Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Christianity was meant to be classless

"Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need." Acts 4:32-35

This is a passage in scripture that is almost completely ignored by all Christian denominations. In fact I would wager that most people who identify as Christians are completely unaware of this passage or what it even means. Its quite simple, early Christians gave their wealth to the church and it was distributed equally among the people. This did a few things, it eliminated class within the church putting everyone on equal footing, and made sure that all were united as one. They were either all poor or all rich, and maybe there were many in between. But the point is they were all of one class. 

Why is that so important? Because when you have classes, a rich and a poor, the rich tend to think of themselves as better or in the Christian context, chosen by God. After all their riches must come from God, that meaning they are appointed. This often leads to the rich then running the church and leaving the poor and middle class out of the decision making. It can often mean leaving the priests out of the decision making as well, since it is the rich that contribute most and therefore pay the salary of the priest. Therefore the priest is put in a position of being under the rule of the rich within the church.

What I have witnessed in many churches is Christian adopting the right wing republican or libertarian view that poor people are poor by their own choosing. They have not worked hard enough and do not deserve any sort of help. This also adds to the idea that they, by virtue of being rich, are somehow better or chosen and therefore are entitled to lord over everyone else. The feeling is that they are rich, therefore they are better decision makers, better thinkers, better people, and or are chosen by God.

The trouble with this is obvious. It creates classes within the church and gives all power to the rich. Christianity was founded by poor people for poor people. Christ did not exactly have positive things to say about wealth and or rich people. This is why it was a requirement in the early church to give up your wealth for the greater good of all the people within that church, to make everyone equal. Yet we see inequality within every church. In nearly every church you will see someone driving to church in a car on its last leg and at the very same church others will be driving expensive luxury cars that are worth more than what that poor person makes in a single year, or two. You will almost always see people who have no worry of medical insurance and those going without medical insurance in that very same church.

This passage in Acts shows graphically that the early church sought to eliminate that by creating a classless society in which all were equal. What changed this and when I do not know but I am sure it happened over a period of time. Slowly but surely the Christian church became a church governed by rich people, for rich people and the poor slowly shut out.

Ask yourself, would anyone in your church be willing to give up their wealth for the good of all people within that church? Would you personally be willing to give over all your wealth for the greater good of all the people within your church? We must ask these questions because it is obvious that every denomination has strayed from the early church and its intent on creating equality within the church. 

No comments:

Post a Comment