Was Jesus a Socialist?
Why this Question is Being Asked Again and Why the Answer is Almost Always Wrong
In his book, Was Jesus a Socialist? economist and historian Lawrence W. Reed demolishes the idea that Jesus called on earthly governments to redistribute wealth or centrally plan the economy – or even to impose a welfare state.
Was Jesus a Socialist? could not be timelier. Consider…
- More than half of young Americans say they’d rather live in a socialist country than in a capitalist one;
- In a 2016 Barna Group poll, Americans said that socialism aligns better with Jesus’s teachings than capitalism does and that self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders aligns closest to Jesus’s teachings; and
- In a 2019 survey, more than 70 percent of millennials said they were likely to vote for a socialist.
Reed answers the claims of socialists and progressives who try to enlist Jesus in their causes. As he reveals, nothing in the New Testament supports their contentions. In Was Jesus a Socialist? you’ll learn:
- There’s a rising chorus around the country that suggests Jesus was either an ethical socialist at heart or was sympathetic to socialist economic ideas. This book explains for a broad, lay audience – Christian or non-Christian – that this perspective is hugely mistaken.
- Jesus was neither a socialist nor a capitalist, but the ethics and economics of his teachings are compatible with one and not the other. Which one? The answer, and the reasoning behind it, may surprise you.
- Jesus spoke frequently about the importance of helping the poor, but how that is to be accomplished makes all the difference in the world.
- The rich are routinely denigrated and may soon get hit with higher tax rates. Is this compatible with what Jesus said about them?
- Can a person be either a socialist or a capitalist and Christian at the same time? This book answers that question definitively.
- As the Biden administration pursues expansive programs to fight poverty and joblessness and pushes for higher taxes on the rich to help fund them, some will be claiming that all this is “the Christian thing to do.” Is that a defensible position?
Ultimately, Reed shows the foolishness of trying to enlist Jesus in any political cause today. He writes: “While I don’t believe it is valid to claim that Jesus was a socialist, I also don’t think it is valid to argue that he was a capitalist. Neither was he a Republican nor a Democrat. These are modern-day terms, and to apply any of them to Jesus is to limit him to but a fraction of who he was and what he taught.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lawrence W. Reed is President Emeritus of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). A former professor of economics, he is the author or editor of several other books, including Excuse Me, Professor: Challenging the Myths of Progressivism and Real Heroes: Inspiring True Stories of Courage, Character, and Conviction. He is a frequent guest on radio and television and an international speaker.