Communism and Modern Religion (II)
Fort Smith, Arkansas
International Communism is determined to achieve its goal of world domination. As noted, it seeks to meet its objectives by subverting our morals and by advancing socialistic programs. Not only so, but through every field of endeavor it propagates its materialistic concept. We have already referred to the historic principle. This principle is taught in physical science, in economics, and in religion.
In physical science it is identified as organic evolution. This philosophical theory as advanced by Lamark (1744-1829) was popularized by Charles Darwin. This theory of organic evolution is being fed our children as a matter of fact. It affirms that man is not the creation of God (Gen. 1:27), but is the accident of nature, having arrived on the scene through changes in species, beginning with a lowly one-cell organism and developing through the monkey. Thus, under the guise of scientific truth, our children are being robbed of faith in God.
But most startling perhaps is the advancement of dialectic materialism through religion. This effort is called modernism. As one modernist expressed it, "Indeed, the grandest and profoundest interpretation we can give to the doctrine of Evolution is when we apply its principles to the endless development and progress of spiritual idea, as truly as the consequences of its action in the world of matter."11 That this concept permeates all of these fields is evidenced from this quote from the Communist Manifesto: "The proposition (the fundamental principle of Marx-- GF) which in my opinion is destined to do for history what Darwin's theory has done for biology"12
How does it work in religion? The assumption is that all religion evolves. The basic denial is of a revelation from God. In fact, the advanced modernist denies existence of God as a being. God, we are told, is the consciousness of the people. This is the Communist philosophy, and will account for so many "preachers" being communists. In fact, the national movements of church councils have been charged on numerous occasions of being controlled by communists and communist sympathizers. A record of the recommendations by some of these councils is revealing. (Space does not permit exploring this phase of the subject at this time.) The pathetic thing is that the denominational world is shot-through with modernism. The modernist does not believe in the vicarious death of Christ, he questions the existence of heaven and hell, and is prone to lecture rather than teach the Bible. Of course, he is not apt to identify himself as such, but he can be detected by his work. The supreme goal of the modernist is to transform the church into a social agency. As one has expressed it, "It is therefore only what might have been expected that, over against the inherited view of the function of the churches, we would find a rapidly growing appreciation of their social obligations . . . Many churches have a complete outfit for community centers with necessary apparatus for athletics, sociability, dramatics, and of course, for dining; for if the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, the modern church has learned to line the road to it with opportunities for the saints to refresh themselves."13
I do not say that every church that enlists a social program is directed by modernists, but I do say that such is the result of the influence of modernism. The Lord never established a "social" church nor gave a "social" gospel. Churches that have their kitchens, ball clubs, recreation centers, etc., have been influenced, not by the God of heaven, but by the advocates of dialectic materialism.
Even churches of Christ have been disturbed in recent years. Churches have been wooed into building and maintaining social agencies called "homes." They have been deceived into thinking that the church has a social obligation to the world, and thereby its work of teaching the gospel to the salvation of souls is prostituted into raising funds for human benevolent societies. I know of churches that operate kindergartens, that sponsor boys' organizations, that hire recreation directors, that build gymnasiums, that build lodges, that build kitchens and dinning halls (falsely called "fellowship" halls) and thereby busy themselves in things that actually aid the communist conspiracy in that it defeats the true role of the church and changes its purpose.
Yes, we find so many decry the evils of international communism, and we doubt not their sincerity, but who unthinkingly are contributing to its subtle program. How many will deny the principle of historic materialism when expressed in the Soviet government, but who will accept the theory of organic evolution? How many deny His-mat as honored in economics, but who will promote a social church and a social gospel? Consistency and truth demand a rejection of every reflection of the principle. It is either true or false.
Of course the Bible exposes the falsity of the principle of historic materialism. In the first place, matter is the creation of God (Gen. 1:1, John 1:1-3). Matter is subject to laws as established by God (2 Pet. 3:7) and is subject to the will of God (2 Pet. 3:10). Man is made in the image of God, which likeness is spiritual and not physical (Gen. 1:26, John 4:24, Col. 3:10). God's word is given by inspiration, and furnishes man completely (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The Bible sets forth the principles of right conduct, and its morality is absolute (Gal. 5:19-25). The great concern of man is not material -- he has an eternal destiny (Eccl. 12:13-14, Rev. 4:10, Matt. 25:46. As men are saved by the Christ, they are added to the one church of Christ (Acts 2:45, Eph. 1:22-23; Eph. 4:4). The church has a glorious mission -- not of feeding the body or entertaining the flesh --it is the pillar and ground of truth (1 Tim. 3:15). And from this work it must not be distracted by-human inventions. In all that it is and does, there must be authorization in God's word (Matt. 7:21-23).
The churches of Christ who respect the Bible, who honor the word of our Head (Col. 1:18), are the real opponents of the atheistic materialism. We have the weapon that is most effective. Those churches that have succumbed to the influences of modernism have lost their strength, their virtue.
The effective fight for right is right living and Bible teaching. The devil has deceived the world with materialism. Whether called organic evolution, socialism, modernism, or the sum total of these in communism, materialism is the basic consideration. As man becomes more material-minded, he becomes less spiritual-minded. One cannot serve both God and mammon (Matt. 6:24).
Materialism offers a promise it cannot fulfill. The wealthy, the powerful, and the libertine know no security -- death is inevitable. Material pleasures are temporary. And to be so minded is to be blinded against the true meaning of life and of the world to come. Therefore "love not the world, neither the things of the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever" (1 John 2:15-17).
Faith in God offers hope -- it gives meaning and purpose to life. It lifts man up and gives him dignity. All of this Communism would take away. What is offered in its stead? Hear the words of modernism: "At the end of all our striving and efforts sees our world a frozen clod whirling through emptiness about a cheerless and exhausted sun, bearing on its sides the marks of man's once hopeful activity, fragments of his works of art mixed with glacial debris, all waiting in the dark for millenniums until the final crash comes, when even the burned out sun shall be shattered in collision with another like it, and the story shall be over while there is no one to remember and none to care. All will be as if it had never been."4 This is the materialists' hope.
Shall we sit by in apathy and allow materialism to deceive the whole world? A renewed faith in the Bible, and an insistence on doing just as it directs, is the need of the day.
11--Henry C. Pedder, Issues of the Age, page 145, Asa K. Butts and Co.. N. V.
12--Frederick Engles, The Communist Manifesto (Pref. ace to English Edition of 1888, quoted page 41. The Communist Conspiracy, Part 1, U. S. Government Printing Office.
13--Shailer Mathews, Jesus on Social Problems, quoted Gospel Guardian, June 18, 1959.
14--Everett Dean Martin, The Mystery of Religion, quoted page 33, Our Retreat From Modernism by Dan Gilbert.
Truth Magazine VIII: 6, pp. 11-12 March 1964