I was thinking the other day about the early 90’s, and being with Chuck Colson in Chicago when he was receiving The Templeton Award, and he talked about the enduring revolution of the cross. In his message and acceptance speech, he mentioned the myth of a coming Utopia. Of course, this is the myth that human nature can be perfected by government, that a New Jerusalem can be built using the tools of politics.
Chuck made it clear that from the birth of the twentieth century to the present age ruthless ideologies claimed history as their own. They’ve moved swiftly from nation to nation on the strength of a promised Utopia. They pledged to move the world but could only stain it with blood. Communism, Fascism, we’ve seen rulers who bear the Mark of Cain as a badge of honor. They pursue a savage virtue, a virtue devoid of humility and humanity.
We have seen more people killed in this century by their governments than all of histories wars combined. We have seen every Utopian experiment fail, exhausted from the pace of its own brutality. Utopian temptations, however, persist. Even in the world democracies, stripped of their terrors perhaps, but with none of their risks. The political allusion still deceives, whether it is called “The Great Society,” “The New Covenant,” or “The New World Order.” In each case, it promises government solutions to our deepest needs for security, peace, and meaning.
Now of course, we have the new socialism of our own age. The problem is that government has taken over for a failing church; a church today that labors under the allusion of a coming Utopia apart from the coming of Jesus Christ.
The false teachers continue to persist. They tell us that we are waiting for a great revival, because the leaders of that great revival have already emerged upon the scene. They are claiming to be greater than the Old Testament prophets. Moreover, should Old Testament or New Testament prophets appear today, then Moses, Abraham, and Paul would be standing in line to get the autographs of these new anointed leaders! We are told they will empty out hospitals and fill stadiums, that they will bring a healing Utopia to the land.
We fall for the skin of the truth stuffed with a great big lie. To recognize the lie would be wise? And the only way to do it is to become so familiar with truth that when falsehoods loom on the horizon, you will be able to identify them immediately.
It is true that only in Christ and His coming will we have Utopia. Communism will not give it to us. Communism works in heaven; however, you don’t need it in heaven because in heaven there will not be a fallen human nature. As has been well said, Communism would also work well in hell, but they already have it there.
The flawed and fallen human nature prevents a coming Utopia. It also prevents government to be able to do what Christians ought to be able to do, and that is to love and labor in the midst of sorrows. To bind each other wounds, to be the balm of Gilead in the lives of other people. We cannot promise panaceas, but we can give people peace in the midst of the storm.
I pray—as we get closer and closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas—that each and every one of you will think carefully and clearly about how you can be involved in meeting the needs of the down trodden and the poor. Most of all how you can communicate the Gospel, to give a cup of cold water, the water of life to a thirsting soul and the only way you can do that is to be equipped.