Socialism in the Churches
by Bill Lockwood
One would have supposed that of all groups of people holding the line against ungodly socialism which enshrines government theft and redistribution, the churches of America would lead the way. Following Christ does not call for empowerment of government confiscation and re-label it “giving.” But apparently such is not the case.
The National Council of Churches (NCC) website boasts that it has never stopped waging LBJ’s “historic war on poverty” and that this marks “an unprecedented commitment by government to claim justice for the poor.”
William H. Young, in a National Association of Scholars (NAS) article explains social justice: “Its core concept … is the redistribution of resources and advantages to the disadvantaged to achieve social and economic equality.” Rather than emphasizing individual opportunity and responsibility, socialists stress “equality” and the achievement of “social outcomes” “by expanding the scope of government.”
That followers of Karl Marx would be gratified to have these concepts grafted into government goes without saying. That would-be disciples of Jesus Christ would mimic this is appalling. But that is exactly the position of the NCC which supposedly represents most mainline Protestant denominations in America and claims leadership of over 45 million American Christians and over 100,000 local congregations. The NCC, however, has really been, since its inception, a front group for socialistic and communistic change. This in turns helps to explain why it is so difficult to enlist many churches for real American causes today.
Historical Roots of NCC
Everyone needs a cause. Even those without God become ardent evangelists in behalf of their message. As the leadership in the churches of America, therefore, became doctrinally flabby throughout the past century, they proportionally became ripe for propagation of another gospel. Socialism. Thus was founded the Federal Council of Churches in 1908—later to become the National Council of Churches. Collectivist propaganda had penetrated Protestant Churches in America prior to the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. The Communist Party in America was not officially organized until 1919. However, a cursory examination of the National Council of Churches reveals that it has always sided with Marxist and Communist causes, and its leaders have consistently consorted with policy-makers of the Communist Party, prior to its official birthday in 1908.
One of the early leading lights of the Federal Council, Dr. Harry Ward, strikingly demonstrates the above. Dr. Ward worked in Chicago before becoming a teacher in the Boston University School of Theology and later Union Theological Seminary. Introductory material, signed by Dr. Ward in 1917 included the call to churches concerning “the social service movement in the churches.” One of Dr. Ward’s theses insists that the religion of the Bible mandates an “equal distribution of land” between Israelite tribes but this was corrupted by “individualism.” The Kingdom of God, says Ward, is a “collective conception involving the whole life of man.” “Jesus was not a mere social reformer. He has been called the first Socialist.” Jesus was not, per Ward, interested in “theology” but in the “social needs of mankind.” Ward was later identified under oath by many witnesses before United States Congressional committees as a member of the Communist Party.
Dr. Walter Rauschenbusch, who graduated the University of Rochester in 1885, had initially planned to go to India as a missionary for the American Baptist Mission Society, but was rejected because of his liberal views. Among those views was a solid commitment to the philosophy of socialism. Rauschenbusch, knowing that American Christians would revolt at his teaching of straightforward socialism in the pulpits, gave his theories window dressing. He became the primary promoter of “The Social Gospel,” by which social change in the order of Karl Marx’s materialism and economic redistribution was the primary goal. The emphasis becomes reworking the material conditions of the world. Biblical terminology, words, and phrases now are “converted” to this service. The National and World Council of Churches today reflect these commitments.
The Social Gospel?
What is wrong with “The Social Gospel?” Besides the fact that promoters of the social gospel traditionally reject the fundamentals of Christianity, why oppose their scheme?
First, The Social Gospel begins with deception. Charitable giving per biblical injunction always involves individual free-will choices. Idealistic theories, on the other hand, that preach a “redistribution of wealth,” demand a power that actually takes from some and gives to others. This powerful machinery—read “government”—therefore engages in theft.
To “Christianize” theft requires no little deceptive manipulation of historical fact as well as the English language. Biblical principles always influenced mankind’s condition from the bottom up. Slavery, for example, was eliminated as the principles of Jesus permeated society throughout. However, the social gospel requires power from the top to control those below. Force becomes the method. The current NCC website is marinated in statements such as “sustainable” development (socialistic redistribution) of the resources of the earth; “abatement of hunger” by the “enactment of policies benefiting the most vulnerable;” “affordable and accessible healthcare” on the backs of taxpayers. To achieve these ends “binding covenants” are recommended.
Second, individual salvation is rejected by The Social Gospel in favor of salvation of the “collective.” The function of the church, which was authorized to preach salvation from personal sin, is recast as an enforcement of “civic or social justice” and the gospel merely becomes a channel that exists for the service of man—not God. Individual rights are seldom heard. Instead, church workers become firebrands for “group rights” and collective change. Political activism, after a communistic fashion, is encouraged.
The crying sin of society becomes the “unequal redistribution” of wealth; evangelism is more about “saving the environment” than saving man from sin; the mission of the churches is just as much about restructuring society along Marxist lines than offering the gospel to souls. Achieving Socialism in America is the goal. Transforming “Christianity” into an instrument to accomplish this end is the means. As one advocate of The Social Gospel put it, we seek “an overthrow of the present capitalistic system.” This was penned by Ivan Lee Holt, one-time president of the Federal Council of Churches. He went on to denounce the “profit motive” insisting that there was no happiness for mankind until the “present economic system gives way to some cooperative scheme…it might mean revolution.”
Third, enforcement of the social gospel program requires the uniting of church and state. This explains why the NCC calls for not only the growth and strengthening of the United States government, but also for World “governance” operated via the United Nations. Only in this manner might trade become more “equitable” on a “global scale,” and “peacemaking through multilateral diplomacy” by “strengthening” the “United Nations” and the “rule of international law.”
So, while the disingenuous claim is made by the NCC that they do not favor “unilateral force” to gain their goals, the program laid out calls for nothing but the usage of governmental force to redistribute wealth. Tax policies are recommended to “reduce” the “disparities between rich and poor” and “provide” for greater opportunity for “everyone within the common good.”
If we are to stop the socialistic onslaught now facing America, patriots must appeal to the common sense of average Americans in the “Christian community,” by-passing the leadership of large denominational churches which have become purveyors of soft-shell pabulum at best, and aggressive socialistic change at worst. We would to God that the pulpits of America would aflame once more with righteousness, rejecting the gospel of Karl Marx.