Is Capitalism Aligned With The Bible by Kimberly A Stevens
Is Capitalism Aligned With The Bible
by Kimberly A. Stevens
Christians have varied beliefs as to which economic system is more aligned with Biblical studies. Some Christian people believe it is better to live in a society where we are free to do what we want with our hard earned money. Others believe that centralized control of our resources is the way to rule. Which economic status supports the biblical worldview? "Upon a moment's reflection, it should be very obvious that understanding worldview is immensely important to our personal, family, and community life. It also is of crucial significance to Christian life and faith and our service unto God as His people. We can also unequivocally say that all Christians need to have a deep Christian bible based worldview (Weestra 1:1)." Let's take a look at the two sides of Capitalism in the Biblical Worldview.
Isaiah 65:21-22 says, "21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy[a] the work of their hands (Bible Gateway 1).", which seems to encourage the Christian to build a home, work and be plentiful. "Ronald Nash outlines the distinctions between free market capitalism and socialism: “One dominant feature of capitalism is economic freedom, the right of people to exchange things voluntarily, free from force, fraud, and theft. Capitalism is more than this, of course, but its concern with a free exchange is obvious. Socialism, on the other hand, seeks to replace the freedom of the market with a group of central planners who exercise control over essential market functions (Christian Economics 1)”. The bible often tells us that when people who work hard, they deserve their pay and that they are rewarded well while lazy men are not. Also, It says Privately held property encourages a good work ethic and fruitfulness. The encouragement to Christians to be capitalists is quite widespread in the bible. It is thought that Christian business owners bring wealth and jobs to a community and create healthy competition. This side of the concept maintains that God wants us to work and to use wisdom in ownership of property and of all his creation. We are also held accountable to God for how we use the property that he allows us to own, and we are should exercise wisdom in our stewardship not only of property but also of God’s creation (Psalm 24:1). Capitalism also gives us the ability to help the poor and to contribute to Christian Charities, Christian Organizations and to be able to tithe to the Church. "Christian economic ethics affirm that the material well-being resulting from human creativity, investment, and work should be celebrated, not shunned (Edd 1)." Ron Nash additionally states, “One dominant feature of capitalism is economic freedom, the right of people to exchange things voluntarily, free from force, fraud, and theft. Capitalism is more than this, of course, but its concern with a free exchange is obvious. Socialism, on the other hand, seeks to replace the freedom of the market with a group of central planners who exercise control over essential market functions (Christian Economics).”
Now, on the other hand, we have some believers who think the bible leads us to be more socialist or Marxist and maintains that socialism or communism is a more useful form of economics. They believe that this system is a more fair way to share resources by centralized command or control. Then there are those who say, "The thousands of years of experiments with socialist economic systems have resulted in nothing but failure and tragedy—Fascism, Nazism, and Communism relied on the faulty ideas of socialism and Darwinian evolution. Their catastrophic failings are documented in Igor Shafarevich’s The Socialist Phenomenon,8 Ludwig Von Mises’ Socialism,9 and Joshua Muravchik’s Heaven On Earth: The Rise And Fall Of Socialism.10"(Christian Economics 1).
Is it a personal choice? Which is correct? The bible is pretty clear about the fact that God believes we should have private property and that he desires us to live by his rule. He tells us that under this system our freedoms and rights come from him. No one can take those away from you. He clearly states he who does will answer to the law. Socialism encourages a zeal for power that can hurt mankind. It concentrates abundance and influence for only a few while the rest of mankind only gets a tiny portion. "This view represents a significant failure in hermeneutics. This is a failure in thinking because the examples presented in the New Testament (Acts) are characterized by the individual and volitional decision to share private property. This is an example of the church being at the center of the action (The Judeo-Christian World View and Economics 1)". Seizing of property for redistribution is a government established corrective action which shows the failing of the Old Testament to show God's desire, compassion, and mercy to the poor people if you analyze the facts. "We know that socialism is a lie because of the promises it makes and the results it delivers. Socialism neither reflects the reality of life nor the condition of man. Socialism (and the related systems of communism, fascism, interventionism, etc.) is predicated on the abrogation of the final three commandments: thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not lie, and thou shalt not covet. The breaking of these three commandments may bring short term benefits but exacts long term costs. Conversely, following any and all commandments brings short term costs but long term benefits(The Judeo-Christian Worldview and Economics 1)". "The only way we can build biblical foundations for faith and life is by hearing and doing the Word of God, as taught by Jesus, as revealed in the Gospel, and as given to us in the Scriptures, i.e., especially in the Old Testament Scriptures. The obedience of faith is the key dynamic whereby we build those foundations, which is the same thing as saying that by means of God’s Word and Spirit we develop a firm biblical worldview (Weestra 2:1). " We must consider whether socialism or capitalism fits the biblical worldview the best so that we can serve God accordingly.
Socialism is predicated upon atheism, therefore, it calls for no church, only the state. Further, socialism calls not for free will action but the obligatory force to exact its desires. Socialism is a creation of man, for man, to determine which man receives benefits from man. There is no provision for God in a socialist state whereas the bible is pretty clear that God believes in privately owned property and he commands that we enjoy this freedom. These rights and freedoms under Capitalism come from God and cannot be taken away or they will ultimately answer to God for this crime.
"Bible Gateway Passage: Isaiah 65:21-22 - New International Version." Bible Gateway. Web. 16 Mar. 2016. .
Edd, Noel. "Capitalism and Christian Ethics." Hillsdale College. Web. 16 Mar. 2016. .
"Christian Economics." AllAboutWorldview.org. 2016. Web. 16 Mar. 2016. .
"The Judeo-Christian Worldview and Economics - Centennial Institute." Centennial Institute. 2014. Web. 16 Mar. 2016. .
Weerstra, Hans M. "Christian Worldview Development Part 1." Regent University Blackboard. International Journal of Frontier Missions, Mar. 1997. Web.
Weerstra, Hans M. "Christian Worldview Development Part 2." Regent University Blackboard. International Journal of Frontier Missions, Mar. 1997. Web.