the hands of a few self-proclaimed smart people and therin lies the problem.

No, I don't believe absolute power corrupts absolutely. What power does is attract the corruptible who inevitably seize the reins of control over men and women so that instead of a free society of people doing good things because they want to, it all soon devolves into something like the Stanford Experiment where pretend guards became nearly as brutal as Nazi concentration camp guards. Collectivism in all its form will not work upon the Earth. We are not in any condition to make it work and as Ronald Reagan put it, "Socialism only works in heaven where they don't need it and in hell where they've already got it."

Free Market capitalism with all its flaws in both church and state is still the most effective governance strategy in nations packed to their borders with sinners. I would be very afraid to enlist Marxism as a model for church governance. If it ain't broke, should we really be fixing it. The SDA church is growing faster than anybody. Yes we are losing members, but that's always happening in any church. The point is, we're out there busily spreading the gospel to every kindred, tongue and people and some of us are trying to round up all the sheep and pen them up in some imaginary Christian worker's paradise. Then like the Roman Church, The Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Venezuela, Cambodia too many others to list here, the leaders of "paradise on Earth" discover they are not gods and not capable of managing the vast proletariat from Washington DC (or Silver Springs for that matter). When it all goes South, then leaders inevitably start purging anyone with the temerity to point out that the system ain't workin'.

Marxisizing the church won't do anything but inhibit the church from doing the work we've been told to do. Marx has nothing good to say for the church. His theories depend on people who do not exist and a severely flawed theory that you can make people good through external force. You can't make people be good through governance systems. The best you can do in this nasty old world is protect the sheep from wolves, protect their rights and freedoms and let them take care of themselves as best they can. Plenty of them will do the decent thing if one of their number gets in trouble. It's what good sheep do and it makes them better sheep because they do it of their own free will and not because some system dictates it.

But Marxism is such a neat idea that our intellectual betters always drift back to it, fancying themselves as just the sort of "dear leaders" to lead the children of God to the promised land. They forget that not even Moses could manage that task. It was left to God to do it His own way.

Tom King - 
© 2018

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