What will the last quarter of the twentieth century be like? How will the Church of Christ fare in it?

Many people today seem to assume that our future will be dominated by Marxism, or even by some form of Communism. They foresee a state of affairs in which, under pressure from economic forces, lives will increasingly be controlled by the state. Not a few think this kind of take-over is inevitable and have been trying to adjust their expectations accordingly. I do not say that this is always deliberate; often they are just caught up half-thinkingly in the prevailing trends.

On the whole the churches seem bent on adapting themselves to the ceaseless onrush of socio-political change, under the naïve impression that this is the progressive or enlightened thing to do, and that neither preaching nor theology can be relevant unless it is politically involved. This outlook seems to reflect a form of the Marxist fallacy that religion is the opiate of the people, namely, the idea that the less people think of the other world, the more they will love their neighbors—which is the exact opposite of the teaching of Jesus.

Furthermore, militant “theologies of liberation” have assimilated the prophetic passion of Jewish messianism, and the revolutionary nature and impetus of the Christian message, to Marxist ideology. These liberation theologians adopt a Marxist interpretation of history according to which class conflicts lead, through an inner necessity, to a future in which all human miseries will be eliminated. They believe that Karl Marx uncovered the fundamental “laws of motion” governing society, and thereby turned the understanding of our social problems the right way up. All this involves a causal interpretation of human affairs and ...

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