(Conservative Tribune) – John Piper, author and former pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, had some striking criticisms of Bernie Sanders’ socialist political platform.
On a recent desiringGod.org podcast, Piper answered a question from a listener who asked, “How should Christians view socialism?”
Pipers responded, stating first that he was no expert. However, in the church, they teach that “no one should go hungry … be without a place to stay. No one should fail to get the health care they need. No one should go without a job if it is possible for believers to help them find one.”
Piper asserted that even though these are tenants of the Christian belief structure, “all of this should happen through the free and uncoerced help of other believers.” Not, in other words, because of government edicts.
Piper quoted Acts 2:44-45, stating, “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.”
This was all being done freely by believers, of their own conviction and volition.
“Now socialism,” Piper stated, “refers to … a social and economic system that through legal or governmental or military coercion — in other words, you go to jail if you don’t do this.”
This definitely sounds more along the lines of coercion than it does freely and cheerfully giving from the heart.
“In other words, socialism borrows the compassionate aims of Christianity in meeting people’s needs while rejecting the Christian expectation that this compassion not be coerced or forced,” Piper argued.
The problem with the political philosophy is that it sounds good, because, “Socialism gets its attractiveness at certain points in history where people are drawn to the entitlements that socialism brings, and where people are ignorant or forgetful of the coercion and the force required to implement it.”
Therefore, when Bernie Sanders brings up the socialist ways of countries like Denmark, he misses a crucial factor. These countries are definitely under pressure and their citizens, free health care and all, are living in a system devoid of personal upward mobility.
“So, for Bernie Sanders, or anyone else, to commend a socialism like that of Denmark as the system that is going to do things well for us is shortsighted to say the least.” Piper stated.
“And my own sense is that history and reason and further biblical reflection lead to the conclusion that freedom and property rights lead to greater long-term wellbeing, or, like we say today, flourishing for the greatest number,” Piper concluded.