Does God run the universe like Bain Capital?

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 15 2012 10:00 a.m. MST

"Now folks, that's outright socialism of the type described millennia later by Marx — who likely got the general idea from the Gospels," Paul said. "The pro-capitalist Christians who are aware of these passages wave them away even though it is the only explicit description of Christian economics in the Bible."

Jay W. Richards responded in the Washington Post to Paul's essay by saying no serious biblical scholar or economist would call the early church's practices Marxist. No serious biblical scholar, or economist, would mistake the practice of the early Jerusalem church for Marxism. "First of all, Marx viewed private property as oppressive, and had a theory of class warfare, in which the workers would revolt against the capitalists — the owners of the means of production — and forcibly take control of private property," he said. "After that, Marx thought, private property would be abolished, and the state would own the means of production on behalf of the people. There's none of this business in the Book of Acts. These Christians are selling their possessions and sharing freely."

Richards said the Bible's "underlying principles are most consistent with the free economy. He said St. Paul told Christians to "earn their own living," and "anyone unwilling to work should not eat" (2 Thessalonians 3: 10, 12).

Sarah Posner, responding to similar ideas at Religion Dispatches, swang back. "The kingdom Jesus is expecting upon his return is a free market system? Novel," she said. "I'm sure Wall Street is thrilled with the biblical endorsement."

EMAIL: mdegroote@desnews.com

TWITTER: @degroote

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