The momentum of non-biblical Protestant Christianity picked up more than 100 years ago with the publication in 1907 of Walter Rauschenbusch’s book Christianity and the Social Crisis. In this work, Rauschenbusch, shortly after his return from studies in Germany, introduced what came to be known as the Social Gospel. This Social Gospel became the basis for the Federal Council of Churches, which, in 1950, became the National Council of Churches (NCC). The dogma of the National Council of Churches has been regularly updated and is now available online here.
The NCC has 38 church bodies as members. Among the 38, there is a wide variety of beliefs about social, political, and theological issues. The Episcopalian Church allows for ordination of openly homosexual individuals. Another member-“church” is the Swedenborgian Church. Their doctrine of salvation is not by Christ alone. They state three beliefs that should shock and offend every Christian believer: “(1) God gives everyone the freedom to choose their beliefs and live their lives accordingly[.] … Salvation is available for people of all religions [my italics]; (2) The Second Coming has taken place – and in fact still is taking place. It is not an actual physical appearance of the Lord, but rather his return in spirit and truth that is being effected as a present reality; and (3) Heaven and hell are not rewards or punishments distributed on judgment day but the present inner experience we freely choose. We may choose to enjoy peace and openness, or to close ourselves in fear. Life is an opportunity for learning and spiritual growth.”
The NCC briefly and vaguely asserts a belief in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit and then goes on to discuss its true purpose, which is salvation by works not by grace. Their “creed” is right out of the playbook of the progressive left, where righteous living is based on commitment to the entire “social justice” program. In so proclaiming, they distort the gospel message. Eternal realities are pushed aside and have credibility only insofar as they manifest in the NCC social justice program. The idea of a living relationship with the living God through worship; prayer; the holy and eternal Word of God; amazing grace through faith; miraculous hope; and second chances for all of God’s people, even if they happen to be white, male, straight, middle-class, and righteous patriots of these United States, seems to be marginalized, if not ignored, by the NCC.
The NCC states that it “stands in solidarity with Christians and with all who strive for justice around the globe.” This is how the devil deceives. They do not say they stand with all who are born again (John 3:7). Presumably, that would be too limiting. Instead, they add the weasel words “with all” to put “social justice” first in their list of commitments.
Let’s look at some of the items on their list of “just” demands:
1. “The rights of workers to organize, and to share in workplace decisions.” Don’t they know that in the Clayton Act (1916), it was affirmed that labor unions could not be challenged as monopolies and that in 1935, the Wagner Act affirmed the right of labor unions to organize? Are they really talking about the right to organize or the right to take control of the means of production, as Karl Marx advocated? Sure sounds like the latter. We know that some corporations have teams of assembly line workers meeting in brainstorming sessions, or systems of rewards for production and profit-increasing suggestions. But the presence of this item on their list implies to this writer that they have in mind workers’ councils (“soviets”) in the Leninist mode.
2. “A system of criminal rehabilitation, based on restorative justice and an end to the death penalty.” We see nothing on their list about ending the death penalty for the unborn. If every single human being is precious in the sight of God, as they claim, why would this disaster of inhumanity not be condemned? A system of “restorative justice.” What is it? Don’t they realize that our prisons are filled with counseling and educational programs? Don’t they realize that punishment must remain in any system of criminal justice? This writer at one point taught in the New York City public high schools. Each year, we were told to distribute the city’s “Code of Discipline” to the students. This code covers a range of infractions from being disrespectful to one’s teachers to bringing weapons to school. The different degrees of severity were listed along with the various possible “consequences” for the wrong actions. I would jokingly call the students’ attention to the fact that “the P-word” never appeared in this comprehensive booklet – that is, the word “punishment.” The same mindset that rules the NCC obviously rules the NYC Department of Education.
3. “Tax and budget policies that reduce disparities between rich and poor, strengthen democracy, and provide greater opportunity for everyone within the common good.” Is this what Jesus taught? Did He complain that the people under Roman rule needed a fairer tax code? Do the authors of this item realize that 48% of the adult population of the USA pays zero income tax? Have they studied even basic economics to know based on the Laffer Curve that if the richest persons were charged 100% income tax, there would be no income to tax? Do they know that even when the rich were paying 77% income tax, in terms of percentage, there were even more “poor people” than there are today? Statements like this one by the NCC are among those reflexive slogans that are so popular with the left. It makes them feel they are standing against all the selfish rich ones while they remain without Christ and feathering their own nests. As little gods, by using a few well chosen words about the economy, they become puffed up by their self-righteousness, which they mistakenly think is the same as God’s righteousness.
Let us continue to turn away from the godless and self-serving National Council of Churches and put our faith exclusively in the God of all creation, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. Let us strive in Christ to live as born-again Christians, unworthy of His love, yet lifted by it, and joyful in acknowledgment of His holy splendor.