John Piper, author and former pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, had some striking criticisms of Bernie Sander’s socialist political platform. On a recent desiringGod.org podcast, Piper answered a question from a listener who asked, “How should Christians view socialism?”
Piper responded, stating first that he was no expert. However, in the church, they teach that “no one should go hungry… be without a place to stay. No one should fail to get the health care they need. No one should go without a job if it is possible for believers to help them find one.”
He asserted that even though these are tenants of the Christian belief structure, “all of this should happen through the free and uncoerced help of other believers.” Not, in other words, because of government edicts or mandates.
Piper quoted Acts 2:44-45: “All who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.”
This was all being done freely by believers, of their own conviction and volition. He goes on to explain the difference between Christian charity and socialism:
“Now socialism refers to… a social and economic system that through legal or governmental or military coercion – in other words, you go to jail if you don’t do this.
“In other words, socialism borrows the compassionate aims of Christianity in meeting people’s needs while rejecting the Christian expectation that this compassion not be coerced or forced. Socialism gets is attractiveness at certain points in history where people are drawn to the entitlements that socialism brings, and where people are ignorant or forgetful of the coercion and the force required to implement it.”
This is one of the best explanations we’ve heard contrasting Christian charity and socialism. It’s also a reminder of why socialism can be attractive to Americans who don’t understand how socialist ideals are implemented: Through law and force of government.
Do you agree with John Piper’s dismantling or Bernie Sanders’ socialist ideals?
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