(Acts 2:44-45) Were the early Christians the first communists (c.f. 4:32)?

CLAIM: Luke writes, “And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need” (Acts 2:44-45). Likewise, in a later passage, we read, “Not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them” (Acts 4:32). Doesn’t this imply that the first Christians were communists?

RESPONSE: Even if these early Christians shared their money communally, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this is binding over all Christians for all time. These passages are descriptive—not prescriptive. That is, this passage is merely describing what these original believers were doing—not what all believers should do. Later in the book, Peter tells Ananias, “While it [Ananias’ property] remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control?” (Acts 5:4). Moreover, because the people were on pilgrimage from all over the world, it would seem that a special circumstance caused the believers to take this approach.