Sunday, November 1, 2015

Does Christianity admit of private property?

The following catechism on selfishness appeared in an article titled "Serious Questions of the Hour" in the November 1874 Shaker and Shakeress Monthly. A large portion of it was quoted in Richard T. Ely's The Labor Movement in America (1886). I have reformatted the text, breaking questions and answers into separate paragraphs.
Does Christianity admit of private property? 
It does not; never did. 
Do Christian churches permit distinctions of dress, diet, or other comforts, among the members? 
Are there any rich or poor Christians? 
None whatever. 
Why are there so many rich, and particularly why are there so many poor, in the so-called Christian churches of to-day? 
Because such churches are not Christian. 
Can these be brethren and sisters of Christ while faring so unequally? 
Why are there no rich nor poor in Christ's church? 
The formerly rich "lay down" their plenty; the formerly poor do likewise with their poverty, and hence share equally. 
Who, then, are the rich and poor? 
The children of unresurrection, who will give up neither their riches nor poverty for the Gospel's sake. 
Who amass fortunes and live in palatial residences? 
Unfeeling men and women, erroneously termed Christians, who are careless of how many are made correspondingly poor. 
Who are the mountains and valleys of scripture? 
The rich and poor
What is the mission of Christianity to such? 
To bring down the mountains; raise up the valleys — Inaugurate an equality — none possessed aught he could call his own.   
What wonderful phenomena accompany conversions to Christianity? 
Mine becomes Ours! Riches and Poverty, with their miseries, disappear. 

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