Were the Early Christians Communists?

One might argue that they are:

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Acts 4:32-36

But there are two key differences between the Acts Christians and 20th-century Communists.


1) The early Christians believed in God as their ultimate ruler:

When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them…”

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. – Acts 4:24 & 31

Whereas the Communists were de facto atheists who practically outlawed religion and placed fallible men as their heads of states – with no authority greater than them.

Maybe chucking out such ‘outdated, superstitious’ religious doctrines as ‘Thou shall not murder’ contributed to the Communist knack for slaughtering hundreds of millions.


2) The early Christians gave out of their own sincerity and free will. Also, some of them actually owned land – which they did or did not choose to sell and share out the earnings.

Whereas under Communism, everything is owned by the state (especially land) and people were forced to work and surrender their gains.

This probably relates directly to why Conservatives (i.e. those Bible thumping fundies) outgive Liberals in charity, while top Democrats and liberal leaning Hollywoodites avoid paying the taxes that they want to raise for everyone else and Obama discourages charitable donations by reducing their tax deduction.


3) This from Washington Post – the Bible condemns idle welfare parasitism:

While the Bible calls us to help the poor, it is also clear that the poor must help themselves to the extent they are able. In 2 Thessalonians 3, Paul warns against idleness and says, “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” In 1 Timothy 5, Paul also declares, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Even inclusion on the widows’ “list” (which entitled widows to receive aid from the church) was conditioned upon age and good conduct.

The requirement that the poor be industrious is also found in the one earthly government that God did explicitly create: Old Testament Israel. In the midst of comprehensive laws that govern everything from religious ritual to sexual conduct to diet comes this instruction: “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner.” Not only is private property recognized (“your land”) but the welfare that does exist requires the poor to actually engage in the harvest to collect the gleanings.


CONCLUSION: The Acts Christians can be defined as Socialists or even Communists, but were certainly not of the atheistic, liberal vein of modern definitions. If everyone were as selfless, good-hearted and righteous as the Acts Christians – i.e. filled with, submitted to and guided by God’s Holy Spirit instead of Karl Marx – then perhaps Socialism/Communism would succeed in bringing about a utopia (instead of collapsing under the weight of oppression and freeloaders).

Btw, the last line in that quotation from Acts about Joseph aka Barnabas is one argument against the non-accepted Gospel of Barnabas being authentic, rather than the Islamic-view-promoting fake it is.

(This post is an extension of something I briefly noted in a post on Genesis-bashing.)

PS. Ace gets it – the key is voluntarily giving up your possessions.

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5 Responses to “Were the Early Christians Communists?”

  1. 76% Prefer Free Market Economy, DHS Watch List Must be HUGE! lol « VotingFemale Speaks! Says:

    […] Project Patterico’s Pontifications: Ace Brings Out the Ban Hammer BUUUUURRRRNING HOT: Were the Early Christians Communists? Texas For Palin: Palinism: The Substance of Sarah Palin’s World View Conservatives For […]

  2. Scott Says:

    A Communist says, “What is yours is mine.”
    A Christian says, “What is mine is yours.”
    It makes a big difference when the Love of Christ is a part of the equation.

  3. Today’s Tidbits Says:

    […] Were the Early Christians Communists? I’ve heard this argument before and it does in some ways seem valid.  However early Christians weren’t atheists and in fact did believe in a God.  Commies, Socialists, Progressives pay lip service at best to God, but they don’t really believe it.  And therein is another lie they tell just like all they really believe in is a lie. […]

  4. David Walker Says:

    What Scott said.

  5. Rev. Robert Wright Says:

    To Whom It May concern,

    This is Rev. Robert Wright, Editor for http://www.Christian.com which is a social network made specifically for Christians, by Christians, to directly fulfill Christian’s needs. Christian.com has many great features aside from the obvious like christian TV, prayer request or even find a church/receive advice and to offer the ENTIRE christian community an outlet to join together. We have emailed you because we have interest in collaborating with you and your blog to help us spread the good word. I look forward for your response regarding the matter,


    God Bless

    |Rev.Robert Wright|Christian.com|
    |1 International Blvd.|Mahwah, NJ 07495|

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