The Truth About The Federal Council of Churches And the Kingdom of God
by Carl McIntire
The Truth about the
Federal Council of Churches is the title of a document dated February 6,
1950, and released by the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in
When I landed in San Francisco, on February 6, from a 12 weeks trip around the world, in which I had been speaking in behalf of the International Council of Christian Churches, and against the modernist, revolutionary program of the World Council of Churches and the pro communists in the World Council, I learned, to my delight, that Mr. Flynn's book had become a bestseller; that newspapers all over the country were running it in serial form, and that whenever Chapter 10 was reached a virtual volcano erupted. Local ministers and councils of churches affiliated with the Federal Council could not take it. The Federal Council of Churches has received, without doubt, the greatest jolt of its entire history.
A popular secular writer, with a gifted and penetrating pen,
had had the courage to brush some dust off the sacred cow of American
Protestantism, so the lay people in the pews could see its color. In The
Road Ahead Flynn presents evidence that socialism, of the style of the
British Fabian model, is being sold to the American people under a false name,
When Mr. Flynn charged that leaders in the Federal Council do not frankly avow their real intention, naturally, it was to be expected that there would be some fireworks.
FEDERAL COUNCIL'S STATEMENT
At least three documents have now been issued by Dr. Samuel McCrea Cavert, general secretary of the Federal Council. One, an abridged edition of the present document, entitled, The Truth About the Federal Council, and another, A Memorandum Concerning the American Council of Christian Churches, have been published and scores of religious periodicals and papers throughout the nation.
Yet Mr. Flynn has not been answered. Denounced? Yes, flayed with every conceivable device, including an attempt to hang him upon me or me upon him with my activities for the historic faith in the past years. It is all the appearances of the "war" Mr. Flynn described.
The present document has a foreword by the president of the
Federal Council, Bishop John S. Stamm, and the vice president, Mildred McAfee
Horton The 32-page booklet consists of
several documents, starting with an official statement by the executive
committee, unanimously adopted on January 17, 1950; and the most amazing
feature about it is that, after declaring the council has been misrepresented,
misunderstood, and inexcusable erroneous statements made, it concludes by
stating that the council seeks first the Kingdom of God and his
righteousness. Yet, that is the title of Mr. Flynn's chapter, the
Now what is this "kingdom"? Is it a social order, and is its structure the socialist pattern that Mr. Flynn has produced documentation to prove? Or is it something else?
The 155 members of the executive committee, representing 27
denominations and 28,948,483 members, completely
begged the question. They also indicated
that the council is interested in other matters and has a wide variety of
interests. But still they admit their
first concern is the
We also find atypical phrases, such as, The Council has had a continuous concern for social welfare prompted by the Christian conscience. But what are these matters of social welfare? That's the point.
Again, like its constituent denominations, the Council is
also deeply concerned with the relationships of men to one another in the
economic, industrial realms. And, if it is to bear witness to Jesus Christ
as Lord and Savior of the whole of man's life, what does the lordship of
Christ mean for the economic realm? They
admit that they do deal with it. What do
they offer for it? This is the
point. Why not discuss the
Immediately, we are given a Who's Who in the Federal
Council's Executive Committee. Each man is listed with his titles. The purpose apparently is to impress
people. But this does not answer the
charges or deal with the
NEXT, we see a section in which the Laymen Bear Testimony, and the names of 46 influential Protestant
laymen are appended to a statement expressing full confidence that the Federal
Council functions with complete fidelity the Christian ideals. These are the so-called character witnesses
brought to the stand solemnly to declare that the Federal Council has
denounced Marxian Communism has atheistic. And so it has, and nobody has
denied that it has. Flynn announced the
fact in his Chapter 10. But the Council
has not announced this
All the lay supporters are then lined up in a Who's Who Among the Lay Signers, and followed with, Twenty Concrete
Accomplishments of 1949 of the FCC. Dr.
Cavert then presents and Analysis of Chapter X of John T. Flynn's The
Road Ahead. There is no analysis. One wishes that he had given an analysis of the chapter and dealt with
the quotations from John C Bennett's book, Christianity and Communism, with Dr.
E. Stanley Jones' writings in which the
Mr. Flynn's error in this matter is understandable, they insist, because he is supposed to have gotten his information and errors from an unreliable book written by me (The Rise of the Tyrant), which they do not mention; and I am a "deposed" Presbyterian minister, whose animus against the established churches and their agencies is easy to understand.
All the "animus" they can imagine,
although "deposed" preachers they can count, do not change the facts Flynn
offers. The question of where Mr. Flynn
may or may not have obtained his facts does not enter into the merits of the
facts. And it is the facts their
THE SOCIAL CREED
Dr. Benson Y. Landis, associate executive secretary of Research and Education of the Federal Council of Churches, is the author of a pamphlet, Religion and the Good Society, 1942. He quotes the social creed. The first two points are as follows:
1. Practical application of the Christian principle of social well being to the acquisition and use of wealth, subordination of speculation and the profit motive to the creative and spirit.
2. Social planning and control of the credit and monetary systems and the economic processes for the common good.
He tells us that this was adopted unanimously at a full
meeting of the representatives of churches who were members of the Federal
Council of the Churches of Christ in
But this secretary tells us, The social ideals were the result of four years of work by a special Committee of the Federal Council's Commission on the Church and Social Service. In submitting them the Committee appended an explanatory statement, which included the following:
No one can contemplate the profound social changes involved in any successful carrying out of these social ideals without realizing that, while they would mean great advances in human welfare and happiness, they make unprecedented demands upon the intellectual and moral capacity both of individual leaders and of the whole people. The significance of these demands is the greater since the ideals expressed not only religious opinion but aspirations and goals which are stirring the heart of the world.
Dr. Landis himself, commenting upon these Social Ideals, says, In broad terms, the ideals have called for more social ends and more social means to achieve those ends that have generally been recognized by the leaders of society in the United States. The ideals that declared for an extension of democracy to industry and economical life generally were the bold challenge to the prevailing individualism of American life. Consequently these ideals have been unpopular with a large majority of the economic leaders of the nation. This sounds like Sidney and Beatrice Webb.
But this is exactly what John T. Flynn has said. Had he been a paid member of the Federal
Council's staff and said it in these terms, his propaganda and pungent pen
could be used to help change by democratic consent the free economy of the
Going back to the statement issued by the committee which prepared the creed, we read, What our people lack is neither material resources nor technical skill, these we have in super-abundance, but a dedication to the common good, courage and unselfishness greater than are now manifest in American Life.
The committee then indicates that the tasks are beyond us and their accomplishment will be indefinitely delayed or frustrated, unless there can be a nationwide spiritual awakening which has social goals.
This social revolution is to be accomplished in the name of spiritual awakening. Our supreme social need is spiritual awakening. What unsuspecting believer could possibly object to such a statement? Yes, they think it is faith in Christ that is going to give the stimulus to this revolution!
In our extremity, arising out of harrowing social
conditions throughout the world, we therefore turn anew to Christ; for the
faith of great endeavor, for an overwhelming disclosure of God in the life of
humanity, for the dedication of innumerable individuals to [and this is the
point] the creation of a more Christian social order. Could this possibly be
This Social Creed and these comments upon it or not by just a few leaders. This is the official action of the whole Council, the work of one of its official committees; and one of its official secretaries presents the damaging comments.
COUNCIL'S FIRST WORK
Listed among the concrete accomplishments of 1949, we find singled out for the first, Launched amid century United Evangelistic Advance, to continue throughout 1950 as a coordinated effort to win men and women to Christ. This evangelistic activity was also emphasized in the official statement by the executive committee. To the ordinary Christian, evangelism means persuading men to accept Christ as their personal savior and being "born again"; but the word in the conception of many Federal Council leaders has taken on a much different meeting.
The president of the Federal Council, Dr. Stamm, has written a volume entitled, Evangelism and Christian Experience, with a lengthy chapter on Evangelism and the New Order. He emphasizes the vital need for evangelism and says, If the church can Christianize the organized life she can hope for a real spiritual revival.
Then we get some idea as to what the organized life is. Much of the organized life of the present time is largely pagan and has never yet become subject to the Christian principle. Most of this is organized on the basis of self interest, carried on in a competitive spirit, and exists largely for material profit. This cannot continue and religion thrive. Men cannot hope to succeed in making the world Christian unless he is willing to make Christ supreme in all of life. Man's related life must express the Christian principle as well as his personal and private life.
It is clear that he is not talking here about anything of a personal and private nature so far as this evangelism and accepting Christ are concerned. But the president of the Federal Council continues, "The church true to her message in ministry stands committed to the fact of the reality and worth of personality, therefore, cannot condone any practice which treats man as less than personal." Mr. Green is right when he says the church must exercise its moral and spiritual influence on the side of justice, fair dealing and human betterment. Dr. FC Eiselen points out the need of an aggressive along these lines in these very searching words, "Our prevailing social order has been based upon self interest and has been utterly un-Christian. Until competition is replaced by cooperation and self interest by service there can be no healing of the nations."
But Stamm asserts, "The truth should be fully faced; if the church cannot make the Christian principle operative in man's related life she cannot win the world's Christ.""
When this so-called competitive order is done away with, and
the cooperative order is established, what has taken place? One thing in short, the present competitive
capitalistic system and the
Furthermore, the main speaker in this United Evangelistic
Advance, chosen by the Federal Council's committee, and who is now touring the
In this same volume, he deliberately discusses the nature of communism: "It is attempting to bring unity into life by the recognition of what is to it the universal principle, the economic interpretation of history, basing life upon the economic, with the more just and equitable distribution of goods through the pudding of the means of production into the hands of society for the benefit of all labor" (p.14).
This principle he recognizes in the communist system and his
description, then, of the
NEW SOCIETY OF KINGDOM
But Dr. Jones follows the demands of his kingdom society right on through to the bitter end. "In this new society of the kingdom we shall exclude none, but when some exclude themselves in spirit, then they there by exclude themselves in sharing. If they refuse to cooperate, then they are refused fruits of cooperation. The segregate themselves so they must live to themselves and perish by that very isolation. There will be a simple rule: from each according to his ability. If they refuse this, then they cut themselves off from the first part to each according to his need" (P. 203).
The minority perishes. One either cooperates and submits to the plan
of the new society, or, to use the prevailing terminology, he is
liquidated. It is totalitarianism all
right. However, in his Christ of the
JONES' REPLY TO FLYNN
Dr. E. Stanley Jones has been enraged by Mr. Flynn's
references to him. He has published a
complete reply, appearing in the Ohio Christian News, official organ of the
Ohio Council of Churches,
So Dr. Jones has not changed his mind about the
Dr. Jones accuses Flynn of taking things out of their
setting and out of the time when
In his "complete reply" he used strong words against Flynn's delivered falsehood, indistinguishable from lying. He thinks it is a perversion of the worst kind to indicate that he has been sent out periodically by the Federal Council from city to city to preach the glory of Red Christianity. If it is not a "red Christianity", what is it?
But, the biennial report of the Federal Council, 1948, reads, during the biennium the department has arranged for and sponsored a series of 23 preaching missions, held by E. Stanley Jones. And Dr. Jones, though the featured speaker on the Evangelistic Advance, which the Federal Council now claims is its number one accomplishment of 1949, insists that he does not represent the Federal Council.
Concerning his tour he writes, They pay me nothing and I do
not represent them. But he adds, along with scores of others I hold
evangelistic missions under the Department Evangelism of the Federal Council.
The Federal Council, in answering Flynn, claims credit for his meetings and any
help. Dr. Jesse M Bader, secretary of
the Department of Evangelism, outlining the Advance in the June, 1949, Federal
Council Bulletin, announces Jones's acceptance of their invitation to spend
the entire 15 months of the United Advance in
Then Dr. Jones continues, "I think
END OF CAPITALISM
When you combine the two in the way Stanley Jones has stipulated, you have a socialist kingdom, and no more capitalism.
The men whom Flynn has unmasked are determined that they will not permit him to take away their false face terminology from them. This is Christian, no matter how socialistic it may be. Jones ends by saying Flynn's is an "irresponsible journalism," while, as a matter of fact, everything that Jones has had to say in defense of himself simply underscores the truth of what John T. Flynn wrote. Jones did more than the 155 member executive committee in answer - he defended the kingdom!
The point is that Dr. Jones offers this teaching in the name
of evangelism, and he is peddling these ideas around the country, exactly as
has been charged, but the decisive point is that Jones says; "It is to the
bringing in of that order, the
ONE GREAT HOUR
The third service which the churches are carrying on united
way through the Federal Council, listed in "Twenty Concrete Accomplishments of
1949," reads: "Through Church World Service secured contributions and relief
supplies valued at $8,715,486, distributed to the suffering through churches in
This was headed up, of course, in the "One Great Hour" radio
program of 1949. The appeal was made in
the name of humanity, but behind it and a part of it was a so-called
educational relief program, in which selected books were given to churches,
mission schools, and preachers throughout Europe and
SOCIALISM AS RELIEF
A long list of pro-socialist books by leading Federal Council lights was included. Among the books sent was John C Bennett's Christianity and Communism. Bennett is one of the gentleman mentioned by Flynn, and his book is referred to at some length. Later, Church World Service announced that Bennett's book was being translated into "a tract for the times" and distributed in various languages throughout the world. This book openly says communism is a mixture of "half-truth and positive error." Positive error, of course, everybody is against. But the half-truth is the thing which Dr. Bennett expounds as the Christian element, and, so far as capitalism is concerned, he writes, as Mr. Flynn quoted him, "Christianity has no stake in the survival of capitalism." He thinks Communism inherits from the Biblical faith and passion for social justice (P. 46). And moreover, he says, "It is often been pointed out that Communism could only have been developed on soil prepared by Christianity (P. 46). And, there is, therefore, in Communism a deposit of Christian influence of great importance." (P. 46).
Dr. Bennett has this to say, "Communist materialism is not fatalistic. On the contrary, it has been a stimulus to action. Moreover, Communist movements depend to a considerable extent upon the leadership of those who are attracted by its social purpose, who are themselves move by moral conviction. Marx and Lenin were supreme examples of this. There is a very confused relationship between determinism and freedom in Communist thought and also in some forms of Christian theology. It is true that Communism does not recognize explicitly and not the capacity of men to be moved by nonmaterial or non-economic factors in life and that it does not understand the full implications of the freedom of the human spirit to make history, which Communists themselves often exemplified. But it is misleading to make this criticism of Communism a ground for accusing it of denying all human freedom." (P. 25).
Dr. Bennett, a professor in Union Theological Seminary,
When I was in
But Dr. Bennett does not aid our cause. In his little book, Christian Ethics and
Social Policy (1946), in discussing the logical trend that is often labeled
"Neo-orthodox," he says that most of the representatives of this viewpoint
"are themselves radical in the sense of being anti-capitalistic in their
understanding of the Christian social imperative." It fixes a footnote naming
these anti-capitalists: I refer to such theologians, however they are labeled, as Karl Barth, Emil Bruner, Reinhold Niebuhr, Nicolas
Berdyaev, William Temple, Paul Tillich. Niebuhr and Tillich are his fellow
teachers in Union Seminary,
In light of this praise of communism's half truth, the situation is this: when a man accuses these Federal Council leaders of favoring communism, they, as we have seen, vehemently deny it and point to their denunciation of Marxism as being atheistic. The man who, on the basis of their praise of the half-truth, cries out "Communist," has been made to appear as a "liar and a thief", while they have covered themselves in the sight of those who do not investigate the facts. To praise the half-truth of communism (and there is no such thing) justifies the charge that they favor the communist economic theory. This is the whole point at issue. Such praise does not justify their blanket denials.
The relief program of which Federal Council boasts gives
this socialist relief free in the name of the churches to perplexed Europe and
Recently, however, The Ecumenical Review, winter 1950, official organ of the World Council of Churches, announced that the funds which have been distributed have been distributed in the interest of World Council "solidarity" and the whole program was designed, according to this report, to promote the ecumenical movement of the World Council of Churches. The writer of the article, Robert C. Mackie, calls it "true ecumenical cooperation," and states and that the funds were carefully distributed in a determination to achieve an even wider and deeper cooperation today.
But the World Council of Churches has put itself on record against capitalism and has called for Christians to "seek new creative solutions which never allow either justice for freedom to destroy the other." "Capitalism" (not laissez-faire Capitalism, as the paper was amended in one place), the World Council says "put the emphasis upon freedom, and promises that justice will follow as a byproduct of free enterprise; that, too, is an ideology which has been proved false." And 85% of the World Council's budget to support this worldwide attack on American capitalism is provided by American capitalists as faithful Christians. Offerings collected in Federal Council and World Council churches on the Lord's Day help to do the Devil's deed!
BISHOP OXNAM'S LEADERSHIP
Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam, president of the World Council of
Churches of the Western Hemisphere, one of the six presidents in all, is in the
center of this movement to destroy the capitalistic order of the
The New York Times, October 7, 1948, carries a report by
George Dugan, of the World Mission Assembly in
"Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam, of the
The primary drive of self-interest, he said, must be supplanted by a service drive to the end that the autocratic principle may give way to the democratic.
The church, said Bishop Oxnam, must recognize that the age old fact of hunger is not primarily a task of relief but rather a problem of re-ordering our economic life so that every man has enough to eat, enough clothe, and a place to live.
The 3,500 Protestant church officials attending the conference heard Fabian socialism offered as Christianity and the mission of the church.
Because it represents so many Protestants, the Federal Council receives multiplied millions of dollars' worth of free radio time from the great networks in the United Stats. The time is also used to sell the American people this revolutionary idea of the Kingdom of God. Oxnam was featured in a series on the American Broadcasting Company's Sunday program, which addresses are published in the volume, The Stimulus of Christ (1948). Oxnam casually discusses this problem and appeals to his listeners, insisting that those who love freedom "must move out resolved to labor, to face the problems with cool and resolute mind, ready to live and die that a society may emerge fit to be called the Kingdom of God" (P. 66).
The heart of the message, combining the various elements
which are now being thrust into the American mind to induce the revolutionary
change, Oxnam offers: "Many fear that revolutionary economic movements will
conquer the world, but they are so determined to hold fast to their own selfish
privileges that they are unwilling to take on a scar or two to b uild within freedom of society that is at once just and
brotherly. Communism will never win a
democratic and just
This is an appeal to accomplish what the communists have accomplished, but do it in "a just and brotherly society." Then he says, "I am convinced that within the freedom of democracy we can build a society at once just and brotherly, in which creative talent may be fully evoked and human beings may live in peace and security, enjoying fearless leisure and fruitful labor, and in which the impulse to creative action and service will be stronger than the acquisitive impulse" (P. 66).
To build this society, the free capitalistic society, which
I personally have talked with the responsible
representatives of the four great networks in the
Exhibit A should be Oxnam's new
book, Personalities in Social Reform (Abingon-Cokesbury,
$2), "Six heroic thinkers" and their pioneering work for justice and brotherhood
among men. This gives us some idea,
now, of the content of the pet phrases, "justice and brotherhood," that Oxnam
himself has been constantly using . The first of these
six "heroic thinkers" are Sidney and Beatrice Webb. Of 172 pages, the first 41 are given to the
Webbs, with unmistakable praise and approval. Reviewing the chapter briefly, Oxnam says, "These devoted scholars are
chiefly responsible for the social reform that marks the passing of
In his own words, he says, "Social reform, scientifically and democratically won, was a constant objective" (P. 31). Then he asks, "What were their essential ideas? Under the Capitalistic System, the government of industry is vested in the hands of a relatively small fraction of a community, namely, the private owners of the instruments and production.
The Dictatorship of the Capitalist is directed fundamentally to one end the extraction of the largest attainable income for the owners of the land and capital in the form of interest, profit and rent the poor nor the riches of the rich: it is the power which the mere ownership of the instruments of production gives to a relatively small section of the community over the actions of their fellow-citizens and over the mental and physical environment of successive generations" (P. 42).
Oxnam insists that the Webbs were convinced advocates of democracy. The factor of consent was basic in their thought. He quotes them again from Soviet Communism: A New Civilization; "This fundamental transformation of the social order, the substitution of planned production for community consumption instead of the capitalist profit making of so called Western Civilization, seems to me so vital a change for the better, so conducive to the progress of humanity, virtue and wisdom, as to constitute a new civilization" (pp. 43, 44).
Oxnam cannot get away from the new civilization idea. It makes the kingdom idea glitter. They were of the opinion that this new civilization, with its abandonment of the incentive of profitmaking, its extinction of unemployment, its planned production for community consumption, and the consequent liquidation of the landlord and the capitalist will spread (P. 44).
Again, rejecting as they did Marxian economics, they accepted his theory of the historical development of profit-making capitalism. "There can be no permanence of social peace in a situation in which we abandon production to a tiny proportion of the population, who own the means of production."
He closes his chapter with a word of personal praise: "They lived simply and labored prodigiously. Their researches discovered the data essential to the syntheses expressive of social principle. They served to the end that principle might be embodied in the institutions and practices requisite to freedom."
So these "heroic thinkers" have hold of the ideas which work
for "justice and brotherhood": a socialist
FEDERAL COUNCIL'S EXECUTIVE SPEAKS
"Basic Christian Principles and Assumptions" is the title of
a Statement adopted by the Executive Committee of the Federal Council of the
Churches of Christ in
The text, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," is used in the Council's attack upon the free economic order. These "biblical" teachings, according to the Federal Council's executive committee, are a part of the great traditions of Christendom; but the churches in their teachings and behavior have often obscured them in the past because of two misconceptions. "The church needs a better understanding of the revolutionary social criticism that is implicit in its own teaching."
These misconceptions are, first, "The belief that the existing economic systems are ordained by God. This belief has been applied to Feudalism and Capitalism, as under other circumstances it might have been applied to Socialism or Communism. A passive attitude toward the status quo simply because it is here, and therefore must be here by divine providence, through the centuries has been characteristic of major interpretations of the Christian tradition in relation to the secular order. We should now recognize that God's providence works both for the modification or destruction of some old forms of economic institutions and for the creation of some new forms." Feudalism is dead, of course, and the impact of this paragraph is against capitalism. Let that be clear!
The second misconception is "the assumption that in basic economic relationships Christian love can best be expressed in terms of a benevolent use of power, which leaves uncriticized the power of the few over the many." Private ownership is here attacked, and this is exactly what has to be done if the American free enterprise system is to be destroyed. This last question is significant in view of the statement of the executive committee in reply to Flynn, It has never advocated the ownership of the means of production and distribution by the State. Maybe those exact words have not been used, but does not the phrase, "the power of the few over the many," mean that the means of production are in the hands of the few? Have not Jones and others stated it in those terms?
Under Section II of the statement, "Specific Ethical Principles for the Economic Order", and it is an order we read, "There can be no Christian sanction for one sided support of either economic individualism or economic collectivism." The economic individualism and economic freedom of the past in American life, therefore, was wrong. The Federal Council's official family is set for its destruction. Here is the conflict of the combination of individual freedom with collectivist economy. It is the conflict which must be resolved in the acceptance of a collectivist system like socialism in which, of course, there is a claim for individual freedom in that the individual votes the socialist system into being. An economic system that permits large scale unemployment or long continued unemployment for a few is gravely defective. It is clear that it is the "system" the Council is after is our American system at that.
But there is another way: "Economic decisions are in large measure group decisions for which both political and economic forms of organization are necessary."
MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION
The third section speaks of "The Church and Modern Social Movements." Here we have the emphasis upon the church's ministry of reconciliation. Another Biblical term twisted, which means, in effect, that there must be a compromise between the system of freedom and the system of collectivism. This is what Dr. E. Stanley Jones is talking about, and this is what the Federal Council leaders have said, and now the whole Federal Council itself puts itself on record as favoring. This blending of freedom and collectivism is the disastrous act which destroys freedom.
The attack upon a so called benevolent concept of a man's responsibility in a free capitalistic society strikes out such texts as "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth (Eph 4:28)." This frontal attack upon the foundations of American capitalism and the free system which makes it possible, in the name of Christian teaching, if it does not bring socialism, will bring confusion and pave the way for communist revolutionary forces to grasp the reigns.
CHURCH AND ECONOMIC LIFE
A plan of the Federal Council leaders for
selling these ideas to the people in the National Study Conference on the
Church and Economic Life. They
have had two. When the Council
(December, 1946) authorized the establishment of the first, it said that this
would bring together the best thought and devotion of our churches so that the
Christian way may be discovered and followed in a day when only the light of
Christ can make clear our direction. The first conference, done in the name of laymen, was held in
When the second conference came up, February, 1950, Bishop Stamm issued "The Call." He said of the first that it "affirmed that the churches have a responsibility for economic life." It led to wide sturdy and activity by denominations, councils of churches, and local churches in their relations to economic life. Through its Department of the Church and Economic Life, the Federal Council has continued to proide guidance and stimulus to this movement.
The second was like the first, with many of the same men present. Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam took a leading part. The business "minority" which believers in our free enterprise system found itself at a great disadvantage, yet the atmosphere was courteous, gracious, "Christian." Their commitment to "Christian principles", whatever one may consider them to be, held all together. When the documents were released, the minority was a party to the whole program in the name of laymen. The attacks upon our private enterprise system in the general, attractive, religious terminology were there. Socialized medicine was also endorsed. Why must men and freedom be victimized in such a group without producing a document that involves compromises with freedom, and this is the way the socialist advance is made. You cannot compromise freedom and keep it. The "middle way" in such circumstances destroys freedom.
This brilliant scheme is the foundation of the Department of
the Church and Economic Life. John C.
Bennett, Dean Liston Pope of
As another accomplishment in 1949, the Federal Council lists, undertook a three year study of ethical aspects of economic practices, with the aid of a grant from one of the great foundations. One hundred thousand dollars from the Rockefeller Foundation does this. Who turns up on this committee but Prof. John C. Bennett! With him and others with his views serving on this committee, can it be expected that there will come out a pronouncement which will defend the principles on which the capitalistic system rests? This should be answered. We know what is coming; the pattern is the same.
The Federal Council leaders, unable to meet the facts Mr. Flynn produced, inject into the debate an element which evidently they feel will turn people away from the facts. Flynn is a Roman Catholic, they say. Dr. Jones also dwells upon this. The implication is that Mr. Flynn, therefore, is attacking the Protestants. They talk about "brotherhood, love and tolerance," but the minute they are caught flatfooted, all such matters are cast to the wind. This appeal to prejudice and religious emotion has no weight with those who want facts, and this is all the more reason the facts must be exposed.
Mr. Flynn replied. He
is a citizen of the
It is in this same spirit that the Federal Council's
secretary has, in every document, at the first and prominently displayed,
declared that I am a "deposed minister." Apparently he thinks this will turn people from the facts, too. He
writes, "Deposed from the ministry of the Presbyterian Church in the
This is the authority to whom Mr. Flynn's book refers again and again. Indeed, there is virtually nothing in Mr. Flynn's discussion of the Federal Council which is not found in the publications of the deposed Presbyterian minister, whose animus against the established churches and their agencies is easy to understand.
This has now been printed in scores of papers and questions
have been coming to me from many places about it. A long distance telephone call from a city in
ISSUE IN MISSIONS
I have always been a Presbyterian, even born in a
Presbyterian manse, and when the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian
Church in the
Dr. Pugh is credited with framing the charges which are now quoted; specifications are deliberately omitted. We confessed that we had not resigned and chose to obey God's Word, rather than the General Assembly's order, but that we were not guilty of sin before the head of the church. Dr. Cavert is very careful not to bring this part of the picture to the minds of the people, but sooner or later this will catch up with the Federal Council, too, because the rank and file of God's people who love freedom love the Bible and know that it must be obeyed above all earthly considerations, both ecclesiastical and political.
OBEDIENCE TO GOD
The Presbytery's Judicial Commission declared I was guilty
of sin. A minority opinion written by a
Presbyterian lawyer, the Hon. Samuel Iredell, of
"That the defendant, the Rev. Carl McIntire, shall be suspended from the communion of the church and from his office as a minister of the Gospel until such a time as he shall resign from the Independent Board of Presbyterian Foreign Missions and shall give such further evidence of repentance as the Presbytery of West Jersey may deem adequate."
This makes it clear that my membership on an independent mission board and refusal to resign was, as I have said, the reason for my trial. The high sounding charges which my action was supposed to support, spread over the country by the Federal Council of Churches to accomplish its ends. Dr. Cavert, a Presbyterian minister himself, uses the action of his church to help shield his Federal Council.
On June 1, 1936, the General Assembly upheld this suspension, and the denomination split.
The Independent Board,
Thank God, my congregation in
One Sunday morning, March 5, 1950, the day of our Every Member Canvass, I told my people about Mr. Flynn's book and the Federal Council's propaganda against me as "deposed," "unfrocked," "discredited," etc. The congregation on the day over subscribed its budget, bringing in at the close of the day over $83,000 in pledges and cash, the largest ever presented on a Canvass Sunday. God answers these men. Faith in the Bible makes a glorious church. I believe it is churches such as this that our country is in desperate need of today.
NEW DENOMINATION FORMED
The Bible Presbyterian Church was born. Now it has ten presbyteries, 76 churches, and 170 ministers. Presbyterians all over the country are waking up what has happened inside of their denomination. The same struggle is going on in the Baptist churches, only they are able to keep their properties. (Presbyterian churches ought to be able to keep theirs.) More than five hundred under the leadership of Dr. Robert T. Ketcham have separated from the Northern Baptist Convention because of these issues and have formed the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches. Other churches are in the struggle, too. When a man takes a stand, as we have done, out of love for Christ, and has stood, and stood, and cried out against what we believe to be a departure from the faith, and now against what we see so clearly to be a destruction of our free society in the United States of America, to have the secretary of the Federal Council dig this up, and, in a one-sided way, present it to his seven hundred councils of churches all over the country, and in addition, for it to be published in scores of newspapers, only in this form, illustrates the limit to which these men are willing to go to cover up, to turn people against that which they simply cannot answer. And they use an action of one of their own denominations to attempt to cover themselves. God knows this, and when God's people see it they will understand.
One thing this illustrates to me. It is that the Federal and World Council program for "one church" is an exceedingly dangerous affair. These Federal Council men cry out against monopoly in the capitalistic system to aid the socialist and communist propaganda, but they are asking for a monopoly in religion, and, as they build this up and are building it, they have a tremendous apparatus with which they can oppose and crush anyone who dares cry out against them.
When the General Assembly upheld the action in my trial, I
renounced the jurisdiction of the denomination, too, the privilege of every man
in a voluntary association, as the church is supposed to be. It was only after we refused to accept the
judgment of suspension for the holy communion, that
the so called deposition, without trial, or "unfrocking," as they like to call
it, took place. When the Bible Presbyterian denomination was formed, one of the
first acts of the First General Assembly was to declare null and void the whole
proceedings of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the
Instead of being an unfrocked clergymen,
I am a clergyman in good and regular standing in the Bible Presbyterian
denomination. After our battle the
Presbyterian Church in the
There is one place that Dr. Cavert is right. He charges that I have carried on a campaign against the Federal Council and the denominations in it, and by the help of God we shall continue with renewed energy and courage. We pray that many more shall join us in the struggle to save our free land and to preserve the church as a witness to the Christ of the Scriptures. There has never been any animus, but always a love for Christ and His Word.
WORLD COUNCIL PRESIDENT
Since Dr. Cavert has introduced this so called trial, it
will help the cause tremendously to point out that one of the conditions
protested by Dr. Machen in his brief "The
Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the
Dr. Chao has written two articles which have been published
in the Christian Century,
The Federal Council's Bulletin,
February, 1950, has editorial comment concerning the motives of missionaries that fits in just here: "Missionaries are not leaving
Then we read: "The charge is now being made by some
Americans here at home that the missionaries who choose to remain in Communist
The communists have made it very plain that they will permit missionaries to stay who will cooperate, but the missionaries who hold to the orthodox ideas of the Christian religion will not be tolerated.
I have from
"When five Christian leaders were invited to participate in the People's Political Consultative Council [Dr. Chao is one of the these], most churches in every place felt encouraged. This, they thought is concrete proof that Christianity has a status and a future in New China. And after the 'Common Program' was adopted, and they saw that Articles Five and Fifty-three guaranteed freedom of religious belief, they felt even more encouraged than before. They considered this a turning point. Now they had hope! Thus much vain and wishful thinking was produced."
The communist writer says that these who think, since
This communist praises Jesus: "Christianity's Founder, the revolutionary
youth Jesus, has given an example of the actual practice of the theory of
sacrifice." But when we come to
professionalized Christianity, all this becomes a dead myth. The revolutionary, creative spirit of life
which Jesus left has completely changed to empty and dead doctrines and creeds." This sounds very much like the popular
modernist doctrines being offered in the
He continues: "Doctrines and creeds are all man-made, and can always be changed according to the times, but as soon as they become the code of the organized and professionalized church, then they are completely changed into subjective, idiotic, dead fossils of Idealism."
As to the future, he says: "If Christianity's enlightened, progressive, democratic and revolutionary elements can undertake to display Christianity's positive, scientific revolutionary and universal religious spirit; if the church is also willing to walk toward that road, then, of course, the church has a future. However, whether or not there is a future depends on nobody else but the church itself. It is completely dependent on whether or not the Christians themselves can manifest a creative and progressive spirit."
Finally: "When Christianity has the scientific revolutionary point of view, then it can avoid superstition; then it can make progress. Given the basic standpoint of all the people, with the method of serving the masses, then we may assume that Christianity has a theory and practice which are integrated."
The World Council and Federal Council leaders know these terms. But they are willing to meet them in order to bridge the gap between the two worlds and claim to be the spiritual tie, redeeming, reconciling, producing the new order.
(The Federal Council will become the National Council of the Churches of Christ in America in December, 1950, when a number of agencies will be combined with it.)
THE AMERICAN COUNCIL
In Dr. Cavert's attack on the American Council of Christian
Churches we are grateful for all the recognition he gives. Dr. W.O.H. Garman,
"The truth of the matter is that Mr. Garman left the United
Presbyterian Church voluntarily and was not "unfrocked" or "put out" as some
declare. For a long time prior to
leaving, he, together with other United Presbyterian pastors, has been
expressing disapproval with apostate trends, the inroads of the social gospel,
and the denomination's membership in the modernistic, pacifistic, and
near-communistic Federal Council of Churches. He left to accept the pastorate of a church affiliated with The
Independent Fundamental Churches of
The American Council is small, but it is the Federal Council's
only competitor. It will not remain
small long, if it can reach those who love the Bible. Dr. Calvert's objection to our trips around
South America (July-August, 1949) and
I cannot pass Dr. Cavert's attack on Mr. Flynn for a reference to the American Council of Christian Churches. Dr. Cavert writes: "He says that an 'American Council of Churches' was formed when a small group of clergymen broke away from the Federal Council, although the fact is that not a single one of the little denominations comprising the American Council ever belonged to the Federal Council." Dr. Cavert knows that I was in the Federal Council, and other American Council leaders were in it. He knows that. He knows we broke away. How do you leave the Federal Council? Only by getting out of the body that put you in the denomination. When the denomination will not leave, the only way you can leave is to withdraw from the denomination. That is what Flynn said we did. God's people should get out of the Federal Council, out of its fellowship, out of its "numbers" which give it radio time and the right to speak for 28,948,483.
That is the way the "little denominations," some of them, started. It is church history. It was when they were out that they saw that the one and most effective way to deal with the Federal Council, its power and false program, was to organize another council, a true council, free society of our free land, and out-and-out in its opposition to the Federal Council's false program.
All subsequent events and Dr. Cavert's own reply have now
confirmed the wisdom of this. The
Federal Council must face the American Council, and the World Council of Churches
has the International Council of Christian Churches to deal with. The International Council will hold its
Second International Congress in
FREE ENTERPRISE AND THE BIBLE
I cannot close without some statement about the kingdom and capitalism or free enterprise. This earthy kingdom of the religious social planners does not come from God's Word. It was conceived in another world. Let that be shouted from the housetops. Only departure from the Bible and ignorance of the Bible makes possible their plan. Every man who believers the Bible should oppose the plan with everything he has. The real basis for the battle is down on the rock foundation of the Bible.
Our system of free enterprise is right, but there are many abuses and injustices. I condemn them all, and I discuss some of them at length in my book, Author of Liberty, 1946. But let us not scrap the free system to remedy its abuses. Why not save the system and change the people? To change the free competitive system will bring a loss of freedom to all. To change the people will make salt in the earth. We have that which alone can save the people. Yes, we have it, the true church has it, the Bible offers it: the Gospel of grace, which the church everywhere should be preaching instead of this socialism.
"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16).
Instead of the mission of the modern church, as Bishop Oxnam
says, begin to "re-base" the economic order, it is to preach the Gospel that
men might be born again and given the power to love one another and to serve
one another in freedom. The remedy, the only
remedy for all our ills,is the preaching of the Gospel
and the bringing of men by faith into the true and eternal and glorious