Evangelicals are lining up at the door trying to make the case that Jesus is all about a socialistic government that makes everyone equal. One of the stupidest articles I’ve seen in a long time is an article recently published at the Christian Post by Micael Grenholm titled How would Jesus respond to global hunger? In the article, while he doesn’t use the word “socialism,” Grenholm argues that Jesus taught a form of socialism based on the story of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:19-31.
Of Lazarus and the rich man, Grenholm writes,
Even if the rich man had helped other poor people already, even if he had created hundreds of jobs for others, he still had no excuse for ignoring Lazarus when he is right outside his gate. He had no excuse to abstain from helping this one beggar if he could afford to buy fine linen. Jesus made sure that His audience understood the immorality and greed of the rich man: when Lazarus dies, he goes to Abraham’s side, while the rich man goes to Hades
Nobody in the history of the Church, no serious commentator, has ever walked away from this passage believing that it taught socialism or that even the reason for the rich man entering Hades was because he ignored the needs of Lazarus outside of his gate. That is simply not the point of this passage. The point of this passage is to open our eyes to the seriousness of our spiritual state before God and the urgency to repent and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Grenholm argues that the main cause of their misery is poverty.
The main cause of their misery is poverty. They can’t afford good food and fresh water, and their governments, friends, or churches do not provide it for them. 98 percent of all who suffer from undernourishment live in the majority world, which generally is much poorer than countries with predominantly white populations.
This is simply false, unbiblical, and even outright heresy. The cause of misery is not poverty — poverty is a product of sin. The main cause of misery is sin and the only way to eradicate misery is the gospel. Social justice is not the gospel, it’s heresy, and those, like Grenholm, who continue to perpetuate it are far more in danger of losing their souls to Hades than a rich man. Why? Because Jesus himself said that “with God, all things are possible” (Mark 10:27) — even a rich man entering the Kingdom of God.
Grenholm continues to argue that “the richest one percent of the world’s population have twice as much money than 6.9 billion people” and “if everybody lived like the average American, we would need four planets.” This argumentation is more than theological liberalism — it’s demonic. It’s twisting the Word of God to create something that God never taught.
Jesus did not come to create equality or institute social justice. The Scriptures do teach a man deserves his wages for his work, however (1 timothy 5:18). But the Scriptures also teach that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). In fact, the only wages any of us deserve is death. But, thankfully, Jesus did not come to give us the wages we deserve — he came to pay the wages for us.
This isn’t to say that we should not be concerned with the poor and the hungry. We should. Jesus clearly does care about these people. But our mission as a church is not to send the world to Hell on a full belly, it’s to take the gospel of saving grace to the ends of the world.
Jesus did not come to address “global inequality,” — we’re already equally depraved in the eyes of God. Instead, he came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10) and to be the bread of life (John 6:35) and then sent his disciples out to feed His sheep with that bread (John 21:17).