A Christian’s Handbook on Communism, which has been approved by the National Council of Churches’ Division of World Mission ($1 per paperback copy from the Interchurch Center) proposes that every local church of the large NCC constituency set up a Committee on Social Education and Action through which each member will be stimulated to fulfill his social responsibilities.

The potential for good or ill of such a development is unlimited. For more than a generation Protestant liberalism has misguided Christian action along “social gospel” frontiers, mainly on the left bank of American politico-economical life. Evangelicals on the other hand have largely neglected the tasks of social justice in order to concentrate on personal evangelism. In time liberalism lost not simply the Gospel, but from its social message lost also the emphasis on fixed principles and truths. Proud of its supposed relevance and carefully spurning “frozen patterns,” neoorthodoxy is now channeling the social energy of the churches into one tentative position after another. And evangelicals have shown increasing eagerness to rectify their neglect of the social order. For lack of constructive guidance, some, unfortunately, simply endorse secular or sentimental proposals. Others intuitively shy away from leftist errors but remain baffled or demoralized by incessant left-wing attacks on the right-wing. Most evangelicals nonetheless identify themselves proudly on the right. They are uneasy, however, over those radicals who breed internal suspicion, who emphasize negations instead of elaborating constructive alternatives, and who enter politics or economics simply in terms of a secular perspective rather than that of the biblical revelation.

It is heartening, then, ...

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