Does the Bible teach Communism?
Acts 2:44-5 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

One Skeptic appeals to this passage, as well as Acts 4:34-7, 2 Thess. 3:10-12 (no eating if no working), and Eph. 4:28 as indications that the Bible teaches Communism.

"Having all things in common, distributing according to need, withholding food because of idleness, and requiring honest labor from all concerned are central to the message of the Communist Manifesto, even when not explicitly stated," the Skeptic says.

But what the Bible actually offers is an example of collectivism, and the Greco-Roman world was a collectivist (group-oriented) society. Sharing in common and according to need, and economic or social sanctions, were something that was done throughout the Greco-Roman world by various groups on various levels, not just by the church.

That said, what of a comparison to the teachings of Communism? As it happens we have a systematic layout of the principles of communism right by Marx's friend Engels. His very first sentence defines communism as "the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat."

Did the church "liberate" any "proletariat"? Did the church abolish competition?

Let's see what else is on the list:

(i) Limitation of private property through progressive taxation, heavy inheritance taxes, abolition of inheritance through collateral lines (brothers, nephews, etc.) forced loans, etc.
(ii) Gradual expropriation of landowners, industrialists, railroad magnates and shipowners, partly through competition by state industry, partly directly through compensation in the form of bonds.
(iii) Confiscation of the possessions of all emigrants and rebels against the majority of the people.
(iv) Organization of labor or employment of proletarians on publicly owned land, in factories and workshops, with competition among the workers being abolished and with the factory owners, in so far as they still exist, being obliged to pay the same high wages as those paid by the state.
(v) An equal obligation on all members of society to work until such time as private property has been completely abolished. Formation of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
(vi) Centralization of money and credit in the hands of the state through a national bank with state capital, and the suppression of all private banks and bankers.
(vii) Education of the number of national factories, workshops, railroads, ships; bringing new lands into cultivation and improvement of land already under cultivation -- all in proportion to the growth of the capital and labor force at the disposal of the nation.
(viii) Education of all children, from the moment they can leave their mother's care, in national establishments at national cost. Education and production together.
(ix) Construction, on public lands, of great palaces as communal dwellings for associated groups of citizens engaged in both industry and agriculture and combining in their way of life the advantages of urban and rural conditions while avoiding the one-sidedness and drawbacks of each.
(x) Destruction of all unhealthy and jerry-built dwellings in urban districts.
(xi) Equal inheritance rights for children born in and out of wedlock.
(xii) Concentration of all means of transportation in the hands of the nation.

At best the church accomplished a semblance of bits of i and v, and took no steps on any of the rest. This is hardly a case for the early Christian church as "communist".

-JPH