COMMUNISM AND THE
A clash and crash of conviction is at hand, nay is already
here, that involves a very Niagara for the
To most eyes it has now become plain that the modern Church’s dream of converting the world, and so of setting up the Kingdom of God, is a pure mirage.* “We used to think,” as Dr. Parkes Cadman says, “that God was going to save the world by Methodism or Congregationalism or Presbyterianism: the world will not be saved so in a million years.” A comparatively recent book – Christiaity, Communism, Adventism ‑ is a belated expression, surely now almost unique among instructed Christians, of a millennium now being created by the Churches. Mr. Alexander Stewart's words are these: “The Spirit of Jesus is permeating mankind. His Kingdom is extending. Subconsciously men are seeking the universal Kingdom of righteousness and peace. Their underlying desire is for the unfailing Lordship of the Son of Man. Atheism, materialism, anti‑Christian ethics, and godless principles are being undermined.” It is hardly credible that unawareness of contemporary facts can reach such a pitch. The rapid fall in missionary funds the growth of the world's heathen population enormously beyond all Christian growth**; powerful nations of Europe now making Christianity difficult or even impossible; the anti‑God campaign spreading throughout the world; the large proportion of Christian profession which is now a creedless shell: such facts, and many more, make the dream that the world is undergoing conversion a colossal error.
[* A spiritual Kingdom is already here, the Church (Col. 1: 13); and a useful rule differentiates ‑ in all parabolic passages (e.g. Matt. 13.) it is the Kingdom in mystery, and in nearly all literal passages it is the Kingdom in manifestation.
** During the nineteenth century, the greatest missionary epoch of history, while 3 to 4,000,000 souls, roughly computed, were brought to Christ, the world's population grew by 200,000,000 ‑ a seventyfold increase of the darkness over the light.]
But a far graver and more subtle danger is embodied in
such a work as Dr. Stanley Jones’ Christ and Communism. “I am persuaded,” says Dr. Jones, “that Christianity is headed
toward a supreme crisis ‑ perhaps a decisive crisis. Events are leading up to a world decision. This generation, or at the most the next, will
have to decide between materialistic, atheistic Communism and the
[*We have put into italics these astounding words. It is exactly the dilemma we have stated. The Second Advent is supposed to be a myth: therefore, if organized Christian effort fails to establish the Kingdom, Communism alone remains as the ultimate creed for us all. That will be apostasy.]
The setting up of the Kingdom is thus foreshadowed by Dr. Jones. “I am persuaded that if Christianity were really applied again, it would result in some form of collective sharing closely akin to communism. Christianity will not be looked on only as a means of personal conversion, but a possible and workable programme for world reconstruction. We can form groups for the practice and study of the new Kingdom life. These groups will be the Kingdom in miniature, Kingdom ‘cells’. We will welcome as portions of the Kingdom those outside organized Christianity who, however limited they may seem to us to be, nevertheless are striving for the New Day, at least in some of its phases. This ‘informal Christianity’ may be able in this crisis to see more clearly, and to act more decisively, than organized Christianity. We will look on these brothers of the margin as just as truly brothers as those whom we think of as brothers of the centre. It may turn out that they are nearer the centre than we. We could not believe in the inevitability of the Kingdom if we saw the Christian Church as the sole medium of its coming. Whether we shall be able to use any of the existing political parties or create a new one must be decided by the enlightened judgment of the united Christian forces.”
This semi‑Christian, semi‑Communistic plan for
setting up the
[* It is solemn to remember that, by our Lord's revelation, no man without being born again can ever even see the Kingdom (John 3: 3): for if unregenerate in the neighbourhood of the Advent, he will be cut off before the Kingdom arrives; if dead, he will not rise till after the Kingdom is over; and throughout eternity the Eternal Kingdom is invisible from the Lake of Fire.
** British Israelism is trapped in an identical error; but the British Israel Kingdom which our Lord is to find on earth is the Anglo‑Saxon stock enforcing the Law of Moses as the foundation and embodiment of the Kingdom of God.]
For the whole world‑crisis
which alone produces the Kingdom Scripture lodges solely in the Advent. So our Lord: when “they
supposed that the
So now the enormous challenge to the Christian Faith confronts us. If the Church itself assures the world that God’s purpose in instituting it was, by its means, to absorb the kingdoms of the world into a gigantic Kingdom of God, who can wonder if the world, seeing such a goal infinitely remote after nineteen centuries, abandons all belief in a creed which thus fails to square with the facts?* For the Church itself, as a whole, denies, and even scorns, the Second Coming. “Our Lord,” says Dr. W. R. Inge, “in becoming man may have been willing to share, to some extent, the current popular illusions. But this must certainly not be stretched so far as to admit that He fancied Himself filling the role of Daniel’s Son of Man in the near future. Such a notion would not be compatible with sanity.” No Anglican journal is more responsible, nor more thoroughly representative of Anglicanism, than the Guardian; and “the ‘pure eschatologist’," it says (March 13, 1910), “is only to be found in a lunatic asylum, and no one would have taken Jesus seriously [on the advent] in Judea any more than in London.” If, therefore, the literal return of Christ is dismissed as sheer lunacy, while yet it is asserted by the Scriptures again and again, and if the effort to Christianize the world, either with or without an alliance with Communism, goes bankrupt, only one logical conclusion is possible:‑ Christianity is an organized deception which only hinders progress, and the inquirer finds himself precipitated into the anti‑God campaign.
[* Bernard Shaw's words may be taken as a sample of the world's view of the Advent:‑ “In a curious record of the Visions of a drug‑addict (which was absurdly admitted to the Canon under the title of ‘Revelation’) a thousand years were specified as the period that was to elapse before Jesus was to return as he had promised. In A.D. 1000 the last possibility of the promised advent expired; but by that time people were so used to the delay that they readily substituted for the Second Advent a Second Postponement.”]