“Jesus Was a Socialist!”
by Bill Lockwood
Ohio governor and Republican contender for the office of president, John Kasich, recently defended the expansion of the socialistic Medicaid system in his home state. Like the ill-informed who go around chanting “Jesus was a Socialist!” Kasich offered to purchase a copy of the Bible for those principled Americans who object to the strong arm of the government forcing redistribution on the populace. “Look at Medicaid expansion,” Kasich responded. “Do you know how many people are yelling at me? I go out to events where people yell at me. You know what I tell ’em? … I say, there’s a book. It’s got a new part and an old part; they put it together, it’s a remarkable book. If you don’t have one, I’ll buy you one. It talks about how we treat the poor. Sometimes you just have to lead.”
Ironic, isn’t it? Jeb Bush plugs for gargantuan unconstitutional government takeover of education via Common Core yet criticizes Donald Trump for “not being a true conservative” and John Kasich pretends that the philosophy of Karl Marx somehow lines up with Jesus. These are “Republican” contenders? Times have changed and “conservative” politicians willfully have cast principles of freedom behind their backs.
Why is Socialism Anti-Biblical?
First, socialism involves the nature of government. Socialism is far more than just an economic system. It is a world view which includes a particular concept of human nature, morality, and of the function of government. For example, from a socialist journal Robert Daniels wrote, “Accordingly, I take as my general working definition of socialism, ‘any theory or practice of social control over economic activity.’” Is this what Jesus Christ advocated? A strong-armed government that forcibly redistributes the wealth? The giving involved in the New Testament by Christians is always free-will contributions.
New Testament giving is voluntary. Those who know the difference between voluntary “giving” and a Robin Hood who steals from the “rich” and “gives” to the poor, know the distinction between Christianity and socialism. Would that the Jim Wallis’ of the world, who remind us that the Bible has over 2,000 passages admonishing God-fearers to “give to the poor,” would learn to acknowledge the difference between freewill GIVING and government FORCE. John Kasich needs to spend more time reading the Bibles he wishes to distribute instead of lecturing about the glories of socialism.
Some ask about the Old Testament gleaning laws. Religious writer Gary DeMar correctly points out that “The Old Testament had gleaning laws (Lev. 19:9-10; 23:22). These were not government programs. The poor had to do the gleaning (Ruth 2:2-3). When Jesus and His disciples were gleaning, the Pharisees accused them of working on the Sabbath (Mark 2:23). Jesus had many opportunities to call on the Roman Empire and the civil officials in Israel to develop a confiscatory Welfare State. He didn’t.”
Second, all socialistic theories misunderstand the nature of man. How so? All socialism either states or implies that the nature of man is shaped by the economic system. Therefore, if they change the system from private ownership to public, or state ownership, the nature of man will be changed. For example, Socialist Sweden thought that crime, alcoholism, and the like would gradually be cured as socialism progressed in Sweden. How wrong they were! As the Bible demonstrates, the nature of man is involves a spirit that has freedom of choice which can be tempted by sin.
Sadly, many Republicans at this point maintain no principled difference between Barack Obama’s promise to Joe the Plumber to “take from the wealthy” and “give to those who are behind” and John Kasich’s expansion of the welfare state. Both are equally wrong. Neither reflects the teaching of Jesus Christ.