There is nothing more fun and annoying to watch than self-titled Christians argue over what human definition they believe fits the creator of the entire universe. God is an evangelical! No wait, Jesus was definitely a Republican! No, no, He was definitely a capitalist! If you think this sounds absurd that is because it is but do not think for a second that arguments like these are not being made every day by people trying to shove God into the box they feel most comfortable in. The above link is to a recent article declaring if Jesus were physically around today, He would be promoting capitalism by someone named Roger McKinney. Mr. McKinney apparently has an economics degree as well as seminary. Heck of a mix there. McKinney has also written a book entitled "God is a Capitalist", so at least he is consistent with his unbiblical claims. Let's reason together once more and hold the bible up to these fanciful claims.
"Roger Olson, Emeritus Professor of Christian Theology at Baylor University, recently published an essay with the title, "Why I Am a Socialist: Because I Am a Christian." He added, "I do think that laissez faire capitalism, especially its Social Darwinist variety, is contrary to the spirit, the ethos, of Jesus Christ, which is compassion for the weak, the vulnerable, the 'little ones.'"What would Jesus advocate for if he were here, in person, physically, today?" In other words, today Jesus would be a socialist, according to Olson. But the professor errs in his logic, hermeneutics, history, and economics." - Roger McKinney
Interesting, so a fellow academic postulated that some tenets of socialism line up better with the teachings of Christ than capitalism. McKinney feels the need to respond. Now let me be clear, I do not promote the idea that God is a socialist anymore than a capitalist. The notion that we can define in human terms, the beginning and end of everything, is nothing short of pure human arrogance. Are their traits in socialism and capitalism that mirror some of the teachings of Christ? That is what we are about to find out.
"The obvious error in Olson's reasoning is his logical leap, called the non sequitur fallacy. Olson believes that compassion requires the state to steal from the rich and give to the poor. Otherwise, there is no compassion. What about charity? Olson never mentions it. Is there really nothing between socialism and ruthless oppression of the poor? Olson believes so. The Bible says we should care for the poor, but insisting that only the state can provide for them is an Evel Knievel logical leap across the Grand Canyon. A PhD in theology ought to be familiar with the principles of hermeneutics, which are logic applied to interpretation of the Bible. One of the primary rules to guide this interpretation is to consider the audience. When Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor," and encouraged His followers to give to them, was He addressing politicians? No, politicians avoided Jesus and He wasn't a political policy wonk, anyway. He spoke to crowds of the most common people in the nation, many of whom would become part of His Church. So, He encouraged individual charity to the poor. Charity in the Bible is never enforced by the state. It is required by God, not the government." - Roger McKinney
Charity is a wonderful thing but often abused in this manner by people like McKinney, who are seeking to make excuses for why the government should not help poor people. Any cursory review of the entire bible shows a God who cares deeply about those most needy and marginalized. Yes, God does expect Christian charity but that is hardly all He expects. It is painfully ironic that McKinney blames Olson for being myopic, while he is encouraging the opposite myopia. He knows full well that charity alone will never be able to meet the needs of the poor in society. The other thing at work here is rampant hypocrisy. Biblical interpretation does not mean you check your brain at the door. If the bible encourages taking care of the poor that is what it encourages and to look for reasons why the government is exempt is not required. Especially when you do not do so with other issues. For example, the bible says nothing about abortion but the McKinney's of the world looked at the bible as a whole and saw that life mattered to God, regardless of what laws man passes. We see this similar hypocrisy regarding Romans 13, which is wielded when we do not like a given law and then revered when we do. We are rank hypocrites and it is not lost on the world that needs the gospel.
"Another important principle of hermeneutics is to consider the historical context. Olson needs to read Jerry Bowyer's book, The Maker Versus the Takers: What Jesus Really Said About Social Justice and Economics, which shows that Jesus' attacks on the rich took place when he preached in Judea where most rich people had stolen their wealth from others. The Bible often condemns the wicked wealthy, but portrays wealth gained honestly as a gift from God." - Roger McKinney
Ah-hah! So it was Professor Plum, in the Library, with the Candlestick! So, when Jesus says in a teaching that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven, He really meant only rich Judean men? That is not hermeneutics beloved. That is proof texting extrapolated out to its worst conclusion. It is making it up to fit your narrative. It is similar what women do to justify preaching and pastoring over men when the bible clearly forbids such. Suddenly the letters Paul wrote were only meant for the individual congregations and not teachings for the church. Spare us. All wealth is not inherently evil. The love of such is and McKinney is showing that spectacularly.
"Olson is also ignorant of the 150 years in which economists proved Marx wrong. But for Olson, ignorance of economics is no problem; Marx said it, and that settles it: "The socialism I embrace is not tied to any political party" It is not Marxism, although it believes Marx's critical analysis of capitalism has merit".it's best visible representations are in the Scandinavian countries." Olson is unaware that Finland (9), Denmark (10), and Sweden (11), rank above the U.S. (25) in terms of economic freedom according to the Heritage Foundation's index. But that doesn't mean those Scandinavian countries are capitalist. They are not. It means the U.S. is more socialist than the socialist countries Olson admires. Nor does he care that the poor in the U.S. are wealthier than the poor in Scandinavian countries because our standard of living is higher. But he recognizes that the U.S. has implemented many socialist programs: "Much of socialism is actually manifested in many things American society take for granted such as social security and Medicare and Medicaid and public ownership of many of the means of transportation, etc." Olson ignores the warnings of 19th century Christians who feared giving too much to the poor instead of too little, as Marvin Olasky demonstrates in The Tragedy of American Compassion. Indiscriminate giving, which government welfare programs do, encourages drug and alcohol abuse, laziness, and single mother-headed households that produce most of our criminals. Indiscriminate giving to the poor vastly increases their numbers as more choose not to work and encourages the vices that keep people poor. We have proven that any American who finishes high school, stays off drugs and alcohol, doesn't commit crimes, shows up to work on time, and is faithful to his wife or her husband, can live a middle-class American lifestyle, the highest standard of living in human history." - Roger McKinney