Even though the Bible does not teach socialism, the Bible does teach us to have social responsibilities. The same Lord who said, “to everyone who has, more shall be given” also said “to the extent you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, you have did it to me.” The New Testament places strong moral values on compassion for the needy.
Thanks to the influence of Judeo-Christian values, the Western world was instilled with compassion for the needy, which separated it from the rest of the world. Ancient pagan religions offered no motive for helping the needy. Romans were ruthless and offered no compassion for the less fortunate. In contrast, the early Christians held to the Jewish belief that all people are created in the image of God. Hebrew society had many ways of making provision for the needy. They gave alms to the poor and purposely did not harvest all that was in the fields so the poor could have the rest.
Christians cared for widows, orphans and the poor. This came from their Jewish roots but also the standard Jesus set by the life he lived, many times interacting and helping the downtrodden. In the book of Acts, the early Christians took care of the needy. Deacons were assigned to care for the widows. Tertullian wrote how Christians voluntarily contributed to a common fund to help the poor. Justin Martyr wrote about collections taken during church services for orphans.
Throughout the 2,000 years of Western history, Christians have been at the forefront of building hospitals and running orphanages. YMCA and YWCA (Young Men’s/Women’s Christian Association) are institutions founded with Christian ethics to alleviate suffering, provide help, etc. Christians founded the United Way in 1887. Henri Dunant (1828-1910) founded the International Red Cross in Switzerland in 1864. Free market, capitalist nations from the West, that have been influenced by Judeo-Christian values, give multiple billions of dollars every year to help the poor around the world.
As Harold Eberle says, “The Judeo-Christian ethic was one of benevolent capitalism. People worked hard, lived frugally, saved and gave.”
Source: Compassionate Capitalism – A Judeo-Christian Value by Harold Eberle, 2010, Worldcast Publishing.