Communism and the Theologians: Study of an Encounter


The purpose of this study is not to add another to the long list of Christian and other analyses of Communism in theory and practice. That field has often been ploughed, by every conceivable theological, philosophical, and experiential point of view. Nor does it aim to orient Communism and the Christian faith theoretically to one another. Rather it seeks to meet a more concrete need: the need of Christians who cannot escape the fact of Communism in their daily lives, and the need of other Christians who are tempted, because the Communists are so far away, to over- simplify or to forget it. In the centre of this work we seek to place no theory or analysis, but the living response of Christians to the living force of Communism in the present-day world, as it is illuminated by the theologies which have had most to do with this response. This is the meaning of the word 'encounter' in our title. In using it we have already assumed one conviction which Communism and the Christian faith hold in common: that the true, the good, and the real are to be sought in no realm of ideas, in no system of doctrine or philosophy, in no order of society or culture, but in the living relation of concrete human beings.

We must assume this common conviction. Without it whatever response to Communism Christians develop will be response to an abstraction--the reflection of our fears or the construct of our minds--rather than help for people confronted with the Communist movement itself. Communism is more than a social philosophy which can be refuted. It is more than a power movement which can be resisted, or a false religion which can be outpreached. It is a living force which combines all these factors in an organic whole which proves itself on the field of historical human action. Here it must be encountered.

But we must assume this common conviction more basically . . .

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Philadelphia
Publication year:
  • 1958


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