The "New" Order of the Kingdom
By Discernment Group - July 5, 2007
"We believe that we see the goal and we believe that men can get hold of that power to move on to that goal. That goal is the Kingdom of God on earth. The Kingdom of God is a new order standing at the door of the lower order. The higher order, founded on love, justice, goodwill, brotherhood and redemption, stands confronting this lower order founded on selfishness, exploitation, unbrotherliness, with its resultant clash and conclusions. . . it [the higher order] will finally replace this lower order, for it is God's order. We shall present Christ as the open door to that era. We shall unfold the possibilities of that era both within the individual and the collective will.
(E. Stanley Jones, Federal Council of Churches, Federal Council Bulletin 19, no. 8 (Oct. 1936), New York 5)
There truly is "no new thing under the sun" (Eccl. 1:9). The quotation above is from the year 1936. It is cited in Dr. Martin Erdmann's groundbreaking book, Building the Kingdom of God on Earth: The Churches' Contribution to Marshal Public Support for World Order and Peace, 1919-1945.
The history behind this quotation is a fascinating look into the rise of liberal denominations 50-100 years ago. They embraced a dominionist doctrine of building the kingdom of God on earth long before it became a New Apostolic Reformation or Reconstructionist "mandate."
The thesis of Dr. Erdmann's book is that the rising popularity of this doctrine was substantially influenced and perpetuated by the same academic, political and religious intelligentsia who were busily forming the beginnings of a New World Order on earth. These elites seized upon certain doctrines of the Gospel as a mechanism to forge an international consensus on "moral" ideology.
Dr. Erdmann writes, that in 1934 the Federal Council of Churches began a grassroots public relations campaign to further its social gospel. The end goal was to create enough groundswell that another international organization could be formed to replace the faulty League of Nations.
"A new commitment to the concept of the kingdom of God on earth needed to be generated among the people at large and from the constituencies of the member churches, a commitment that had been notably absent for some time. Unless the Council succeeded in mobilising a grassroots movement of socially conscious Christians it would never realise the goals set out in the Social Creed. Thus the new emphasis on propagating the principles of the Social Creed was again designed to attain the kingdom of God on earth rather than to reach lost souls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ." (p. 154)
The modus operendi to accomplish such a mass motivation is strikingly similar to the methods utilized with today's evangelicals:
"Without adhering to basic Scriptural concepts. . . the Council's social appeals were couched in biblical terminology. Although mentioning the sin problem frequently, it was usually in the context of sins against society rather than sin against God. Regeneration was masterfully redefined as a new social awareness. The substitutionary atonement of Christ upon the cross was deemed insignificant and was rarely if ever mentioned. The Reformation dictum, that humankind can find peace with God only by being justified by faith, was simply ignored as without relevance. The residue of evangelical concepts which could be found in their gospel messages were mostly based on Arminian theology. . . ." (p. 155)
In order to achieve this organic unity, the reformers of that era proposed that a "sense of urgency" or "crisis" be created. E. Stanley Jones, who is quoted at the top of this post, proposed in 1935 that the various branches of Protestantism "come together on the simple doctrinal basis found in Matthew 16:16-19. He defended his proposal on the grounds of the urgent necessity to unite, in view of the task confronting the church." (p. 147)
Erdmann notes that "Jones was less than candid in his statements." It was not unlike the call for a Second Reformation that we see today:
"The whole plan rested upon an indifference to the development of Christian theology from the Council of Nicea onwards, and it actually called upon the creedal churches, the Presbyterian and the Lutheran, for example, to surrender the heritage of the Reformation." (p. 148)
"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26)
© 2007 by Discernment Group
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