Were the early Christians, living with everything in common (Acts 2:42-47), proto-Marxists?
Amos Yong says no:
“Don’t confuse this early Jewish-Christian way of life with some sort of socialism or communism. Karl Marx’s critiques were directed at the industrialism he saw in mid-nineteenth-century England, when workers were forced to sell their labor at the market rate (which was then insufficient to supply their daily needs) and then not allowed to keep their profits (which were pocketed by the capitalist merchants). Marx’s solution was to distribute both private property and the ownership of productive capital to the proletariat (workers) so that they could gain from the profits of their labor.
What happened among the three thousand converts on the Day of Pentecost was not an early expression of Marx’s manifesto. For one thing, the sharing of these early followers of Jesus as the Messiah was motivated by a repentant heart and the gift of the Holy Spirit, not by the socialist rule of law. For this reason, the selling of personal possessions was a voluntary practice rather than an institutionalized rejection of private property. Further, such sale and distribution of proceeds did not seem to have occurred systematically; instead, this unfolded over time, according to the needs of the community. What Luke describes here is not some early from of communism but is exemplary of the community of the Holy Spirit.”
– Amos Yong, Who is the Holy Spirit? A Walk With the Apostles, 30-31.
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