FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS
volume 17, number 29, July 26, 2018
“. . . appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations. . . He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants.” -1 Samuel 8:5,14
Christian Millennials and Socialism
During Samuel’s time, Israel’s desire for a king was misplaced. God was not opposed, per se, to rulers. After all, Moses was the leader of Israel and his leadership was delegated to seventy elders (Exodus 19:7, 24:1). However God told Samuel that the people, in rejecting Samuel’s advice, were actually rejecting Him. Then Samuel warned the people of Israel that if they continued in their desire for a king, then their sons would be conscripted into the king’s army to fight needless wars, to sacrifice their lives for naught. Their sons would become slaves and their daughters household servants. Their kings would unlawfully confiscate their property and reduce them to poverty.
Heavy taxation and consequent slavery always happens when a nation turns away from the true and living God.
It was not until 1861 that the U.S. had its first income tax to cover the costs of the War Between the States and it was short lived, being repealed in 1872. In 1909 Congress passed the 16th Amendment to the Constitution which authorized a federal income tax. It was ratified in 1913 by three-fourths of the states. As you no doubt know from first hand experience, the taxation in this country is exorbitant. While there is obviously a great deal of variation based on income levels and states where we reside, we can still say that the average American family pays 14.3% in federal income tax and the average state and local income tax rate is 9.9% for a total of 24.2%. This, of course, does not even take into consideration property taxes (which by the way are Biblically unjust since God owns the earth and no state has the right to tax what does not belong to them) or sales tax on purchases.
God’s design was for a total tax on His people of 13.3%.
As you no doubt know, Socialism is very much in the news these days and Christian millennials have also largely drank the Kool-aid. From free college tuition for everyone, to a $15 per hour minimum wage, to universal health care, millennials are pining for more of your money. They want utopia. We know millennials generally have a concern for injustice and the poor and Christian millennials seem to equate socialism with the teachings of Scripture. The faulty logic goes like this:
The Bible tells me to care for the poor.
Socialism, unlike greedy Capitalism, cares for the poor.
Therefore, I like Socialism.
The first premise, of course, is true. We are commanded to care for the poor. To mock the poor is to mock God (Proverbs 17:5). However, the second premise is clearly false, which makes the conclusion also false. Socialism is plunder. It is stealing. It is taking life, liberty, or property from someone against his will. God is the author of life, and we dare not take anyone’s life unjustly. Because we are made in His image, God has granted us freedom to live as we wish under His law (Genesis 2:15-17). And God is the giver of all good things, and ownership of property is a manifestation of His goodness (1 Timothy 6:17, Psalm 24:1,2).
Socialism is built on a false notion of man, namely that man is a material being, that what is most important about him is his physical and emotional well being. And since these are satisfied through money, then it naturally follows that it is our duty to alleviate his pain through giving him his “fair share” of it. We have an obligation, they say, to make this world a better place through money and what money can bring.
The second premise is also false because it wrongly makes capitalism culpable. Are there capitalists who are greedy? Of course there are. However, the problem is not with the capitalist system but with the human heart. Man, due to his fall into sin, is innately greedy. Capitalism is neutral. Greedy man can and has often ruined it.
There are two ways to plunder someone’s life, liberty, and property. One is to murder him, to enslave him, or to steal from him at the point of a gun. These are obvious and reprehensible. However there is a second way in which plunder occurs. The express purpose of the law (Romans 13:1-7) is to protect property and to punish plunder. This is true justice. To enslave the African was unjust. It took his liberty from him. We fought a war to dismantle that injustice. Bernie Madoff, who stole millions of dollars in his Ponzi scheme, is now in jail for the rest of his life. Justice has been served in this case.
But what happens when the state makes unjust laws which steal from people? What happens when the purpose of the law to protect property and punish plunder is turned on its head and confiscates property?
This is what has been happening in our nation for over one hundred years and it is growing far worse. Socialism is plunder. It is a violation of the inalienable rights granted to us from God. It is forced redistribution of wealth.
There is a better way. There is the Biblical way. By definition, Israel had a very limited government since the tax rate was only 13.3 percent. A free market economy without government interference is the way to prosperity for all people.
1. How Much Does the Average American Pay in Taxes? <fool.com/taxes/2017/03/14>
2. There were three tithes in Old Testament Israel. The first, the Lord’s tithe, was a tenth of one’s increase which went to the Levites to govern the nation. A second tithe, called a festival tithe, was set aside for “traveling money” to help families make their three annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem or Passover, and the Feasts of Tabernacles and Weeks. Families kept this for themselves. The third tithe was.a poor tithe, spread over three years to help the poor and orphans in the local area. The Institutes of Biblical Law by R.J. Rushdoony, pages 52,53
3. See my devotional from last week, July 19, 2018 archived at <pefministry.org>
4. For two excellent articles on Christian millennials and socialism I suggest you read Christian Millennials and the Lure of Socialism, Part One, Part Two, December 21 and 26, 2016 <biola.edu/blogs>
5. Murderers are to be executed by the state, Genesis 9:6, Romans 13:4,5.