Understanding The Truth About Socialism – With Erwin Lutzer: Is socialism God’s design? Does it even work well in the real world? Can socialism create wealth…or does it create shortages? What should Christians be saying to the culture in these times? Is government equipped to be God? Tune in to hear Erwin Lutzer explain how we must and can be true salt and light in these pivotal days!
Air Date: 07/21/2021
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith and the Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live. Thanks for joining us today where we take on the hot topics of the day, looking at all of those topics from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. I’m here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and our founder here at WallBuilders, Tim Barton is a national speaker and pastor impression of WallBuilders, and my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach.
Later in the program, Erwin Lutzer will be back with us, he’s a pastor with a new book out called “We Will Not Be Silenced”. He was on yesterday. If you missed that, you can get it at wallbuilderslive.com today in the archive section.
And by the way, at that website, wallbuilderslive.com, you can also get archives of our Foundations of Freedom Thursday programs, our Good News Friday programs, other interviews, and that’s the place where you can make that one time or monthly contribution. Thanks for coming alongside us financially. We’re a listener-supported program, so we greatly appreciate all of you out there that are supporting us.
God bless you for locking shields with us. There’s other ways you can get involved. You can share the program, share those links. You can host Constitution classes in your home or at your church. There’s a lot of ways that you can be part of making a difference and be a catalyst for restoring these biblical values in your community.
So David, and Tim, we got Pastor Lutzer back. Tim, you had a chance to interview him out at National Religious Broadcasters a week or so ago. Man, there was a lot of folks there. That was pretty much everybody in the Christian media business.
Yeah. There were a lot of people there from the Christian media industry. There were different TV personalities from Christian media. There were different movies, actually, that the guys from Chosen, a TV series, were there. And for those who don’t know the series Chosen, really well done series…
Wait a minute. You got to meet the disciples?
Well, you know, in a manner of speaking maybe kind of, definitely got to meet some of the cast from the movie Chosen, and certainly lots of radio personalities, got to interview a lot of people, got to be on a lot of shows and talk with a lot of people. So it was a really fun time to connect with a lot of people who are in kind of a similar mindset in the industry that we’re trying to do things to encourage believers throughout the nation to stand up for biblical faith to get involved.
Obviously, at WallBuilders, we do things that are a little different level of focusing a lot on the historic, the Constitution, and the biblical perspective where oftentimes, you have different people in that kind of the media sphere that will focus on one or the other. So we are a little bit unique in that niche. Nonetheless, it was really fun to be able to connect with these guys.
And, you know, we got to listen to a part of an interview with Dr. Lutzer that we did just previously. And we talked about his book that We Will Not Be Silenced book. And there’s a lot of answers there for a lot of what’s happening in culture.
And one of the things that it was really interesting after we finished the interview, he said, hey, do you have more time? And I said, well, absolutely. And of course, Dr. Lutzer is a pastor who is been in the ministry for a lot of years.
And so definitely appreciate and respect what he’s done for so many years. And he said, hey, we didn’t really get into socialism. And there’s a lot more we need to talk about. There’s a lot more Christians need to understand. We need to spend some time doing this. And I thought, well, yes, let’s spend more time and certainly, the socialism issue is a big deal in our culture.
Scripture and Socialism
Guys, there’s a lot of Christians who are even kind of buying into the wrong side of this argument or thought of socialism, thinking that there are some Christian ideas with socialism. And certainly, there are verses that if you don’t understand all the context, or if you apply them in a certain way, you could argue in favor of socialism. But certainly, that the totality of Scripture and really the vast majority of the Bible, there’s so many verses we can point to that do not support socialism.
And yet it seems that far too few Christians actually know what the Bible says, and certainly don’t support the biblical position of the actually the free market or individual responsibility. And so it is something important that we spend time discussing, especially for the rising generations to see that socialism is not God’s design, and it does not work well in reality.
Yeah, and all you got to do is look at any nation that has adopted, it destroys a culture, it destroys progress, and prosperity and all of those things. And so being able to get the biblical view on this can hopefully help us avoid those pitfalls. There’s so many in the country trying to move towards that because we’ve moved away from the Bible over the last four or five decades, it hasn’t had the same influence in the culture.
So “We Will Not Be Silenced” is an opportunity for us to talk about what Christians should be saying to the culture, how we should be better salt and light and actually infusing biblical knowledge into our neighborhoods, our communities, our states, and our nation.
And so let’s head back out to NRB and we’ll pick up the other half of your interview with Pastor Lutzer. The book again, “We Will Not Be Silenced”, you can find out more at our website today at wallbuilderslive.com. We’ll be at NRB with Tim Barton.
Tim Interviews Erwin Lutzer
We are back with Pastor Erwin Lutzer. And Pastor, you have written a phenomenal book called, “We Will Not Be Silenced”, where you have addressed a lot of the cultural issues that are plaguing not only America, but also the church. You’ve offered responses to Christians in the midst of this. But one of the topics you cover in the book that I really would like to talk with you about today is the issue of socialism.
And we see right now, not only in American culture, embracing some of these notions, but even inside the church, we see this notion of socialism being embraced and even promoted on some levels. So if you would, maybe unfold for us a little bit in your book, “We Will Not Be Silenced”, what points are you communicating on socialism, and what response should we have as Christians?
People might say, well, you know, the Bible is ambiguous regarding economic theory and all that. Okay. Americans give $400 billion a year to charity. You can go to any country of the world and most gospel ministries are fueled by American money.
So if America falls, it is not just America, it is also these other ministries. So we should be very interested in having a stable economy that works. Now for socialism, have you ever noticed that socialists never talk about creating wealth, they always talk about how to divide it? And the reason for that is because socialism cannot create wealth.
What happens is, let’s suppose we have a pie here, and let us suppose that I divided up equally, because what we really want is income equality. And so I divided up equally, but when the pie is gone, why then indeed there’s no more pie? The only thing that government can do is to make a pie by creating more money.
And today, of course, it is done by computers: you simply move the decimal point over one or two paces, and there you create billions of dollars. Okay? The problem is that brings inflation and so forth.
Socialism Creates Scarcity, Not Supply
Now, having said that, it says Margaret Thatcher so accurately said, pretty soon you run out of other people’s money, and then, of course, all that the government can do. Now, my wife and I were in Russia in the mid-1980s where they had income equality. People have to realize this, that when you work in a socialist country, the money that you earn is not yours, it belongs to the state. And the state divvies it up according to fairness and equality.
So we discovered that doctors in the hospital were paid very little more than some of the other people who did work in the hospital. Is it any wonder that they had a great shortage of doctors? Of course, because of income, equality.
You know, the Bible does not teach socialism. God is not a socialist. We should shout that from the housetops. He did not treat Hammurabi the way in which he treated Abraham. He gave special dibs to Abraham, because God does whatever God wants to do. And you and I can just be thankful that we are the recipients of undeserved grace.
Jesus tells a parable. And in the parable, he says, you know, there’s one man who was given 10 talents, another 5, another 3, another 2, another 1, was Jesus saying, boy, I’m giving this as an illustration of unfairness? This is what happens in a capitalistic society where you have all of these disparities.
No. Jesus was teaching something else. We are going to be judged on the basis of what we were given.
And therefore, the man who created a lot of wealth, you know, he was given 10 cities, the other one was given 5 and so forth, it was all divvied up in accordance with faithfulness. And even the man who had only one talent could do very well if he was faithful with what God gave him.
Now, of course, we should work toward equality of opportunity, I get that. But we cannot work toward the whole idea of somehow equality in terms of the outcome.
This is so critical that people need to understand and of course, there are those who say, well, in Acts chapter 5 and 4, you know, they had socialism. Totally wrong. I point that out in the book that obviously the land that Ananias and Sapphira had was there as either to keep or to sell or to sell and keep the money.
It was there lying that got them into trouble. And aren’t you glad that God doesn’t treat people today the way he did them, or we would have to have as one pastor says, a morgue, in the basement of our church.
Looking at the Kibbutz
But here’s the point, maybe I can at this point quote Churchill. “The great vice of capitalism is the unequal distribution of blessings. The great virtue of socialism is the equal distribution of misery.” He said. Now let’s talk about a Kibbutz in Israel.
They decided we’re going to run this Kibbutz on the basis of socialistic principles. Everybody gets paid the same. Everything is paid for. You eat in the dining room, you know, and you live there, and you all work together, and I’ll get paid the same.
And Pastor, right, to clarify just for everybody listening, so the Kibbutz would be a community of people that have come together, and so in Israel, there are different Kibbutz, where and not all of them are necessarily Jewish, but there’s Kibbutz where people come together, and they agree that they’re going to equally distribute, they’re going to share. And so they’ve essentially, it’s a group of people that have chosen to live a socialistic lifestyle in their community.
And generally, and please clarify if I mess that up, but a Kibbutz, this is where literally you’re going to find a tribe or village of people. We’ve gone to Israel many times, and you’ll see sometimes off the road, a village of people, and it’s a Kibbutz, but that is where they are practicing, on some level a notion of socialism.
And also, you know, they can be farmers that work together, and so forth, or growing vegetables, but they work together as a community. You’re absolutely right. But I know about one that had to end their socialistic experiment, because they discovered, obviously, that it catered to lazy people: those who got up late in the morning got paid the same as those who got up early. People brought their dogs to the cafeteria, and fed them there, because after all, you know, the food is free.
Not only that, but they discovered that they wouldn’t have to work and they would get paid the same. And that’s why one of them said, we had to end the experiment because we discovered that it became a paradise for parasites. Now I want to throw this in at no extra cost, everything is free today.
Why is it that mice die in mouse traps? It’s because they don’t understand why the cheese is free. And whenever you give people that which is free, you always know that they take advantage of it and human nature being that way, of course, you take advantage of it.
And so as the government becomes more socialistic, turning out more money for a lack of work, what you’ll discover is a government dependency that is intentional until people depend upon the government in such a way that the government basically becomes their God, right. Because they look to the government for funds, they look to the government for protection, and that’s the way it works.
Now, you think, for example of Hitler. Hitler said in effect to the German people after the burning of the Reichstag, some people have suggested that our January 6th is the Reichstag moment. Hitler, in effect, said this. I will take away your personal freedoms, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and so forth.
But in return, I’ll give you protection, and we will have a socialistic kind of government. Remember, it was national socialism, and we’re going to have, you know, universal health care and all those other things. And so that’s what happened in that context.
The problem is that people became enslaved to the government, which is intentional. Remember that for Marx, the government is God, and they would take it up from there. So what we need to do is to recognize that oftentimes, we see that happening today where people are saying, look, we’ll take away your freedom, but it will give you security in response. Now, that too is part of the socialistic experiment.
So we have to stand against socialism. We have to explain to people why it’s wrong, though it is attractive, I mean, free college, you know, free health care, everything is free…
Socialism Has Never Worked
Sounds nice. But somebody has to pay for it. And if the government pays, they end up making money that it turns out to be monopoly money.
You know, because of my interest in Germany, somebody gave me $2 million bank note, mark note, that was published in 1947 after the war. And I laminated it and I keep it in my desk as a reminder of what happens when you have a socialistic experiment. You know, there’s a story I have to tell that, and it’s probably an apocryphal story.
But a woman went to the store to buy food, and she had a wheelbarrow full of marks, and she left it outside and people said, you know, you shouldn’t do that because people are going to steal your money. She said, no, they won’t. So she went in and shopped and she came out. And sure enough, the money was there, but the wheelbarrow was gone. So that’s where the socialistic experiment ends.
Socialism is something that historically it’s very easy to look back and recognize this is economic system that has never worked, it’s never brought prosperity, it’s never increased personal freedom. And as you pointed out, even basic biblical principles, from Luke 19, from Matthew 25, the parable of the miners, the parable of the talents, that’s not the way that when Jesus taught those parables.
And he said, the kingdom of heaven is just like this, a man we’re on a journey, and he’s explaining something that’s spiritually true, but he’s giving a practical economic example to explain the depth of the spiritual truth.
And in the end of those parables, it’s always so interesting that the master called each servant, and each servant was accountable for what they had done. In socialism, it’s not individual responsibility. In God’s kingdom, it is always individual responsibility.
So socialism will always be contrary to the biblical notion. And even as you pointed out in Acts, it’s one thing if individuals want to freely give to support the work of the ministry, to support people in need. It’s something totally different when the government comes in and compels you and you no longer have choice with your finances, with your labor, with whatever business industry property you have, something totally different.
We Will Not Be Silenced
So pastor, I’m really grateful that you wrote about this. If people want to find out more about not only the book We Will Not Be Silenced, because you cover many topics in this book, the very important two things culturally today, where can they go to find out more about your teachings as you’ve been a pastor for many decades?
They might want to hear more about some of the sermons you’ve given, some of the series you’ve done, or even some of the other books. And where can they find this book, “We Will Not Be Silenced?”
Okay. “We Will Not Be Silenced” can be found, of course, on Amazon. It can also be found at Christianbook.com, actually, wherever Christian books or books per se are sold. If they want to know more about our own ministry, and get some sermons that are free online and get blogs I’ve written they can go to Moodymedia.com, Moodymedia.com.
Also, if we had time, and maybe that will be in the distant future, the last chapter “Strengthen What Remains”, I talked about what Jesus would say to the church in America today. And the challenges are great. And the issue is not the way we look on earth, but the way we look in heaven. God bless you. And thanks for having me.
Well, Pastor, we want to get you back to have that encouragement challenge for the church. And we think that’s probably pretty prophetic chapter you wrote, considering maybe where we are as a nation. So definitely, we’d love to have you back. But moodymedia.com is where you can go to find out more, definitely look for the book, “We Will Not Be Silenced”. And we’ll be back in just a minute with David Barton and Rick Green.
The AMERICAN STORY
Hey, guys, we want to let you know about a new resource we have here at WallBuilders called The American Story. For years, people have been asking us to do a history book, and we finally done it. We start with Christopher Columbus and go roughly through Abraham Lincoln. And one of the things that that so often we hear today are about the imperfections of America, or how so many people in America that used to be celebrated or honored really aren’t good or honorable people.
One of the things we acknowledge quickly in the book is that the entire world is full of people who are sinful and need a savior, because the Bible even tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And yet what we see through history, and certainly is evident in America is how a perfect God uses imperfect people and does great things through them.
The story of America is not the story of perfect people. But you see time and time again how God got involved in the process and use these imperfect people to do great things that impacted the entire world from America. To find out more, go to wallbuilders.com and check out The American Story.
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. Back with David and Tim Barton, and I’m Rick Green. And thanks, Tim, for picking up that interview with Erwin Lutzer, Pastor Lutzer out at NRB. And the book we of course, recommend We Will Not Be Silenced”
It’s a great way for basically for Christians to get some courage too. I mean, not only to give them permission to speak truth, but to give an infusion of backbone, if you will, for the church to be salt and light and not stand back while as you said earlier, Tim, socialism that we know fails, but it’s being adopted by so many in our country.
Articulating the Truth
Well, you know, even as Dr. Lutzer was talking, he said a lot of people say the Bible doesn’t deal with socialism. Now, that’s an interesting statement. And for us we know that it does.
We know that it does on multiple verses and multiple locations and with multiple stories. As a matter of fact, we’ve learned from Rabbi Lapin that the Tower of Babel was really all about socialism and not necessarily building a tower to heaven destroy our unity. So there’s a lot of stuff there.
Here’s where I think his real significant challenge. And I was thinking about this as he was talking is, every single one of us should be able to articulate why socialism is not good. And we should be able to do it from several different perspectives. We’re at a point now where we’re wanting other people to fix the problem.
We want the government to fix it. We want schools to fix it. We want the church to fix it. No. This is time for every single individual to start rebuilding the wall to go back to the book of Nehemiah. Everybody’s got a part on that wall.
And every single individual should say, okay, from a biblical standpoint, what does the Bible say about socialism? Here’s three verses I’m going to use. From a statistical standpoint, what do we know about socialism? Here’s three facts I’m going to use.
Knowing the Scriptures
Now let’s pause for a second. So three verses we’re going to use. Okay, I’m going to start with 2 Thessalonians 3:10, if you don’t work, you don’t eat.
That’s right. And I’m going to go to 1 Timothy 5:8, that if you don’t provide for your own household, you’re worse than an infidel.
Okay. And then there’s a lot of options. I’m going to go to actually Matthew 20, which is the parable of laborers hired for work in the vineyard. And I think it’s in verse 15, where the master says, is it not lawful for me to do what I want with my own money?
Which is a rhetorical question, because the obvious answer was, yes, you have a right to do what you want your own money. But in a socialist system, you don’t, because the government takes it and they give it to where they want it to go, and you don’t have control of your own finances.
Those are just a couple. In my mind, very obvious example. So those are three verses I would point to. But if it’s statistics, okay, so where are you going first with statistics?
I would go first to the fact that in 5800 years of recorded history, there is no example of a socialistic country that has been free and prosperous. So unless you’re saying we can do something nobody else in the world has ever done, and we’re going to do better than anybody else who’s ever tried. That’s one fact I’ll point to.
So by Statistics, we mean data, right, so not just the numbers, but we’re looking at the data. So what does the data indicate? So we could look at places like Venezuela that used to be, early 2000s, they were one of the top economic nations in the world, one of the wealthiest nations in the world.
And in a matter of 10, or 12, or 15 years, they took one of the top economies in the world, and they destroyed it with the philosophy of socialism. Now we can look and we can ask the question, well, what did they do wrong? How did they miss apply socialism?
And you could try to dissect that. But the bottom line is, they sure thought they were following socialism, and it did not work well for that nation.
And another one I would throw out, and this is, again, a data point is, if you like individual liberty and if you like personal prosperity, show me any socialistic nation that’s provided those two elements of individual prosperity and personal liberty.
And maybe specifically where those elements have increased after they implemented socialism, because you might…
Or even preserved after they implement socialism.
Freedom and Prosperity
Well, absolutely, because you might get argue there’s some places over in Europe where they have freedom, and they have prosperity. Okay, but let’s define this. Because if you look in some places in Europe, and you say they have freedom and prosperity, first of all, let’s understand prosperity. If you have a 50+% tax rate, you’re not really living with prosperity on some level.
Because the government’s taking the majority of what you should be getting. So the government is actually hindering your ability to have prosperity. They’re taking your money away. And in many cases, they’re taking much more weigh in taxes than people are even earning because there’s more than a 50% tax rate and many of those nations over in Europe. So that’s just economics.
If then you look at personal freedoms, and a lot of those nations, they don’t have the freedom of speech. They don’t have the freedom of religion. They don’t have the same rights of self-defense.
The basic things that we take for granted here in America, when nations embrace socialism, people lose freedom, they lose opportunity, they lose prosperity. And so if you can show any nation where they went to socialism, and it increased personal prosperity, personal productivity.
It increased personal freedoms, that would be an anomaly. But I will point out, it’s never happened in the history of the world. And so this is something just data points, we can just look at and say, here is evidence why we can point out biblically, this is not a good idea. But also just practically, this isn’t a good idea.
And I would also say you should be able to give some historical points. And I would start with the pilgrims. I just said the pilgrims are great example.
They were socialistic when they moved to the free market, their productivity went up seven fold. Historians documents seven times more productivity after they switch from socialism to free market. But there’s other historical examples as well.
Yeah, even though Jamestown as well, Jamestown is another early colonies that actually went through what was known as a starving time, and they were a socialist colony. And there are socialism led to them literally starving to death, where you go from a roughly 500 people down to roughly 60 people at the end of the starving time. And they literally turned to cannibals and they were literally eating their own…
Now, maybe not every socialistic nation is going to eat their people. But nonetheless, it’s still you know, going into bad direction.
Well, we’re just talking about historic examples where you saw socialism unfold and such bad ways that it brought such dire poverty and turn people into really despicable positions of choices where they were choosing very bad choices. This is where biblically, that data points historically, things you can point to.
Socialism has just never been a successful idea. It’s never been a good idea. It’s never turned out well. And certainly, as a Christian, this is something we should not be advocating on any level whatsoever.
And dad, as you’re pointing out, this is where when you start to think through some of these scenarios, it should be easy to have conversations with people and help point them in a direction of truth and away from socialism recognizing how bad that philosophy and an economic system really is.
Understanding The Truth About Socialism – With Erwin Lutzer
And this is the thing where I think the challenge is for every one of us to get ourselves individually armed with enough information to persuade a neighbor to persuade his friend to persuade a teacher to persuade a sibling or whoever, we all need to be equipped. 1 Peter 3:15 says, be able to give a reason for the belief you have within you.
And if we believe socialism is wrong, man, be able to defend that. So take 15, 20, 30 minutes, whatever it takes, equip yourself with your own individual knowledge. Don’t wait for somebody else to do it. We’re going to have to all get involved and to turn this thing back the right direction.
Yeah, we can’t be that positive influence, that positive light if we don’t have the truth ourselves, we’re not going to be able to be the salt that brings out the best flavor in the culture that preserves the culture if we don’t have the truth ourselves. So you’re 100% right. We’ve got to study.
We’ve got to start investing a little bit of our time into becoming students of freedom, studying the Bible. What does it say about these things? Reading good books like this one, “We Will Not Be Silenced”? Links today at our website, get in a Constitution class, host a Constitution class, be a part of the solution. Thanks so much for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.