Was the First Century Church Socialist?
Updated: May 20, 2019
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.
Many read the above scripture and assume the First Century Church was Socialist. And of course, if the Church was socialist, it must be the right thing to do. They seem to forget that Marx did not believe in God and that everywhere Marxism is practiced the church is persecuted.
What was the real story?
Free Market Capitalism (based upon God’s Ten Commandments) has as its main principle property ownership. The Ten Commandments established individual property ownership in Exodus 20:15-17. Don’t steal, don’t bear false witness, don’t even be envious of what others have that you do not have.
Did the First Century Church decide that this individual property ownership was not God’s way? Continue reading and in Acts 5:4 we find Apostle Peter making the following statement to Ananias. Ananias had sold property and then tried to deceive the Elders of the church about his motives to gain evil influence in this young church.
While it (the property sold) remained unsold, did it not remain yours? And when it was sold, was it not still under your control?
Socialism is based upon a distortion of individual property ownership. We find here the Apostle affirming the one economic principle that Marxism perverts – the basis of Socialism, Communism or any other totalitarian economic system.
What really happened?
The wonderful love of God impacted these humans and they were moved with love toward one another. When they saw a need and they had the means to help the needy, they gave. Person to person they gave. The Apostles’ control of any funds was soon given to a group of men in Chapter 6. And the whole church was dispersed throughout the Roman Empire in Chapter 8.
This same love toward one another happens each day in Christian Communities. Charity is shown to the needy from one person to another person. Funds given to leaders of the church are dispersed to the needy. Whenever the needy are given power to take what they do not own this Christian giving is stopped.
See Page 76 of my Book Is God A Capitalist? to find footnoted facts about Christian giving, versus "Top Down - Socialistic Government Help of the poor."