The New Order of the Kingdom
(E. Stanley Jones, Federal Council of Churches, Federal Council Bulletin 19, no. 8 (Oct. 1936), New York 5)
The history behind this quotation is a fascinating look into the rise of liberal denominations 50-100 years ago. They embraced a dominionist doctrine of building the kingdom of God on earth long before it became a New Apostolic Reformation or Reconstructionist "mandate."
The thesis of Dr. Erdmann's book is that the rising popularity of this doctrine was substantially influenced and perpetuated by the same academic, political and religious intelligentsia who were busily forming the beginnings of a New World Order on earth. These elites seized upon certain doctrines of the Gospel as a mechanism to forge an international consensus on "moral" ideology.
"A new commitment to the concept of the kingdom of God on earth needed to be generated among the people at large and from the constituencies of the member churches, a commitment that had been notably absent for some time. Unless the Council succeeded in mobilising a grassroots movement of socially conscious Christians it would never realise the goals set out in the Social Creed. Thus the new emphasis on propagating the principles of the Social Creed was again designed to attain the kingdom of God on earth rather than to reach lost souls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ." (p. 154)
The modus operendi to accomplish such a mass motivation is strikingly similar to the methods utilized with today's evangelicals:
"Without adhering to basic Scriptural concepts. . . the Council's social appeals were couched in biblical terminology. Although mentioning the sin problem frequently, it was usually in the context of sins against society rather than sin against God. Regeneration was masterfully redefined as a new social awareness. The substitutionary atonement of Christ upon the cross was deemed insignificant and was rarely if ever mentioned. The Reformation dictum, that humankind can find peace with God only by being justified by faith, was simply ignored as without relevance. The residue of evangelical concepts which could be found in their gospel messages were mostly based on Arminian theology. . . ." (p. 155)
In order to achieve this organic unity, the reformers of that era proposed that a "sense of urgency" or "crisis" be created. E. Stanley Jones, who is quoted at the top of this post, proposed in 1935 that the various branches of Protestantism "come together on the simple doctrinal basis found in Matthew 16:16-19. He defended his proposal on the grounds of the urgent necessity to unite, in view of the task confronting the church." (p. 147)
Erdmann notes that "Jones was less than candid in his statements." It was not unlike the call for a Second Reformation that we see today:
"The whole plan rested upon an indifference to the development of Christian theology from the Council of Nicea onwards, and it actually called upon the creedal churches, the Presbyterian and the Lutheran, for example, to surrender the heritage of the Reformation." (p. 148)
"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26)