- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Socianity and the Bible

Posted by: Stuart Gort ( USA ) on November 21, 1999 at 19:24:14:

In Reply to: Christianity the Socialist Remix posted by Lark on November 18, 1999 at 10:21:51:

I thoroughly read your post and the supplied references and intend to reply to every salient point line by line if needs be, Lark. But I must ask you to answer a question first. Do you intend, by nature of the fact that you justify your idealism biblically, to advocate an all encompassing, universal economic plan or do you intend instead to effect change in one person at a time by teaching Christ? Would you hold an unbeliever accountable to your interpretative spin of Christ's words by forcing submission to the system you advocate?

This is what it boils down to, Lark; The central message of the Bible has nothing to do with a world economic/political system. The Jews of Christ's day failed to identify the Messiah because that is exactly what they expected - Messiah as a world conquerer. Their view of Messiah was formed by using those scriptures that did speak of a conquering Messiah (second coming) but they ignored those that spoke of a suffering servant (first coming). Helping the poor and others in need is a biblical mandate to be sure but nowhere, and I mean absolutely nowhere, are you going find the scriptural mandate to justify the implementation of such acts that characterized the early church (living under great persecution) as a model for world social order. The suggestion that collectivism as practiced by the early church should be implemented on a mass scale (presumably including vast numbers of unbelievers) is patently ridiculous and it underscores the fact that your idealism was established long before you seriously perused your Bible.

Ponder the central biblical message contained in Matthew 26: 6-13. A woman had annointed Christ with very expensive oil. The disciples complained that they could have sold it to the poor. Christ said, "Don't bother the woman for she did good to Me. The poor you have with you always but you do not always have Me. She was preparing Me for My burial. Wherever the Gospel is preached in this world this woman will be spoken of also because of what she did."

I'm fulfilling Christ's prophecy right now, Lark. Christ placed His death and resurrection above all other concerns and in His sacrafice is our freedom from all manner of oppression. That woman placed Christ's mission to be our sin sacrafice above all else too.

That is the central message of the Bible - your passionate post notwithstanding.

"For I am determined to know nothing among you but Christ, and Him crucified" 1 Cor 2:2.

I argue capitalism above collectivism in a purely secular arena - partially because McSpot gets a little squeamish around the subject of absolute truth. I'd be inclined to offer quite a bit more by way of scriptural rebuttal but I fear they might get a little testy. I also think I had quite a few salient points to make on this subject in my post to Gideon which you dismissed with a banal comment. Yet the facts of the matter remain.

1. There is no New Testament judgement of interest, usury, or lending. Rather, there is quite a load of evidence to suggest that is was a common and acceptable practice of that day. Many of Christ's parables mention the practice with no criticism of the practice.

2. The Old Testament references are quite narrow in their judgements of the issue of usury and interest - focusing on the practice as it might exploit the poor. The only one scriptural reference (Deuteronomy 23:19) that speaks directly and generally against the practice follows with an allowance to charge foreigners interest.

For what it is worth, I do believe the U.S. credit industry is quite exploitive of the poor and I find it at odds with biblical teaching.

Stuart Gort

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