Letter Bag: Does the Bible Promote Liberalism?

Well sports fans, it's time for the Biblical Conservatism Letter Bag! Although this time we got something very, very rare: A legitimate question and not anonymous to boot! So, unlike previous Letter Bag posts where I get to make up a fun nickname, we're going to answer this one straight:

I happened upon your website when I googled the bible and conservatism. I googled the subject because I attend church with god loving people who are sometimes pretty liberal. What do you say when people bring up the redistribution of wealth is supported by Jesus because of scriptures such as "give all you have to the poor and follow me" then they don't and then Jesus says "it's harder to get a rich man in heaven than a camel to go through the eye of a needle". Like you I am a Christian conservative, but I find myself having to defend conservatism more and more even with church friends. Also, do you recommend some reading material on this subject?

Thank you for your time,


Dear Daryl:

It's definitely a claim a lot of liberals like to make. Most are Neighborhood Liberalswho mean well but just don't understand the line between Jesus' command to care for the poor and the Left's attempt to say government should care for everyone.

I ask them "Show me the part in the Bible where Jesus says 'give your money to the government, and let the government care for the poor.' "

Of course, there is no such passage!  Which is particularly interesting considering that the government in Christ’s time was, at least partially, the church!

Let’s look at God’s original plan to care for the poor:

When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 18:9-10

And here’s another example:

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the LORD your God. -  Leviticus 23:22

It’s interesting that there’s no mention of the government taking care of the poor, am I right?

That's because Jesus didn't command us to let government take care of the poor, but rather instructed US to directly care for them. In the time of Jesus it meant giving alms. Today, the practical application is largely through giving to our churches and other charities, not the government, although directly providing for those in need is also possible. 

I suspect you're dealing largely with what I refer to as "Neighborhood Liberals."  Neighborhood

Liberals tend to see only the compassionate intention of government programs, rather than the results. They legitimately care, but don't bother to look at the results of these big government programs.

As far as the supposed Biblical railing on wealth, ask them if they think Abraham entered the Kingdom of Heaven? How about King David? There were many heroes of the faith who God blessed with wealth.

The Bible never says wealth is evil, but only the LOVE of money.  Not only that, but there is tremendous hypocrisy on the Left on this subject. They claim the Constitution has a "Separation of Church and State" which by the way is not in the Constitution at all) but then want to use Biblical principles to push their agenda.

It is indeed frustrating!

Ultimately, if you’re dealing with a Neighborhood Liberal, ask them if they want to see the poor actually helped, and then explain the complete failures of liberal programs to actually HELP the poor. Conservatives DO want to help the poor. We just want to ACTUALLY HELP THE POOR, not just give them free benefits that never lift them out of poverty. We don’t want to set a bunch of money on fire in an effort to help without actually helping.

Furthermore, the Bible is not a socially liberal document by today’s standards (although it certainly was in its own day).  The woman caught in adultery was not told “Neither do I condemn you, go and keep doing exactly what you were doing because that’s who you are.” She was told “Neither do I condemn you, go and SIN NO MORE.”

The liberal mentality is “everything you’re doing is fine, period,” and “to love the person, you must love their actions.” This is not the Biblical mentality AT ALL. The Bible preaches “love the sinner, hate the sin” and “go and sin no more.” Despite what liberals will tell you, the Bible doesn’t promote the liberal mentality of “if it feels good, do it.”

Ultimately, the Bible is not, nor has it ever been a liberal book. Attempts to do otherwise are either Neighborhood Liberals are misguided enough to believe that compassion equals government spending or Activist Liberals who want to falsely convince people to follow their mentalities.

Daryl, thanks for writing and for reading!