Following is the editorial reproduction of a face-to-face interview with Dr. Charles Malik, former President of the United Nations General Assembly, conducted by Editor Carl F. H. Henry ofCHRISTIANITY TODAY.Dr. Malik, a native of Lebanon, is a Greek Orthodox layman who understands the spiritual and moral elements in the contemporary ideological struggle as few other men of our day. He holds the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University, and has received more than a dozen honorary degrees. Currently he is guest professor of the School of International Service of The American University in Washington.
Q. World history in our generation seems to be running on a Communist timetable. Do you see any outward signs, like those that once marked the decline of the Roman Empire, to suggest that the Communist thrust has passed its zenith?
A. I don’t think so. I think we can expect it to register further developments, further gains. I don’t believe as yet we can say that it has reached its optimum point. The question obviously takes one into the realm of sheer conjecture and prophecy, and I disclaim any prophetic powers. But I can only say realistically that the Communists are still very vigorous, and the rest of the world is relatively rather weak.
Q. What are the symptoms of the Free World’s deterioration? Do you think it is now too late to avert the final decline of the West?
A. Certainly it’s not too late. It’s never too late; given the freedom of man and given the grace of God, it’s never too late! But symptoms of deterioration in the Western world are very evident. First and foremost, as I see it, is the lack of unity among the various components of the Western world. The statesmen congratulate themselves over that lack of unity, on the ground of their freedom and equal partnership and that sort of thing. All this is fine—but what is the use if one keeps on losing? History is rather ruthless. We keep saying we are good, we believe in civilization, we believe in freedom, we believe in equal partnership, and so on, yet we keep getting beaten. In the end it is not enough to be good; it is also necessary to believe that the good will win. And therefore one who really believes in the good must also believe that the cause of his losing is not the good in him but the bad in him. One aspect of Western lack of unity is the nationalism which is eating and corroding the life of the Western world: America all by herself; England more or less all by herself; France all by herself; Italy the same thing; Germany too. They have NATO, true, but they squabble; on many important issues they don’t see eye to eye. I have seen it in the United Nations. I know from my own experience and direct knowledge. To this squabbling I would add, as a weakness, materialism—sheer, crass materialism. I am not sure your Western materialism is better than the Soviet’s. If I were asked to choose between the dialectical materialism of the Soviet and the materialistic outlook on life and the practiced commercialism of the West, I am not sure I would choose the Western brand of materialism at all. Every time I listen to an important radio broadcast which is repeatedly interrupted by an advertisement for some shoe polish or laxative or brand of marmalade, I have to say two or three prayers in order to remain human. Another sign of weakness: Christians aren’t speaking with conviction. Many Christians have become so worldly that one doubts whether their Christianity can resist the non-Christian and anti-Christian pressures. I could recite 20 or more signs of moral weakness in the Western world which are highly disturbing—weaknesses of people who ought to know better, people with a Great Tradition behind them, whose tradition alone can save them and the world ten times over if they understand it, and live it, and rise above their failures.
Q. How then do you define the decisive issues underlying the crisis of the twentieth century?
A. The issue, as I see it, is this. A rebellion within the Western world in the form of Marxism and Leninism has for its ultimate objective the destruction of the accumulated values that we have inherited from the Graeco-Roman-Christian civilization. Against this terrific rebellion our civilization is now engaged in a life or death battle. This rebellion gathers to itself all kinds of supporting forces in the world which have grievances against that civilization, forces which oppose it, and forces which hate it. Hence there is an alliance, a mobilization of all forces in the world which hate freedom, man, God, objective truth, and the name of Jesus Christ. This to me is the greatest crisis that we face today. Marxism-Leninism is the vanguard of these forces running together against the inherited tradition, which stresses—or ought to stress, regardless of the unworthiness of some of its representatives—man, truth, God, and Jesus Christ.
Q. What has Christianity to say to both of the modern power blocs?
A. I don’t completely understand what many Protestants mean by Christianity. There are 250 Protestant sects. Are you talking about the Holy Rollers? Do you mean the Presbyterian church? the Lutheran church? One weakness of the West is its wide use of the word Christianity for a vague, “liberal,” sentimental form of idealism. If you ask me what Christ’s message is, I shall try to tell you. What he says to the two power blocs today is: Resolve your differences peacefully. If you must fight, be humane; and remember that history is completely in the palm of my hands and I am its Lord. That’s what Christ would tell the two power blocs.
Q. Granted that Christian values are compromised on all the secular frontiers today, how would you assess the Free World and the Soviet sphere in terms of biblical ideals? How would you measure the extent of the revolt in the West and the East?
A. I don’t agree with Karl Barth at all that it is, as it were, “six of one and a half dozen of the other.” The governments of the Western nations have not become totalitarian. They have not turned against the Bible, against the Gospel. On the other hand, the totalitarian governments have taken a stand against the Gospel and Jesus Christ. The governments of the West are at least neutral with respect to the propagation of the Gospel. While we see very virulent movements of secularism and atheism in the West, yet organized society in the form of governments has taken no formal, official stand against religion, and against Christ, and many members of these governments are believers at least outwardly. When it comes to real faith in Christ, of course, the West has become very worldly, very soft. Still the Church is there, and the Bible is there, and Christians are living a free life, and it is their fault if they don’t make good their claims.
Q. What bearing has the biblical view of God and man on the modern controversy over human rights and duties?
A. Every bearing in the world. Man is made in the image of God, as we believe. He thinks and he creates. Man has a dignity with which he is therefore endowed by his mere humanity; he has certain natural rights and duties which stem from his being the creature of God. It is interesting to note that this whole conception of rights and of the oneness of humanity and of the universal dignity of man has arisen only within the Christian tradition.
Q. Does Christianity bear also on property rights?
A. I believe that private property, including the ownership of the means of production, provided it be carefully and rationally regulated—and science and reason and moral responsibility are fully able to supply the necessary regulating norms—is of the essence of human nature, and is a Christian pattern. I believe therefore that the abolition of all private property, including the abolition of the private ownership of every means of production, is not just.
Q. If the Communists argue that economic determinism is the hinge of history, what refutation has Christianity to offer?
A. At least half a dozen points. Most important is that Christ himself didn’t teach this; in fact he taught the exact opposite, namely, to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and these other things come in the second place. But second in importance is that, on the hypothesis of economic determinism, we cannot explain the spread of Christianity—which took place not under the impulse of materialistic determination but through witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and in obedience to his commandment to preach the Gospel of love and forgiveness to the whole world. Another fact is that the Communist theory does not explain Karl Marx himself—a man who had ideas that were not necessitated in his mind by economic forces. There are other ways of refuting the Communist thesis: the freedom of man, the potency of reason, the intimacy of human fellowship, the power of love and forgiveness—all these refute dialectical materialism.
Q. What is the real hinge of history, Dr. Malik?
A. The real hinge of history to me is Jesus Christ.
Q. If that be so, how can the Christian remnant recover an apostolic initiative in witnessing to the world?
A. Not by magic; not by a clever trick; not by mechanical techniques which call for a special conference at six in the morning and another at eleven; not by many of the ways suggested in American theological literature, with their emphasis on methods and techniques of worship and of invoking the Holy Spirit; not by mass organization simply. But especially by ardent prayer for the Holy Spirit to come mightily into the hearts of men. That is the most important thing. Jesus did not concern himself mainly with “how to organize,” although this is most important for the continuity of the Church. Do you think that mass organization without the inclusion of the Holy Spirit, with all its grace and freedom and power, can withstand the smash of the Communist offensive? Not at all!
Q. Where dare we as Christians hope for a breakthrough?
A. In the field of Christian unity there are great signs of hope, I believe. I am encouraged by the awakening of people as a result of suffering and the sense of danger, and by the way people are giving themselves once again to the discussion of fundamental questions. The greatest possibility for a breakthrough exists in prayer for the coming of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is, as it were, now knocking at the door, fluttering around about us on every occasion. We must open the door. To the extent that people ardently pray for his coming—well, that is the greatest victory we can hope for, the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Q. In medieval times the papacy was one of the greatest political forces. How far can the present political situation be attributed to a divided Christendom?
A. Insofar as the church interfered directly in political matters it was in error. You will find, however, that interference, in the sense of the Church itself taking responsibility for political decisions, including the decisions of the Inquisition, happened, if at all, far less frequently than people who are moved by prejudices about history think. We have inherited a certain bequest of propaganda and prejudice which we should do our best to rise above for various reasons, including above all the reason of truth. But there is also the cause of Christian unity. There are now wonderful authentic works that can give us the truth about what actually happened in various periods of history. Insofar as any church—including my own, the Greek Orthodox church—was itself responsible for political decisions it was in great error.
Q. How effectively and properly, in your opinion, has organized Protestantism addressed the politico-economic crisis?
A. I get the feeling now and then that the preoccupation of the Protestant churches with the affairs of the world, strangely enough and paradoxically enough, is either too much or too little. Too much, on the one hand, in thinking that by correcting politics and economics everything will be set right. There is a tendency, on the other hand, for people to withdraw from the world in the sense of pietism and quietism and other-worldliness. It seems to me that the right position is to keep everything in its place. Economics and politics are certainly realities, but not the primary realities with which the Church has to deal. The Church can examine these things in the light of the Holy Ghost and with the mind of Christ. But primarily the Church ought to be above politics and economics, ought to feel that it can thrive even in hell. If it is going to wait until the economic and social order is perfect before it can tell you and me individually that right here and now we can be saved, no matter what this politico-economic order is, it will never accomplish its proper work. Think of Jesus Christ saying to us: “You’ve got first to perfect your government, to perfect your social system, to perfect your economic system, before you take your cross and follow me.” He would never say that!
Q. Do you feel then that there is too great a tendency for the Church to shape and approve particular programs of political and economic action, parties, and platforms, while principles are neglected?
A. This happens at times and is very unfortunate. This does not at all mean that the Church does not have something to say about everything. But what it says about any situation should never so tie the Gospel down to that situation that the Cross and Christ and salvation and hope and faith and love become secondary and dependent upon such programs and pronouncements.
Q. Do you think a clergyman should ever serve as president of the United Nations?
A. If he is elected, why not? If he can get people to elect him, sure.
Q. What is the main dynamism on which the Gospel of Christ relies for social transformation?
A. The love of Christ. The indebtedness to Christ. The first commandment. I think that if Christians are infused with the mind of Christ and are socially conscious—believing in the reality of the social orders, and in their groundedness in man’s nature as a social being—such Christians will be social and economic revolutionaries. They won’t stand for injustice in the social order, and will do everything they can to transform it. Therefore, I think that a mind completely charged with the Spirit of Christ inevitably brings dynamic transformation.
Q. Today we often hear it said that the United Nations is “the world’s best hope for peace.” How do you feel about this?
A. That formula is like all other clichés. While there is something to be said for it, it is more of a propagandistic cliché than a real statement of truth. The United Nations is a very interesting thing and has its own possibilities—possibilities that should never be minimized. But the United Nations isn’t a cure for every problem. And the United Nations is limited by its own charter. It can’t do more than its charter permits it to do. It cannot rise above its own foundation which is its charter. Certainly the charter cannot automatically prevent the great powers from fighting each other. The United Nations is a great institution, it should be supported, it has done very well during the last 16 years. But it could have done much better. It isn’t such that we can go home and rely on it alone.
Q. Do you consider the Church more than the United Nations as the real bearer of peace on earth?
A. Yes, sir! Certainly.
Q. By Church do you mean the Greek Orthodox church, the World Council of Churches, or what do you mean?
A. Well, the World Council of Churches itself says it isn’t a church, so it can’t be something it denies being. The question of ecclesiology is, of course, a great question—in a sense the greatest question that can be faced and discussed today: What is the Church? Which is the Church? In the presence of innumerable claims to be the Church, I think people must have a position at least as to what the basic criteria are. If there is a disagreement on whether these criteria are fulfilled in such and such an instance, that is quite allowable. But the specific criteria whereby the mind can tell this is the Church and this is not the Church seem to me to be a clearly-indicated condition for any sound ecclesiology. Among these criteria I would certainly include the unity of the Church, and the right episcopal order—these two things go together. One’s outlook on the Church conditions one’s theory of history. Is history made up of our separate independent intercourses with God, or is there a unity in the continuity of history? Isn’t there an historical solidarity in the dealings of God with man? This is to me the greatest question that can be asked about the Church and about its truth.
Q. What do you personally think is the future of organized Christianity in our century?
A. If you mean the Church, it has a good future. The Church will never die. The Church is absolutely assured by Christ that he will be with it until the end of time. Everything is going to vanish except the Church. It will go through trials, I assure you, and many so-called churches are going to find out that they are not as much the Church as they thought. If you mean by “organized Christianity” the Church, and if you are asking whether the Church as such will ever be dissolved—then the answer is that this is impossible. The Church as God willed it, as God organized it, as it has existed throughout the centuries, as Christ has continued to build it up—that will not vanish from this earth until he comes. When he comes then everything will be transformed.
Q. How shall we regard the attitude one often hears in our current situation, namely, that Christians are pledged not to combat this or that particular ideology but to preach Christ?
A. I believe we must distinguish three things here. The first distinction is between the Church and those whom you call Christians: the two are not the same thing. The second distinction is with respect to the attitude of Christians or the Church vis-a-vis the final religious realities, the final revelation of God. And the third distinction concerns their attitude towards the various modes of organizing human life practically and politically, towards the present economic and social order. Under this third distinction it is most important to ascertain whether Christians or the Church believe that through the life of reason we may discover ultimate truth and falsehood in respect to social and economic orders. Now, I am sorry to say that many people in our time have developed a despair of reason. You will find that they base their position, in the end, not at all on what is ultimately given, and which must therefore have a universal binding effect upon all men’s reason. They depend, rather, on force, accident, chance. If you make these three orders of distinctions, I would briefly say concerning the first one that undoubtedly the Church as a body cannot rest its fate on the ups and downs of social orders. Its fate depends upon its fidelity, its faithfulness to that fund of truth and salvation and mediation between God and man that it has received from the Lord. On the other hand, Christians as individuals are duty bound to take a position concerning all kinds of social and economic situations, and have every right to make their own destiny rest on the position they take. But they cannot compromise the Church. The Church should not be compromised by taking stands on social and economic matters. Christians have every liberty to compromise their own future, their own name, their own reputation, by the position they take on these things, while they remain Christians. About the second order of distinctions, it is part of my ecclesiology that the Church alone can speak authoritatively on matters of faith and morals. As to the third distinction, I would say that Christians can distinguish between right and wrong, justice and injustice; they can do this on the basis of rational observation, science, inquiry, the application of first principles, going deeply into things, and finally, expounding and showing to the world that one position more than another is in accordance with the truth. Through reason we can obtain the truth concerning social and economic matters. In the end, this is a matter not simply of how you conceive theology, but of how you conceive history, and how you conceive human reason—whether you believe human reason has the power to grasp the truth and to affirm it, or whether you believe it is a dark thing with no power at all, so that the best that is left for man is some accidental ordering of things. I don’t believe this alternative at all. I believe that reason is a genuine power in man—put there by God. It is the greatest natural power man has.
Q. Where do you think that Christianity has failed in its day-to-day opposition to communism?
A. Christians have failed because they underestimated the nature of the Marxist-Leninist-Communist onslaught on the world. They minimized it at the beginning. They did not pay enough attention to it. And its development during the last 40 years, I assure you, was anything but inevitable. It could have been arrested at a dozen different junctures; it was only the folly, stupidity, and complacence of the Christians that allowed it to reach its present dimensions.
Q. Would you spell that out just a bit more?
A. Yes. Our unfortunate minimizing and underestimating of the nature of Marxism-Leninism enabled that movement to attain the proportions it has. That is one cause of our failure to oppose communism. Another cause is the presence in Western society of economic and social and political injustices. If Christians had attended to these problems they could have spoken with far greater meaning, with clearer and less burdened consciences than they did, with all these problems existing in their own domain. And Christians did not work together. They were undermined by communism itself that entered their ranks and weakened them. There is so much sentimentalism, too, so much softheadedness, so much un-authentic interpretation of the Gospel, so much disconnection in the minds of many Christians with the real streams of history. With such softness and softheadedness and sentimentalism, no wonder Communist doctrine and Communist infiltration met with such phenomenal success.
Q. Do you not think then that communism is to be regarded simply as a Christian heresy?
A. Well, this is another one of those clichés. It has very little truth in it. All the truth it has is that Karl Marx arose from within the German Hegelian outlook. This would have been impossible without the Christian milieu, without the positive Lutheran Christian milieu. In that very vague, distant sense, communism can perhaps be regarded as a Christian heresy, and in the sense that it expresses a certain passion for social and economic justice. Unfortunately, this is all very misleading, however; in my opinion Marx’s concern for social and economic justice is for the purpose of destroying the other positive values in Western civilization. Marx was not interested in promoting social justice while at the same time wanting to retain belief in God, belief in man, belief in religion, and in all the things I regard as the supreme values in Western life and thought. On the contrary, he wants us to inflame the masses, in order to bring about the dictatorship of the Proletariat, for the specific purpose of destroying God and man and religion and freedom and such values. So I do not see how you can call communism a heresy, let alone a Christian heresy, when you are dealing with a force whose aim is the ultimate absolute destruction of that from which it has heretically come forth. I would say that this statement should not be played up so much.
Q. What can Christians learn from the meteoric rise of world communism in little more than 40 years?
A. The most important thing to learn is that we are still living, as the Germans say, zwischen den Zeiten, “between the times,” when demonic forces can quickly soar very high and can take possession of the world in very short order. If it isn’t communism, it will be something else. This battle between Christ and the devil is an eternal thing until Christ comes again. Christians therefore should be alert. Christians cannot watch too closely. Christ told us to watch day and night; we don’t know when he is coming again. The greatest lesson we can learn is that there is no security “between the times,” no security whatever.
Q. What can we deduce from the fact that except for Lenin all of the once great Communist political leaders have been discredited?
A. I can deduce from this that the time may come when Lenin too will be discredited.
Q. Wherein lies our hope for defeat of the Communist ideology?
A. In our faith in Christ. In the unity of watching together. In never being soft. In being the first under any circumstances to step out and acquit ourselves honorably like men, not letting silly, soft propaganda weaken our determination. In being clear in our own minds about the ultimate issues in the world today. In praying day and night, day and night. If there is one thing I want to stress, even to the clergy, it is the absolute importance of prayer. This is the most important thing for all men who truly believe in God. I would say our hope resides in these realities.
Q. How important to this outcome is a popular resurgence of such Reformation doctrines as justification by faith alone?
A. From my own point of view, these basic Reformation doctrines have their validity, but it would be unfortunate to overemphasize them at the expense of other truths which the tradition has always held. I would therefore say that the resurgence of these doctrines, as far as they go, is important, but it must take place within the total truth. This resurgence would be dangerous if it meant a return of that spirit of the Reformation which might bring about greater disunity of the Church and further division of Christendom. I hope all of us have learned some lessons during the last thousand years, so that we may now stress not the things that separate us but the things that unite us.
Q. Do you expect the Gospel of Christ again to become culturally and socially significant in our lifetime?
A. Yes, even in our lifetime. Undoubtedly. I hold Christ to be relevant to every situation. I hold him to be present even though we don’t see him.
Q. But my question is not merely one about Christian relevance, but whether we shall again see something approximating Christian culture on a significant scale in the modern world.
A. Again I must say I am no prophet. I don’t know how these things will develop. I take courage from the fact that the Bible is now being read as much as or more than in recent decades. Bible agencies report that Bible sales are on the rise. From the lives of many people whom I know intimately I know that biblical grounding is an increasing passion in the lives of men. I also take courage from the fact that seminaries are becoming more and more biblically oriented. There are many signs of grass-roots revival in Christian quarters. I believe that even behind the Iron Curtain, and despite the oppression, many persons have awakened. I have information that this is happening in Russia itself. I know that in France, in Italy, in England, and in America there is an increasing passion and concern for Gospel truth. I think these are wonderful signs and I hope they will increase in the future. To what degree and in what fashion we shall see a truly Christian culture I don’t know.
Q. How do you explain the fact that despite the official Roman Catholic posture against communism, a Roman Catholic land like Cuba is in the Soviet camp, that Italy has the largest Red bloc outside the Soviet zone, that revolution and dictators thrive in so many Romanist lands?
A. That question perplexes me as it does many people. I’ve wondered about it myself, but haven’t figured out the whole explanation yet. But by way of suggesting lines of inquiry that might explain this situation, I would make two or three remarks. The first is, God help these countries if they did not have the Catholic church in them! You should therefore be thankful for whatever influence the Catholic church was able to exert. You are probably looking at the problem from the negative side only. Have you stopped to think how these countries would have fared if the Catholic church with its well-formed anti-Communist attitudes did not exist there? Maybe communism would have swept over all these countries. I repeat, this thing perplexes me. But I would like to note how much these countries owe to the qualitative influence of Catholicism for having withstood as much as they did the onslaught of communism. That’s one line of thought and a very important one. We sometimes forget the positive and concentrate only on what appear to be the negative aspects. And what actuates us in this is not the truth but our prejudices. The second point is that we may not be dealing with a causal relationship between Catholicism on the one hand and the spread of communism in some of the Catholic countries on the other. It may be that it is not a religious-causal relationship at all but rather a cultural-causal relationship affecting people of certain cultural outlooks, namely, people of Latin or Mediterranean or Eastern-European culture as distinguished, shall we say, from the Anglo-Saxon. Perhaps this problem is simply one of cultural temperament.
Q. Just as Marxism reflects the Russian temperament?
A. The imposition of Marxism upon Russia is an accidental thing; so we cannot say that it reflects the Russian temperament. But there is a further point on the Catholic issue that we should not forget. West Germany today is very strongly Catholic, and yet no country—not even the United States—is freer from communism than West Germany. No people on earth are more anti-Communist than the Germans, and certainly West Germany is strongly Catholic. This very striking example may tend to show that we are not dealing with a causal relationship between Catholicism and communism but rather with a cultural relationship. I should also like to call your attention to the fact that the United States, which is also partially a Catholic country, is not less anti-communist on account of its Catholics. On the contrary, they appear to be more anti-communist than the Protestants. Certain cultures, certain outlooks on life, seem to be more compatible with Marxism than others, regardless of the religion of that country. This is a question for further investigation; I’m only suggesting lines of approach. Another consideration is this: if one clings merely to an economic interpretation of life, be it socialistically or capitalistically organized, then the problem seems completely different. It is a fact that the Anglo-Saxon world, the Protestant world, is today a strongly capitalistic world. If Catholicism is not identified with capitalism, why should that fact damn it? If one looks only at economic phenomena and neglects all other distinctions, just how significantly does Anglo-Saxon capitalism differ from certain forms of socialism? So in putting the question about Catholicism and communism it is not right that this question be put with any feeling of self-righteousness; such a feeling should be severely qualified.
Q. In our quest for world peace what posture ought the Christian Church to assume in the struggle against communism?
A. The Communists say they want peace; the Christian Church wants peace. But there is “peace” and peace! Some kinds of peace seem to me to be unchristian, and the Church cannot condone them unqualifiedly. A peace that is based upon tyranny is not real peace. A peace that is based upon fighting God and Christ is not the right kind of peace. And a peace that is based upon international peace but is simultaneously waging class war is not Christian. The Christian Church ought to say, “We’re all for peace; but we want a peace that respects God and Christ and men; we want a peace that is not based on tyranny; we want a peace that is ‘all out’ peace—peace between classes as much as peace between nations.”
Q. Is nuclear war inevitable? A. No.
Q. If not, how can we avoid it?
A. Through greater unity in the Western ranks, through the development of new techniques for challenging the Communist threat, through separating the people who are ruled by the Communist party from their rulers. This is something that Western leaders have not dared to do very much. They seem to think that the identification of ruler and ruled behind the Iron Curtain is an ironclad and fixed identification. So there are many ways to avert nuclear war. One thing we must never overlook, namely, the devastating cost of military weakness. We ought to maintain and increase whatever strength we can have. I sincerely believe that the mobilized resources of the Free World—economic, political, moral, and spiritual—far outweigh any mobilized resources of the Communist world.
Q. How firm should the Free World be in the face of Communist aggression?
A. Very firm, immovably firm.
Q. Who is winning the Cold War?
A. The Communists, if you compare their status in the world now with their status 10 years ago, let alone 20.
Q. Which way will the so-called “Arab bloc” go?
A. In a crisis, I think some members will be neutral, but some, I think, would co-operate with the Western cause.
Q. How will the Israeli-Arab conflict be resolved?
A. You ask me a question before which I feel profoundly humble. I have no idea how it will be solved. I hope war will not break out between the two sides; that’s certainly the minimum we should hope and work for, and I think this hope can be achieved. We must leave the matter to the future.
Q. Is world government inevitable? A. No.
Q. If it comes, is it likely to be a form of political democracy or of totalitarianism?
A. Political democracy—a development of the United Nations.
Q. Do you expect that in our lifetime communism may become passé as a world force?
A. If you say “may,” yes. If you say “shall,” I would reply, I don’t know. It is possible for the West, for the non-Communist forces of the world, so to organize, mobilize, and deploy themselves as to bring about a disintegration of communism from within.
Q. What new ideology ought the Christian to look for as he peers beyond communism into the future?
A. A Christian ideology can only be one that is integrally grounded in the mind of Christ. Such an ideology would place spiritual things above material things; would affirm God the Creator, Christ the Redeemer, the Holy Ghost the Giver of life; would stress the Church; would stress man and his absolute dignity as the creature of God, created in his divine image and later redeemed by the blood of Christ. It would certainly have a social message, an international message of peace, equality, and mutual respect. The strong will come to the support of the weak, and the weak will be humble and not rebellious. The infinite potential of science and industry can be turned to the enrichment of human life in a completely unprecedented manner that would bring blessing and happiness to all mankind, insofar as these depend upon material things. Because of human sin and human corruption, government and order will be of the essence; the Christian ideology cannot be an anarchic ideology. Education will be stressed. But unless the intellectual, the political, and the economic are put in their proper place as instruments willed by God for the sake of man—who is created in God’s image and has fallen away from that grace, and yet, thank God, has been redeemed by Christ—they always have a tendency to overwhelm the human spirit and to rebel against God. So this is my vision of what you termed “Christian ideology.” While he hopes for these things, believes in these things, and works for these things, the Christian ought to be very humble; he should not expect miracles except as they are authentically wrought by the Holy Ghost.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more
More from this Issue
Read These Next
- TrendingDon’t Pretend the Ugandan Homosexuality Law Is ChristianNot everything that’s a sin is a crime—let alone one punishable by death.Français简体中文繁體中文
- From the MagazineWhen Politics Saved 25 Million LivesTwenty years ago, Republicans, Democrats, evangelicals, gay activists, and African leaders joined forces to combat AIDS. Will their legacy survive today’s partisanship?
- Editor's PickPCA’s 50th Anniversary Comes During a Season of GriefPresbyterians expect less fight and more fatigue as they gather following the Covenant shooting and the deaths of Harry Reeder and Tim Keller.