Substituting the Social for the Spiritual

I’ve been perusing an old periodical, The Christian Worker’s Magazine (Nov 1919), published by the Moody Bible Institute. In an article titled “Christian Education: Its Relation to Modern World Life” the author Rev. Robert Russell marks out “five distinct lines of modern apostasy [that] stand out in world thought” where apostasy is substutited for the Christian faith. The fourth substitution Russell identifies is “Social Reform for Individual Regeneration.”

The substitution of the social by-products of Christianity for the main product of individual conversion, is a marked feature of modern church policy. It is now claimed that the main effort of the church should center on the thought of better homes, better industrial conditions, better roads, i.e., the bettering of the conditions of the natural man, rather than individual conversion and the building up of a true social order through the securing of regenerated units. The present cry is for a great “get together” movement, forgetful that the great “get together” movement of Noah’s day ended in Babel and the confusion of tongues; while the movement which is to save the world began with the age of promise, when Abraham, the lonely pilgrim, “built an altar unto the Lord.” Instead of “get together,” the modern cry should be “Get to God,” for through union with Him there can alone be the unity of the race.

Sadly the substitution of social reform for individual regeneration has not abated in the near century since Russell penned these words. Since that time apostate Protestantism continues this program, and nearly all evangelicalism adopts “social reform/activism” to some degree.

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