May a Reformed Church Join the W.C.C.

One of the projects of the World Council of Churches during the last few years has been an elaborate and detailed study of what it calls the “Missionary Structure of the Local Congregation.” Some of the results of that study are very revealing. According to the WCC, “The Church is nothing other than a segment of the world which confesses the universal Lordship of Christ. Thus, it is the place where the world becomes aware of its true destination, its true face. The Church is the sign or the instrument by which God reveals himself to the world which is still unaware of his reconciliation. it does not exist for itself, but for those who are not of it. It is Mission.” Obviously, this quotation presumes (in opposition to Scripture) a universal salvation already wrought by Jesus Christ. All men are already reconciled to God; the responsibility of the Church is, then, by precept an example (principally example made effective by pressure upon, and the power of, government) to bring men to live as though they were, indeed, a part of the already redeemed world, simply because, says the WCC, they, in fact, are.

The deep significance of this concept of the Church becomes apparent when its consequences are set out clearly. To say that the Church exists for the world and to be a sign to the world of God’s destiny for the world necessarily implies that the Church must not be a separated religious organism distinct from the affairs of secular liIe. The Church, instead, must be a sign to the world of “true secular existence,” i.e., an illustration of what life in the world under God is to be like. The WCC scorns as a “religious club” that church which refuses to assume as its mission involvement in the world’s social, political and economic struggles. Such a Church, says the WCC repeatedly, is a false church. Note that carefully. A church which believes on the basis of Scripture that it is commissioned to the preaching of the Gospel of salvation and refuses to become side-tracked from that purpose in attempts to foment social, political and economic revolution is, according to the WCC, a false church. Ecumenical theology identifies that revolution and its results as “Christ’s purpose in the world.” It claims that the “true church” is called to be an active participant in the midst of real human struggles as those struggles unfold.

Consequently, we are told in the same study, “The Church must be discovering the ways by which she can develop forms of solidarity with men in the midst of their struggles so that she can witness to the servant presence of Christ in history.” The Church must remember that her task is not to bring Christ to the world, but to help the world see the presence of Christ in the world and to acknowledge him because, of course, the world is already redeemed. It must simply come to live that way. The Church’s task, then, is to join Christ in the world, seeking by word and deed to witness to his “servant presence.” Nothing could be more obvious than that the WCC is unreservedly committed to social, political and economic revolution and the changing of the structures of society.

Three things are implicit in this commitment. 1.) The WCC position on the mission of the Church implies a rejection of the Biblical truth that the Church is called to the transformation of the hearts of men by the Gospel and the gathering of the elect in the expectation of Christ’s return. That say the leaders of the WCC is a perversion of the Gospel. 2.) The WCC’s discovery of the purpose of Christ in the struggles of society implies a rejection of Scripture as the sale nonnative revelation of Christ and his purpose. 3.) The WCC lacks the standard as well as the desire to judge the struggles of men morally. It urges simply that the Church identify with men in their struggles. That is the “purpose of Christ”—even when those struggles are of Marxist creation.

Back in 1961 the Third Assembly of the WCC at New Delhi issued a message that said, in part: “There is no more urgent task for Christians than to work together for community within nations and for peace with justice and freedom among them so that the causes of much contemporary misery may be rooted out. We have to take our stand against injustice caused to any race or to any man on account of his race. We have to learn to make a Christian contribution to the service of men through secular agencies.” This, please notice, is the most urgent task for Christians today: “to make a contribution to the service of men through secular agencies.” Besides the fact that it is, then, apparently not the most urgent work of Christians to be the servants of God and to reach men with the power of regeneration by the Holy Spirit through the Written Word, the WCC’s message embraces the false thesis of Marxism, Scripture makes plain that the miseries of men are not caused by economic, political, social and racial injustices, To say that they arc is materialism, not Biblical Christianity, Christians believe the cause of these miseries is sin, We believe that the answer is the Gospel and the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. There is one root and cause of men’s misery, There is one Gospel of salvation, The program of the WCC for involvement in the name of Christ in world revolution has far more in common with the false gospel of communism than it does with the “good news” of the Christian Gospel, This is borne out by the observable fact that the WCC is seldom far behind The Worker in its endorsement of radically liberal programs and causes.

At its New Delhi meeting in 1961, the WCC also issued an appeal to all governments and peoples calling upon governments to implement what it had just called the most urgent task for Christians. Notice that the WCC, having rejected the Gospel, rejects the God of the Gospel as well. Committed to revolution in the world, the WCC makes its appeal, not to God and his power, but to governments which have the temporal power and resources necessary to implement its dreams. This is, by definition, to advocate for world socialism: a powerful government to solve the problems of men in every realm. The WCC appealed to governments to halt the arms race, This, it said, is imperative, Complete and general disarmament is the accepted goal said WCC, echoing the Marxist propaganda line, and concrete steps must be taken to reach it But for what purpose do communists purpose disarmament? Communists, caring nothing for peace, want only to disarm the arsenal which guards the free world and which, in turn, guards, under God, the freedom and the opportunity of the Christian Church for the proclamation of the Gospel. Complete and general disarmament would be nothing other than an open door for the fastening of the clammy hands of communist totalitarianism upon all of the earth; to silence, if it were possible, the Gospel of salvation. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the policy makers of the WCC, having adopted the Marxist analysis of the human problem and the Marxist solution for it, are enemies of the Gospel in precisely the same sense that Marxists are.

The above analysis was elegantly illustrated by the “Conference on the Church and Society” convened by the WCC last summer in Geneva, Switzerland, Again the Churches were called to everything from planned parenthood to international organization and to the changing of the structures of society by revolution. Repeatedly, the conference put its stamp of approval upon the totalitarian societies of the communist nations, making no moral distinction whatsoever between communism and the free nations of the world. Repeatedly, the goal of the Church was defined as the “humanizing of man.” Not a single good word was put in at any point for salvation or eternal life or the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How will the goal be reached? Why, of course, through super-national organizations, Red China must become a part of the United Nations in order that that organization may be made stronger in the cause of revolution. It was stated repeatedly that the nation-state is too small to achieve the universal humanizing of man. Therefore, the nations must be willing to give up some of their sovereignty to an international organization. Repeatedly, world socialism was advocated. One speaker urged that every nation give 1% to 2% of its gross national product every year to the underdeveloped nations through international organization. There were appeals for a transfer of capital and a redistribution of land. The reason, of course, that the WCC at the same meeting deplored the role of the United States in Vietnam and insisted that we get out, is simply that none of the goals that the conference espoused would be served by a victory for freedom over communism in the present war.

It is interesting to note that the conference was not composed of delegates sent by the member churches of the wee. Rather it was composed of those whom the WCC called to participate in it Among those who were present were Barbara Ward of England with her theme that the rich nations must share and share alike with the poor nations, Present was Professor Richard Shaull of Princeton who has been repeatedly guilty of calling for violent revolution and who in Brazil, not long ago, openly advocated a blood revolution, Present was Bola Ige of Nigeria who preached the gospel of Comunist China as the new saviour of the poor nations, Present was Professor Helmut Gollwitzer of Germany calling on the churchmen to protest the United States Government’s “inhumanities” against North Vietnam, Of course, there was not a word spoken about the inhumanities of the Viet Cong, Present was Dr, Conzalo Costilla-Cardenas of Columbia who said that the church in Cuba “is now passing through a very promising process of renewal which had not been possible before the revolution.” Present was Professor Hiber Conteris of Uraguay who called on Christians to recognize the insights of Marxism when seeking social justice, which he defined as “leveling out of the social classes based on the fair redistribution of wealth, equal opportunities, equal rights and equal privileges for all.” Dr. G. A. Taylor in an editorial in the Presbyterian Journal which includes the above information said: “The whole conference told the U.S. almost unanimously to get out of Vietnam…the Politboro could not have improved on the parade of speakers” (August 10, 1966, p. 12). Why these speakers? Simply because this is where the entrenched leadership of the wee stands. And this is what the wee wanted this conference to conclude. It wanted the conference to call the churches to participate in world revolution for “the service of man,” and to the employment of secular agencies in order to bring the whole world under the “Lordship of Christ.” By “The Lordship of Christ,” of course, the WCC patently means world government and world socialism.

It is quite accurate to say that these ecumenical “conferences” work just like a sausage machine. You have a machine that makes sausage. You put sausage meat into the hopper and turn the crank Do not be surprised when sausage comes out the other end. That is what you put in. The WCC will protest, of course, that its conferences speak only that which is the mind of the member churches. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a plain and a obvious lie. The WCC, whatever denials it may make, does in practice have a position and a theology. When it speaks, that position comes out. Repeatedly the member churches have simply gone along and been content to be the power base from which the WCC ennunciates its radical positions. Anyone who thinks for a moment that a conservative or Reformed Church could be a part of the WCC and influence its pronouncements in the direction of the truth of the Word of God and the Gospel of salvation, much less the Reformed Faith is deceiving himself and foolishly closing his eyes to the entire history of the ecumenical movement. Unless those who urge the entry of the Christian Reformed Church into the WCC are self-deceived and therefore as leaders undependable on this issue, they must be aware that they are urging a radically different gospel which is no Gospel at all and a radically different church, which according to the Reformed Standards is no Church at all.

There have been those who have said that the WCC is a communist organization. That has been misunderstood as though it were alleged that it is simply a communist political organization. This, of course, is not true. But the fact is that the WCC promotes an analysis of the predicament of men, an answer to that predicament and a goal for society identical to that of communism. It is not too much to say that both are engaged in building a socialist world. The best that can be said for the WCC is that many in the ranks of its membership are pathetically deceived by the retention of Christian terms by a leadership which denies the substance of the Christian faith.

What is behind all of this? Simply the program of Satan for the dethronement of Jesus Christ as he is set forth in the Word of God. It is an attempt to bring men to worship the beast of Revelation 13. In that chapter we read of two beasts united in the service of Satan: the beast out of the sea (the anti-christian world power—today represented by world communism) and the beast out of the earth (the anti-Christian religious power). We are plainly told that the second beast will direct all men, in the name of religion, to worship the first beast and to look to him for the supply of every need. This is precisely the false gospel offered men today by the WCC: a socialist world. Of course, that “gospel” is a fraud. The first beast cannot deliver on his promises—a socialist world can only enslave. But if the second beast can convince the world to seek all good from the first beast, the real purpose is served: a world on its knees before Satan. That, I believe, is the spiritual reason behind the WCC’s drive for a socialist world.

Someone asks, “Cannot a concern for social improvement among men be a ground-work for the preaching of the Gospel?” To that question I answer, no. The Gospel is not a social concern for men. The Gospel is salvation by the Cross and the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Whatever may be alleged in the same circles that advocate entry into the WCC, the Gospel is not “God loves all men.” The Gospel is “Christ died for sinners” (cf. I Cor. 15:3, 4). To say to an unrepentant sinner: “God loves you,” is to give him a carnal confidence, not salvation in Jesus Christ. A “God loves you” gospel does not save men: it hardens in impenitence and ultimately condemns. Can any better result be expected if the Church were to give itself to “illustrating the love of God for all men” by a struggle for the humanizing of men? The best that can be illustrated by a church committed to social action is God’s “eternal power and Godhead” (Romans 1:20). And that cannot save: it can only damn men by leaving them without excuse. Preached or illustrated there is no salvation in universal love; only damnation. For Reformed Christians that in itself ought to explode the myth of serving Christ in the WCC.

Let Reformed Churches be true to their heritage. Reject the snares of Satan. Stand and preach particular redemption, an effectual atonement and sovereign grace in which alone is salvation. What we need today are churches who are willing to remain apart from the World Council of Churches and its call for a socialist society. Churches who still can, in integrity, declare the Gospel—Christ died for our sins—in the confidence that Jesus Christ will apply that truth by the power of the Holy Spirit to the opened and quickened hearts of the elect, bringing men to salvation in himself. There is no compatibility between the WCC with its gospel of social revolution and the Church of Jesus Christ and his Gospel of salvation by the shed blood. There is no concord between Christ and Belial.