When Virtue Takes a Free Fall: “Social Gospel” to Social-Ism.
“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.
As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
Virtue is defined as: intrinsic eminence, moral excellence, uprightness, goodness, integrity, righteousness, any admirable quality or merit; in God, the manifestation of His divine power, praises, glory, excellencies, character. (Latin: virtus=strength, bravery.)
Free Fall is defined as: the state or condition of falling through the air toward the ground. The conditions of quickly becoming lower, less, or fewer. : A fast continuous drop, subject only to the forces of gravity. There is no restraint.
In The Spirit of the Laws, Charles de Montesquieu observes that:
Monarchial governments run on honor;
Despotic governments run on fear;
Republican governments run on virtue.
“When virtue is banished, ambition invades the minds of those who are disposed to receive it, and avarice possesses the whole community.
The objects of their desires are changed; what they were fond of before has become indifferent;
They were free while under the restraint of laws, but they would fain now to be free to act against law; and as each citizen is like a slave who has run away from his master, that which was a maxim of equity he calls rigor…”
(Interesting how that word keeps precipitating)
The development of virtue in a fallen human nature is based upon the continual connection with the Giver of The Laws, His principles, His prescriptions and His purposes.
Attempts to deviate from this are not new, whether it is the Age of Reasoning and Enlightenment that fed the frenzied mobs of the French Revolution or the Social Gospel and Experiential movements of apostasy feeding the Free Fall in the church today. How many non-profit cohorts of government co-dependency can a culture support? Ask the Humanists– that is the stated goals of their manifestos. (1933,1973,2003)
As Russell Kirk notes,
“The sentimental advocacy of indiscriminately generous human sympathies, or the prevalence of universal pity, cannot suffice to save a society which has denied its Divine ordination.”
From Statesman Edmund Burke in 1791,
“I have observed that the philosophers in order to insinuate their polluted atheism into young minds systematically flatter all their passions natural and unnatural.
They explode or render odious or contemptible that class of virtues, which restrain the appetite. These are at least nine out of ten of the virtues.
In place of all this, they substitute a virtue, which they call “humanity or benevolence.”
By this means their morality has no idea in it of restraint, or indeed of a distinct settled principle of any kind.
When their disciples are thus left free and guided only by present feeling,
They are no longer to be depended on for good or evil. The men who today snatch the worst criminals from justice will murder the most innocent persons tomorrow.”
(We can all think of several recent examples of criminals snatched from justice and the innocent victims of taxpayer subsidized murder.)
The roots of the liberal social gospel apostasy in the United States has been correlated with the inaugural address of Charles Auguste Briggs at the infamous Union Theological Seminary in New York City on January 20,1891. These roots reach further back to Europe, particularly with German rationalism.
Briggs’ address involved six major points of destructive heresies that denied God’s Word as Absolute Truth. Thereby placing human reasoning and experiential events on elevated footing.
Interesting how Briggs’ timing also coincided with John Dewey, Woodrow Wilson and the Fabian socialists invasion of colleges and universities in the United States and Europe.
In 1930-1931, Dietrich Bonhoeffer with a doctorate from Berlin University attended Union Theological Seminary and was shocked at the level of apostasy. Bonhoeffer wrote to his superintendent Max Diestel:
“There is no theology here…. They talk a blue streak without the slightest foundation and with no evidence of any criteria. The students—are completely clueless with respect to what dogmatics is really about. They are unfamiliar with even the most basic questions.
They become intoxicated with liberal and humanistic phrases, laugh at the fundamentalists, and yet are not even up to their level.”
The humanist philanthropists were at it again.
Union had been invaded by the Rockefellers, the Fosdicks, the Luce’s etc. those who wished to play god over men and build Towers of Babel, which they did. Rockefeller built Fosdick a platform to disseminate his “progressive modernist views” in a 20 story “cathedral” with a 22-story belltower complete with gymnasium, theaters, dining rooms, and floors of classrooms to serve the social needs and for social training of all generations….not all of the board of trustees were “rich, not all of them powerful, but all of them sociologically minded.”
Bonhoeffer goes on to note that “a predominant group [at Union] sees it [ the practical outworking of their theology] in exclusively social needs….the theological education of this group is virtually nil and the self-assurance which lightly makes mock of any specifically theological question is unwarranted and naïve.”
“The theological atmosphere of the Union Theological Seminary is accelerating the process of secularization of Christianity in America. Its criticism is directed essentially against the fundamentalists…”
Bonhoeffer’s observations on American churches then, especially in New York City, are reflective of American churches today:
“…There’s no sense to expect the fruits where the Word really is no longer being preached. But what becomes of Christianity per se?
The enlightened American, rather than viewing all this with skepticism, instead welcomes it as an example of progress.
…they preach about virtually everything; only one thing is not addressed, or is addressed so rarely that I have as yet been unable to hear it, namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin and forgiveness, death and life.”
With that we fast forward to a rampant experiential, pick your creed, social gospel in the hands of “do gooders” multiplying administrators and dependents like rabbits; the humanist social workers, some paid as part of the government entitlement schemes, others paid as part of the church’s social working scheme.
All of which are non-profits, afraid to call a sin a sin, relate cause and consequence, and apply the Scriptures as Paul reminded the Thessalonians.
“For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it.
On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this…in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule:
“If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
2 Thessalonians 3:7-10
It is simple math folks.
Americans and the church cannot continue to catalyze the co-dependency on social programs, whether purely on private donations or partnered with an anti-God government bent on replacing Faith, Family and Freedom under God.
Hitler gained consent and his role as Furher by recognizing truth and twisting it to create fear; he pointed out that democracy would lead to communism. All forms of government absent of veneration of God, lead to Tyranny.
A wiser virtuous man pointed out the cost of liberty under The Law nearly 150 years earlier…and what happens when men do not work and value the sacrifices inherent in maintaining liberty.
“ …we may find by our own unhappy experience, that there is a natural and necessary progression, from the extreme of anarchy to the extreme of Tyranny; and that arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of Liberty abused to licentiousness.”
General George Washington, Circular Letter to the States, June 8,1783
Where the Law of The LORD is lifted up there is Liberty…. where it is not, there is a free fall to slavery, and its masquerade of socialism, the Tyranny of men without virtue.
Wake up Church!
Grab onto The Word, Repent, and Stop the Free Fall.
Teach and live out the full Truth of The Scriptures.
Break the yoke of multiplying dependency and corruption of the Humanitarian social gospel’s programmed Social-Ism.
If you don’t Stand in the gap with the Full Unsubsidized, non-governmentally funded , Non PC whitewashed Truth….who will?
The Spirit of the Laws by Charles de Montesquieu
Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary
The Footsteps of the Messiah by Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas
The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk
Edmund Burke to Chevalier de Rivarol 1791
The Constitutional Reader, compiled by Hillsdale College Faculty