In a discussion, I can’t locate right now, I accused Dan Trabue of equating Jesus message with class warfare. Now we have some disagreements, but that accusation was and is unfair and wrong … and I apologize.

Mr Trabue is far more comfortable with Marxist Liberation theology than is healthy for anyone, err, than I. Particularly seeing as how I think, and I think I can support, the idea that Marxism is inextricably linked with genocide. But that is no reason to connect Mr Trabue to a line of thinking that link  Jesus teachings on charity to the poor, via Liberation theology to Marxism and thereby conclude that Mr Trabue thinks that Jesus commends class warfare. So, no I don’t believe that Mr Trabue thinks that the outworking of Jesus theology is Holodomor.

Mr Traube holds his beliefs out (see comment 10 in the above linked item) for us all to review so we might examine our differences. I’m going to list these items and remark on some of them in the hopes of exploring in a gracious way, our differences.

1. We are saved by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus. Not by works.

Now a lot of theological fire is held in abeyance in this statement. Catholics affirm it, yet they continue by noting that faith without works is dead … so by logical inference works are required as well, but the works don’t save us, Christ does. Works are the evidence of our faith. Paul also notes works without faith avail us not in Romans.

2. We are not saved merely by believing in Jesus (”yeah, he was a good guy, son of God, that’s all cool”) – even the demons believe, we’re told – but by believing in Jesus and his teachings, the Way he told us to live. By embracing that as the Right and Good Way, by asking for forgiveness when we get it wrong and trusting in God to help us follow in those steps.

Sacramental efficacy? Baptism into life, “all who are Baptized into Christ have put on Christ” is sung at times in Orthodox liturgy. Fasting, prayer, confession, repentance, charity, and the liturgy are the ways in which we follow that way. We don’t ask forgiveness “when we get it wrong” because we always get it wrong. We must pray continually, ask forgiveness continually, etc.

4. Because we’re flawed humans, we don’t always get it right. Sometimes we misunderstand the Bible. Sometimes, our reasoning is off. Thankfully, we are saved by God’s Grace.

What has been accepted by Ecumenical council and received by the Church catholic are how we judge the correctness of our interpretation. See also St. John Cassian on discernment transmitting the wisdom of the Desert.

5. The Bible has clear teachings – consistently throughout the whole of the Bible – about wealth and poverty. To ignore them is foolishness

I agree. I just think the teachings on our attitude toward God, our repentance are more important. That is the crux of our argument.

6. One of the consistent gists of biblical teachings on wealth and poverty is that God is especially concerned for the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized. God clearly loves us all, but consistently throughout the Bible, God says, “woe to those who’d mistreat the poor.” God never in all of the Bible says such about the rich, the powerful and the mainstream. There are lessons to be learned there.

“woe to those who’d mistreat the poor”? Where? Just curious. On the “never says that about the rich” I don’t know what is meant by that. St. John Chrysostom taught that the rich should help the poor as part of charity and the poor for their part in charity should pray for the rich. I think that is right.

7. The lesson, though, isn’t that God is a class warrior or a mere marxist – playing the rich against the poor. Again, God loves us all. Rich and poor. God wants what’s best for us all.

“God wants what’s best for us all.” Which is that we are holy, priestly, God-fearing people.

8. This world is a world of abundance and plenty, with plenty for all – providing that some don’t overconsume resources and especially that they don’t do so by “false scales,” “buying land upon land,” etc. i.e., providing that people don’t oppress others by systems or methods that are designed to take advantage of people to one’s own benefit.

?! See my prior post.

9. Both Marxism and capitalism are flawed human constructs – ways of dealing with matters of economy. Neither is perfect and, in fact, both have quite potentially large flaws. My personal inclination is towards a regulated capitalism. I think Marxism is difficult to pull off well on the large scale.

Marxism is evil incarnate. Slavoj Zizek writes that Lenin is to Marx and Marxism and Paul is to Christ and Christianity. You cannot have one without the other. Marxism implies genocide. Marxism was “pulled off” just fine by Mao and Lenin. The result speaks for itself.

10. Because I recognize the reality of the large number of verses dealing with wealth and poverty, because I point out that James said, “Is it not the rich who are exploiting you?” or that Jesus said, “it is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom,” doesn’t mean much beyond that I’m pointing them out and that I believe that what Jesus and James and the prophets and all the other writers of the Bible had to say is important.

I’m not disputing that. I’m disputing your comfort level with Marxism and your theological elevation of poverty/charity in the Gospel.

Filed under: ChristianityMark O.OrthodoxProtestantismReligion

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