Golly, the Apostle Paul was a Communist

Published 7:00 am Saturday, October 12, 2019

By Fr. Jonathan Filkins

In his Second Letter to the Corinthians, the “late to the game” Apostle Paul, was on a bit of a tear. As Paul’s charge was to oversee all of the fledgling churches, this particular group at Corinth was of particular difficulty. In spite of the Apostle’s lengthy time with them, after his departure they set about to adapt a revised version of Christianity; replete with overtones of the polyglot of Roman Gods and Goddesses.

Any parent is quite knowledgeable of the ready ability of their children to misbehave. So it was with Paul, as he viewed his role as being entirely paternal. Yet, he may have been both an apostle and saint, but he was also one of us; being prone to temper. Such is the tone and intent of this Second Letter. In it, there is every effort to set the “wayward,” on the right path.

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In his missive, Saint Paul relates, “Now, at this time, your abundance may be a supply…that there may be equality. As it is written, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that had gathered little had no lack.” OK, we take from you, who have worked and earned much, and then give it to those who worked little and earned little. Sounds a bit like the Soviet Union’s clarion call a few decades ago. So then, if taken on face value, this fellow had complicit Communist sympathies; if we take these words as factual and stand alone.

One of our great challenges is the proper interpretation of a snippet of Scripture. Much gets lost in doing so, as context and surrounding verses escape discernment. Some will say, “God spoke to me and said…!” for they purport they do not need such limitations.

Great. For those of us who have yet to directly hear the voice of God we are, somehow less; relying on the Holy Spirit to convey the supernatural message. All of this harkens back to the Pharisaic Hebrews, who also believed they had hidden “inside knowledge.”

This does not make anybody bad, unless they use their messages from God for their less-than-godly reasons, or insist they are more favored by our Creator. The message of Jesus Christ is clear to all of us; at least to those who truly believe in Him.

To suggest that Paul was a Communist is a bit silly. However, it illustrates the point of taking a snippet of scripture and manipulating it to the wrong conclusion. We, oh-so-errant human beings, regularly take the profound meanings of the entire body of Holy Writ and adapt it to our oh-so-human feelings. It is quite easy to do and is, seemingly, embraced by the very nature of our search for quick and simple answers to the complex. And, our reluctance to say, “I have no clue,” when the response is beyond our capabilities.

The Apostle Paul could not have been a Communist. Communists are the ones who put the State in the place of God, and history has shown this as not to being a very successful pursuit. Paul was all about God, through Jesus Christ. His admonitions towards the Church at Corinth were done out of his love, and concern, for those who had gone astray.

His exhortations about “equality” were to direct these new Christians to change their priorities and not gather for themselves, but for others. It was as Christ did throughout his ministry and as we too are taught.