Is Socialism Christian?

Is Socialism Christian?

A letter to a young Christian

In your letter you asked if socialism is Christian.  By asking this question, I am assuming you are asking whether or not it is compatible with Christianity.  Before answering the question, we might need to ask another question.  Does it work?  Socialism, like so many other theoretical systems of man, looks good on paper, but in real life, it doesn’t seem to work very well.  History seems to verify that socialism is flawed and not a workable system.  In fact, it has never worked anywhere in the world.  It promises equality and plenty for all but seems to make everyone equally poor, except the top two percent.  Of course, all those who endorse or promote it imagine themselves as being a part of the two percent.

Not only has socialism failed in other countries, it has failed here in America as well.  The first two settlements in this country attempted a pure communistic type community.  These communities had common storehouses and no currency.  In other words, they had no money.  Everyone could take from the storehouse what they needed.  I believe these communities included Jamestown and Plymouth.  Now keep in mind that these were deeply devoted Christians who loved one another.  In a short time the storehouses were empty and the communities were near starvation.  The leadership was forced to change to a purely capitalistic system.  “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.”  In a short time the community was thriving and people were back working.  Even those who were sickly and weak miraculously got better and went to work.  There is something about the grim reaper of starvation that seems to motivate people to work.

For socialism to work, massive power must be given to the state in order for the state to be able to manipulate and control the masses.  The state must have enough power to change human nature and do away with sloth and greed.  The problem with this is that the state can never have enough power to change human nature for human nature cannot be changed.  The people who believe that it can are materialists who believe that humanity has no nature, which contradicts our faith and is rejected by science. However, if you do believe that the state can, with enough power, change human nature, you then have a problem with who will control the state.  Once the state has been given this massive power it will soon become demonic as it begins to plan and control the lives of every individual.  No group of men should ever have this kind of power.  Remember that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Here is where we see the wisdom of the founding fathers of our nation.  They knew for men to be free there must be limits placed on the size and power of government, lest government exalts itself to the place of God.  We should be thankful to our founding fathers who instilled in our form of government limitations on the power of government.

It is a well-kept secret that the founding fathers knew all about socialism and communalism.  Benjamin Franklin ran into it in France and was less than impressed.  He saw the theories of socialism as the source of the bloody French Revolution and the chaos that followed.  Samuel Adams said of socialism:  “The utopian schemes of leveling (redistribution of the wealth) and a community of goods (central ownership of all the means of production and distribution) are as visionary and impracticable as those which ivest all property in the Crown.  (These ideas) are arbitrary, despotic, and in our government, unconstitutional.”

The reasons for socialism failing are many.  One of the greatest, I believe, is the fact that it is based on a false view of human nature.  It assumes and arrogates that man is basically good and born totally neutral in his nature toward good and evil.  In other words, he is born into the world as a blank slate on which his environment writes the script of his life.  This theory sets in motion a number of dangerous concepts.  One is that through centralized planning the government can manipulate the very nature of man.  The government can remake man to be unselfishly seeking what is the best for the community.  They believe that government can undo all the faulty programming put into an individual by the institutions of a capitalistic system.  If the institutions cannot be reformed or captured by the government they must be destroyed.  This is why socialistic and communistic governments are never friendly toward Christianity or any religion.  They see religion as a major hindrance to their central planning and manipulation.

Moreover, this centralized planning and its corresponding manipulation raises some serious questions.  Who will do the planning and who will choose the agenda?  Who will determine what constitutes the good?  This view of man as a blank slate is also in conflict with the Christian faith which teaches that man basically has the propensity to do evil.  Some refer to this propensity toward evil as original sin.  However, you do not need the Bible to tell you that men are prone to evil; just read a newspaper.  It is one of those self-evident truths that the founders spoke about.

Now, the greatest danger with this false worldview of man and his nature is that there is enough truth in it to make it believable.  The truth is that man is both good and evil.  In this, man is a unique creature who has a dual nature.  He stands uniquely between heaven and earth.  He has a will both to do good and evil.  In other words, every man has a shadow.  Therefore, our faith teaches that man needs God to strengthen his desire to do good and grace to keep him from doing evil.  Left to himself, he will tend to gravitate toward the evil.  It is also true that many men and maybe even the majority can be manipulated by controlling their environment, but there are always the exceptions, and we all like to think that we are the exception.  These exceptions are what demonstrate that the humanistic view of man’s nature is false.

Now, if we compare socialism and Christianity, we will see a tremendous contrast.  First, the church never was constituted by Jesus to force people to pay taxes or give to their neighbor.  It is not an institutional Robin Hood.  In the same vein, Jesus never took away from the rich to give to the poor.  In fact, Jesus never commanded His disciples to give to the poor.  He simply assumed that they would out of their love for their brothers.  He did command them to love one another.  He knew that out of love would come a freewill offering from their hearts.  He had no need to level taxes or ties on them.  “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Cor. 9:6-8).

The Bible or our faith should not be used to justify any kind of collectivism which invariably will take economic freedom away from the individual and lead into totalitarianism of the worst kind.  Socialism seems to be an attempt by secular man to control his own greed and his love for money.  In this, those who endorse socialism fail to realize that money is a spiritual power that cannot be defined or defeated by any earthly systems.  Jesus spoke of it as a spiritual power, as an idol that rules in the hearts of men.  Only God can destroy the love of money in the hearts of men by replacing it with love for God and their brothers.

I have a friend who is a socialist and believes that the government should have a lot of programs to help the poor.  However, he believes that paying taxes is his giving.  He very seldom gives money away personally and on a spiritual level that is the only way to defeat its power.  Even in giving your money away, such giving should be done with the upmost caution and wisdom.  It should be done in humility and not for the purpose of seeking the praises of men.  The Lord said, “Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”  Giving in secret will strengthen your heart with grace.

You also need to remember that giving money to people can often hurt them and actually create resentment.  Money is a mediator.  Do you remember the song that says “money talks”?  Money does talk; it tells you who the boss is and it mediates between the classes.  In a recent survey I read, the largest group of people that dislike the government was those who received the most benefits from the government.  Money does not bind people together; it separates people.  If you ever want to get rid of a friend, just loan him some money.  You will immediately see a change in your relationship because you are no longer his equal; you have become his benefactor.

Socialism will never serve God’s purpose in the world nor any other system of man; this includes capitalism, though at the present time capitalism seems to be the lesser of two evils.  When you take money away from one group to give it to another, it has nothing to do with righteousness or goodness in a Christian world view.  Socialists refer to their distribution of money as social justice.  In some cultures it might be called stealing.  The rich and powerful in every society including socialistic ones, give money to the poor for two reasons:  To keep the poor in their places and for their own glory and praise.  As Jesus said, “They love the praises of men.”  Look at what the presidential candidates gave to the poor a year before the election:  almost nothing.  Don’t think for a minute that any government really cares for the poor.  The poor are used as pawns in their political chess game.

Only in Christ is found the true equality of the rich and the poor.  For in Christ there are no rich and poor, professionals and nonprofessionals, educated and uneducated; for all are one in Christ.  In Christ the rich and the poor are blind to each other’s social standing.  “The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.  But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.  For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom fall and its beauty is destroyed.  In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business” (James 1:9-11).

Mankind has had many utopian schemes to bring heaven down to earth.  The Tower of Babel was one such scheme, and we see how it ended in misery and chaos.  Remember what the Bible said, “It is not in man that walks to direct his steps.”  In the story of the fall of man in the book of Genesis, it is recorded that when God ejected the man from the garden, he set two angels with flaming swords at the gate to make sure that mankind would never enter by his own power.  The pied pipers of progress have been trying to storm those gates since the dawn of time.  Some of them may have good intentions, but they have caused great misery and chaos in the world.  Their good intentions gave rise to communism which has killed over 100,000,000 people in the name of equality.  It has also created a welfare class that is dependent on the ruling class for its bread and circuses.  In doing this, it has stripped these people of their humanity and the dignity that comes from self-sufficiency.  These people may think they are doing good, but the devil has a way of using the misguided good to do evil.

Therefore, I encourage you to be wise in your search for social justice and in the ways that you help your fellow man.  Make sure that all you do encourages and builds up all those whom you are trying to help.  Remember the words of President Lincoln: “If you give a man a loaf of bread you feed him for a day.  If you teach him to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”  Above all, remember to point people to Jesus Christ and the one and only true heaven.

Gratefully redeemed,

Lyle Duell





The End of The Law

It is Finished

 After this Jesus, knowing that all things are now finished, that the scripture might be accomplished, saith, I thirst.  There was set there a vessel full of vinegar: so they put a sponge full of the vinegar upon hyssop, and brought it to his mouth.  When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up his spirit. (John 19:28-30) ASV

Not long ago I was in a discussion with a person that talked so much about the finished work of Christ on the cross, that I began to think this man was obsessed with the word “finished”.  Of course Jesus did say, just before dying, while hanging on the cross, “It is finished…”.  But the question is what did he mean by this expression?  Did he simply mean that his life on earth was finished or should we look for something deeper?  Those that believe in the forensic view of the atonement, with few exceptions, believe that Jesus was making reference to the atonement and his death on the cross was the fulfillment of the atonement.  However, there is a problem with this view.  The problem is that in order for the atonement to be fulfilled, the blood of the sacrifice had to be offered up to God.  Now the writer of the Book of Hebrews seemed to indicate that the blood of Christ was offered up to God in heaven after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus to the Father (Heb 9:11,12).

This would indicate that the atonement was not complete until Jesus had risen from the dead and ascended to the Father where he offered the sacrifice of his blood for the sins of the world. This would also create some problems in interpreting “It is finished” as a reference to the atonement. If the atonement was accomplished at the cross, the resurrection would be reduced to nothing more than evidence that Jesus is the Christ. This would seems to give it less importance to it than a number of clear statements in Scripture. (Rom 4:25, 2Cor 5:15, 1Cor 15:17).

I think a far better interpretation of “It is finished” is that the death of Christ fulfilled the Old Testament or covenant scriptures and the expression “It is finished” was used by Jesus in reference to the fulfillment and end of the law of old covenant.  John also uses this fulfillment of the scripture as a proof that Jesus was the Christ. This seem to be indicate, by the context starting with verse 28, of chapter  19 of John, where the same Greek word is used for finished as used in the expression, “finished”, in verse v30.

To expand on this interpretation you could say that at the death of Christ the Old Testament scriptures were fulfilled in two ways. The first being that everything they predicted was fulfilled about the death of the Christ including the small detail of him being given vinegar to drink.  The second is, they were fulfilled in the since they had served their purpose to bring the Jews to faith in Christ (Gal 3:24,25).  The apostle Paul said, “that Christ is the end of the Law to those that believe” (Rom 10:4).  Christ told the disciples that the Law would be enforced until everything would be fulfilled.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished (Matt 5: 17,18).

Please take note that the word until specifies a time period in which the Law of Moses would remain.  The condition for its repeal was that it be fulfilled.  Jesus said it was fulfilled and therefore, finished on the cross at his death. The writer of Hebrews said a New Testament or covenant is ratified by the death of the one making it.  In the death of Christ, God set aside the old and established a new (Heb 9:11-22, 10:9).

When Christ died on the cross the Law died with him and every believer who has died with Christ also died to the Law with him (Rom 7:1-6, Eph 2:14-18).  Christians now lives by the new law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus and are no longer in any fashion under the old Law for they died with Christ to it. “It is finished”.


Why Does Our Culture Resemble a Loony Bin?

Why Does Our Culture Resemble a Loony Bin?


“For as bats’ eyes are to daylight so is our intellectual eye to those truths which are, in their own nature, the Most obvious of all.” Aristotle

The above question is not hard to answer. If you came across a house that was built in such a way that nothing worked right and it was put together in an insane way, you would simply conclude it was put together by a madman who did not know what he was doing. However, what would happen if you had taken a course at the university prior to seeing the house and your professor had told you the builder of the house was creative and a genius? Would that affect your opinion of the house? What if everyone you know at school told you the same thing?  Might you not begin to believe that you were the lunatic?

Let me share a personal example. When I was younger, I believed that to be thought well of in intellectual circles, I should read about and have a working knowledge of Plato. Well, I got a copy of some of his works and began to read. In a short time, I decided that the man was somewhat of a sophist, and I was wasting a lot time panning for gold in a creek that had very little gold. However, because of the so-called knowers, I never aired my views, at least not around them. Then not long ago I was reading the letters of Jefferson and Adams and to my great joy found that they shared the same opinion of Plato. I was sane; the rest of the world was crazy. The emperor was naked.

Based on my experience, I would make the bold statement that our culture is crazy because we humans have a tendency to believe crazy things promoted by crazy men, who we call intellectuals.  We continue to do this, even though  history bears out that these intellectuals are more often wrong than right.[1]

Why are the intellectual and highly educated so often wrong[2]? One reason is that they tend to create fantasy worlds in their minds, which do not exist, worlds which are abstract with abstract people living in them[3]. It is in these abstract worlds that intellectuals create their systems of thoughts, which they then impose on the real world. It is little wonder why they so often fail e.g. Karl Marx and his system of communism.

After creating their systems the intellectuals begin to network, promoting themselves and their ideas somewhat like politicians or salesmen do in order to sell their ideas. The intellectual’s chief platforms are  universities and colleges where other lesser intellectuals eat up their teaching like children eating candy.  In most case their message is one of salvation from the human condition.

Furthermore, many intellectuals are easily deceived because they have no frame of reference other than themselves and the spirit of the age. Their ego blocks the awareness of the limits of their cultural understanding and the views of others who are their equals[4]. This is also true of many of their disciples, who without reservation accept their teachings.   In this, they are deceived by the master and their own egos into believing that his truth is the Truth. A great example of this is the large number of highly educated people, who around the turn of the 20th century, fell headlong under the spell of Karl Marx. Two examples of this are Charles Baldwin, the founder of ACLU, and John Dewey, the father of the American educational system. Both of these intellectuals failed to discern the problems with Communism. They only turned from it after Stalin revealed his true colors. Their level of discernment was no better than the common man’s, and yet we hold them up as two of our greatest intellectuals.

The intellectuals who have helped shape Western culture are Freud, Darwin, and Marx. All were reductionist who reduced the understanding of history and existence to  sexuality, economics, and evolution. In other words, they reduced everything to their system. All these men looked at the whole of existence through a single lens of their system or ideology, which narrowed their worldview. Many of their ideas have reaped havoc in Western culture and have brought it to the edge of the abyss. However, they are continuing to influence the so-called enlightened in our universities, and we have foolishly turned our children over to them. Our universities seem to be a nesting ground for men whose chief end is to debunk every virtue in our culture. Their favorite targets are morality, religion, and faith, all of which are needed to have a healthy culture. Nevertheless, we keep on listening to them and even worst; we keep on trying to implement their theories. Then we wonder why our world is so crazy. If we are looking for an answer, we might begin at our universities, which continue to give these intellectuals a platform to poison the minds of our young people[5].

[1] “Intellectuals” by Paul Johnson.

[2] My critique of intellectuals is not a putdown of education or knowledge. It is a critique of a certain kind of knower- the kind who goes beyond or even denies the cosmic order of common sense.

[3] Thomas Sowell expands on this in his book “Intellectuals and Society”.

[4] Paul Johnson gives a good critique of some Western intellectuals in his book, Intellectuals.

[5]  All this is done under the banner of academic freedom, which of course is a part of the rhetoric of the intellectuals.  They want to sell their ideas and influence the world yet have no accountability.

Coming up Against Death

Coming up Against Death

Now long ago I quoted C.S. Lewis as once saying, “In God you come up against something, which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that and therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison, you do not know God at all.” As I thought more about this statement, I began to wonder why more people do not have this experience of coming up against God. Then it dawned on me that there was at least one prerequisite that a person would have to meet before they experience coming up against God.

That prerequisite of coming against God is for one to come up against his own death, which is the one thing the majority of man cannot face. To face it, is to face the abyss of meaningless and hopelessness. To avoid this encounter with death, men busy themselves with work and intellectual pursuits. Some of the more powerful ones actually spend a large part of their lives trying to overcome or delay death by diet, exercise, and medical science. All this creates the illusion that they are in control.  Others hide from the shadow of death in some cause which enables them to find meaning and purpose, i.e., religion. In all this, they are attempting to avoid the question of whether or not, if your life ends in meaninglessness, can it have any meaning in the presence.

This brings us to ask, is it more intelligent and courageous to face death without faith, or is it just intellectual foolishness? We might rearrange the question. Is it more intelligent to live an existence of hope and meaning or one of meaninglessness and denial? If you are an atheist, you probably are saying, wait a minute. It is the believer who denies death. At least that is what you have been taught, but is that true? The truth is that death is denied by all men, which means that it is man’s nature to deny it. You are a probably at this point denying your denial. However, be honest about how often you actually consciously think about your own death, and when you do, how long do you dwell on it? You say that is morbid. No, it is reality and no matter how much you try to deny your awareness of it, death forces its way in. Even at the party it whispers that it all must end. So we push its awareness to the recesses of our minds, i.e., the subconscious. Some repress the thought of death to the point that they think and talk as though we were immortal. For anyone to believe that he does not practice this denial is simply nonsense and is nothing more than denial itself.

If death is natural, why does mankind deny it? As a Christian, I do not believe that death is completely natural. Christians believe that God created man for life, not death. So for the Christian, it is not surprising that man fears death to the point of denying it. However, the Christian believes that the correct way to deal with death is through faith in God. In fact, a true acceptance of death will lead one to faith. That is why for many men, the journey toward God begins with the coming up against death. After that they must come up against the true God. You must face your mortality before you can face God. 

The problem with all of this is that it takes courage to face life, death, and God. However, where does the courage come from and how can we obtain it? I personally believe that courage comes from faith, a faith that life is greater than death. This kind of faith does not come from believing in the finite, for the finite is subject to death, and therefore, can only impart a delusion of courage based upon a falsehood that the finite can overcome death. All that is finite is under the power of death. Death can only be overcome by that which stands above the finite; that is, the infinite. How do you obtain that faith in the infinite? It is easy once you face the fact that you are finite and that without the infinite, the finite is meaningless and without hope. As soon as you reach this place, you have come up against death and after that, and only then, are you able to come up against the true God. If you have come up against death and want to know more about the next step in finding God, please contact me.


Coming Up Against God