Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Creating a "Community of Purpose" -- circa 1933

Yesterday's Herescope post concluded with an astounding quote from Henry A. Wallace, a high-level U.S. government official holding various offices during the decades of the 1930s-40s. In his statement to the Federal Council of Churches "emergency" meeting in December 1933, he called for the creation of a "community of purpose" -- a "modern adaptation of the theocracy of old."

This statement is strikingly similar to the modern-day calls for a "Second Reformation" (Rick Warren), otherwise known as the "New Apostolic Reformation" (C. Peter Wagner, one of Warren's key advisors). Previous Herescope posts have examined this topic in detail. Of particular significance is the dominionist element in these calls for another Reformation. The doctrine of building the kingdom of God on earth is an essential component.

One of the themes utilized to garner support for this kingdom-building was the concept of "one world." This is an oft-used mantra of the World Council of Churches (WCC) to this day. It is a theme which has now been picked up by most evangelial mission agencies.

Continuing with an excerpt from pp. 161-162 of Dr. Martin Erdmann's landmark book, Building the Kingdom of God on Earth: The Churches’ Contribution to Marshal Public Support for World Order and Peace, 1919-1945 (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2005), available here, note that Henry Wallace was intentionally suggesting a new ideology -- a new kingdom worldview -- in order to facilitate the creation of this one-world:

A "one world" community of purpose


In this address to the FCC [Federal Council of Churches, forerunner to the WCC, ed.], Wallace insisted on a radical reformation of Christianity itself. Only a willingness on the part of the churches substantially to alter its dogma and practice would suffice to meet the needs of the day. The old virtue of helping those who had suffered hardships must give place to a new conception of a community of purpose. The basis for such a change is disclosed in the closing paragraph of his address.

“This spiritual cooperation to which I refer depends on a revival of deep religious feeling on the part of the individual in terms of the intellectual concept that the world is in very truth one world, that human nature is such that all men can look on each other as brothers, that the potentialities of nature and science are so far-reaching as to remove many of the ancient limitations. This concept which now seems cloudy and vague to practical people must be more than the religious experience of the literary mystic. It must grow side by side with a new social discipline. Never has there been such a glorious chance to develop this feeling, this discipline as in this country today.”[48]

According to Wallace, the new religious feeling must come from the realization that the world is one – an emphasis which would presumably lead to a principled detachment from the competing propositional claims of truth made by the religions that actually inhabit that ‘one world’. It would be the outgrowth of the new sociological knowledge made available by science, not the belief in a sovereign God. Wallace placed his emphasis more on the creation of a new humanism than the imposition of a new theocracy.

It is both interesting and revealing that the leadership of the FCC would see a kinship between the philosophy of Franklin Roosevelt and Henry Wallace and its own concept of the kingdom of God on earth. The insistence that the social aims of the New Deal did not fully meet the requirements of this secularised concept of the kingdom of God is nothing more than an acknowledgement that the humanistic theology of the Council was more progressive in its implications than the philosophy of the New Deal architects who faced the political realities of hour and what could and could not be pushed through Congress.

Nevertheless, the editor of the Bulletin was enthusiastic about this address. He stated that Wallace was a man of vision who aptly visualized a better social order and devoted his energies to securing a co-operative instead of a competitive economic organization. As his address showed, the editor alleged, Wallace had been influenced both by the Old Testament prophets and by the life and teaching of Jesus.[49] Henry A. Wallace was certainly a very religious person. His beliefs, however, were not rooted in historic Christianity. Wallace became notable for his mystical outlook on life. [50]

All emphases added. Reprinted with permission. Endnotes.
48. Federal Council of Churches, Federal Council Bulletin 17, no 1 (January 1934), New York, 7-8.
49. Ibid.
50. See Dwight Macdonald, Henry Wallace: The Man and the Myth (New York: Garland Publ., Inc. 1979) 116-127: 'Formal religion, however, is not the important part of Wallace's abundant other-wordly life. He delighted especially in esoteric knowledge, strange creeds in which the scientific and the supernatural are blended. His faith . . . seems to be an amalgam of Buddhism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Mohammedanism, and Eddyism'. To which might be added: theosophy, spiritualism, numerology, and astrology. 'Wallace dabbles in astrology and can draw a horoscope. He is quite familiar with the theory that the future can be predicted from certain markings on the Great Pyramid' (118); and Norman D. Markowitz, The Rise and Fall of the People's Century: Henry A. Wallace and American Liberalism, 1941-1948 (New York: The Free Press, 1976) 333-342.

The Truth:

Henry A. Wallace had no compunctions about integrating his spirituality with State. He is credited with being responsible for putting the occultic "all seeing eye" and the Great Pyramid on the back of the dollar bill. His eclectic mixture of esoteric theologies and world religions co-mingled conveniently with the call for a "one world" in which there would be a new "social discipline." The WCC today, sequel to the FCC, is known for espousing just such an admixture.

And neo-evangelical leaders are now finding "common ground" with this global group? Is it any wonder, then, that some of these strange admixtures of doctrine are showing up in evangelicaldom? (See last Friday's Herescope post)

"For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed." (Isaiah 9:16)