Are Socialists Followers of Christ?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, March 29, 2017 0 comments

by David Odegard

In Matthew 25:14-30 we read a parable of Jesus which some have entitled, “The Parable of the Bags of Gold,” and it seems to be one of the parables that liberals in America hate. Even liberals who identify as Christians hate this parable; either that or they reinterpret it so as to destroy its value—same thing.

The parable opens thusly:

“Again, it [the kingdom of heaven] will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.”

Two of these servants immediately “put the money to work.” This is capitalism. One man has a lot of capital (cash, material wealth, gold, financial instruments, etc.). He entrusts it to others in order that they can make it grow. This is the process of capital investment. One person who has a lot of money may decide to risk some of it in order to gain even more. The rich man allocated his money as he saw fit, voluntarily. It was his to do as he pleased and he chose to invest it with three servants for a profit.

Socialists and Marxists at this point would object and say that the bags of gold should belong to everyone. But not everyone has productive capability. Gold that belongs to everybody never gets amassed; it only gets spent.

Moreover, to socialize the means of production is to take them by coercion from a productive person and redistribute them. This is to deprive someone of their earnings and give them to someone who didn’t earn them. Talk about greed! Socialism deprives productive persons the reward of honest labor. “Everyone deserves a steak in a wealthy country,” you may say. But only a few people are feeding cattle at 2am in the dead of winter—they are the ones who deserve steak; if you want some, you have to buy it. If you just take some of his cattle, you’re a thief.

The reason that capital exists is because someone under-consumed so that she would be able to have something to invest. Then a large bully comes along as says that it isn’t fair for her to have more than another person; he says this to justify stealing the capital, some of which he redistributes among his “clients,” and some of which he keeps. This is the essence of socialism. Jesus never advocated it.

Returning to the parable, the man returns from his long journey and calls each servant to account for his investment. The first two doubled the master’s investment. He says, “Well done, enter into all of my happiness.”

But to the unproductive servant:

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

Not quite the Che Guevara of the New Testament, is he? There is a reason this is important for today. It seems that many people today want to claim that Jesus was a socialist and that all of His people should be too. They assert that it is the “Christian” thing to do and if we do not allow the government to redistribute our wealth, we are greedy, immoral, and anti-Christ.

This parable was told to Jesus’ followers so that they would know what His expectations of them were. He was the man going on a long journey, too. He was entrusting the church and His ongoing ministry to His disciples; this is the treasure. He will return, we are promised in so many places of the New Testament (Titus 2:13 is but one example). And when Jesus returns He will demand an accounting from every Christian as to how they spent their lives. “So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God” (Romans 14:12). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Those who are wicked, lazy, or fearful—that is, those who do not “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8), will be cut off just like the final servant in this parable. John the baptizer said in Matthew 3:10: “The ax lies ready at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Jesus Christ said, “And throw that worthless servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” This, it seems, is how many people will find out that God means what He says in the word.

Thought you should know.

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