“‘Christian Socialism’: the Oxymoron Which Became a Movement.”

This is the Forward to the PDF

The title of this series of articles ought to have been  “‘Christian Socialism’: the Oxymoron Which Became a Movement.”

Our contemporaries refer to an “oxymoron” as the wedding together of
two evident opposites into an obvious contradiction. That so many
contemporary Christians do not yet see the evident contradiction in the
term “Christian Socialism” and the unrighteousness involved in promoting
it speaks volumes about their biblical illiteracy in the area of economics.

An onlooking world clearly understands and admires a sacrificial
Christian who practices “agape,” the classic Greek term for the highest
form of love, takes on the burdens of another, and even sacrifices himself
mightily in helping or “redeeming” the unfortunate around him. The
onlookers clearly recognize that something extraordinary is going on here,
something not springing out of our normal human nature. Some, in fact,
would not only admire such a one but also wish that they had the
sacrificial character to do likewise. Few would stand in condemnation,
and a few would thereby see the “picture” of the personal redemption
offered in Christ Jesus as He personally put His very life on the line for
those whom He would redeem. Thus biblical charity carries a perfect
“testimony” with it and allows the practitioner thereof to be a “living
epistle read by all men.”

Not so “Christian Socialism.” Much of the world also understands
what happens when someone pulls the voting lever and votes to take away
(as in confiscate) the property of others in order to have a government
carry out the so-called “charity” which he should personally be
undertaking. Many observers would suspect the presence of what they
would consider to be an “envy mentality” whereby those so voting expect
to “get something out of it” (in the vernacular of our times). Those
looking on would not give biblical Christians, those ignorantly involved
in this type of “legalized larceny,” the benefit of the doubt and realize that
this was merely a case of economic ignorance in the hearts of otherwise
principled Christians. A good “testimony” is thereby lost.

At best, an observant businessman, one whose work it was to produce
and distribute wealth, would consign such a “Christian Socialist” to the
category of “fool” at best and to the category of “thief” at worst. He
would as readily condemn the cursedness in taking as he would credit a
blessedness in giving, In this economic realm of charity — or the private,
charitable redistribution of wealth — it is thus important for biblical
Christians to concentrate as thoroughly upon their means as upon their
motives. Any confusion in our ethic or our method will also be read by
men as a living epistle of the veracity of our faith.

The biblical or “evangelical” Christian, moved by the Holy Spirit unto
the vital work of evangelism (or better yet, a comprehensive discipling of
those around him), is heavily dependent upon the credibility of his
“testimony.” That is basic. Thus it is most unfortunate that zealous,
well-meaning Christians end up embracing and witlessly advocating
economic doctrines which are not only biblically unsound but which also
“turn off” those who do understand the production and distribution of
wealth, the essence of economics. Thus, as we said, successful and
properly “ambitious” business people often dismiss Christians as ignorant
and irrelevant “busybodies” whose clear-cut economic ignorance
disqualifies them as valid commentators on all of the other issues of life
as well. Why would such a friend not reason to himself as follows: “If
my zealous friend can be so wrong in promoting an economic system
(socialism) which provides nothing but shortages and squabbling
everywhere that it is used, why should I believe that the ‘gospel,’ which
he is constantly praising, ‘works’ anywhere else? It is probably the
product of his imagination.” ... and so it goes.

It is a characteristic of those comprehensive, “culture cleansing”
revivals known as “reformations” that Christians are moved to jettison or
decisively dispose of previously “cherished” or closely held untruths
which had been part of the preceding apostate age. That “socialism” in
its many forms and guises (like the “current economic recovery program”
of the Clinton Administration) is the preferred economic system of the
humanists will become clear as you read the upcoming articles. Certainly
today’s biblical Christians, desirous of seeing our world transformed
according to the biblical model, know that an entrenched humanism, in
which man’s will (as opposed to God’s Law), is to rule, is the roadblock
to be removed.

All logic then dictates that we “cut the syncretistic bond” (the joining
of the holy and unholy) between biblical charity, everywhere commanded
in the scriptures, and the economic immorality known as socialism.
However, a correct diagnosis is normally the key to an effective cure.
Thus it is the author’s prayer that you will carefully and prayerfully
contemplate the forthcoming propositions in your search for truth and then
alter your actions and approach where indicated.

John E. Selck
March, 1993

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