This article was originally published in the February 15, 1985 issue of Christianity Today.
Money and Power
Jacques Ellul; foreword by David W. Gill, translated by LaVonne Neff
InterVarsity Press, 1984, 173 pp.
Law student Jacques Ellul was 17 and indigent when he discovered Karl Marx and suddenly thought he understood everything: Why his aristocratic father was perpetually out of work, turned away by every company and factory he called on; why his family was impoverished; why the dock workers in Bordeaux lived in degraded conditions; why injustice thrived.
But when young Ellul contacted other followers of Marxmembers of socialist and communistic organizationshe was deeply disappointed. No one seemed devoted to Marx's ideas or the improvement of society. The socialists wanted only to improve their own political position, and the Communists put the party line above the thoughts of Marx. Later, during World War II, Ellul saw Communists involved in the Resistance kill other Resistance groups simply because they were not Communists. "The Communists," Ellul wrote, "no longer had the right to be heard, received, or believed" (Perspectives On Our Age: Jacques Ellul Speaks on His Life and Work ed. by William H. Vanderburg, trans. by, Joachim Neugroschel; Seabury Press, 1981, p. 10).
Ellul hasn't had much use for any party, ideology, or system since.
The making of many books
Since his early brush with communism, Ellul has become a Christian, earned a doctorate, cared for a small Protestant congregation, served on the National Council of the French Reformed Church, participated in politics, taught in the university, agitated for ecological reforms, and become an influential thinker.
He has also written a few books; over 30 have ...