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Christian Thievery

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“You shall not steal” (Deut. 5:19). Most Christians would claim they try their best to live by these words which are a part of the timeless, and still applicable, Ten Commandments given to us in the Old Testament. However, we have a big discrepancy going on with our claim of following God’s commandments, and the economic system with which we live by and endorse. It so happens that most Christians do not even recognize we are operating on an upside-down and backwards economic system that is so diabolical compared to the principles of the Bible. This doesn’t have anything to do with political parties or preference. This issue is much more fundamental. We are stealing, robbing, thieving Christians who break this commandment every day. How?

Anytime we receive “free” money or cash a check from a government program, we are stealing. From whom? From all tax-paying citizens. Most of us understand this is the process, but do not realize that the Bible strictly forbids this. God says “Do not steal”; but we have given the government permission to tax us by force (this is slavery), and tax our neighbors by force, then redistribute the money as they see fit. The tax payer has no say in where this money is spent (the government in some cases pays for abortions and even sex-changes with money out of your pocket). The next thing you know, a pretty envelope ends up in your mailbox with “free” money and we think to ourselves, “oh goodie!” and we run to the bank with it.

For Canadian families with children, some of this money comes in the form of the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the BC Family Bonus, and the Universal Child Care Benefit. Depending on the family’s economic status and number of children, this “free” money adds up to several hundred dollars each month, and even more for some.

Many object that the Canada Child Tax Benefit is necessary for helping the poor or that as Christians we ought to be showing “love” by funding these “poverty programs,” or perhaps that the Ten Commandments aren’t really valid for today. David Chilton put it well:

Some hold that the Christian is not motivated by considerations of law, but by love instead. This is to place and unbiblical distinction between law and love, a distinction opposed by the Apostles. “Love,” said Paul, “is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10). “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments,” John wrote (1 John 5:3). The standard of love is nothing other than the law of God. If we are disobedient to the law of God, we do not love; conversely, if we do not love, we are breaking the law, which commands love. If, in the name of “love for the poor,” I transgress God’s law by supporting legal plunder of my rich neighbor to fund a poverty program, I am not really loving, regardless of my profession; for love is always concerned to fulfill the law of God. Where that concern is absent, love does not exist.

In fact, obedience to God’s law is the mark of genuine Christianity. Disobedience to the law of God is the sign that we do not have a relationship to God at all.[1]

Another example of theft (more passive, but still theft nonetheless) is found in Christians who abuse Employment Insurance. For example, Joe thinks he is smart because he has figured out a way to be lazy and take hard earned money from people (via EI). He gets a job and works the minimum hours or months required so he can quit and collect EI for several months, even up to a year. Meanwhile, he sleeps in, does push-ups in his living room, has a bubble-bath and reads books on the supposed “prosperity gospel.” His EI runs out and he has to get a job again. So Joe gets himself another job that he knows will lay him off in a few months and he can again milk the system and rob from you. He repeats his brilliant scheme. There are people who call themselves Christians who are doing this. This is hypocrisy and plain old theft. Friends, God will not reward thieves.

We have allowed the government to become much more powerful than it should be because we stopped taking personal responsibility for ourselves and wanted to be taken care of. The government will gladly step in and do all the things you ought to be doing on your own because it means more power, more control for government. Many Canadian Christians have joined Facebook groups promoting the idea of adding dental care to our already socialized “free” health care. Are these people mad? Do they have any idea what they are asking for? They are begging the government to make us their slaves. Nothing is free. The money to fund every program comes from where? YOU. That is, productive people who work and pay the taxes.

We justify our stealing in many ways. In the case of the Universal Child Care Benefit, some of us say, “The government is basically giving us money back that we already paid to them, so it’s not really stealing.” Wrong; it is stealing. It is like having a burglar break into your house and raid your fridge; only to leave you a fruit gift-basket once a month at your door. Because he left you a gift basket, you feel a little less angry, and you allow the burglar to continue raiding your fridge. You then become accustomed to this monthly fruit gift-basket. Over time, you may even look forward to this “free” gift. You are being robbed, nonetheless.

When my husband and I realized how we stole from you (fellow Canadians) we immediately felt remorse and conviction and are taking measures to put a stop to it immediately. Our first step away from the sin of theft is obedience to God’s law. Stop taking what is not yours. Stop spending your neighbor’s money that they did not give you. God’s law calls Christians out of this “passive” sin into active obedience. Perhaps the “missing” monthly income will help us realize how much we are being stolen from and how much we have been robbing. We may even be a little more motivated to do something about it.

When we realized how we had been hypocrites, my immediate emotional response was, “It’s going to be tough living without that money?,” as though it was ours, and as though God’s economic system won’t work. Like David Chilton brings out in his book Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt-Manipulators, if the government provided breakfast and lunch for fifty years, we would eventually assume ourselves incapable of making breakfast and lunch ourselves, when we are perfectly capable.

My second silly thought was, “By discontinuing in this sin, we are taking a big step of faith financially,” which is almost a terrible thought, seeing that discontinuing a sin shouldn’t be an act of faith.

Faith isn’t the problem; obedience is. God has more rewards than we can ever imagine if we would only step away from the economic system of the world and step into His plan, which is everlasting, timeless and practical in every facet of life—especially economics, if we would only study it.  

There are many Christian families who are struggling financially. How do we expect to be exempt from God’s judgment of the wicked and law-breakers if we are partaking, contributing, endorsing and promoting a corrupt economy and at its very base, stealing from one another? More so, are we expecting God’s financial blessing in our lives while we are doing this? Are we expecting Him to give us dominion while we are breaking commandments left and right?

For some families, giving up the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the BC Family Bonus, and the Universal Child Care Benefit would feel like some kind of “sacrifice.” However, taking this kind of step is merely stepping out of God’s wrath and judgment and into the realm of His blessings and promises. I believe God will reward His people for actively taking such a step. It also means we must come up with biblical, practical solutions for our every-day economic issues, and provide answers the world can look to and benefit from, which is exercising dominion and part of the “leavening” effect.

But until Christians stop robbing each other and fellow citizens, we cannot talk of discipling nations, for we are hypocrites until then.

In his book Inherit the Earth, Gary North gives practical suggestions for the church’s responsibility:

A very simple first step in self-discipline under God is to get the State out of debt bondage. Vote “no” on every bond issue. No exceptions. The answer is “no.”

Then, if you’re so inclined, run for the public school board. Your job, if elected, is to say “no.” Do teachers want a raise? Vote against it. Does the district want to float yet another bond issue? Vote against it. Do they want to build a new high school? Vote against it. Do they want to buy new text books? Vote against it.

You can do this politically in the name of the taxpayer. Ultimately, you’re doing this in the name of God. He is the enemy of public schools. They are His enemy. God wants them all shut down.… They want Him shut down (no prayers in the schools, no religious instruction in the schools, etc.). This is a war. You must get on God’s side.

Does the city council want to build tennis courts at the parks? Vote against it. The civil government isn’t supposed to be in the exercise business or the entertainment business.

Does the city want to provide more free services? Vote "no."[2]

He goes on to describe all the things we should vote “yes” for as well. This paints a brief (and very unpopular) picture of things our civil government should not be in charge of.

All “free” money, “free” social programs, welfare, public schools and things of that nature are forms of theft. If we are Christians who believe the Bible, it is our duty to oppose these programs and promote God’s system which benefits everyone, even unbelievers. God has the most amazing welfare system, the biggest charity, solutions for business, foreign aid, immigration policies and much more; all of which work together to eliminate poverty by way of personal responsibility, which in turn, contributes to a harmonious society and culture for all to enjoy. If only we would commit and submit to the Bible in all facets. It’s time to change the world; it’s time to disciple nations. Let’s begin with the log in our own eyes.

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Endotes:

[1] David Chilton, Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt-Manipulators, 3rd Ed. (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, [1981] 1985), 29.
[2]
Gary North, Inherit the Earth: Biblical Principles for Economics (Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1987), 161.

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