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Communism Essay, Research Paper

Traditional communism is the common ownership of the means of production. The reference to

Communism in the book of Acts is having all things in common. “And all that believed were together and

Had all things common and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man

Had need.” To explain the kind of communism that the early church practiced it is necessary to understand

The sense of brotherhood that the members of the Jerusalem Church had toward each other. It was not, to

Be sure, an arbitrary communism but the principle on which it was based was communistic. They held jobs,

Bought and sold and made a profit on their earnings, much like you would see in an ideal social

Democracy. This was the spirit of Pentecost; the beautiful outpouring of unselfishness that was soon to be

Lost. It was the result of a spiritual oneness that should be an example to us today.

It was not just altruism that was practiced in Jerusalem, the claims of the Christian family were recognized

As of a higher order than the claims of the individual. This was for the relief of the necessities of the

Brethren, not just because they were in need and suffering, but because they were brethren. Of course

many were in need but it was the power of the Holy Ghost in the hearts of the believers that prompted them

to such selfless acts of charity – and it worked. “Neither was there any among them that lacked, for as many

as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold. And

laid them down at the apostles’ feet and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.”

The Essenes also practiced communism.

Saint Benedict’s vision was a monastery with its fields and workshops that was self-contained and

self-supporting. A monk was to think nothing as being his own property but all belonged to all. This ideal

was a type of Christian communism like the apostles practiced. It was the early Christians in Jerusalem that

Benedict cited for his precedent, all shared in the common stock. This same type of communalism still

exists among the best Christian groups today. Upon arriving to America at Plymouth, the Pilgrims initiated

communism and for seven years there was to have been no private ownership of land, and everyone was to

have been fed and clothed from the common stock. It didn’t last long.

What the Jerusalem church practiced was a voluntary and democratic social communism. The

representation of communism in the modern world is something entirely different. American society and

capitalism in general has oversimplified the terms of independence and class struggle as being part of the

red menace and demonized the social gospel to the point of starving the greater part of the world. The

Communists however see capitalistic society as a 19th century bourgeois relic which is doomed to perish.

The truth is that laissez faire capitalism and totalitarian communism are both anti-Christian. In case you are

wondering, I’m a social democrat. Communism represents an obsolete point of view that lags a century

behind the present situation and capitalism has always violated the precepts of Jesus and apostolic


There is the communism that the church should not totally reject. A Christian who believes in the

communion of saints and celebrates Holy Communion should not be against communism or communalism

or community completely. Communism in an apostolic setting has some definite Christian potential but it

will not include the atheistic tyranny of communist regimes of the past. The totalitarian type of communism

that we have seen would not have been possible if the church had not rejected the social gospel from the

beginning. The luke-warm church turned inward and became arrogant, above and beyond social service

and accepted capitalism and free enterprise as the Christian god. They became rich, wanting for nothing

and was blinded to the avarice around them. If the love and brotherhood that was practiced in the book of

Acts were a visible reality in the church of recent history, the right-wing puritan insanity that we see today

would not have been possible, nor the third-world response in revolution to break the yoke of economic


To a Marxist, communism has solved the enigma of history. Communism is defined as a movement and

consciousness of movement advancing towards the highest form of social organization. It settles the

question of men and nature, existence and essence, freedom and necessity, individual and collectiveness.

In theory and practice it solves all these questions and it is mindful that it solves them. With its criticism of

oppression and expectations of a better world, Marxist communism started as a rational eschatology, in

many ways akin to the prophetic ideals. With the appearance of Soviet communism, however, the rational

and eschatological setting was discarded and only the tyranny and atheism remained. Paul Tillich writes

that “The Church did not hear the prophetic voice in communism and therefore did not recognize its

demonic possibilities.”

One for all and all for one is a good platitude but it hasn’t worked yet. Each according to his ability and

each according to his need is a slogan, not a reality. On the one hand, communism is open and kind to all;

on the other hand, it is exclusive and intolerant, even of its own people. The authors of the Communist

Manifesto associated progress with violence. Aristotle writes that “No one, when men have all things in

common, will any longer set an example of liberality or do any liberal action; for liberality consists in the

use a man makes of his own property.” Emerson in his day wrote of communism. “A cruel kindness, serving

the whole even to the ruin of the member; a terrible communist, reserving all profits to the community,

without dividend to individuals. Its law is – you shall have everything as a member, nothing to yourself.”

I am not alone in these views but it seems like it sometimes. I consider myself a social democrat. Although

communism is practiced in the early church, it has been so maligned by totalitarian excess that it no longer

reflects the apostolic mandates. Capitalism is however very easy to attack as being anti-christian and the

main god of the luke-warm materialistic church. They think that they are serving Jesus but it is their own

lusts that they are serving. I believe that this is the lie that they have accepted that has prompted God to

send them a strong delusion.

Unity will come and it will be of those that have like minds, not the agree to disagree mentality that has

been evident in the past but true speaking the same thing unity. This will not come without a price. Those

that will not give up their riches for the sake of the gospel will be against what Jesus is doing in these last

days. This view is not a popular one but we are to serve the Lord in love and humility and bring the gospel

to the poor, not be part of a popularity contest.

A healthy economic democracy is the only thing that can defeat atheistic international communism and

capitalistic greed. It reformed Europe in the 19th century but in America even the issue of a national health

care plan for our people is considered too socialistic to be taken seriously. Just think of the many ignorant

Christians that consider political activity in the Church as subversive activity. Look around you at these

right-wing morons that think that liberality and a planned economy is of the communist sort. Why do they

do that? Why do they think that way? Just think about the luke-warm Babylonian church and come up with

your own conclusions. Robert McAfee Brown takes this on as well: “Any one opposed to the state is

automatically branded a communist.”

Do you oppose what God’s people in the third world is doing to shake off the beast? Do you oppose God’s

people in the African National Congress or liberation theology in Central and South America? Is it because

someone in your church told you these things are evil, or is it just your own deluded self-interest? If you

already oppose these ideals, seek God and ask yourself why. This is the Babylon that God’s people are told

to get out of.

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