‘Christian’ Socialist Outrage Over Minimum Wage Column
My column, “Christ Would Not Vote to Increase the Minimum Wage!” produced an avalanche of Socialists’ outrage almost as bad as my no poodles in Paradise columns did.
It seems the “animals in Heaven” crowd are similar to Socialists (even Christian Socialists) in that they don’t have the ability or aspiration to think.
There is no doubt that in the Matt. 20 parable, Christ endorsed private ownership of property; the right to use one’s property as he chooses; the right to hire and fire as an employer desires; the right to contract–all epitomized with the employer’s question, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?”
Christ approved the above when he told of an employer who hired men to work starting at various hours of the day but at day’s end paid them all the same wage. The wage was one penny or Roman denarius, equal to a day’s pay for a worker or soldier.
Christ was informing His listeners that grace is extended without merit of the workers. Those men who worked all day thought they deserved to be paid more than those laborers who only worked a few hours. Christ was saying that it was not the laborers’ decision to make.
Our rewards will be decided by Him not what humans think is “fair.” God can be as generous as He wants without any accountability to others. Most of the workers in the parable did not deserve a full day’s wage and none of us deserve His abundant grace.
In chapter 19 Christ had spoken to His disciples about the rewards in the future kingdom that would be given as He chose. His original disciples were with Him from the first but others would follow and be rewarded according to His sovereign grace. The Apostle Paul came along later yet according to II Cor. 11:5 he declared, “For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.”
It is a fact that Christ used the workplace example to express His position on the treatment of people whatever the time of coming to faith and service. To suggest that He used an unworthy example (that was wrong) to make a spiritual application is outrageous.
He would never use an illegitimate principle or practice to teach a pious truth. He approved of hiring men to work and paying them for their work even if other men worked fewer hours and received the same wages. And He expected them to be satisfied with their agreement.
Critics declared that the Bible does not teach free enterprise and capitalism and self-reliance and keeping of contracts, but they are wrong. As to the Book of Acts and the early Christians selling everything and holding everything common, that was the outworking of generous Christians who saw a need and fulfilled it, rather than a command by the Apostles to do so.
Obviously, everyone did not do it, and Peter told Ananias and Sapphira that their property was their own to do as they saw fit. On the Cross, Christ told John to take His mother to his “home.”
Obviously, the early Christians were not “Communists” as shallow, leftwing theologians teach. This early Christian generosity was totally voluntary as wealthier Christians saw new believers from far away who stayed longer in Jerusalem than they had planned.
Since they had trusted Christ whom the Jews had crucified, the foreign visitors could no longer expect the usual accommodations from the Jews. So a few generous, well to do Christians sold their property and met the temporary need but there was no command to do so. It was an act of love by individuals, not compulsion by the government.
Furthermore, they were soon to be thrust out of Jerusalem to all points of the earth so they would not need homes and other property. And persecution was coming; after all, their Savior had been crucified and they had been behind closed doors in fear.
Evidently, my critics think it is “Christian” for the state to tell a businessman how he must run his business. They think government is the answer when it is the problem. They think it is right for the workers to support the shirkers and for union bosses to wring dollars from hapless workers.
Some of my critics mentioned Christ’s command to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, and care for the sick as if that has anything to do with whether He would endorse the minimum wage. Most people mistakenly take what we are supposed to do as individual Christians to be the role of the government!
It is not government’s role to provide for the poor but to create an environment of peace, justice, few regulations, and low taxation where the poor can provide for themselves.
One outraged writer suggested that I “should stick to religion and stay out of economics.” However the Bible is full of economics since that is basic to human existence.
I was accused of taking Christ’s parable out of context to “try and prove Jesus’ capitalistic tendencies.” The shallow critic then resorted to the “communism” in Acts as proof of the anti-capitalism in Scripture! He failed in his attempt.
The issue of the minimum wage is not about “stinginess” but about personal rights as opposed to government intrusion into an area where it has no legitimate authority. My critics did not know that the daily wage given in the parable was not “stinginess” but the normal wage for that time. All the workers in the parable were generously paid.
Of course Jesus told us to “feed the hungry, care for the sick, etc.,” but He did not tell government to do it. Moreover, a businessman is in business to make money, pay his bills, provide employment, etc., without being controlled by an ever-growing government. One told me that Christ’s ministry was all about justice but that is not true.
Christ’s ministry was all about providing a way of salvation for lost sinners. Then, when men are redeemed they will love the poor, the disadvantaged, and the helpless. Uninformed or misinformed people want to make Christ about doing good, but His purpose was to make men good thereby changing society.
One critic charged that Jesus was “explicitly in favor of radical redistribution” as suggested in Luke 18:22; however, that is a twisted interpretation of that incident.
That passage was a specific command to a young man who needed to hear that command. Obviously, it was not a command for general “radical redistribution” of money. After all, if EVERY Christian gave away EVERYTHING he owned, how would he feed his family?
How would he pay his mortgage? How would he pay for his new chariot and his wife’s used chariot?
Furthermore, Paul admonished us not to provide for the one who could work but refused to work to provide for himself. Those were commanded “that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread” II Thess. 3:10-12.
Christ demands that Christians treat others fairly; however, the government has no such authority. It is none of the government’s business how much one pays another.
The minimum wage is socialist, authoritarian, immoral, unfair, impractical, and always detrimental to threshold workers. Shallow socialists seeking to do good always end up doing bad.
No, Christ would not vote to increase the minimum wage and if you want a maximum wage then develop maximum skills.
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