Chapter 2

Separatism, Acceptance and the Social Gospel

The thesis of my father’s book on new evangelicalism is expressed in a single paragraph on page 3 of The New Neutralism:

Bible believing Christians would do well to beware of the New Evangelicalism for four valid reasons. First, it is a movement born of compromise. Second, it is a movement nurtured in pride of intellect. Third, it is a movement growing on appeasement of evil; and finally it is a movement doomed by the judgment of God’s Holy Word. Strong language, this? Let us face the facts.

I do not disagree with one word of that. It has stood the test of the thirty years which have passed since he wrote it. Yet, it is not my writing, and, I prefer to express my thesis in three points which revolve around the words of this chapter title. I believe that the mainspring of new evangelicalism is found in three determinations of its founder which may be clearly traced in the state of things today. First, new evangelicalism determined to reject Biblical separation. Secondly, new evangelicalism determined to find acceptance by the world. Thirdly, new evangelicalism determined to add the social gospel to the Scriptural gospel.

My father was a many sided man. One of his interests was in livestock. He was a student of livestock pedigrees. In studying pedigrees one looks for the recurrence of the name of some great sire which has stamped his image on the animal in question. If one views the progenitors of new evangelicalism as one would a livestock pedigree, one finds the name of Dr. Harold Ockenga recurring everywhere. It is no mistake to call him the father of new evangelicalism. Dr. Harold John Ockenga coined the name, “Neo-evangelicalism”. When the National Association of Evangelicals was born in 1942, its first President was Harold John Ockenga. As a pastor he occupied the pulpit of Park Street Congregational Church on the edge of Boston Common. When Fuller Theological Seminary was founded in 1947 its first President was Dr. Harold John Ockenga. Christianity Today, the daily racing form of new evangelicalism, had its birth in 1956 as the brainchild of Billy Graham and his father-in-law, Dr. L. Nelson Bell. The Chairman of the Board of the new magazine was Dr. Harold John Ockenga. When the World Congress on Evangelism convened in 1966 one of the three featured speakers was Dr. Harold John Ockenga. Just to see if you have been following my train of thought I will ask a question: Whom do you suppose was President of Gordon College and Gordon-Conwell Divinity School at the same time in the 1970’s? If you miss the answer, you have not been paying attention. In the history of new evan gelicalism, there is no more important name than that of Dr. Harold John Ockenga.

Dr. Ockenga, who passed away in 1985, was a dignified, well-trained, conservative Presbyterian preacher. He was studying at Princeton Seminary in 1929 when Dr. J. Gresham Machen led the courageous exodus from the school because of modernism. Ockenga followed his teacher to the newly formed Westminster Seminary and was one of its first graduates. There are many unearned degrees among preachers, but Dr. Ockenga’s was not one of them. An interesting fact from his seminary days is that Carl McIntire was a fellow student and served as head usher at Ockenga’s wedding.

With this bit of background about the father of the movement, we begin to look at the three determinations which spawned the movement. First, new evangelicalism determined to reject Biblical separation.

Dr. Ockenga wrote the foreword to Dr. Harold Lindsell’s book, The Battle for the Bible, published in 1976. In that foreword he said:

Neo-evangelicalism was born in 1948 in connection with a convocation address which I gave in the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena. While reaffirming the theological view of fundamentalism, this address repudiated its ecclesiology and its social theory. The ringing call for a repudiation of separatism and the summons to social involvement received a hearty response from many evangelicals… It differed from fundamentalism in its repudiation of separatism and its determination to engage itself in the theological dialogue of the day. It had a new emphasis upon the application of the gospel to the sociological, political, and economic areas of life.

I do not believe that anyone reading that statement can deny that the number one determination of new evangelicalism is the “repudiation of separatism.” The statement is made twice and is termed, “The ringing call.” Our newspapers today are filled with talk about “Quebec separatism.” Political sides line up and make their arguments for and against it. However, what new evangelicalism has determined to repudiate is Biblical separatism. Separation is God’s prescription for treating the disease of apostasy. It is not ours to repudiate, for it is a divine command, not a human idea. The doctrine of separatism gets its name from 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty

The same doctrine is taught in passages such as Ephesians 5:11 which says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” It is the theme of II John, culminating in verses 10 and 11:

If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

It is taught throughout the Scriptures, but it is very plain in passages such as I Kings 13, II Chronicles 19:2, Romans 16:17. II Thessalonians 3:6 and I Timothy 6:3-5. It is not my purpose to expound the doctrine of separation in this book. I have sought to do that in another booklet. Repudiation of separatism may sound acceptable until you realize that it is a repudiation of God’s command about how to treat apostasy.

In a much earlier press release dated December 8, 1957, Dr. Ockenga made the following statements:

The New Evangelicalism has changed its strategy from one of separation to one of infiltration. Instead of static front battles, the new theological war is one of movement. Instead of attack upon error, the New Evangelicals proclaim the great historic doctrines of Christianity …The strategy of the New Evangelicalism is the positive proclamation of truth in distinction from all errors without delving in personalities which embrace error.

In a war, generals may change strategy, but that is not the prerogative of the Christian when God has given a command. Obviously separation is God’s command, and infiltration is man’s idea. The irenic statement above sounds rather noble in man’s eyes. One can picture the new evangelical standing peacefully with hands folded far above the din of battle. But how does that square with Jude 3 and 4?

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

What do you think of the new evangelical suggestion that we can proclaim truth “without delving in personalities which embrace error”? Throughout church history, heresies have always been identified with the men who perpetrated them. Almost every heresy of the past has been associated with a personality You cannot erase nineteen centuries of church history with a cute phrase. Certainly Dr. Ockenga was aware that the battle for the faith in the 1920’s was between a Baptist unbeliever, Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, and Presbyterian believers. Did he believe that his brilliant teacher, Dr. J. Gresham Machen, should not have delved into the blasphemous statements of Dr. Fosdick in the First Presbyterian Church of New York City? The idea of preaching positively without contending for the faith is a compromise of Biblical truth.

Paul names the names of his opponents, and so must we. I wish that it were possible to write a book like this one without naming names. Life would be much easier, but the book would be worthless. In forty years of preaching, l have learned that I can identify any aberration from Scripture with no reverberation. But when I explain about whom I am talking, the rubber hits the road.

Sometimes men reject things they do not understand. That is not the case with Dr. Ockenga’s repudiation of separation. He followed Dr. Machen in his separation from Princeton Seminary to found Westminster Seminary After Ockenga’s graduation from seminary he went to Pittsburgh to be the assistant to Dr. Clarence Macartney at the First Presbyterian Church. Dr. Macartney and his compatriot, William Jennings Bryan, were two great warriors who stood together to fight modernism on the floor of the Presbyterian General Assembly in the early 1920’s. The first professor at Fuller under Dr. Ockenga’s leadership was Dr. Wilbur M. Smith. He had been one of the original men on Dr. Machen’s Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. In the heat of the Presbyterian battle, Smith wrote a tremendous book titled, Therefore Stand. (My father always opined that Smith wrote Therefore Stand, and then sat down.) Another associate at Fuller was Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge, who was unfrocked by the Presbyterian Church in the Independent Board matter. I could go on. I merely want to make plain that Dr. Ockenga knew what he was repudiating when he repudiated separation. He had heard the arguments of noble men involved in the Presbyterian battles and decided to take a different course. New evangelicalism determined to reject Biblical separation.

Secondly, new evangelicalism determined to find acceptance by the world. I have seen boys and girls feverishly seek the acceptance of their peers. A new child comes to visit, and they rush to show him every toy in the effort to be accepted. This is a note not to be ignored in the new evangelical profile. It shows itself in the desire to be accepted in the world of academia, and it also shows in the desire to make the gospel more palatable to the natural man. Let me begin by going back to Dr. Ockenga’s foreword to The Battle for the Bible:

It differed from fundamentalism in its repudiation of separation and its determination to engage itself in the theological dialogue of the day.

Re-entering the theological dialogue with modernism was an important cause to new evangelicalism. Notice that it is described as “dialogue,” not debate. A debate is a conflict which clarifies a position. A dialogue is a conversation which compromises a position. (That may not be correct according to Webster, but it comes from observing theological dialogue.) Lest you think I am being picky with this matter, let me go further in the quotation from the foreword of The Battle for the Bible to show the specific items about which Dr. Ockenga desired to dialogue:

Neo-evangelicals emphasized the restatement of Christian theology in accordance with the need of the time, the reengagement in the theological debate, the recapture of denominational leadership, and the reexamination of theological problems such as the antiquity of man, the universality of the flood, God’s method of creation, and others.

I call this Dr. Ockenga’s “re” statement. In my own seminary experience, I was never taught that theology needs to be restated according to need. If we have a theology stated as the Bible states it, is it right to restate it to make it more palatable to a sinful world and an apostate church? New evangelicals have finely tuned the art of restating theology so that it causes no ripple at the National Council of Churches, Union Theological Seminary or a Presidential Prayer Breakfast. I could not state Biblical theology in any of those places and have it warmly received. Billy Graham does it all the time. Think about it.

Dr. Ockenga again suggested “the reengagement in the theological debate.” I assume that he meant the theological debate between modernism and fundamentalism. I would agree with that, if he meant to show the emptiness of apostasy and why men should leave it. New evangelicalism did not interpret it that way. Rather, it chose to return to apostate presbyteries, synods, seminaries and colleges to try to have an influence while dialoguing about the matters discussed there. As Dr. Ockenga said, “The New Evangelicalism has changed its strategy from one of separation to one of infiltration.” This was demonstrated in a rather humorous way by the sight of several early Fuller professors, such as Herbert Mekeel, Gleason Archer and William LaSor pleading on bended knee for the reception of their credentials by the Los Angeles Presbytery. Was this “reengagement in the theological debate”?

Dr. Ockenga’s third “re” is the recapture of denominational leadership. I cannot see from the Bible that either men or denominations are ever recaptured from apostasy. New evangelicalism has been on the scene recapturing denominational leadership for over forty years. What denominational leadership has been reclaimed? Has the United Presbyterian Church been recaptured for Biblical Christianity? Has the Methodist Church been recaptured for the doctrine of the Wesleys? Has the leadership of the United Church of Christ been triumphantly recaptured? Men from these denominations have talked in theological dialogue with the scholars of new evangelicalism and have sat on the platforms of great crusades with Billy Graham, but the leadership of not one denomination has been reclaimed. The policy has failed, for it is a policy of horrible, hideous, compromise. God’s program for apostasy is to separate from it, expose it and contend against it.

Dr. Ockenga’s fourth “re” has been the most destructive compromise of all. It is “the reexamination of theological problems such as the antiquity of man, the universality of the Flood, God’s method of creation and others.” Stop to think about the three areas Dr. Ockenga has identified. These areas are “theological problems” for one simple reason. The natural man has a problem with God’s sovereignty. The Bible declares that God did these things in a certain way. Man cannot accept that at face value, because he has never seen creation in seven days or a universal flood. To reexamine what God has told us He did is to subject God’s Word to the judgment of science. If a man accepts God’s sovereignty he needs no reexamination. On the other hand, if a man accepts only science he must reexamine, reexamine and reexamine. This reexamination of Biblical truth by worldly scientists has had a deadly effect on the biology departments of Christian colleges. Before new evangelicalism, those departments believed both in creation as taught in Genesis and in a universal flood. Today, in most of those departments, science, rather than the Bible, is normative. Consequently, professors teach some form of evolution and believe in a local flood. I heard Dr. Charles Woodbridge say that a local flood that covered the mountains must have been the first egg-shaped flood on record. The compromises of Dr. Ockenga’s four “re’s” have had a devastating effect on Christianity.

As my father pointed out in his book, there is a tremendous pride of intellect in new evangelicalism. Let me quote again from Dr. Ockenga’s December 8, 1957 news release:

The New Evangelicalism differs from Fundamentalism in its willingness to handle the social problems which Fundamentalism evaded …The New Evangelical is willing to face the intellectual problems and meet them in the framework of modern learning …The evangelical believes that Christianity is intellectually defensible, but the Christian cannot be obscurantist in scientific questions pertaining to the creation, the age of man, the universality of the flood and other moot Biblical questions.

It seems to me that as Dr. Ockenga paints the portrait of the new evangelical with his right hand, he caricatures the fundamentalist with his left. Do you see the picture? The fundamentalist is unwilling to handle social problems, unable to face intellectual problems, not possessing modern learning and obscurantist in scientific questions. Intellectual pride is peer pressure on a scholarly level, and it doesn’t look any better on scholars than it does on teenagers. Ho, ye new evangelicals, wisdom has arrived and will die with us!

From its inception new evangelicalism has been determined to impress the world with its intellect. It has craved the respect of academia. It has determined to earn plaudits at the fountainheads of secular learning. Why should this be a goal for the Christian? Paul spelled out for the believer the vanity of this world’s wisdom in 1 Corinthians 1:20, 21:

Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

George Marsden, who wrote the history of Fuller Seminary under the title, Reforming Fundamentalism, (Marsden, George M., Reforming Fundamentalism, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1987, 319 pp. I have decided to write this book by giving documentation in the text rather than in conventional footnotes. I give a footnote here because this is a book every fundamentalist should read. I would judge Marsden to be a new evangelical himself, but in writing the history of Fuller, he has revealed the problems of new evangelicalism more clearly than fundamentalists knew. Read the book!) points out on page 24 how Ockenga viewed the ministry of Fuller:

Now he told the Fullers that what was needed was a true scholarly center to produce serious books that all the world would have to notice …Ockenga was, in effect, proposing a new Princeton: the new west coast seminary would recapture the glory and academic standing of the old Princeton.

Ockenga also styled the school as “A Cal Tech of the evangelical world.” When the first class of 1939 arrived at Fuller, Marsden records that “immediately the seminary began advertising that its `almost forty’ students were from schools like Harvard, Dartmouth, Berkeley and the University of Southern California:’ Why should Christians, who have a foundation for knowledge that the universities have lost, boast that its students come from the poisoned fountains of worldly wisdom?

In Dr. Ockenga’s press release of December 8, 1957, he mentioned six reasons why he was very encouraged about the future of new evangelicalism. Let me quote them: “…third, there is the new apologetic literature stating this point of view which is now flowing from the presses of the great publishers, including Macmillans and Harpers.” Marsden, in commenting on the publication of one of Edward J. Carnell’s books by Macmillan, said the following: “To be published by a major secular publisher was a great triumph for the new evangelicals.” Christian publishers existed. Why not have Christian books published by them? The goal was to be published by publishers that the world respected. On page 174 of his book, Marsden says that “Carnell hoped to lead Fuller to full acceptance by the largely non-evangelical American theological establishment.” On page 248 Marsden, in commenting on another Fuller professor, George Ladd, wrote: “Ladd saw his calling as above all to correct evangelical scholarship’s general lack of prestige. His ambition, as he sometimes told his students, was to write a book in biblical studies that every scholar in the field would have to respect.” These numerous quotations illustrate the intellectual pride and the consuming desire of the new evangelicals to be accepted in the world of academia.

The simple truth of life in this world for the Christian is that the more he is like the world, the more the world loves him. The more he is like Christ, the less this world loves him. The obedient believer must learn to accept the scorn of this world for his faith, intellect and morals.

Go back to Dr. Ockenga’s statement that we cannot be “obscurantist” about creation, the age of man and the universality of the flood. What do we have to gain by giving in to the unsaved scientist on these points? Man’s responsibility to God rests solidly on the statement of Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” God was there when He did it. He told us what He did. What will we gain by accommodating the unsaved scientist who does not believe it? What is the problem with the age of mankind? The Bible indicates that God made man of the dust and breathed into him the breath of life. God talked to man as a rational being and gave him instructions on his very first day. We won’t know exactly how long ago that was until, in glory we are able to ask the Creator. However, Scripture would seem to indicate that it was a relatively short time ago. On the other hand, science postulates the origin of man as being millions or billions of years ago. The only reason for the vast amount of time is that the scientist does not believe Genesis 1 and so must allow eons for man to move up the evolutionary ladder to Harvard. What benefit is it to Christianity if we join the scientist in the great spoof of truth he has foisted on mankind? To be “obscurantist” in this matter is to have your faith on the solid ground of Scripture. To compromise with the evolutionist is to have your faith firmly planted on the thin air of an unbelieving hypothesis. Genesis 6 states that there was a universal flood because of universal evil. The New Testament corroborates that eight people were spared by entering the ark God prepared. The universal flood provides a scientific explanation for many phenomena we find in the earth’s crust. It may explain things from the icecaps to the disappearance of dinosaurs. God says the flood was universal. What is to be gained by agreeing with some absentminded professor from academia who thinks it extended only from Baghdad to Basra? Let me reproduce one of my father’s short paragraphs from The New Neutralism:

Not only is the new-brand Evangelicalism born of compromise, but in the second place, it is a movement nurtured on pride of intellect. The statements of its leading advocates indicate that these men are trying very, very hard to be accepted among `the upper four hundred’ of the intelligentsia. This new crop of evangelical scholars has done graduate work at Harvard, Chicago University and Princeton, and they know a lot of answers that the common herd of fundamentalist preachers can’t fathom. To speak very plainly, an attitude of intellectual snobbery is very typical of many of its leaders.

Back so many paragraphs ago that you have forgotten it, I began with the thought of acceptance. I said that this craving for acceptance shows itself in the desire to be accepted in the world of academia and that it also shows in the desire to make the gospel more palatable to the natural man. I have commented on the first part of that. Let’s move on to the second part.

You will not find this matter stated in the literature of new evangelicalism, or in the words of Dr. Ockenga. However, it can be documented and illustrated from the history of new evangelicalism. With the idea of acceptance by the academia of the world came a twin sister, smaller perhaps, but no less real, of acceptance by the world in general. The gospel is unpalatable to the natural man, for it declares him lost and undone. It declares him helpless. It strips him of his boasted good life and exposes his pitiful boast of keeping the golden rule. It leaves him with no hope except to cry out, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.”

All of us have been tempted to water down the gospel to make it palatable to a friend. We knew that we were wrong when we did it. New evangelicalism made it acceptable to water down the gospel. Campus Crusade’s “Four Spiritual Laws” are a prime example. They give a diluted presentation of the gospel designed be non-offensive. Who could fail to be attracted to, “God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life:”? It is not false, but it is not the gospel as preached by Peter or Paul. It is an accommodation to the way the natural man thinks about himself. It produces an easy-believism in which every man is saved but lives just as he did before.

With this accommodation of the message to the natural man came an accommodation in the way of presenting the message. The historic method has always been what Scripture calls, “the foolishness of preaching.” The new method became the selling of the gospel by the use of sports heroes, beauty queens and famous people.

During 1944-1945 I was a young serviceman stationed in the Chicago area. For me. Chicagoland Youth for Christ was the place to go on Saturday evening. To this day I am thankful for this, and I do not wish to deprecate the work which was done there – some of it in my own heart. However, as I look back on it, it was an incipient new evangelicalism. No rally was complete without the testimony of an All American tackle from UCLA, a beauty queen from Los Angeles, or some famous person from government or business. In the past history of gospel meetings, testimonies were given by those who were famous for great hymns, missionary service or notable sacrifice for Christ. It began to bother me that those who gave testimony to the new evangelicalism were all famous for exploits in the world, not the church. This trend has continued in the rallies and explos of new evangelicalism. No meeting is complete without a song from Pat Boone, a message from Senator Mark Hatfield, a testimony from Dale Evans, or a word from Trigger. It is all done to please the world. It says, “If the gospel is good enough for the rich and famous, it is good enough for you.”

In no area is this accommodation to the world as obvious as in the area of music. The attitude of new evangelicalism has been “to reach the world, give the world the music it likes.” Today, people, especially young people, like rock music. All of the explos and extravaganzas of new evangelicalism have centered around rock groups. They have drawn the crowds. The music is the same as that heard at any rock concert, except that the performers are screaming Christian words. A news release from URBANA ’90, dated June 28, 1990 said that “Music will be more contemporary than in the past, with 70 percent contemporary hymnology …Music is a powerful means of communication for this generation of students.” What kind of music is the means of communication for the student generation of the 1990’s? You guessed it – rock music.

With this accommodation to the world in message, presentation and music, came an accommodation to the world’s lifestyle. Standards which had been traditionally held in Christian homes have been mocked and set aside. The most dramatic (and saddest) illustration of this is the following quotation from page 84 of Richard Quebedeaux’ book, The Worldly Evangelicals:

Evangelicals of the left range from moderate Republicans to democratic socialists, if not Marxists. Most affirm the nuclear family, but are at the same time open to alternative domestic lifestyles, from extended families to communes. Just about all of the left evangelicals are feminists and support the ordination of women, egalitarian marriage, and the use of inclusive language. The old evangelical taboos against alcohol, tobacco, social dancing and the like are almost universally condemned (as binding at least). Biblical criticism, used constructively and devoutly, is employed by a great many evangelical students and scholars of the left. They recognize the marks of cultural conditioning on Scripture, and their study of the Bible is informed by their knowledge of the natural, social, and behavioral sciences.

Quebedeaux calls himself a new evangelical. He was a World Council of Churches Ecumenical Scholar at Oxford University in 1969-70. Obviously he is a radical new evangelical. However, he is an example of how far the trend goes, once it has begun.

Had you strolled across Boston Common to attend church at Park Street Congregational Church in the days of Dr. Ockenga’s ministry, you would have found a very worshipful service. You would have thrilled to a great organ and choir singing the hymns of Watts, Wesley and Newton: You would have found Dr. Ockenga to be a dignified, moral, Presbyterian pastor. If he could come back to a new evangelical rock concert and view a crowd of young people carrying out Mr. Quebedeaux’ ideas, I think he might hold his hands to his head and cry, “No, no, this is not what we intended to start.” New evangelicalism determined to find acceptance by the world. It has!

Let’s move on to the third and final determination of new evangelicalism. New evangelicalism determined to add the social gospel to the Scriptural gospel. As we have done with each point, let us go back to the words of the founder in his press release for December 8, 1957:

The New Evangelicalism differs from Fundamentalism in its willingness to handle the social problems which Fundamentalism evaded. There need be no dichotomy between the personal gospel and the social gospel. The true Christian faith is a supernatural personal experience of salvation and a social philosophy. Doctrine and social ethics are Christian disciplines. Fundamentalism abdicated leadership and responsibility in the societal realm and thus became impotent to change society or to solve social problems. The New Evangelicalism adheres to all the orthodox teachings of Fundamentalism, but has evolved a social philosophy.

Again, in the foreword to Dr. Lindsell’s book he said as follows:

The ringing call for a repudiation of separation and the summons to social involvement received a hearty response from many evangelicals.

By very definition, preachers must have something to preach. Liberalism, by its denial of inspiration and rejection of the deity of Christ, lost the gospel. The historic definition of the gospel is that given by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1,3,4:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand… For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

A modernist would read that and say, “None of which I believe anymore.” What, then, should a modernist preach? Men such as Washington Gladden, Walter Rauschenbusch, Shailer Mathews, Henry C. King and others put their heads together and came up with the social gospel. Gladden was a Congregational pastor with a long tenure in Columbus, Ohio, where he served on the city council. Rauschenbusch was an American Baptist professor at Rochester Theological Seminary Mathews, another liberal Baptist, was professor at the University of Chicago and an early president of the Federal Council of Churches. King, a Congregationalist, spent twenty-five years as president of Oberlin College.

Godly missionaries have always benefited the society in which they worked. They preached the gospel. Lives were changed. Morality in villages improved. Men and women were taught their proper roles from the Bible. Homes became happier and children disciplined. Medical treatment was usually given. Society improved wherever the gospel went. However, this was never the vision of the social gospel as evolved by liberalism and personified in the Federal Council of Churches. Eerdman’s Handbook to Christianity in America correctly says on page 319:

The social gospel differed from evangelical reform movements like the Salvation Army in at least two respects. First, it tended to emphasize structural reforms, changes in law, government policy, and the formal institutions of society. Second, it was firmly rooted in Protestant liberal theology.

This social philosophy is not taught in scripture. Rather, it was the invention of men who rejected the gospel. Notice the last line of Dr. Ockenga’s statement which I gave you a few paragraphs ago. He said that “The New Evangelicalism …has evolved a social philosophy” That word “evolved” tells us that it is not taught in the Scripture but has had to he evolved from it. Before new evangelicalism came on the scene, we had fundamentalism with a saving gospel and the liberals with a social gospel. Now, the movement which desires to stand between the two and be accepted by the liberal religious world decides that it will have “a personal gospel and a social gospel.” Satan is always busy in seeking a rapprochement between belief and unbelief. The two-pronged gospel of new evangelicalism gave a pathway for the new evangelical to cooperate with the fundamentalist in soul-saving endeavors and a list of common causes in which new evangelicals and liberals could find fellowship. On this bridge new evangelicals could join hands at Selma, make common cause with Caesar Chavez to boost the price of grapes, join hands with the feminist movement and help establish support groups for homosexuals. These have all happened.

Satan is a joiner. God’s key word in regard to unbelief is separate. Satan’s key word is cooperate. Satan is always seeking an amalgam of belief and unbelief. The joining of social action causes by new evangelicals has been a magnificent strategy to produce cooperation with liberalism. Remember that Satan’s ultimate strategy is to produce the one-world church of the end time.

Over 40 years ago, at the beginning of new evangelicalism, Dr. Harold John Ockenga stood like an architect with his drawings under his arm and outlined the plan of the movement. He declared that it had three great determinations – the determination to reject Biblical separatism, the determination to find acceptance by the world, and the determination to add the social gospel to the Scriptural gospel. The history of new evangelicalism has gone according to plan.