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What You Should Know / August 15, 2011 -- Fourth, we know from the New Testament that other churches in other cities had quite different arrangements. For instance, St. Paul told the Thessalonian Christians to “earn their own living,” and warned, “Anyone unwilling to work should not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3: 10, 12). Apparently some new Christians had begun to take advantage of the generosity of their new brothers in the faith. Given this all-too-human tendency to free ride on the generosity of others, it’s no surprise that the early communal life in Jerusalem was never held up as a model for the how the entire church should order its life, let alone used to justify the state abolishing private property. So, contrary to Mr. Paul’s confident assertions, the early church in Jerusalem was not socialist and does it set a Christian precedent for socialism.

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