At the link above, I posted about Socialism as seen in the New Testament. I said I would be back to take a look at Capitalism from the point of the New Testament. Well, Ta-Da, I am back—only six weeks! 😀 The following is my opinion as a Christian. Discussion in the comments is encouraged. I would like feed back.
In Gen. 1:28 God tells man to subdue the earth and have dominion over it. The reasonable method for doing that is to give people rights to own property to produce for their benefit and for which they are accountable. And this was the custom during the Old Testament times. With that we have freedom to exchange or sell products. If you have it and I need it, or visa versa, we barter for our best bargain. Of course, God is opposed to “unjust measures” and other schemes by which one deals dishonestly. We will be accountable to him and to authorities he has appointed to keep our dealings honest.
People are equal in the sight of God for their value to him, and our Constitution declares such is true. However, people do not all have equality in terms of resources, ability, motivation, luck, etc to produce equally, giving rise to a wide range between “poor” and “rich” in earthly wealth and influence.
Therefore, the question “Should a Christian be a Capitalist?” Capitalism is the system that puts some limits on “bad” people when controlled by a “limited” government. It also allows “good” people to be supportive of good works and gives them the freedom to make decisions regarding what/whom they wish to support whether it be rescuing animals, fighting world hunger, local youth centers, Red Cross, or missions through one’s home church, for example.
(Okay, Oneta, you said you would look from the NT perspective—Get on with it!)
Pitch right into the biggie now! Acts 2:44-45 where the followers of Christ sold their goods and shared everything in common. Why do I feel that was not a “pattern” to suggest how Christians should live? 1. There is very little in the rest of the NT to indicate that was the way Christians were required to live. 2. Later Barnabas sold his property. I think he sold his property to free himself so he could join Paul for traveling and ministering the gospel, not because it was expected of him to do that. (4:36) 3. Chapter 5 tells the story of Ananias and Sapphira who sold property and gave it to the church. They were stricken dead because they lied. Peter plainly said they could do as they wished with the property, sell or not, give or not give, but they lied about what they did. They were not required to sell it.
Think about why these believers in Acts 2:44-45 sold their goods to share with others. This occurred after 5000 souls were added to the church one day, another day 3000 were added. These were people for “out of town” in fact many were from other countries. We know that because they said they understood many languages that were spoken on that day of Pentecost. So the core of believers in Jerusalem were taking care of them for a time, probably in order to answer questions and disciple them in their new found religion. So we can see that extra means were needed in the extraordinary situation. Also, the scripture does not say they sold everything they had. But anyway you look at it they were generous – as Christians today should be.
Tomorrow (hopefully) I will be back to see what Jesus, and other NT writers, said relating to this issue.