The Only Surefire Way to End Poverty
A couple of weeks ago, I posted my response to Bernie Sanders' speech at Liberty University. I pointed out that the God of the Bible is not a socialist, in spite of Senator Sanders' intimations to the contrary.
Boy, did I touch a nerve! For about a week, I fought off Sanderites on social media, most of whom insulted me in the most uncreative of ways (sticks and stones, folks). A few of them saw fit to judge me -- wait, I thought we weren't supposed to do that -- and inform me that I'm not a proper Christian. They questioned my faith because I don't agree with a non-Christian's co-opting of a couple of verses from the inspired Word of the God (that I've followed nearly my whole life) in order to justify wealth redistribution, punitive taxation and labyrinthine regulation.
One woman called me a Pharisee, patently revealing her ignorance of what exactly a Pharisee is. Here's a hint: it's not someone who refuses to read socialism into the Bible when it's not there. Another lady asked me why there was still poverty if churches and individuals "did such a good job." My answers were (1) they don't always do the job they should, and (2) those government programs aren't exactly runaway hits, either.
Others condescendingly told me I needed to reevaluate my faith because I'm not in favor of rendering more than what is Caesar's unto Bernie. I also heard from the militant atheists who informed me that I was wrong to consult the Almighty God in the first place.
But by and large, these Christian Sanderites threw scriptures at me in their attempts to justify socialism in Jesus' name. The passage of scripture that these folks threw at me the most was Acts 4:32-35:
32 All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. 33 The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. 34 There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them 35 and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.
It's a beautiful picture of God's people taking care of each others' needs. But to go for some clarity here, it was not socialism. These acts of sharing didn't happen by mandate from a government entity; there wasn't even a denomination or diocese telling the nascent community of believers what to do. These new Christians were taking care of their own, and their actions were willful, spontaneous and joyful -- three things that socialism is not.
As a staff member at Eastridge Community Church, we have been going through the Book of Acts together, looking at a chapter in depth every week. Last week, we talked about Acts 4, and we all noticed that the sharing took place under very specific circumstances. The early believers, who called themselves "followers of The Way," began to bear each others' burdens only after they had begun to seek the Holy Spirit more boldly.