OIU Volume Five - Pt. 2 of 4
OUTSIDER'S INSIDE UPDATE™
Transformed Church Finds Acceptance and Fellowship in Evangelical Community
May 7, 1997
WHEATON, IL - The Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) has voted overwhelmingly to accept the Worldwide Church of God (WCG), headquartered in Pasadena, Calif., into membership. The application process included examination of doctrinal changes, which have taken place in the once-controversial denomination.
NAE is founded on the premise that the Bible is the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God. "I respect Joseph Tkach and the leadership of the Worldwide Church of God who did not rest in the refuge of their historically held doctrines, but sought the Truth through careful study of the scriptures - even at significant cost to the denomination," said NAE President Don Argue. "And we thank God for his faithfulness to them. We appreciate the gracious and open manner in which this church's leaders answered questions about the struggles that led them to a biblically-based theology."
WCG members once followed the teachings of church founder, Herbert W. Armstrong, who rejected the Trinity as a pagan doctrine, while also insisting that tithing and observance of the Old Testament Sabbath were necessary for salvation, among numerous other old covenant practices. After Armstrong's death in 1986, denominational leaders began to study and reflect on the validity of the church's teachings. In light of the Word of God in the Bible, they could not find support for many of the denomination's most controversial doctrines.
These dramatic changes, however, have cost WCG nearly half its membership that once topped almost 90,000 people in the United States. Today the denomination has nearly 50,000 members in the United States and 73,435 members worldwide. More than half of its 802 churches are located in the U.S. There are 1046 ordained WCG ministers worldwide; 678 in the United States.
"The greater Christian community is just beginning to realize what God has done with the Worldwide Church of God; and understandably many still tend to view it with extreme skepticism," WCG leader Joseph Tkach told the Board of Directors of the association in March. "We have experienced what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:15-18, '...whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away... And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.' "
"For years, people have been praying for their friends and relatives who have been a part of the Worldwide Church of God, asking that they would be able to see the truth of God's word," said Don Argue in announcing their acceptance into membership. "We see the dramatic changes that have occurred among our friends as God's continuing efforts to bring renewal and revival for His glory.
The Worldwide Church of God joins 48 other denominational members in the fellowship of the National Association of Evangelicals, including Reformed, Pentecostal, Free Church, Holiness and various other traditions. "In essentials unity, in distinctives liberty, in all things charity" is the motif of the association, which serves as a forum, a voice, and a resource for the evangelical community.
For further information about the Worldwide Church of God, please call Greg Albrecht at (818) 304-6181.
©1997 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of EVANGELICALS, PO Box 28, Wheaton, IL 60189; website: http://www.nae.net
The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) is a voluntary association of individuals, denominations, churches, schools and organizations comprised of approximately 43,000 congregations nationwide from 49 member denominations and individual congregations from an additional 27 denominations, as well as several hundred independent churches. The membership of the association includes 250 parachurch ministries and educational institutions. Through the cooperative ministry of these members, NAE directly and indirectly benefits over 27 million people. The association maintains its national offices in Carol Stream, Ill., and an office for governmental affairs in the nation's capital.
[NOTE: Read: Worldwide Church of God's Faulty Orthodoxy (shows why Dr. Robert Sumner in his booklet, Is Armstrong's Cult Now Orthodox? A New Look at the Worldwide Church of God! believes there are strong reasons to be skeptical in accepting the new WCG as now Orthodox.)]
The following ministries of NAE's affiliates have likewise been strategically formed to serve the broader evangelical community:
- The Christian Stewardship Association is assisting evangelical churches and organizations through networking and education in the areas of strategic planning and development.
- The National Religious Broadcasters provides a recognized forum and identity for hundreds of Christian broadcasters and related ministries nationwide.
- The Evangelical Fellowship of Mission Agencies serves thousands of missionaries around the world by providing an integral liaison with the State Department of the United States of America and other governments around the world.
- The Evangelical Child and Family Agency provides social service ministry to children and families, including adoption and foster care services.
- The National Association of Christian Child and Family Agencies provides a networking structure for family service agencies.
The National Association of Evangelicals is one of 117 national fellowships worldwide, which are members of World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF). WEF exists to establish and help regional and national evangelical fellowships empower and mobilize local churches and organizations to disciple the nations for Christ.
[Update: Evangelical Druids (mentions World Evangelical Fellowship) and The Evangelical Alliance/World Evangelical Fellowship .
Richard Quebedeaux points out:
"Among the long list of NAE Intellectual centers of Establishment Evangelicalism are Wheaton College in Illinois (Billy Graham), Westmont College, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Ruth Tucker) Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, and many, many more."
"More important than the NAE as a symbol of Establishment Evangelicalism, is Billy Graham. William Franklin Graham, Jr. graduated from Wheaton college with a degree in anthropology in 1943, and began his career shortly thereafter as an ordained southern Baptist evangelist. In the wake of his early revival successes in 1949 and the following year, Graham launched his "Hour of Decision" radio broadcasts and formed the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Minneapolis during 1950."
"Evangelicals regard Graham as the most effective mass evangelist in history. It is he who propagated the twentieth century definition of Born Again Christian."
[Excerpt paragraphs taken from The Young Evangelicals - 1974]
[NOTE: Richard Quebedeaux and The Young Evangelicals are quoted in The New Evangelicalism (the deadliest ism of all) by Rolland Starr (listed on our Booklist). Also read: The New Evangelicalism (mentions Quebedeaux)]
As the NAE continues to enhance its vital stand with Ecumenical, one-world religion goals, we find the following points of interest:
- President Bill Clinton asked the Reverend Dr. Don Argue, president of the NAE of Evangelicals, to lead a prayer for the President in a Monday morning church service prior to Clinton's second inauguration.
- Billy Graham led prayers for the 53rd Presidential Inauguration. This marked Graham's eighth invitation.
- President Don Argue serves on a special State Department taskforce to help investigate and recommend actions to stop religious persecution of Christians worldwide. In addition, Clinton requested Argue's input in developing a new TV ratings system to help parents better screen TV programming for their children.
- Millard Fuller, founder and president of the ecumenical Habitat for Humanity International, received the Faithful Servant Award by the NAE's Social Action Commission in 1966.
While these accomplishments may seem impressive, the reader should be aware that the NAE is very controversial and speculative in view of the strategic events propelling an ecumenical-one world religion. The research references provided below are highly recommended to further one's understanding as to the significance of WCG's partnership with specific organizations and individuals that are politically wrapped with global architects.
[NOTE: Read: Letter to NAE and other concerned Christians.)
The purpose of taking additional space in the OIU to present a brief historical synopsis of the Ecumenical Movement and Evangelical Movement is to lay a foundation of understanding to what is occurring today within 1) the Worldwide Church of God and 2) the Evangelical arena. The massive deception behind the WCG's propagandized transition must be exposed. The Tkach/Hulme associations are significant to discerning the reasons behind the events. The very shrewd architects of the WCG/UCG/GCG multi-million dollar political power conglomerate are entwined with NAE, the WCC and its many supporters toward one world ecumenical religion. The NAE, its political history and its current influence on millions of professing Christians is hidden from the populace for good. (Excerpt paragraphs taken from The Young Evangelicals - 1974)
As we incorporate greater understanding of the World Council of Churches and the NAE, it should become clear to most how the current WCG is very much supportive of the United Church of God and together they continue the same stratagem of the past decades.
The NAE's "Strategic Plan for the Dawn of the 21st Century" called, An Evangelical Manifesto requests all "evangelicals to join in a commitment for five things: a call for prayer, call for repentance and reform, call for unity and cooperation, call for evangelism and a call for cultural impact."
The grand entrance into the WCG fold with Billy Graham along with his son Franklin warrants far greater reporting. Upcoming OIUs will take an in-depth look into the real Billy Graham story. Much has already been well documented on the man and the myth, by significant Christian researchers and investigators. We urge our readers to forge ahead with personal research. Included in our suggested reading are proofs that give the affiliation of occult freemasonry, counterfeit Christianity, cults, covert government activities involving church fronts and clergy and other sinister relationships. What does all this have to do with the WCG rendition of the "Church of God"? Everything! So get educated--don't take our word for it.
Ecumenicism becomes a way of life.
What started as an Evangelical Movement has more recently evolved into an Evangelical Faith. The Ecumenical Movement has made enormous strides since the inception of the William Randolph Hearst funded Billy Graham's crusades. Progress was augmented through the financial assistance of the Rockefeller Foundation. Throughout the decades, hundreds of meetings and conferences convened with the main purpose of Ecumenical enhancement. One significant event well documented by William Richey Hogg in Ecumenical Foundations (1952) occurred in 1947:
"The Churches Commission on International Affairs"
"Responding to a suggestion submitted to it from the Geneva consultations, the Commission on a Just and Durable Peace of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America agreed to arrange for a meeting of Christian leaders on problems of peace and war. The conference, enlisting some sixty persons from fifteen countries, met at Cambridge in August 1947, under the chairmanship of John Foster Dulles.10 Sponsored jointly by the World Council of Churches and the International Missionary Council, the gathering established a joint and permanent Commission on the Churches on International Affairs to serve the churches as a means of common counsel and action on world affairs."
"One of the Commission's most notable achievements was its role in making known the views of the churches toward and its influence on the United Nations' Declaration on Human Rights. It also brought to the attention of the churches in different countries relevant problems in the solutions of which they could take constructive steps; e.g., religious and missionary freedom, refugees, human rights and general problems involved in the peace settlements. In 1948 the Commission gave every indication of becoming an important arm of the Ecumenical Movement."
The Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium
"A formal declaration boldly documents the Evangelical and Catholic commitment to work together to evangelize and bring about social reform in the world. The Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium (ECT) has, in effect, laid the groundwork for Evangelicals to set aside their distinctive doctrines and unite with the Catholic Church and other religions which are coming together by 2000 A.D. The ECT Document was authored and presented in May of 1994 by Charles Colson of Prison Fellowship and Roman Catholic priest, Richard John Neuhaus. In 1993, Chuck Colson was the recipient of the $1,000,000 "Prize for Progress in Religion," given annually at the Parliament of World Religions by New Age financier, John Templeton. Father Neuhaus is the director of the Institute on Religion and Public Life who, as former Lutheran and a seminary student, rejected the doctrine of justification by faith in Jesus Christ. "
[Update: Chuck Colson died on April 21, 2012 and Richad John Neuhaus died January 8, 2009.]
The ECT Document was signed by 20 Catholic leaders and 20 Evangelical leaders including Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ, Pat Robertson, President of CBN, J.I. Packer of Christianity Today, Richard Land and Larry Lewis of the Southern Baptist Convention, Jesse Miranda of Assemblies of God, Dr. John White of the National Association of Evangelicals and President of Geneva College, Os Guiness of Trinity Forum and Dr. Mark Noll of Wheaton College.
Supporters of The Evangelicals and Catholics Together Document maintain that it is not a statement of theological agreement, but of unity for the cause of moral and social reform. However, ECT states, 'Evangelicals and Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ' And 'existing divisions that obscure the one Christ and hinder the one mission of the Church' are confessed as 'sins against the unity that Christ intends for all his disciples. The scriptural support presented for cooperation and unity between Evangelicals and Catholics is Jesus' prayer for his disciples in John 17:21: "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they may also be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." ECT conveniently removes this verse from its context and misinterprets it by failing to mention verses that identify Jesus' disciples as those who "received His words."
The presentation of this historic document has caused no small stir in the evangelical arena. Since the origination of this unification treaty, its popularity has increased significantly. Evangelicals who strongly oppose its agenda have trumpeted their concerns. Watch Unto Prayer offered the following comments:
"Evangelical leaders who promote unity with Roman Catholicism are either ignorantly or intentionally leading Christians into the apostate religious system of the new world order. This final earthly kingdom will be the political-religious beast of Revelation 17 and Daniel 7, which 'shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.' Will Christians be led to worship the Antichrist because their spiritual leaders encouraged unity with pagan religions? That the elect may be deceived is truly a hard saying (Matt. 24:24) -- until it is understood that the deception will come from the highest ranks of Evangelicalism.
"The accelerating momentum toward ecumenical unity within the evangelical church makes it difficult to resist the suspicion that organizations such as the New Age Movement, Catholic Church and Illuminati have successfully infiltrated the church via the large parachurch organizations. There is much documented evidence of such a conspiracy, including statements which express these intentions. In her book, A Planned Deception, Constance Cumbey assesses Jeremy Rifkin's Emerging Order with the observation that, 'The evangelical church would be the primary instrument to bring the new world order to birth.' "
What does the document say?
The following first three paragraphs of the ECT document offer an overview of its nature: [quote]
THE CHRISTIAN MISSION IN THE THIRD MILLENNIUM
Introduction. I. We Affirm Together. II. We Hope Together III. We Search Together. IV. We Contend Together. V. We Witness Together. Conclusion.
We are Evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics who have been led through prayer, study, and discussion to common convictions about Christian faith and mission. This statement cannot speak officially for our communities. It does intend to speak responsibly from our communities and to our communities. In this statement we address what we have discovered both about our unity and about our differences. We are aware that our experience reflects the distinctive circumstances and opportunities of Evangelicals and Catholics living together in North America. At the same time, we believe that what we have discovered and resolved is pertinent to the relationship between Evangelicals and Catholics in other parts of the world. We therefore commend this statement to their prayerful consideration.
As the Second Millennium draws to a close, the Christian mission in world history faces a moment of daunting opportunity and responsibility. If in the merciful and mysterious ways of God the Second Coming is delayed, we enter upon a Third Millennium that could be, in the words of John Paul II, "a springtime of world missions." (Redemptoris Missio)
As Christ is one, so the Christian mission is one. That one mission can be and should be advanced in diverse ways. Legitimate diversity, however, should not be confused with existing divisions between Christians that obscure the one Christ and hinder the one mission. There is a necessary connection between the visible unity of Christians and the mission of the one Christ. We together pray for the fulfillment of the prayer of Our Lord: "May they all be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, so also may they be in us, that the one, may believe that you sent me." (John 17) We together, Evangelicals and Catholics, confess our sins against the unity that Christ intends for all his disciples.
The one Christ and one mission includes many other Christians, notably the Eastern Orthodox and those Protestants not commonly identified as Evangelical. All Christians are encompassed in the prayer, "May they all be one." Our present statement attends to the specific problems and opportunities in the relationship between Roman Catholics and Evangelical Protestants.
The Big Picture The Ecumenical Umbrella
While the word "ecumenical" might seem newly popularized, the fact is, the ecumenical mission has made strident accomplishments throughout this century. Many wrongly attribute its origins to Billy Graham's Evangelistic Association, but excellent documentation clearly chronicles decades of incredible ecumenical accomplishments that have propelled recent ecumenical events to emerge.
The many groups responsible for the New Age Ecumenical Movement are too numerous to detail here. Below, references a brief list demonstrating how uniquely planned this one world religion mission is through collaborating associations:
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)-Department for Ecumenical Affairs (DEA):
"The ELCA seeks 'to manifest the unity given to the people of God by living together in the love of Christ and by joining with other Christians in prayer and action to express and preserve the unity which the Spirit gives.'"
"The quest for Christian unity, ' they may all be one', (John 17:2) inspires the faith and shapes the life of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The Department for Ecumenical Affairs (DEA) has the task of assisting this church in that quest. One of the responsibilities of the DEA is to interpret 'Ecumenicism: the Vision of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,' the official policy statement. As the statement affirms, the ELCA is "bold to reach out in several directions simultaneously to all with whom it may find agreement in the Gospel."
The DEA has achieved the following documents of proposals that state the following:
Concordat of Agreement - the document proposing full communion between the ELCA and the Episcopal church.
A Formula of Agreement -the document proposing full communion between the ELCA and three Reformed Churches, [Presbyterian Church (USA), the Reformed Church in America, and the United Church of Christ]
The proposals are based on dialogue reports that acknowledge a common agreement on the Gospel. They and the thirty-year history of dialogue that led to their formulation mark an important step in American Lutheranism. Both proposals define full communion in congruence with the characteristics outlined in 'Ecumenism: The Vision of the ELCA.'
These two proposals, along with the Lutheran-Roman Catholic proposal, are described in a Department for Ecumenical Affairs brochure for congregations. 'Together, Making Christ Known,' which highlights the mission aspects of these ecumenical developments. Another, 'Why Unity?,' explains the Biblical, confessional, and constitutional foundations of ecumenism in the ELCA which have lead to the proposals. Other resources include a video, 'Ecumenism: the Vision of the ELCA,' and a Lutheran-Episcopal audio tape, 'The Unity we Share.'
This year witnessed numerous meetings between ecumenical partners in an effort to sign all the necessary documents proving the Protestants and Catholics are ONE!
"August 23, 1997 - "Today, the Associated Press reported that the Lutherans had taken a step toward lifting the condemnation they and the Roman Catholic Church heaped on one another during the 16th century battles that split Western Christianity."
"Protestants Blindly Accept Papal Infallibility and Current Movement to Proclaim the Virgin Mary as Co-Redemptrix"
"This issue of papal infallibility reached worldwide media exposure in Newsweek Magazine when it was disclosed that 4,340,429 petitions from 157 countries, 500 bishops and 42 cardinals are asking Pope John Paul 2nd to exercise the power of papal infallibility to proclaim the new dogma of the Roman Catholic Faith: that the Virgin Mary is "Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and advocate for the people of God."
LUTHERANS APPROVE "FULL COMMUNION" WITH REFORMED CHURCHES
PHILADELPHIA (ELCA) -- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America today approved a proposal declaring "full communion" with three churches of the Reformed tradition -- the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Reformed Church in America, and the United Church of Christ.
Voting members of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly voted 839-193 (81.3 percent - 18.7 percent) on the "Formula of Agreement."
A few minutes later a similar measure declaring full fellowship with The Episcopal Church fell six votes short of approval.
The declaration of full communion is not a plan to merge, but it commits the churches to sharing in their mission work locally and internationally and to develop procedures whereby clergy in one denomination may pastor a church in another denomination.
The proposals grew out of several decades of theological conversation.
Following the vote, a statement from the Rev. Daniel Martensen, director of the ELCA's department of ecumenical affairs, said, "The Christian community in the United States is less fragmented than it was just a few months ago." Martensen said the decisions set the stage for "exciting ecumenical advances to be made as we move into the next millennium."
The failure of the Episcopal proposal dampened the spirits of the representatives of the Reformed Church who nonetheless enthusiastically welcomed the other decision.
"It is a moment of mixed feelings, a difficult moment for us." said the Rev. John Thomas, ecumenical officer of the United Church of Christ. "Many of our colleagues are feeling pain and sorrow." "We are committed to the whole of the ecumenical movement, not just a piece of it," Thomas said. "Whenever a church finds itself unable to move forward, we have a deep sense of disappointment."
Though his church came under sharp criticism from some speakers at the assembly, Thomas expressed "appreciation of the way the issue was debated and discussed."
Lutherans have helped us all be aware of the theological ground on which we stand and the need to tend that ground," Thomas said. "Full communion allows us to call each other to tend that ground, to help and to admonish one another."
The Rev. Douglas Fromm of the Reformed Church in America expressed satisfaction at the declaration of fellowship and recalled that he had hoped such an action would have been taken years ago. Such action was indeed taken by the American Lutheran Church -- one of the three bodies that merged in 1987 to form the ELCA. Because the other partners to the ELCA merger had not taken that action, the decision was set aside at the time of the merger.
A statement, prepared by the heads of the four denominations, and released when the vote total was announced said the decision marked a "decisive milestone in our journey towards unity and signals the beginning of a new chapter in the history of these four churches of the 16th century Reformation."
Noting that some in the churches opposed the decision, the statement said, "we know that some in our churches will not be able to receive this action with enthusiasm. Their continued questions and reservations are to be heard and respected."
A joint commission of the denominations will now begin to formulate ways to implement the decision. The individual presbyteries -- regional units - of the Presbyterian Church (USA) must also ratify the decision of their general convention.
OIU readers may receive full copies of the above documents
and further their enlightenment by contacting:
Department of Ecumenical Affairs
8765 West Higgins Road
Chicago, Illinois 60631
The following organizations work cohesively by holding international meetings with the mission of ecumenicism. Please keep in mind that each organization comprises hundreds to thousands of smaller religious or denominationally affiliated organizations.
- The World Council of Churches
- Lutheran Church of America
- National Council of Churches
- National Association of Evangelicals
- Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches
- Synagogue Council of America
- United Presbyterian church of the USA
Yes, there are many more, this is just a sampling of the big guns. Added to this list are the American Bible Society, Mission America, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the one and only PROMISE KEEPERS!!!! Keep these names in mind as you read about the Tkachian allies and WCG's propaganda ministers.
Organizational projects such as: March for Jesus, International Prayer Day, Habitat for Humanity, DC/LA Conferences, Youth Projects, Mission projects, Forty Day Fasts for Hunger, etc. are part of the ecumenical mission toward one world religion and are shared projects by denominational supporters. A quick profile of the many combined "humanitarian" efforts render a positive view; however, when one assesses the big picture and evolution of Christianity it becomes easier to peer through the layer of propaganda at inner "ecumenical" agenda.
The ESN engaged in an extensive research pertaining to the topics in this OIU. The OIU will be a monthly publication of shorter length following this base issue. We felt it was necessary to cover foundational topics such as: propaganda, dialectics, cognitive dissonance and ecumenicism in hope that the reader will be inspired to dig deeply into the reasons behind the events with the WCG/splinter conglomerate. It is not a difficult task to be swept into the magnetic distraction and decoys uniquely placed by the corporate architects. Not only does it take strength, but also it takes enormous commitment to educate oneself on peripheral subjects and historical events of this century that succinctly pertain to the real WCG current agenda. The Ecumenical Movement can't be summarized without mentioning the vast infiltration of the Communist Party and ideology into the American Christian denominations starting early this century. The reader should consider this topic of utmost importance as many are struggling to understand what is going on with Christianity. The following research books offer excellent historical information on the subject:
- The Roots of American Communism by Theodore Drapper
- The Communists and the Schools by Robert W. Iversen
- The Decline of American Communism by David A. Shannon
- American Communism and Soviet Russia by Theodore Drapper
- Marxism: the View from America by Clinton Rossiter
- Communism and the Churches by Ralph Lord Roy
- The Molding of Communists by Frank S. Meyer
- The Social Basis of American Communism by Nathan Glazer
- Writer on the Left by Daniel Aaron
In Ralph Lord Roy's extensive research: Communism and the Churches, we're awakened to the momentous events that involved the Communist Party and American churches. As the battlefields of France ravaged human life in 1917, the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, quickly claimed Russia. By 1921, the Red Army was prepared to "challenge Capitalism." Church leaders were sympathetic toward the United States intervention against the Bolsheviks in 1918 when the U.S. landed in Siberia. As the war progressed, religious leaders became divided over American participation. The Federal Council of Churches provided the platform that fueled emotions among church leaders.
"The most outspoken opposition to the war among religious circles came from a group of idealistic Protestant ministers, largely members of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, formed in 1915. Among this group some were initially to sympathize with the Bolshevik revolution. Theologically most of them were liberals. They were not pacifists in the precise sense that Quakers or Mennonites were. They had been influenced, to a greater of lesser degree, by the economic interpretation of history and were convinced that wars were rooted in economic competition camouflaged behind deceptive slogans. World War One, they contended, was a needless and ugly blood bath to advance the imperialistic aims of the opposing powers. The blame for such criminal warfare rested with greedy business interests in their rivalry for raw materials and markets. This in turn could be traced to the very nature of the capitalist system." [Pg.15]
Many Protestant ministers espoused this view. Strong influence was generated by Paul Jones, graduate of Yale University and Episcopal Theological Seminary in Cambridge, MA, president of the Church Socialist League, and Episcopal organization. Irwin St. John Tucker, an ordained Episcopalian and member of the Socialist Party, was drawn to socialism by the conviction that it was a practical application of Christianity. Others responsible for recruiting religious leaders into socialist sympathy were: John Haynes Holmes, Church of the Messiah, Harry F. Ward, professor at Boston University and leader with Methodist Federation for Social Service, John Nevin Sayre, an Episcopalian from Suffern, New York, Rabbi Judah L. Magnes and Presbyterian Norman Thomas.
"It was among these clergymen that the revolutionary government of Russia received its most cordial reception. Their support aroused condemnation and their opponents argued in this manner: these ministers were theological liberals who had brazenly discarded the sacred doctrines of Christianity. They had joined the Socialists, a motley assemblage of radicals largely from abroad who were already demanding, in their broken English, the overthrow of democratic clergymen and openly gave aid and comfort to the ruthless autocracy of the Kaiser. Now they were lauding saboteurs of the Russian resistance and whitewashing Bolshevism's suppression of democracy, its slaughter of innocent thousands, and it persecution of religion. As Americans heard and read of these clergymen, they asked themselves quite naturally: What kind of ministers are they?"
"In January 1918, amid the war fever, a new publication was launched. Known as the World Tomorrow, it served as the unofficial organ of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Norman Thomas was the managing editor; Holmes and Ward were among the original members of its editorial committee. It was intensely religious in its idealism and continued to promote pacifism and democratic socialism until the thirties, when its financial failure forced it to merge with the Christian Century. The World Tomorrow viewed the Bolshevik revolution with sympathy. In April 1918, the editors observed: 'Only those who have felt something of passion for social justice and industrial democracy can realize how truly revolutionary Russia, with all its faults and excesses, is the promised land, the fatherland of the spirit to multitudes of radical workers throughout the world.' "
The Revolutionary flame was set afire by many significant religious leaders turned Socialist. Bishop William Montgomery Brown stole center stage with his radical philosophy blending Marxism, Darwinism and Christianity. In 1920 he published Communism and Christianism, which was considered bizarre by many camps, but read by many. His controversial appeal was supported by the Daily Worker, which funded Brown's speaking tours for the International Labor Defense, and for other party causes.
"The church, a Daily Worker columnist wrote in 1927, is a 'gigantic fraud, manned by the greatest collection of specialized hypocrites that ever lied themselves out of working for a living.' This summed up the attitude of the American Communist movement toward organized religion during the twenties-contempt liberally seasoned with ridicule."
"The principal Communist argument against the churches was that they served only to buttress the exploiters, as in Czarist Russia and other countries. In America, the myth of church-state separation exists, communists argued, and the working class may be easily misled into viewing religious institutions as independent. 'To the revolutionist…' said a 1928 Daily Worker editorial, 'All creeds, all churches, all temples of ignorance and superstition and fear, no matter what god or sets of gods they profess to worship, are useful to the capitalist class.' "
"The communists produced considerable 'evidence' to support their view. For one thing, they laid great stress upon the wealth of the churches and the support received from vested interests. 'Most Protestant churches are supported by millionaire capitalists.' "
"When it was announced that John D. Rockefeller, Jr. would be the principal financier of the new Riverside Church, where Harry Emerson Fosdick would serve as pastor, the Daily Worker commented: 'Fosdick is a 'modernist,' but Rockefeller knows that he can be relied upon to philosophize about the bible and keep the minds of the workers from their troubles with the bosses, and the 'silk stocking' crowd entertained."
"A second proof of the church's role in preserving capitalism was the alleged antagonism of religious forces toward the core of the revolutionary forces, the American proletariat. While some Americans viewed the churches, and especially the Federal Council of Churches, as too pro-labor, communist ideology taught that they could be counted upon to serve the bosses. 'The true reason why the capitalists support the church,' wrote a Daily Worker, 'is that they, more than any other means of propaganda, succeed in effectively doping the workers."
The OIUs point in discussing this matter is that, as we shall see, the Radio Church of God [it was renamed Worldwide Church of God in 1968], which was richly rooted in Fascist ideology, openly embraced the agenda of the American Communist Party by the late 1950s, if not earlier. Was it Herbert Armstrong's relationship with Alger Hiss at the first United Nations meeting in San Francisco that served as the inauguration for distribution of massive printed socialist/communist ideology? [NOTE: See this part in OIU 6, pt. 1 about how HWA's proclivity to center himself amidst the world's most controversial Communist dictators proved to be his greatest asset during his later years."] Or, did the Armstrong/WCG international mission change when Stanley R. Rader embarked on his lifelong pursuit with the multimillion-dollar Pasadena gold mine? As this unfolds, be assured we will discover the reasons behind the events.
The shocking chronology of events pertaining to the development of the American Communist Party demonstrates how the communists learned they could go further with their ideological mission by infiltrating the churches in America rather than antagonistically rallying against them. And that is exactly what occurred. Communism in America gives minute details of how this infiltration was accomplished.
As Sinclair Lewis' 1927 novel Elmer Gantry was greeted with enthusiasm, bitter words were aimed toward organizations such as the YMCA and Salvation Army. Theological ridicule was fueled by the cleavage within American Protestantism. Earlier in this issue we discussed the faction within the modernist-fundamentalist arenas. Prior to the introduction of William "Billy" Sunday [1862-1935], clergy and laymen either rejected or reinterpreted orthodox affirmations about the nature of man, sin, history and Jesus. The fundamentalist movement sprang up sporting the fundamentals of Christian faith. Alongside the fighting over religious dogmas and ecumenical pursuits, many religious affiliations were taking sides against the Communist Party in America. Once Billy Sunday was quoted as saying: "The next job of house cleaning will be to rid our country of this gang of good-for-nothing, God-forsaken, weasel-eyed, hog-joweled, bull-necked, rag-shagged, bob-tailed, riffraff bunch of radical, revolutionary, Red WW1 Bolshevism."
"Fundamentalism served as a target for all leftists who sought to discredit religion:"
"The Principal crusade of fundamentalist partisans in the twenties was to stop the spread of Darwin's theory of evolution."
"The mass revivals of Billy Sunday also occasioned caustic comment in the communist press. Sunday was variously described as director of a 'three-ring religious circus in the interests of the Lord and his own pocketbook,' 'campaign manager for Jesus and the saints,' and 'the human windbag who has made…. money [by] making Christianity ridiculous.' "
"Other fundamentalist spokesmen were lampooned mercilessly. The Pentecostal leader Aimee Semple McPherson, controversial founder of the International Church of the Four Square Gospel, frequently was accused by the Communist press of operating a religious racket as a facade for a debauched personal life." [Quotes from the Daily Worker listed in Communism and the Churches]
The Communists Discover the Churches
You've heard the saying: "There are many ways to skin a cat," or, "If you can't beat em-join!" And that is exactly what occurred with the American Communist Party. By 1935, the Communists were well on their way to occupying many podiums throughout American religious institutions. At first, infiltration was slow and unorganized. The testimony of Earl Browder before the House Committee on Un-American Activities offered what some researchers term as the best source of information on church infiltration at that time.
"By the mid-thirties, the American Communist Party was not putting its principal emphasis upon recruiting members. Out of Moscow came a new set of instructions. Comrades around the world were to co-operate with all others--Socialists and New Dealers, believers and atheists, workers and bosses-who would help resist the rising tide of fascism that appeared to threaten the security of the Soviet Union. This lead to the emergence of a new strategy-that of the united front. It was an effective maneuver that was to change the course of the entire communist movement in the United States."
The United Front worked toward securing support within the churches. Harry F. Ward, ordained Methodist minister, key figure in the Methodist Federation for Social Service, chairman of the American Civil Liberties Union, and on the faculty of the Union Theological Seminary in New York City, was sympathetic upon many reform movements against American capitalism. He trumpeted his passions upon others urging all to engage in a "holy, impersonal hatred against an evil system that is wrecking human society." Following a trip to Russia in 1931, the ecstatic Ward maintained: "the Soviet Union would bring to the world a new concept that was in reality a fulfillment of the ethics of Jesus. Communism, he said, was systematically crushing the evil profit motive that spurred on the American economy and replacing it with incentives of service and sacrifice. The United States should set for itself the same goal."
On March 18, 1933, the executive committee of the communist International, known as the Comintern, gave its official blessing to the United Front. At first its aim was to wean laboring people away from "reformist" leadership, but when this met with little success and the specter of Hitlerism became more frightening, the Comintern in 1935 called for unity among all antifascist forces. The Communists in the United States embraced President Roosevelt and the New Deal, became loud champions of religious liberty and sought friends within the churches. Their main goal was the creation of a network of front organizations through which they could win the sympathy and co-operation of millions of Americans.
[NOTE: "Religious liberalism...developed an early alliance with the political left. Indeed, conservative Christians who had seen these tides wash upon them in Europe and in England and who now saw the same ideas taking hold in the United States described some of the great denominations of that time as nothing but Communist front organizations." (7 Men Who Rule the World From the Grave by Dave Breese, p. 99) [emp. ours] [book may be ordered through Amazon]
The American League Against War and Fascism was one of the most important fronts stemmed directly from the 1932 Amsterdam congress. Religious pacifists divided over co-operation with Communists through the League. Debates and fights lingered among religious organizations. Many key men influenced thousands into communist ideology. Harry F. Ward became chairman of the League. Four Protestant ministers, three Jewish rabbis and a scattering of active church laymen and women signed the Second Anti-War congress in 1934. Ward's keynote address at the Second Congress stressed the necessity of broadening the League to reach Americans of all political and religious persuasions. Communist publications were widely distributed throughout churches. A major campaign to enlist churchmen in the American League was well underway.
"Reporting to the Third Congress, leader Reissig stated boldly that churchmen in the League had the duty 'neither to commend nor to vindicate religious beliefs or organization. Our function is to use religious forces in the defense of masses of people."
"Much of the actual planning for work among the churches was done by the executive committee of the American League in 1935 known as the Natal Bureau. In a message of August 9, for example, the Bureau singled out trade unions and three religious groups for special attention. Roman Catholics were the first target. Specifically designated were the International Association of Catholic Alumni, League of Catholic men, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Association for International Peace and various sisterhood groups. Jewish religious, cultural, fraternal and Zionist groups were also listed as targets. Among Protestants, increased attention was to be given to the YMCA ministerial associations, local parishes, and to adherents of the Lutheran and Reformed faiths, 'because of their German traditions and friendships.' "
Although Communist infiltration plans were elaborate "and impressive on paper" success was prolonged due to failure to carry them out. The League claimed 3,291,906 Americans in 1935 and climbed to 7,836,691 by 1939. Although there were 20,000 actual dues paying members, the League claimed 241 affiliated groups with eighty of them in New York City. By 1937 the American League Against War and Fascism changed its name to the American League for Peace.
The devastating depression of the 1930s introduced the National Council of Methodist Youth, which grew into a massive youth movement "aflame with love for Christ." The American Youth Congress (AYC) arose in response. The AYC was hailed as the most successful and effective communist front. By 1939 the movement boasted 513 affiliated organizations with a combined membership of 4,697,915. Religion and idealism was kept in the forefront as the Communists exploited the youth of the Great Depression. Peace remained the focus as the United Front evolved. Many combined religious idealism with socialist theories about the cause and cure for war.
The historical account of Communism and the Churches is most likely foreign to most professing Christians. It's not talked about on the pulpits and certainly not embraced in educational materials. Nonetheless, lack of knowledge about this segment of Christian history prevents one from understanding the intricate fights over doctrine, the growth of the Ecumenical Movement, the tangled web of the Evangelical Movement starting from the 1950s, and what was really behind the growth of cults and subversive movements after World War Two.
The Cold War propagandized an image of fear and desperateness through which many cults successfully expanded. As seekers of faith and victims of fear gravitated toward spiritual protection, few realized that the Communists they were running from were actually the gatekeepers to man's religious kingdom.
As we continue to explore what is behind the ecumenical movement it will become more clear to the reader why it is essential to include this segment as an integral part of understanding the reasons behind the events. Outlined here is a brief summary up to 1940. Religious/political events continued to influence our country throughout each decade. Whoever said religion and politics don't mix…was ignorant.
In his incredible personal account, author Whittaker Chambers, in his 1952 book, Witness, wrote of being recruited into the American Communist Party. A Christian cannot read Chambers' testimony and not circumspectly relate to the commitment Communism captures. More pointedly, those who have exited religious cults such as Worldwide Church of God, Unification Church or Jehovah's Witnesses, could most assuredly identify with every word Chamber shares. We highly recommend the book! It was one of Herbert Armstrong's favorite works. Read it, and you'll understand why.
"What are the ways in which Communism may be said to be a religion? Certainly, Communism has a faith, a sacred literature, a concept of a Kingdom of God, a devil and saints, of a chosen people." [Quoted from Communism and the Churches]
There is no educational research more vital relating to Christianity in our century, than the understanding behind the faith of Communist allegiance. Thousands exit cults yearly and struggle awkwardly for years striving to understand what it was that conquered the core of their inner faith and being. It is rare that one is educated in the history of Communism, or even the history of the past two hundred years. That ignorance has allowed evil exploiters to capture the hearts of the spiritual seeker. When visiting the National Archives in Washington DC, research lead to the unscrupulous history of the American Communist Party and Un-American Activities. It is ever so shocking to learn how thousands of individuals and organizations were masking as churches, or "men of God," only to carry out their Communist mission in America. The OIU will have more to say about this in upcoming months as it hits the heart of all who were deluded into thinking the WCG was "God's one true church, God's government, or God's way of life." The topic of Communism is so vital as it largely relates to the "reasons behind the WCG and splinter group events." As we continue to explore the uncanny breakup of the WCG empire, we will learn more details explaining why and how, in May of 1995, four hundred WCG ministers were able to manipulate over two thirds of the entire WCG membership, to abandon "God's House," without question, under the newly formed United Church of God umbrella with WCG evangelist, David Hulme. There was a method to this madness. That method required expert understanding of human nature and the psychology behind programming and exploiting it.
The following excerpt was taken from, An Idea To Win The World, by Peter Howard, 1955:
"William Penn gave the keynote for true democracy when he said: 'Men must be governed by God or they condemn themselves to be ruled by tyrants.' Government by God-that means God-controlled statesmanship, a God-controlled press, a God-controlled standard of morality with the rule of tyrants as the only alternative. It means that leaders and people must face the colossal cost of our compromise, personal and national, to the whole world. If democracy begins to live what he talks about, to accept an ideology of change, and give it to the world, Communism will be cured.
"A waterfront worker who had been twenty-two years in the Communist party, who had been changed by Moral Re-Armament, put the truth clearly and simply to some of the leaders of America. They had summoned him to Washington. They asked to cross-examine him in private. Senators, Congressmen, members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, all were present. They asked him why he became a Communist, what his training and activities had been, and what changed him, what his aims in life were now.
"Around midnight they had finished and arose to go. The worker said, 'You men have asked me many questions. Can I ask you one or two?"
"They were surprised, but agreed and sat down again.
"The worker said, 'You have all talked much about Communism. How many of you have ever sat down with a Communist and changed him?'
"There was silence.
"The worker said, 'Very well then. Only one more question. How many of you know how to sit down with a man who is not a Communist and change him?'
"Again silence. "The worker said, 'When democracy learns that secret, democracy will win the world.' "
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