My previous essays argued that evangelicalism has failed to detect and reject the biblically inconsistent starting points of an unholy trinity of cultural ideologies: Marxism, multiculturalism, and genderism.[1] Despite this inconsistency, and as introduced in previous essays,[2] historically a number of Marxists have appealed to various biblical prooftexts in support of their systems, the most popular being a constellation of passages in Acts (Acts 2:42–47; 4:32–37; 5:4; 6:1), which describe the church’s charity practices.[3] One previous essay argued that rather than the practice of sharing wealth or the “common purse”/“community of goods” (Prov 1:14; John 12:6), instead the charity practices in Acts better fit with the Jewish stewardship custom of almsgiving.[4] Another essay began debunking these Marxist biblical prooftexts by reducing the debate over this constellation of passages in Acts to five issues—whether these practices are: (1) prescriptive or descriptive, (2) permanent or temporary, (3) compulsory or voluntary, (4) communal sharing or stewardship, and (5) properly motivated.[5] The last essay dealt with the second point by explaining that the temporary duration views of the passages are not convincing.[6] This essay continues to discuss the second point by addressing the permanent duration view.

Permanent or Temporary: Proponents and opponents of Marxism have argued for both a temporary and permanent duration of the charity practices in the constellation of Acts passages to support their relative positions often using the same evidence and arguments to come to contradictory conclusions. The permutations of these arguments may be summarized as four positions: (1) Marxist-temporary, (2) anti-Marxist-temporary, (3) Marxist-permanent, and (4) anti-Marxist-permanent (see Table A1).

 

Table A1: Summary of Views on the Duration of Acts Charity Practices[7]

  Marxist Temporary Anti-Marxist Temporary Marxist Permanent Anti-Marxist Permanent
Nature of the Charity Practices in Acts The charity practices in Acts are a form of wealth sharing such as the common purse or community of goods and are similar to or identical with some form of Marxism (i.e. communism, socialism, etc.). The charity practices in Acts are a form of wealth sharing such as the common purse or community of goods. Some find this practice to be similar to or identical with and others completely incompatible with some form of Marxism (i.e. communism, socialism, etc.) and others do not. The charity practices in Acts are a form of wealth sharing such as the common purse or community of goods and are similar to or identical with some form of Marxism (i.e. communism, socialism, etc.). The charity practices in Acts are not a form of wealth sharing such as the common purse or community of goods, but rather are similar to a form of stewardship or almsgiving which is completely incompatible with any form of Marxism (i.e. communism, socialism, etc.).
Relationship between Acts and the Pauline Corpus Inconsistent: The charity practices in Acts are of a temporary duration and were superseded by Pauline stewardship-almsgiving. Inconsistent: The charity practices in Acts are of a temporary duration and were superseded by Pauline stewardship-almsgiving. Consistent: The charity practices in Acts are consistent with the customs in the Pauline epistles. Consistent: The charity practices in Acts are consistent with the customs in the Pauline epistles.
Meaning of the Duration for Marxism Improper Implementation: The temporary duration shows these practices failed, but this failure was due to circumstantial and/or historical factors and not an inherent problem with the Marxist system, which is sound when properly implemented. Inherently  Flawed: Some hold that the temporary duration shows these practices failed due to a problem with Marxism itself, which demonstrates the system is inherently flawed and utterly incompatible with Christianity.

Incompatible: Others hold that both the Acts sharing practice and Pauline stewardship custom are incompatible with Marxism.

Universally Normative: The charity practices in Acts are of a permanent duration and their continuation in the Pauline churches demonstrates the universality and normativity of Marxism for Christianity. Incompatible: The charity practices in Acts are of a permanent duration and their continuation in the Pauline churches demonstrates the utter incompatibility of Marxism with Christianity.
Proponents Barry J. Gordon

José Porfirio Miranda

Rolland E. Wolfe

Inherently  Flawed:

Geroge Arthur Buttrick (IB)

Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

Gerhard Krodel (ACNT)

Incompatible:

Craig L. Blomberg

Darrel Bock (BECNT)

F. F. Bruce (NICNT)

Norman Geisler & Howe

Luke T. Johnson

I. H. Marshall (TNTC)

John R. Richardson

Trevor John Saxby

Stanley D. Toussaint (BKC)

Clodovis Boff

Leonardo Boff

Ludwig Friedländer

Ajith Fernando (NIVAC)

Justo L. González

Gustavo Gutiérrez

Karl Kautsky

François Villegardelle

J. A. Zeisler

John Calvin

Sanford H. Cobb

David G. Peterson (PNTC)

John B. Pohill (NAC)

Ronald J. Sider

 

 

Those arguing for a permanent duration of the charity practices in the constellation of Acts passages generally find a continuity within Acts itself and between Acts and the Pauline corpus. Further adherents of the permanent view typically assume the nature of the practices either as sharing or stewardship. Whereas proponents of the Marxist-permanent view find the charity practices in Acts to be the sharing or common purse/community of goods, which they identify with some form of Marxism, the anti-Marxist permanent view holds that the charity customs in Acts are stewardship practices (almsgiving) which cannot be identified with Marxism. However, both views argue for the permanence of those respective practices or for continuity within Acts itself and between Acts and the Pauline corpus on the basis of the same two evidences: (1) the consistent use of fellowship terminology and (2) the continuing presence of evidence relating to the deacon’s function/office, charity practices, and language.[8]

With regard to the fellowship terminology, adherents of the permanent duration view of the charity practices in Acts claim that the cognate terms (related noun, adjective, and verb forms) for “fellowship” (koinonia; Acts 2:42)/“common” (Acts 2:44; 4:32) refer not only to spiritual unity, but also material goods (Heb 13:16).[9] Further, the repetition of these cognate terms from Acts in the Pauline epistles with regard to charity generally and specifically in contexts where these terms are synonymous with the “collection” for the Jerusalem church (Rom 15:26; 2 Cor 8:4; 2 Cor. 9:13; 1 Tim 6:18) indicates generally that the same charity practices are present so that the custom of the Jerusalem church was the universal, normative, and permanent practice of the whole church.[10]

Three evidences relating to deacons also demonstrate continuity within Acts itself and between Acts and the Pauline corpus: the deacon’s function/office, charity practices, and language. First, although the term “deacon” (1 Tim 3:8, 12; Phil 1:1) does not appear in Acts 6, since the related terms ministration/service (Acts 6:1–2) appear, then as Toussaint aptly summarizes, scholars have variously thought that the seven men chosen to perform this ministration/service (Acts 6:3–6) may have been: (1) “the first deacons” (i.e., Irenaeus, Calvin, S. H. Cobb, J. B. Lightfoot), (2) “precursors to the office of elder … not a common interpretation” (i.e., T. Graebner, A. B. Ritschl, C. F. W. Walther), or (3) “chosen for a particular task … the roleand function of” which later developed into “the office of deacons”—probably the most common evangelical interpretation (i.e., Chrysostom, EBC, LBD, B. L. Merkle, NAC).[11] On the first and third interpretations, due to the parallels between the leading and teachings functions of the Twelve Apostles (Acts 6:2–4, 6 cp. Matt 10:2; Rev 21:14) and elders (1 Tim 3:1–7, 5:17) and between the practical task of caring for the poor of the Seven (Acts 6:1–3; 21:8) and deacons (1 Tim 3:8–13), some proponents of the permanent view see the charity practices of Acts as continuing through the function/office of deacon.[12] (These parallels are depicted in Table A2.) Second, since the practice in Jerusalem (Acts 6:7) of caring for widows through a “daily ministration” (Acts 6:1) was continued in Ephesus (1 Tim 1:3) by widows being “put on a list” (1 Tim 5:9) and since the care of widows (1 Tim 5:3–16) has been interpreted by the church as taking place by deacons under the leadership of elders (1 Tim 5:1, 17), then the charity practices in Acts seem to continue in the Pauline churches.[13] (see Table A2.)

 

Table A2: Comparison of Passages Suggesting a Continuous Charity Practice by Deacons

  Acts 6 1 Tim 3 1 Tim 5
The Twelve Apostles/Elders The Twelve Apostles (Acts 6:2, 6 cp. Matt 10:2; Rev 21:14)

 

Overseer/Elders (1 Tim 3:1 cp. 1 Pet 5:1–2)

 

Elders (vs. 1, 17)

 

  The Twelve Apostles “managed” the church (vs. 2–3, 6) Manage (1 Tim 3:4–5) Manage (vs. 17)
  The Word of God (vs. 2)

Prayer and the ministry of the Word (vs. 4)

Skillful in teaching (vs. 2) Laboring in the Word and teaching (vs. 17)
The Seven/Deacons The Seven (Acts 6:3; 21:8)

 

Deacons (1 Tim 3:8, 12)

 

 

 
  To serve tables (vs. 2) Let them serve (vs. 10)

The ones having served (vs. 13)

So that the church may help the true widows (vs. 16)
  Widows ( Acts 6:1)   Widows (vs. 3, 5–6, 9, 11, 14, 16)
  Daily ministration (Acts 6:1) Not fond of dishonest gain (vs. 8) Put on the list (vs. 9)

 

 

 

Third and similarly to the fellowship terminology, language associated with deacons and their relation to the charity practices in the constellation of Acts passages (Acts 6:1–2) reappears later in Acts (Acts 11:29; 12:25) and in the Pauline epistles in contexts relating specifically to the collection for the Jerusalem church (Rom 15:25, 31; 2 Cor 8:4; 8:19–20; 9:12–13) suggesting that similar customs are present.[14]

Johnson summarily dismisses the continuity view as an unsophisticated harmonization of “what is plainly inconsistent” in Scripture, but his position of “the diversity” or “the tension between community possessions and almsgiving” in various biblical passages may be construed as denying inerrancy—an untenable position for conservative evangelicals.[15] On the whole, the biblical evidence is best explained by understanding the church as having one continuous or permanent charity practice. Consequently, objections to Marxism based on its alleged temporary duration in Acts are not valid and attention may be focused instead on more effective arguments against Marxism and its false claims for a biblical basis in subsequent essays.

Therefore, the charity customs in Acts have only a superficial resemblance to Marxism. For example, as Calvin claims, “truly, sound exposition is needed in this passage because of fanatics, who counterfeit a community of goods.”[16] Even before Marxism existed, Calvin denied that the passages teach the practices which contemporary Marxists claim to find in these Scriptures. Subsequent essays will deal with the remaining three of the five points of interpretation regarding these passages.

[1]https://epecarticles.com/2018/08/18/a-fundamental-shift-in-evangelicalism-part-1-introduction-by-ronald-m-rothenberg-ph-d/;https://epecarticles.com/2018/10/08/a-fundamental-shift-in-evangelicalism-part-2-marxism/

[2]https://epecarticles.com/2018/12/07/fundamental-shift-part-3-1-marxism-prooftexts-ron-m-rothenberg-ph-d/; https://epecarticles.com/2018/12/07/fundamental-shift-part-3-1-marxism-prooftexts-ron-m-rothenberg-ph-d/; https://epecarticles.com/2019/01/26/fundamental-shift-part-3-2-marxism-prooftexts-ron-m-rothenberg/.

[3]Justo L. González, Faith and Wealth: A History of Early Christian Ideas on the Origin, Significance, and Use of Money, Google Books ed. (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1990), 79–91; Gustavo Gutiérrez, A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation, trans. Sister Caridad Inda and John Eagleson, Revised, Kindle ed. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1988), 150, 172–73; José Porfirio Miranda, Communism in the Bible, trans. Robert R. Barr, Reprint ed. (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2004), 1–2. Marxist interpretation of Acts generally goes back at least to the socialist utopian and publicist François Villegardelle (1810-1856), who claims that such interpretation has roots, among other church fathers, Chrysostom. Villegardelle himself refers to an earlier scholar, M. Chaigne, for socialist interpretation of the fathers. Among others, a similar interpretation to Chrysostom isfound in Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian.The point of Villegardelle and others is notthat Marxism anachronistically existed in the NT and patristic eras prior to Marx, but rather that practices comparable to contemporary Marxism existed and that in the opinion of Villegardelle and others, the church fathers interpreted the Scriptures as teaching practices that are precursors to or consistent with contemporary Marxism. François Villegardelle, Histoire des idées sociales avant la Révolution française: ou Les socialistes modernes, devancés et dépassés par les anciens penseurs et philosophes, avec textes à l’appui (Paris: Guarin, 1846), 18–19, 61–64, 69.Cp. Chrysostom, Hom. 11 Acts. 4:23(PG 60:94); Clement of Alexandria, Paed. 12 (PG 8:541, 544); Tertullian, Apol. 39 (PL 1:472–73); Karl Kautsky, Die Vorläufer des neueren Sozialismus, vol. 1.1, Die Geschichte des Sozialismus in Einzeldarstellungen (Stuttgart: I. H. W. Dietz, 1895), 25–29; Ludwig Friedländer, Roman Life and Manners under the Early Empire, trans. John Henry Freese, vol. 3 (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1913, [orig. 3 vols., 1862–1871]), 205. Anti-Marxist interpretation of Acts has roots in Calvin, according to Finger possibly Luther, and going as far back as thechurch father, Lactantius. Calvin, Com. Acts2:44; 4:34; 6:1 Com. 2 Cor8:13; Inst. 4.1.3 (CR 30:747–48; 76:59–60, 96–97, 118; 78:100–01); Lactantius, Inst. 3.21 (PL 6:117–18); Luther, “Against the Robbing and Murdering Mobs of Peasants” 1525 (LW46:51); idem, “The German Mass and Order of Service” 1526 (LW53:63–64); idem, “Ordinance of a Common Chest” (LW45:172); idem, “Predigt am Mittwoch nach Pfingsten” 1538 (WA 46:428–32); Reta Halteman Finger, “Cultural Attitudes in Western Christianity toward the Community of Goods in Acts 2 and 4,” MQR  (Oct, 2004): 238–40. Finger’s study is probably the best history of interpretation of Marxism in relation to the constellation of Acts passages.

[4]https://epecarticles.com/2019/03/27/fundamental-shift-part-3-3-the-question-of-marxist-prooftexts-ron-rothenberg-ph-d/; (m. Pea8:7 F-H; b. B. Bat.8B).

[5]https://epecarticles.com/2019/04/30/fundamental-shift-part-3-4-debunking-marxist-prooftexts-ronald-rothenberg-ph-d/; Norman L. Geisler and Thomas A. Howe, When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1992), 429–30.

[6]https://epecarticles.com/2019/06/15/fundamental-shift-part-3-5-debunking-marxist-prooftexts-ron-rothenberg-ph-d/.

[7]In order to avoid a lengthy footnote which overlaps with other citations, readers may consult the other notes in this essay for the sources referenced in Table A1. However, two exceptions are liberation theologians and brothers, Clodovis and Leonardo Boff, whose views are inferred from their brief statements, which may be found in the following sources: Clodovis Boff, Feet-on-the-Ground Theology: A Brazilian Journey, trans. Phillip Berryman (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1987), 59, 85–86, 129, 154–55; Idem, Theology and Praxis: Epistemological Foundations, trans. Robert R. Barr (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1987), 203–04, note #44; Leonardo Boff, Faith on the Edge: Religion and Marginalized Existence, trans. Robert R. Barr (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1989), 15, 199; Leonardo Boff and Clodovis Boff, Salvation and Liberation: In Search of a Balance between Faith and Politics, trans. Robert R. Barr (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1984), 8.

[8]Sider seems to be an exception among anti-Marxist-permanence proponents, who generally identify Acts and Paul with stewardship-almsgiving rather than the sharing-common purse custom. Although Sider emphasizes his anti-Marxism preference for “market economies,” belief that biblical practices should not be conflated with communism, and mentions “stewardship” throughout his book, he explicitly claims that Jesus used a “common purse,” that “the early church continued the pattern of economic sharing practiced by Jesus,” and that Paul “broadened” this practice so that Sider’s “economic sharing” seems to be a common purse rather than stewardship-almsgiving. If one should interpret Sider as arguing for stewardship rather than sharing, then his view would be the norm for the anti-Marxist permanence view. Ronald J. Sider, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, xiii, 72, 74–75, 77, 83–84, 88, 131, 155.

[9]Justo L. González, Faith and Wealth: A History of Early Christian Ideas on the Origin, Significance, and Use of Money (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1990), 83; Gustavo Gutiérrez, A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation, trans. Sister Caridad Inda and John Eagleson, Revised (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1988), 150; David G. Peterson, The Acts of the Apostles, PNTC (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 2009), 160–61; John B. Polhill, Acts, NAC, vol. 26 (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1995), 119.

[10]There is some variety of interpretation among proponents of the anti-Marxist-permanent view over the universal and normative nature of the Acts practices. Calvin, Com. Acts 2:44; 4:34; 6:1 Com. 2 Cor8:13; Inst 4.1.3 (CR 30:747–48; 76:59–60, 96–97, 118; 78:100–01); Sanford H. Cobb, “The Fellowship of Goods in the Apostolic Church,” The Presbyterian and Reformed Review 8 (1897): 28–30; Ajith Fernando, Acts, NIVAC (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998), 182–84; González, Faith and Wealth, 84–86; Peterson, The Acts of the Apostles, 358–59; Polhill, Acts, 119–21; Sider, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, 89–91; Zeisler, Christian Asceticism, 93.

[11]Stanley D. Toussaint, “Acts,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, ed. John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 2:367–68; Calvin, Com. Acts6:1 (CR 76:117); Chrysostom, Hom. 14 Acts. 5:34 (PG 60:116); Cobb, “Fellowship of Goods,” 18, 26–27; Theodore Graebner, Handbook for Congregational Officers (St. Louis: Concordia, 1928), 13; Irenaeus, Adv. Haer.3.12.10 (PG 7.1:904); Thomas D. Lea and Hayne P. Griffin, 1, 2 Timothy, Titus, The New American Commentary, vol. 34 (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1992), 115; Joseph Barber Lightfoot, Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians, 8th ed., Classic Commentaries on the Greek New Testament (London: Macmillan, 1913), 187–89l; Richard N. Longenecker, Acts, ed. Tremper Longman, III and David E. Garland, Revised ed., EBC 10 (Zondervan Academic, 2007), Kindle ed., s.v. “Acts 6:5–6”; Benjamin L. Merkle, 40 Questions About Elders and Deacons, 40 Questions Series (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2008), 227; Albrecht Benjamin Ritschl, Die Entstehung der altkatholischen Kirch, 2nd ed. (Bonn: Adolph Marcus, 1857), 355–56; Brian J. Tabb, LBD, ed. David Bomar John D. Barry, Derek R. Brown, Rachel Klippenstein, Douglas Mangum, Carrie Sinclair Wolcott, Lazarus Wentz, Elliot Ritzema, and Wendy Widder (Bellingham, WA: Lexham, 2016), s.v., “Deacon”; Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther, Die rechte Gestalt einer vom Staate unabhängigen evangelisch-lutherischen Ortsgemeinde (St. Louis: Aug. Wiebusch und Sohn, 1863), 111–12. Cp. Albert Collver, “Lay Elders: A Brief Overview of Their Origin in the Missouri Synod Implications for Elders Today,” CJ 32, no. 1 (Jan 2006): 38–53.

[12]Calvin Com. Acts 6:1 (CR 76:117–18); Cobb, “Fellowship of Goods,” 27–28, Cp. Tabb, LBD, s.v., “Deacon.”

[13]Justin,1 Apol. 67 (ANF 1:185–86); Arland J. Hultgren, “Pastoral Epistles,” in The Encyclopedia of Christianity, ed. Erwin Fahlbusch et al. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2005), 78; William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, WBC 46 (Dallas: Word, 2000), 301–02.

[14]BDAG, s.v. “διακονία”; “διακονέω.”

[15]Emphasis added. Johnson, Sharing Possessions, Kindle ed., ch. 1. The words “diversity,” “tension,” and “discontinuity” are often a codeword in academia for liberal scholars who want to deny inerrancy, but are attempting to conceal their position. For an example of such obfuscation see: Richard B. Hays,The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community Cross, New Creation; a Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethics (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1996), 5, 13, 292, 310–11, 322, 336, 429. Further, Johnson finds all other proposals at harmonization to be inadequate including: (1) “a mix of traditions awkwardly joined (unlikely in a writer as careful as Luke) [i.e. F. W. Horn, L. Schottroff and W. Stegemann]”; (2) “the tensions point to different demands for different periods (destitution for the time of Jesus, community of goods for the time of the church) [i.e. V. Petracca, D. P. Seccombe]”; and (3) “different demands for different people in the church (the radical demands for ministers, almsgiving for the lay folk) [i.e. Aquinas, H. J. Degenhardt, K. J. Kim, H. J. Klauck].” Johnson, Sharing Possessions, Kindle ed., ch. 1 cp. Aquinas, STh., II-II q.188 a.7 s.c.; II-II q.188 a.7 resp.; III Q.40 A.3 resp.; II-II q.188 a.4 ad 4; Hans-Joachim Degenhardt, Lukas, Evangelist der Armen: Besitz und Besitzverzicht in den Lukanischen Schriften: eine traditions- und redaktionsgeschichtliche Untersuchung (Stuttgart: Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1965), 36–41; Friedrich Wilhelm Horn, Glaube und Handeln in der Theologie des Lukas, 2nd ed., GTA 26 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1983), 22–23; Kyoung-Jin Kim, Stewardship and Almsgiving in Luke’s Theology, Jsntsup 155 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic 1998), 100–10; Hans-Joseph Klauck, “Die Armut der Jünger in der Sicht des Lukas,” in Gemeinde – Amt – Sakrament: Neutestamentliche Perspektiven (Wurzburg: Echter, 1989), 160–94; Vincenzo Petracca, Gott oder das Geld: die Besitzethik des Lukas, TANZ 39 (Tübingen: Francke, 2003), 326; David Peter Seccombe, Possessions and the Poor in Luke-Acts, SNTSU 6 (Linz, Austria: Albert Fuchs, 1982), 114, 132–33; Luise Schottroff and Wolfgang Stegemann, Jesus and the Hope of the Poor, trans. Matthew J. O’Connell (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2009), 67–69; Gerd Theissen, A Theory of Primitive Christian Religion (London: SCM, 2003), 95–99, 240–60. For summary overviews of these various positions see: Anthony Giambrone, Sacramental Charity, Creditor Christology, and the Economy of Salvation in Luke’s Gospel, WUNT 439 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017), 5–8; Christopher M. Hays, Luke’s Wealth Ethics: A Study in Their Coherence and Character, vol. 275 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010), 1–23. Hays also places Johnson, as well as H. G. Gradl, into a fourth category, the personalist, which permits “a variety of praxes based upon individual life-stuations” that seems similar to a situational ethic. Hays, Luke’s Wealth Ethics, 3, 17–19; Hans-Georg Gradl, Zwischen Arm und Reich: das lukanische Doppelwerk in leserorientierter und textpragmatischer Perspektive, FB 107 (Würzburg: Echter, 2005), 410, 430–31; “whole point of this book … sharing our possessions … is a mandate … but the shape of the mandate, I have also suggested, is as diverse.” Emphasis added. Johnson, Sharing Possessions, Kindle ed., ch. 1. However, Johnson’s objection does raise the important issue that if the charity practice in Jerusalem was temporary and was different from the custom in Pauline churches, then one must explain why the practices are different.

[16]Calvin, Com. Acts 2:44 (CR 76:59). Both Calvin and Luther labeled some of their opponents “fanatics” and particularly in Calvin’s writings, the term is often synoynmous with but other times distinguished from Anabaptists.
When the term does not refer to Anabaptists, it may refer to enthuiasists (comparable to contemporary Charismatics who give authority to the Spirit apart from the Word), apocalyptic fanatics or radical reformers (theological and political extremists comparable to contemporary anarchists), or other groups whose views were considered extreme by the reformers. The point with regard to the “fanatics” in Calvin’s comments regarding the community of goods (Comm. on Acts 2:44; 4:34; 2 Cor 8:13) is notthat Calvin was writing against Marxism, which did not yet exist, but rather that he was opposing the practices by groups of his day to which contempory Marxists appeal for support of their current practices—even before Marxism existed, Calvin denied that the passages teach the practices which contemporary Marxists claim to find in these Scriptures. Calvin,Comm. Acts, (76:59, 95–97); idem, Comm. 2 Cor.; 2 (CR 78:100–01); idem, Inst. 1.9.1–3; 4.20. (CR 30: 69–72; 1093–94;); Donald K. McKim, The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, 2nd ed. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2014), 282; Reid S. Trulson, “Review of Calvin and the Anabaptist Radicals by Willem Balke and Et William J. Heynen,” Themelios 9, no. 2 (1984), 33–34; Ronald Wallace, Calvin’s Doctrine of the Christian Life (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 1997), 138, 186.