We have arrived at the place where the main thrust of the new confession expresses the action of the church for 1967. What was spoken of in the very first sentence of the confession, “a present witness to God’s grace in Jesus Christ,” now particularizes itself in four major areas of present social concern. This is presented under “The Ministry of Reconciliation,” “Section A. The Mission of the Church,” paragraph 4, “Reconciliation in Society.” The fields of endeavor are: first, civil rights; second, peace, reconciliation of the nations of the world, including the Communists; third, poverty; and fourth, sex.

Part III of the confession is entitled, “The Fulfillment of Reconciliation.” By the time we reach this conclusion, we are prepared to hear the framers of the confession state bluntly the revolutionary nature of their program: “God’s redeeming work in Jesus Christ embraces the whole of man’s life: social and cultural, economic and political, scientific and technological, individual and corporate. It includes man’s natural environment as exploited and despoiled by sin.”

When the section speaks of the redeeming work as it relates to the corporate life of man, we are dealing with social structures. Moreover, it is perfectly plain that it is toward this fulfillment that the church itself is now to direct her strength and resources. When the church, therefore, moves into the social, the political, and the corporate life of a nation in the name of its redeeming work and the fulfillment of this reconciliation, it has become an agent of a revolution. To deal with what is called “man’s natural environment” because he has been exploited in it because of sin, indeed raises the question-to put it directly-of socialism. That such action is in process, as understood by the framers of this confession, may be seen at the very conclusion, “Already God’s reign is present as a ferment in the world, stirring hope in men and preparing the world to receive its ultimate judgment and redemption.” This judgment and this redemption are to be the fruit of this reconciling community.

We are now prepared to consider the concept of reconciliation as it is now being employed in the new confession. The church is engaged in this reconciliation ministry. As we have observed earlier, the church has no message of the Cross. Its meaning is a mystery. It talks, instead, of the love of God in this ministry of reconciliation. There is a sense in which it skips the Cross, using it simply as a symbol or a parallel, or as a word of comfort for those who suffer in their current revolutionary endeavors. As we pointed out in our consideration of the passage in Second Corinthians 5:14-21, all the work of reconciliation was finished and accomplished by Christ on the Cross. The ministry of the church in connection with it is simply to proclaim it, not to reproduce it or re-enact it. It is just to preach it as good news. When, however, we come to this question of reconciliation as it relates to social structures, the corporate life of people and their natural environment which has been exploited and despoiled, reconciliation takes on an entirely different content and purpose. A Biblical term is now being used in an un-Biblical way.

A phrase that God in His divine revelation has given to the church to use in order to bring men to Christ that they might be born again is here now employed for an entirely different end. The phrase becomes a strategy of revolution. It now involves in its content the dialectic. The church becomes the mediator, the reconciler. Two opposing sides are brought together and in their reconciliation they reach a consensus, a compromise, a unity. This is nothing more than dialectical materialism garnished with Biblical phrases. It is Hegelian and Marxian, and represents a materialistic concept for the change of history and the destruction of society. The order of this dialectic is thesis versus antithesis. Out of the struggle, with concessions being made on both sides, arrives a synthesis. The synthesis then becomes the thesis, and in the struggle an antithesis again appears. This conflict rages until again a synthesis is reached and there is peace and unity. The synthesis then becomes the new thesis and the struggle starts all over again with an antithesis, ending in a synthesis. By this method revolution is advanced and social change takes place. It is not Scriptural.

When the conflict is between the concepts of freedom and accountability to God and the concepts of socialism, the side which represents socialism in the antithesis can make shifts and adjustments, because in this dialectic it is the cause of freedom which is losing and making tragic concessions and compromises in order to produce the new synthesis.

All of this has been sanctified by Biblical terminology under the cloak and the cover of religion and in the name of the church. In the reconciliation process, peace is brought about by a consensus, and in the compromises that have been made, tragic and irreparable concessions were granted that involved a destruction of freedom.

Having therefore rejected the Cross and a simple message, we now have the use of the word “reconciliation” and even the symbol of a Cross to represent the dying of that side which makes these vital concessions to bring about unity and peace in the new consensus. To follow the course outlined in this new confession in the name of the ministry of reconciliation is to arrive in the end, as a result of the revolution, at some kind of social system that will be called the kingdom of God. The church has as its responsibility the “bringing in” of this kingdom and the establishment of this kingdom, and this explains the false use of glorious Biblical truths as they relate to the consummation of the ages and the fulfillment of what the Scriptures teach concerning the second coming of Christ, the millennial kingdom of our Lord, and a new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. We are told, “Biblical visions and images of the rule of Christ such as a heavenly city, a father’s house, a new heaven and earth, a marriage feast, and an unending day culminate in the image of the kingdom.”

There really is no heavenly city! There really is no Father’s house! There really is no new heavens and no new earth! These are “images,” all of which are useful and are subordinate to the over-all socialist revolutionary drive that is now to be implemented by General Assembly after General Assembly, and this explains the terse and vibrant words of the chairman of the Drafting Committee of the confession when the Committee was dissolved-“This does not discharge the church. Their work is just beginning.”

The proper theme of the new confession is not reconciliation, but revolution.