Was Jesus a Capitalist?

Johnnie Moore, author of a new book called “Dirty God,” wrote an article on FoxNews examining how Jesus “was, is and would be a capitalist” if he were dropped into America today.  He begins by writing, “It would not surprise me if Jesus recruited his disciple Matthew, Capernaum’s chief tax collector, just to get one more taxman off the street.”

Well, that goes against the oft-repeated claim that — if he were here today — Jesus would be some sort of wealth  redistributionist, hanging out in Union Square in a tent with the Occupy Wall Street crowd.

Moore states three reasons for his belief.

1.  First, Jesus encouraged his followers to exclusively practice voluntary, personal charity.

2. Secondly, in two awfully capitalistic moments, Jesus once stated outright that “a worker deserves his wages (Luke 10:7),” and delivered an entire parable praising the profitable, investment strategy of some workers while condemning the single man who didn’t make a profit as “wicked and lazy.”

3. Thirdly, Jesus didn’t see the government as the answer to society’s greatest moral and social ills. In fact, up until the very end of his life, he fought against his own disciples who were imagining a revolution that would end in Jesus being set up as an earthly king.

What do you think? Read his full piece here.

This article first appeared on National Review.

About Nancy French

Nancy French is a three time New York Times Best Selling Author.

  • http://byzantium.wordpress.com Kullervo

    Capitalism as a concept rests on many Enlightenment ideas about ethics and property–there are a whole lot more premises that capitalism rests on besides “government noninterference in commerce.” As 21st-century Americans, we take these ideas for granted, but that doesn’t actually mean that they are self-evident.

    Mind, I’m not criticizing capitalism at all by saying this. But showing that Jesus’s teachings and actions were not incompatible with Capitalism does not get you even halfway to “Jesus would be a capitalist.”

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  • Joe Canner

    Re Moore’s point 2:

    1. Luke 10:7 is referring to the 72 itinerant evangelists, so I’m not sure what it has to do with capitalism. But if we’re going to take it out of context, it sounds a lot more like a pro-labor statement than a pro-corporate one. Putting all similar verses on the subject together, the Bible is certainly anti-laziness, but also strongly supportive of workers getting paid fairly for their work.

    2. Given that charging interest was not allowed in Judaism, it is not clear that the various parables about wise workers obtaining profits for their masters by charging interest actually mean what they have traditionally been understood to mean. Moreover, looking at other economic laws in the OT reveals other practices that don’t square with capitalism: e.g., releasing slaves and returning land used to pay a debt to it’s original owner.