As I write this post, I have been following an atheist’s blog, and this atheist claims that communism (including the atheists’ 20th Century’s version of it) was actually invented by Jesus and forced upon the believers of the first church. The passage(s) used to make this claim comes from the Acts of the Apostles. I would like to examine these texts to see if there is any truth to this claim. Here is the passage:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles‘ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And 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. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2)
Here are a few observations from this passage:
- The believers chose to accept the message preached by Peter (they were not forced or deceived into believing)
- Communism was forced upon the people of Eastern Europe
- The people chose to devote themselves to God’s work (every aspect, even their possession)
- There is nothing in the passage that says that they sold “all” of their possessions
- They saw the needs and helped each other out with what they had (again, by choice and not by force)
- Their focus was not redistributing wealth, instead they were devoted to the Word of God and spreading the message
As a cross reference to this passage, the good atheist usually brings up the story of Ananias and Sapphira, claiming that this text demands that all believers sell all of their property and if they do not, then they are put to death. Ananias and Sapphira did die, but let’s find out why:
But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.(Acts 5)
Here are some insights from this passage.
- Ananias and Sapphira chose to sell their property and use the money for the ministry
- They willingly lied about how much money they made, and secretly kept money for themselves (this was after they seemingly made a pledge to sell and use the proceeds for the ministry, in other words, they made a promise to God and to man, and then tried to deceive both God and man)
- They were at liberty to keep their property as their own (they chose to sell it)
- It seems that they were just trying to impress with their gift and not giving with a cheerful spirit
- They died because they tried to lie to God and deceive Him
- They were not punished by God because they did not give up all that they had
- They only sold a piece of property and not all that they had
- There was no forced giving here or forced communism (unlike the atheistic communism of the 20th Cent)
It is obvious from the text that the atheists’ argument that Christians were the first communists (like the 20th Cent.’s commis) is a lie straight from the pit of hell. It is a cheap argument and a cheap shot at Christians. We have seen what evil acts atheists can do when they have power. The Bible calls an atheist a fool and we saw just how foolish they can be from their deeds in the 20th Cent. If that were not bad enough, they try to blame Christians for bringing the idea of communism into the world. Shame on them for being so diabolic. The good part about God is that He is ready and willing to forgive and transform (even atheists) if we will humble ourselves, admit our sin, turn away from it, and follow Jesus Christ on a daily basis. I have done and do this, what about you? God help us stay strong in the face of the lies of the evil one.