Scripture does not require governments to redistribute wealth to help the poor, presenters in a session at the Evangelical Theological Society’s annual meeting said this fall.

“Class warfare, wealth redistribution, and socialism can, at best, make people only equally miserable,” Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary professor Craig Mitchell wrote in a paper he presented during a session titled “Does God Require the State to Redistribute Wealth?”

Mitchell asked, “Is it surprising that free markets, which respect property rights, maximize both producer and consumer welfare, and create wealth (rather than dividing it) are far more compatible with biblical Christianity?”

The meeting, attended by more than 2,000 evangelical scholars in Milwaukee, included the election of two Southern Baptists as officers. Thomas Schreiner, a professor of New Testament interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., was elected president-elect, and Gregg Allison, professor of Christian theology at Southern, was elected secretary.

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