“Our society not only fails to ask for or expects any depth of commitment from the individual; in a curious way it even discourages such commitment.” These few sobering words of Mr. John Gardner, the United States’ former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, are probably among the most prophetic uttered by politicians today. Mr. Gardner’s blunt observation hits the nail right on the head. I none snappy sentence, he gets at the root of a real problem plaguing the average person, even many churchgoers, namely, almost complete lack of commitment.

Again and again one is struck by the fact that so relatively few people dare to commit themselves, dare to speak out, dare to let it be known where they stand: what they are for and what they are against. Even men who occupy key positions become more known for their ability to raise questions than for their failure to provide answers. While they pose as prophetic leaders, they are as blind as the masses who uncritically follow them. The only noticeable difference is that those who pretend to give leadership are a shade more sophisticated. At times, they even manage to sound rather articulate in their effort to deal with our failures and frustrations. Ultimately, however, it is the blind leading the blind.

While nearly everyone adds to the perplexity of the problematics, no one appears to know the way out of the sorry mess; including many preachers. One would expect that precisely when there is such a crying need for positive, clear-cut leadership, ministers would have the courage of faith to speak out, and to do so boldly. The opposite usually happens! Men who are called to confront a confused generation with the liberating Word of the Lord frequently add to mankind’s burden by echoing the utter nonsense vainly fabricated by secularized scholarship.

In a desperate bid to be relevant and popular, these so-called men of the cloth purposely cater to the secular spirit that has gripped our fast-moving age rather than boldly tackle this life-devouring monster head-on. It seems to be a calculated attempt to bring a supposedly new gospel—the gospel of secularity. Their countless empty words are a far cry from the one promising Word of Christ. Time magazine contends that, if these clergymen have their self-styled, revolutionary way, “it may be hard in the future to tell where the church begins and the world leaves off.” Indeed, they are like wolves in sheep’s clothing—for in the name of the church they dare bring a message that is alien to the Scriptures. They are unfaithful shepherds. They break down rather than build up the Kingdom. Their foolish views have left a deep impact on many. These clergymen, with the powerful assistance of educators, have actually helped to usher in what is often described as the “post-Christian era.”

It should therefore not really surprise us that modern labour-management relations are what they are. After all, if the worshipper in the pew and the student at the university are not told what they deserve to hear, then it does not take long for unbelief to take over everywhere. Once apostasy has infected the preaching in the churches and the teaching in the schools, it will, of course, also adversely affect men’s thought and action in labour and industry.

The Christian Labour Association of Canada was organized with the primary objective of concretizing the implications of the Revelation of Cod for daily work and human relations on the job. While most people are obviously afraid to commit themselves for fear of being called fanatics by a colourless community of allegedly non-committed men, the CLAC membership is bent on demonstrating that its public commitment to Christ means something. These ordinary, often uneducated, workingmen and women mean business. They are dead-serious about their communal calling to be of daily service to their Lord and to Canada. They want to do something-something worthwhile, something positive. They want to do it right out in the open, where it counts, where the action is. There is little use believing in Christ without living accordingly. “Faith without works is dead.” Period.

In the marketplace of life, CLAC members stand up an.d speak their Christian mind. So much so that the big labour machines of Our day take strong exception to the Christian way of these workers. The AFL-CIO and Canadian Labour Congress agents appear particularly upset about the Christian commitment of these men. Practically every chance the so-called neutrals get, their ruthless machines, like hawks after defenseless prey, move into high gear to make life miserable for all who have the loyalty of conviction to follow a biblical way of life, labour and liberty. In their ignorance, caused and camouflaged by total commitment to the phoney religion of neutrality, they despise any person who has the courage to propose a radically different commitment.

But that’s the paradoxical consequence of being captive to the principle of non-commitment. It spells the end to freedom of association and religion; it marks the beginning of dictatorship and discrimination.

Christians, especially all who belong to secular labour and employer organizations as well as all who condone such secular action and support, should wake up to the disturbing fact that these movements—so deeply committed to the anti-Christian religion of secularity have, understandably, little or no use for the way of the Word. Or don’t they agree that it is more than time and only right for Christian people to show their communal commitment to the Lord by publicly speaking their renewed mind also concerning the affairs of labour?


Mr. Gerald Vande Zande is Executive Secretary of the Christian Labor Association of Canada.