Christians alert to the quality of the modern age cannot escape the obligation of assessing the spirit of revolution. And when they examine the structures of revolution, they are likely to feel a strange fascination for the revolutionary movement. Revolutionaries have long claimed Jesus of Nazareth as one of their comrades and have insisted that his contemporary significance is found in the “revolutionary” aspects of his message and life. And Christians cannot help noticing too that there are similarities, on a formal level at least, between the revolutionary life style and that of Christians during the first few decades after Pentecost.

On a deeper level, more and more Christians, especially young ones, are developing authentically biblical sensitivities that make them extremely uncomfortable with the same evils that have driven revolutionaries to reject the establishment. Racial injustice, the hideous ambiguity of contemporary conflict, and the deficiencies of prevailing economic systems generate in many Christians today extreme disenchantment with the present state of affairs. Those who have no vested interest in the status quo can easily develop near-revolutionary attitudes.

There is indeed a coincidence between revolutionary concerns and genuinely Christian interests. For one thing, the revolution repudiates the tyranny of the technocracy, and in this connection, there is much in Herbert Marcuse’s analysis of “true and false” needs with which many Christians will agree (One Dimensional Man, Beacon, 1969, p. 5). On the political level, the revolution is cynical; it considers present political events largely illusory. Revolutionaries feel that few real issues are faced and virtually no really significant changes are introduced ...

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