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Does the Bible Teach Communism?
Alfred B. Davis
Posted: October 28, 2021

When I was in the United States Air Force during the 1980's I remember seeing pictures depicting Jesus wearing workman's coveralls while holding a hammer and a sickle crossed over His chest. These posters were being circulated throughout Latin America proclaiming that Jesus was a communist. It was part of a campaign, birthed in the sinister, dank bowels of the KGB headquarters at Lubyanka, in Moscow, during the 1960's to promote Liberation Theology.

Robert D. Chapman, a retired operations officer in the Clandestine Services Division of the Central Intelligence Agency spent a great deal of time Latin and South America. Chapman, writing in the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, says in his December 2009 article, The Church in Revolution:

Without doubt, the Theology of Liberation doctrine is one of the most enduring and powerful to emerge from the KGB's headquarters. The doctrine asks the poor and downtrodden to revolt and form a Communist government, not in the name of Marx or Lenin, but in continuing the work of Jesus Christ, a revolutionary who opposed economic and social discrimination.


Chapman's statements are echoed by others, such as Ion Mihai Pacepa, the former head of Romania's Securitate, the Department of State Security, otherwise known as the secret police agency of the Socialist Republic of Romania. Pacepa, who defected to the United States in the late 1970s, said in a May 2015 interview with the Catholic News Agency:

The movement was born in the KGB, and it had a KGB-invented name: Liberation Theology. During those years, the KGB had a penchant for "liberation" movements. The National Liberation Army of Columbia (FARC), created by the KGB with help from Fidel Castro; the "National Liberation Army of Bolivia, created by the KGB with help from "Che" Guevara; and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), created by the KGB with help from Yasser Arafat are just a few additional "liberation" movements born at the Lubyanka -- the headquarters of the KGB.

The birth of Liberation Theology was the intent of a 1960 super-secret "Party-State Dezinformatsiya Program" approved by Aleksandr Shelepin, the chairman of the KGB, and by Politburo member Aleksey Kirichenko, who coordinated the Communist Party's international policies. This program demanded that the KGB take secret control of the World Council of Churches (WCC), based in Geneva, Switzerland, and use it as cover for converting Liberation Theology into a South American revolutionary tool. The WCC was the largest international ecumenical organization after the Vatican, representing some 550 million Christians of various denominations throughout 120 countries.


Those promoting Liberation Theology work hand in sickle with others who claim Jesus held communist beliefs and that Christians should embrace communism. They claim passages such as

Luke 18:22, where Jesus says to the rich ruler, "Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me" show Jesus teaching communism. And, in Acts 4:32, they say the Bible gives the example of the early Believers practicing communism when it says, "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common."

So, does the Bible teach communism or not?

To answer that question, let's look at a parable that Jesus taught in Matthew's Gospel. Now, parables are short little stories, generally revolving around some common, relatable event or situation, used to teach spiritual truths. While each parable usually has a central theme or truth, oftentimes you'll find other interesting and informative nuggets that you can bring out.

In this parable, the vineyard owner hires a number of workers at various times of the day and then pays them all a day's wages at the end of the day. Jesus begins the parable in Matthew 20:1-5:

For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

We see at the start of the parable that Jesus is teaching about the kingdom of heaven, composed of those who respond to the Gospel message. The householder, the owner of the vineyard, is analogous to Christ, the vineyard to the kingdom of heaven, and the laborers to those who heed the Lord's call to salvation. Those who respond, regardless of the time of life or moment in history, go to work in the vineyard and are justly rewarded for their labors as the householder sees fit.

Looking at some of the details of this parable, however, yields some other nuggets of truth. For instance, in verse two, Jesus notes that the householder agreed with the first set of laborers hired early in the morning to pay a penny for the day's labor. A penny does not sound like much to us today but here it represents a day's wages. In other words, a fair day's wages for a fair day's work.

As the parable progresses, Jesus says that the householder makes several more trips to the marketplace to hire workers throughout the course of the day. Matthew 20:3-5 says:

And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.

Let me interject a quick note on how the Jews marked the time of the day. Because they had no clocks, the time of day was marked by the position of the sun. Sunrise was always considered to be 6 AM and sunset was 6 PM. Noon, or 12 PM, would always be at midday when the sun was at its highest. Midmorning, or 9 AM, would be when the sun was halfway between sunrise and noon, and midafternoon, 3 PM, would be midway between noon and sunset. The remaining morning and afternoon hours were estimated by considering the sun's position in the sky relative to the more easily determined hours. In addition, since the day was always divided into 12 hours, sunset, or 6 PM, was always the 12th hour of the day. Therefore, 9 AM was the 3rd hour of the day, 12 PM was the 6th, and 3 PM was the 9th.

Consequently, we see that the householder went out to hire laborers early in the morning and again at midmorning, noon, and again at midafternoon. However, the only ones that he explicitly agreed to pay a day's wages to were those he hired first. The rest were merely promised, "Whatsoever is right I will give you."

Finally, toward the end of the day, the householder goes back to the marketplace and hires a few more workers. Jesus says in Matthew 20:6-7:

And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.

Now, notice what the marketplace was. It was a place where merchants, craftsmen, farmers, and others offered up their wares for sale or trade. In addition, workers offered up their services to those who needed laborers. It was a free market where people freely negotiated for mutually acceptable exchanges of money or other goods and services, including labor. The government was not involved in the negotiations, nor did Jesus condemn or criticize the practice.

Jesus continues his parable in Matthew 20:8-10 by saying that the owner of the vineyard began to pay his workers at the end of the day:

So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.

Notice that, regardless of what time they went to work in the vineyard, every man received a penny, that is, a day's wages. At first, this might seem to illustrate Karl Marx's precept, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." However, the following verses, Matthew 20:13-15, quickly dispose of that idea:

But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

In the previous passage, the workers who had been hired earlier supposed that since those hired later in the day received a penny, they should receive more. The vineyard owner, however, points out that they had agreed with him to provide a day's labor for a day's wages. In doing so, they -- the workers and the householder -- had effectually entered into a contractual relationship. To not provide the wages agreed upon would be to defraud the workers and, likewise, to demand more than the agreed upon wages would be to defraud the owner.

Furthermore, the vineyard owner recognizes that the money earned by the workers was no longer his money. It was now, because of their prior agreement of a day's wages for a day's labor, their money and so he says, "Take that thine is, and go thy way". But he reminds the workers that they had no moral or legal claim on any of his money beyond the day's wages that they had agreed upon, "Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?"

Not only did Jesus recognize the contractual agreements between the vineyard owner and the laborers in this parable, He also recognized the validity of private property, in this case money. If Jesus had favored communism over the free market, then surely He would not have used lines such as "Take that thine is, and go thy way" and "Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?"

In addition to recognizing contractual agreements and private property, Jesus also illustrates the importance of being morally responsible in our dealings with others. As I mentioned earlier, the parable illustrates the moral responsibility of avoiding fraud, both on the part of the workers and the owner, echoing His previous statement in Mark 10:19, "Defraud not".

But moral responsibility does not end with honest dealings with one another. Moral responsibility also extends to having compassion on others. In this parable, the householder found men who had been waiting around all day in the marketplace, hoping to find work. After ascertaining that they had wanted to work, but no man had hired them, he sent them to work in his vineyard in the last part of the day promising to give them "whatsoever is right".

At the end of the day, Jesus says that the householder gave to each of them a full day's wage. Although Jesus does not expressly say so in the parable, it is apparent that the householder chooses to give a full day's wage to each of the workers, regardless of the time of day they had been hired. In doing so, the householder is showing compassion on the workers. He did not owe any but those hired at the first hour a full day's wages, but he knew that the men he hired throughout the day had families that were dependent on them. So, the vineyard owner, who was apparently a man of some wealth, chose of his own volition to be a blessing to the men he had hired. In his compassion, without government coercion or confiscation, he made a private decision to use his wealth to help others who were less fortunate than himself. In doing so, he becomes the consummate example of Galatians 6:10:

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Now, if Jesus really was a communist, wouldn't He have said something in this parable about the householder not deserving his wealth? That it should have been taken and divided, along with his vineyard, among the workers? After all, that is what communism demands, that the collective take "from each according to his ability", to give, as the collective see fit, "to each according to his needs." Unfortunately, throughout the history of the world, whenever and wherever this principle has been put in practice, the collective eventually runs out of people with means to take and begins to run a surplus of those with needs that they are unable to meet.

The Bible talks a lot about having compassion and about helping one another. For instance, the Old Testament laws regarding how to harvest your fields prohibited harvesting the corners or going back to pick up grain that had been dropped in the field. That grain was made available to the poor to glean for their own use. In fact, in the book of Ruth, we find Boaz having compassion on Ruth, ordering his workmen, in Ruth 2:15-16, to "…Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not." Boaz did not need some kind of socialistic, Marxist-Leninist, communist group to step in and say, "We're going to take from your means and give to her needs. We're going to confiscate your money and your grain to give to those who need it more than you."

Another example can be seen among the early Christians in Acts 2:44-45 and in Acts 4:32-35:

And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many 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.

Communists frequently point to these two passages as proof that the Bible teaches communism and the early Believers practiced it. Nothing could be further from the truth! Instead, this passage actually reveals the great love that the early Christians had for each other.

Remember, many Jews had travelled to Jerusalem for the holy days. They came, according to Acts 2:9-11, from Parthia, Media, Elam, Mesopotamia, Judaea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Libya, Rome, Crete, and Arabia. While there, they heard the Gospel message and embraced Jesus Christ as their Messiah and Saviour. Many of these new Believers stayed in and around Jerusalem to be a part of this new work of God. Unfortunately, for some of them their money and supplies had run out and they had no immediate means of support. The local Believers, moved with compassion, freely chose to pool their resources, even selling some of their own possessions and goods, in order to help their fellow Believers.

In fact, the sad case of Ananias and Sapphira, that follows in Acts chapter 5, disproves the claim that the early Believers practiced communism. We read in Acts 5:1-5:

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

Ananias and Sapphira were not struck dead for refusing to give up their money. They were struck dead because they lied to the church and to the Holy Ghost. They falsely claimed to be giving all the money they had sold their possession for when they were actually only giving some of it. In fact, Peter, when rebuking Ananias, recognized their rights to their property and to the money that they sold it for, saying, "Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?"

In each of these cases, the householder in the Lord's parable, Boaz in the book of Ruth, and the early Christians in Jerusalem, we see examples of free market capitalism tempered with compassion and love for fellow man meeting the needs of people. They had their own money, their own lands, their own businesses, and they were possessed with the ethic of working to labor to not only take care of themselves, but to also help others that had need. We do not see communism and its mandate to take from those that have, to give to those who don't.

Communism is not in the Bible. It is ungodly and unscriptural. But capitalism alone is not enough. It needs to be tempered with a Biblical worldview. It needs Christianity. Capitalism needs godly people who look to Jesus Christ and the Bible to be effective. Without it, capitalism, like every other economic system, collapses due to man's greed and abuse. Or, as Psalm 127:1 puts it:

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.