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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Kent Davis BS: On Acts 4:32-35 (142* d) RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35 18 Sep 10

Maybe I did miss the point. I thought WAV's point was that Acts 4:32-35 indicated that it is hypocritical for Christians to vote for a "right-wing" party. Maybe I misread the first post, in which he wrote "Socialist ideas, of course, pre-date Karl Marx by centuries: e.g., the Levellers in the 17th century, John Ball and the peasants revolt in the 14th century, and in the Bible..." Maybe I misread his last verse, "Yet today, all round our troubled earth, Some Christians, safe at their own snug hearth, Vote for their electorate's Right-Wing party - That's hypocritical, it seems to me."

Tell me, ollaimh, how do you read that?

My point is simple and, I would have thought, utterly uncontroversial: Acts 4:32-35 does not tell us which political parties deserve our votes. It does not deal with government policy. It does not deal with economic systems. It deals with private charity. Giving away other people's money is not charity.   Charity is giving away your own money.

There is nothing in Acts 4:32-35 about land enclosure. There is nothing about patents or copyrights or trademarks. Nothing about taking back Judean land seized by Rome. Nothing about returning to the ancient Israeli system of Jubilee years and inalienable inheritances. Nothing about politics. It's not there. The passage is about private charity. Read it for yourself:

"Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need."

In case there is any confusion about whether the individual Christians still retained legal ownership of the property which they were voluntarily sharing, consider the next two verses:

"Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet."

Consider also Peter's rebuke of Ananias (who sold property and gave away part of the proceeds, but who dishonestly claimed to be giving away ALL the proceeds). In Acts 5:4, Peter said, of the property, "While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God."   Notice that Peter explicitly says that Ananias had retained legal ownership of the property (until he sold it) and further says that, after he sold it, he still retained legal ownership of the proceeds. This is not a government program. This is private charity. In Ananias's case, it was private charity gone wrong, but it was still private charity.

These passages tell us a great private deal about charity.   They do not tell us whether or not we should vote for the political right.


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