Why Socialism Will Never Work: A Biblical Perspective

Socialism will never work.

Why not?

The main goal of socialism, economically speaking, is for the state to control industry and means of production and then redistribute the wealth to the people (as opposed to private individuals owning the means of production and exploiting workers).

Andra MIhali (CC)

The idea is that, with a state-controlled economy, the need to provide for yourself would disappear, freeing you from the bondage of work. Hence, there would no longer be needy people, right?

In theory.

The reality is that both the Old Testament and New Testament sort of put a kibosh on this idea that government (or anyone) can rid the nation of needy.

An Old Testament passage—which Jesus subsequently quotes—states that there will always be poor people. Redistribution of wealth does not work to cure poverty. Check out the following passages for proof:

There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. Deuteronomy 15:11

And again in the book of John:

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. John 12:8

So what does this mean? This is an affirmation that socialism will never work. In reality, socialism is trying to replace God with government; instead of relying on Him for your needs, you can turn to the government.

Of course I’m not arguing that capitalism eliminates poverty either. That would contradict the previous passages.

Capitalism's goal isn't to end poverty.

Does that rub you the wrong way? It's true. It's goal is to provide every one with equal opportunity and to reward those who work hard.

The truth is that no system of government or economic theory should aim to end poverty.

The church should.

God commands the people to give from their hearts, to be “openhanded.” He knows that even though there will always be poor, it is much more beneficial to man to provide from his own resources directly instead of relying on a bureaucracy to hand out the charity.

Giving should come from the heart, not from the point of a gun.

Capitalism also provides a needy individual the most opportunity to get back on his feet again, because the system rewards those who work harder.

And don't forget the rule Paul laid down at Thessaloniki: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

There are two things that need to be said about this method of earning your wealth and giving charitably:

1. When a man works hard and earns money to provide for his family, he feels a sense of pride and self-worth that he wouldn't have if he was simply given a handout from the government.

2. Giving willingly changes your heart. It makes you more generous, more compassionate.

The argument from socialists is that those who own the means of production should be forced to give up control to the government who will then redistribute the wealth for them. Private individuals are exploiters by nature and therefore will not open their pocketbooks and give to the needy.

In the capitalistic mode, they argue, there will always be poor people.


That’s exactly what the Word says, and no system of government can override God’s word.

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