In this essays we do not contemplate speaking about a nationality or a certain country in particular, but we will confine ourselves to the “ism,” the “tenet,” or the ideology called communism. This ideology of communism is defined in Webster’s dictionary, “as a scheme of equalizing the social conditions of life; specifically a scheme which contemplates the abolition of inequalities in the possession of property, as by distributing all wealth equally to all, or by holding all wealth in common for the equal use and advantage of all.”
First of all, let us not fail to notice that from a superficial viewpoint, Communism is very attractive, especially to the masses of people in distinction from the few aristocrats of society. For the masses of people are often in poverty and must work in the sweat of their brow to earn their “measure of wheat for a penny and their three measures of barley for a penny.” Especially when the oil and the wine of the rich must not be touched. If then in times of poverty anyone proclaims the tenet of Communism, which proclaims the “abolition of inequalities of life” and the inequalities of the possession of property by distributing all wealth equally, then it indeed appeals to the masses. When the masses of people then must sweat to earn even their bare existence, and the rich wallow in luxury, there would be nothing better than that the rich would share with the poor their riches and “the rich would not be quite so rich and the poor would not be quite so poor.” Surely we can very well understand that Communism makes headway among the masses of people, especially in times of depression and poverty. Were it not for the principles of Christ, we personally would undoubtedly be very communistic, for also the undersigned can speak of dire poverty when he was first in America, and his father had to take care of a family of nine, with wages that ranged from 6 to 8 dollars a week. Surely Communism appeals to the flesh of the masses of people.
Secondly it should be noted that superficially Communism is very idealistic. Did not the Scriptures teach the same, when it pictured to us the first believers after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, as they laid their gifts at the feet of the apostles and the latter distributed to everyone according to his or her needs? And did not those who possessed property, sell that property in order that the poor would have no needs, and everyone would be taken care of? It surely is unbelievable that only one suffered want or undue poverty at that time of the New Testament Church, wherein the sharing of wealth seemed to be the very basis of the life of the believers. If that is established, is it not Christian to adopt the Communistic principles of “share the wealth,” and “holding all wealth in common for the equal use and advantage of all?” Surely the principles of Communism seems very idealistic and should be adhered to by all Christians.
Yet the strange part of all is the fact that just those nations, which have adopted communism, are also the most godless nations on the face of the earth. It was not many years ago that all the world stood aghast at the godless practices of Communistic Russia. Organizations were set up in that country, with the name: “The Society of the Militant Godless” whose aim and purpose was solely to make propaganda against all religion. All faith and knowledge of the Most High God had to be abolished. All believers had to be severely persecuted. And this was countenanced not only but supported by the government itself. Russia openly declared war upon the Most High God. I fully realize that such truth is distasteful to the present rulers of our own government, for our country is allied with Communistic Russia, against the Axis Nations. However we merely note this to prove the point that, whereas seemingly Communism is Scripturally idealistic, in reality and practically it opposes God and His Christ, as well as His chosen people.
We wish to go just a step further. According to the definition of Communism it is plain that every scheme of equalizing social conditions of life, and holding all wealth in common for the equal use and advantage of all, falls under the term Communism. In other words, the use of property for all men, and the advantage of all men, is contemplated in Communism. Man becomes the theme of this so-called ideology. All efforts or schemes that are of the people, by the people and for the people, are therefore principally Communistic. Therefore we may conclude, on the basis of Webster’s definition, that whether you name Communistic Russia, or Fascist Germany, or Imperialistic England, or Democratic America, we see in them all the principles of Communism. It is the principle of man, who has his number given in Scripture as 666, possessing no seventh day of Rest, having no peace with God, rejecting the Christ and persecuting the saints.
Over against this Communism Scripture teaches a communion of Saints, consisting of two main principles. First, that all and everyone who believes, being members of Christ, are in common partakers of Him, and of all His riches and gifts; secondly, that everyone must know it to be his duty, readily and cheerfully to employ his gifts for the advantage and salvation of other members. Thus our fathers expressed themselves in the Heidelberg Catechism.
This implies first of all that man by nature is not a member of Christ, hence also is not a common partaker of Him, and therefore also not a partaker of any of the riches and gifts of Christ. Man is an enemy of Christ and of His riches and gifts. In opposition to Christ and the believers therefore, man seeks to utilize the earth and its fullness and equally distribute it to all men, yea, to the advantage of all men. This is impossible. There is no advantage in the earth and its fullness to all men. The earth and the very ground tilled by man, is cursed for man’s sake. How then can this earth and its fullness be used to the advantage of all men? This is easily recognizable in Communistic Russia. The equalization of all earthly things brings man ever deeper under the curse, and deepens his hatred of God and His Christ. That is why the “Society of the Militant Godless” can prosper in Russia, and in 1931 already number over three and a half million members. The equalization of all possession of properties cannot work to the advantage of all men, for all men are enemies of God and of his Christ, and works against sinful man for evil.
Secondly, Communism does not recognize the Sovereign rights of the true owner of property. It does not even recognize the Sovereign God in all its scheme and practice. Scripture abundantly states that God is Creator of all things that are, move, or have any being. That therefore He alone has sovereign claim to all things under the heavens. To Him alone belong the cattle on the thousand hills. Those cattle on the thousand hills are apportioned by God alone, and all property and possessions are administered by millions upon millions of stewards, appointed of God, to use it all, not of the people, by the people, and for the people, but of God, by God, and for God. No man has right in himself, and God gives to the one administration over ten talents, to another five talents and to another one talent. God does not distribute equally to all men, for “the rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the Maker of them all.”
Thirdly we must remember that the ideal communist state, in so far as men will have all things in common, shall be the inheritance of the saints in the day when all things shall be made new. Not all men shall enjoy that state, it is true. Outside of that perfect state, shall be the dogs, the sorcerers, the whoremongers and whoever loves the lie. The wicked shall be cast into outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. They shall not inherit the heavens, but also the earth shall be completely taken from them and being made new, shall be given to the meek. Then the heavens and the earth shall be ruled by righteousness and all the saints shall dwell in perfect communion and shall enjoy for use and advantage of all, the new creation. This, however, will be the state wherein the Most High shall rule sovereignly and graciously over all, and from that principle will the saints also have all things in common. This will be possible, for then the earthy will be no more, and the saints will no longer be plagued by earthly-mindedness, for it will all be heavenly. God will then, in His Christ, through His people, rule over all the works of God’s hands. Everything will be for the advantage of all, to the glory of the Triune God.
A faint picture of this glorious state is pictured to us in the early Christian Church, immediately after Pentecost. We read: “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and mind; neither said any of them that ought of the things they possessed was his own; but they had all things common. Neither was there any among them that lacked, for as many of them as were possessors of lands or houses, sold them and brought the prices of the things that were sold; and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need”. This beautiful picture of the ideal Christian communist state, was possible only because of the great love of Christ, from which the believers lived at that time. Nay, this was the very opposite of the so-called communism of our present day among the nations. Today the principle of the world is FORCE. In Russia the State collects all and thus divides. In reality it is no different in our own country. The State taxes those who work and pays out to those who do not work. Today’s communism has the poor man saying to the rich: You must share with me. But in the church of Christ immediately after Pentecost it was the principle of love. There was no forced giving, nor did the poor demand. Only we read that those who possessed lands or houses sold them. The voluntary gift of love was the rule. This rule was in turn born from the principle that: “neither said any (of them) that ought of the things he possessed was his own.” The believers confessed God’s ownership of all things, and that they were but stewards in the house of the Lord, to distribute according to the needs of the saints.
This ideal condition could not last on earth it is true. The terrible reality of an Ananias and Sapphira, with their deceit and lies, revealed all too plainly that the ideal was not yet reached in the church on earth. Also the dispute between the Christian Hebrews and the Christians from Greece, about the daily ministrations, revealed that such an ideal condition could not be maintained. The “having all things in common’’ condition of the church was and remains an ideal, to be fulfilled only when all things have become new. Until then the church must needs support her poor, and thus reveal the mercies of Christ our Lord. And only the love of Christ can minister this mercy to the poor and needy. Therefore Communism as it manifests itself today is thoroughly to be condemned and the poor among God’s people must also be poor in spirit, and with the saints of God must look forward to the day when God will make everlastingly rich all those who hope in Him.