If Christianity is a movement for world reform, if the business of Christianity is to get rid of war and to teach people how to live together and to solve labor and industrial problems, if it is just a social, political program, then the man of the world makes this point, and he is perfectly entitled to do so: “All right, that’s why I’m not a Christian. That’s why I don’t believe your message. Christianity has been going for nearly 2,000 years. It claims that it will put the world in order and that it will get rid of all our problems. But after 2,000 years of preaching—and the church has been in control in many centuries and could do anything she liked—look at the state of the world! I’m not interested,” says the modern person. “Your Christianity has proved to be a failure. There’s nothing in it. It doesn’t work. It’s all right as idealistic talk, but in the actual world of practicalities it has nothing to give us. If Christianity is true, then why in this one [twentieth] century have we already had two world wars, and why are the nations behaving as they are? It’s impossible. It’s ridiculous.” And of course that is a perfectly valid argument, and the people who misrepresent Christianity as a social, political program have no answer to give. But Christianity has never promised to be a vehicle for world reform. There is no statement anywhere in the Bible to that effect. The tragedy of this false view of the Christian message is that it cannot explain the past centuries; it cannot explain the state of the world today; it has nothing to tell us with respect to the future. It is utterly bankrupt. The proponents of a social gospel can only go on repeating that people must be persuaded to accept this ethic. They must enter politics. They must organize this and that. Though nothing has come of it, there is nothing to do but to go on doing it. Such a view is hopeless.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones