The Essential Christian Heritage
By Eric D. Butler
Christian Heritage - Magna
Carta - A Break from the Christian Concept of
Law - God or Mammon -
The True Purpose of Economy - The Value of Each
Individual - Regeneration
A Paper delivered at an Australian League of
Rights National Seminar, held in Melbourne on September 18, 1971,
to launch The Australian Heritage Society.
Mr. Eric D. Butler is recognised internationally as a lecturer and
writer on Marxism, his best known work being "The Red Pattern of World
Conquest". He is a deep student of history. Moving a motion that "Communism
is absolutely incompatible with Christianity" at the 1959 Melbourne
Anglican Synod, Mr. Butler gave an address, subsequently republished
and widely distributed, under the title, "The Real Communist Challenge
to Christianity". THE
ESSENTIAL CHRISTIAN HERITAGE A realistic examination of the essential
Christian heritage requires not only a study of the fundamental ideas
inherent in Christ's teachings, but also the results of those ideas
as they have been applied throughout history. Traditional Christian
philosophy has always insisted that God reveals Himself through history.
And real history is not a series of disconnected events, but a continuous
application of policies - economic, financial, political and social,
- rooted in philosophies. The ideas or beliefs men accept, even if
unconsciously, govern their actions. But in an era when progress is
measured by many in terms of technology, size and speed, the self-styled "practical
man" becomes impatient with any suggestion that ideas, that which cannot
be seen, are of fundamental practical importance and should be considered.
The British diplomat and scholar, Sir David Kelly, has observed how,
when a leading newspaper asked him for permission to reproduce one
- or two previously published articles, it explained how it did not
want the one which in the first paragraph referred to the famous
German philosopher Hegel, that this would discourage its readers,
who would say, "Who the hell was Hegel anyway".
It was Hegel's "dialectic", or the theory of development through
the conflict of opposites, that was the source of Marx's philosophy
"dialectical materialism", the materialist,'. interpretation of history.
The Nazis and the Fascists took Hegel's thesis that the State is
the Divine Idea as it exists on earth and that the individual can
only realise himself through the State. The ideas of Hegel have therefore
affected in this century the peoples of the whole world, and through
the policies of the International Marxist movements continue to do
so. The "practical" men of the world have continued to misunderstand
the policies of the Soviet Union and Red China primarily because
they do not understand the underlying philosophy of those policies,
but also because they lack any coherent philosophy of their own.
The suggestion that a revitalised practical Christianity is the only
answer to the ever-growing threat of International Marxism, is often
met with the claim that this is but a romantic ideal with no relationship
to what is called reality.
But reality consists of much more than matter. It is ideas which
dictate how matter shall be used. Christ clearly indicated the primacy
and formative nature of ideas when He said, "My Kingdom is not of
One of the false charges often levelled against Christianity is its
alleged "other-worldliness", its lack of concern about man's material
condition on earth. But the great Christian prayer asks that God's
will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Man was also given the
instruction that if he first sought the Kingdom of God, all other
things would be added unto him. Now if God's will is to be done on
earth, this can only be achieved by individuals using their free
will and individual initiative to seek to create a society in which
man's relationship to his fellow man and to his institutions, are
in conformity with God's purpose for man.
That purpose was clearly stated in the words, "Ye shall know the
truth and the truth shall make you free".
It is imperative that we do not confuse the Christian concept of
freedom with the type of free-for-all which masquerades as freedom
today. The Christian believes that God is love. But how can man love
God unless he has real freedom?
God could have made man perfect. The Christian view is that God endowed
man with free will in order that he could respond to the Creator
in that type of service which is perfect freedom. Real freedom is
only possible through a knowledge and application of truth in all
man's activities. An essential part of that truth is the law of love
as outlined by Christ.
First we are told to love God, which can only mean that we must use
our will and intelligence to search diligently at all times to know
God and His Laws.
Then in the Second Commandment we are told to love our neighbours,
but with a most important proviso, to love them as ourselves. The
Christian Law of Love is not a mere piece of sloppy sentimentalism,
but a law partaking of Truth. The logic of the Christian Commandments
is that the individual must first establish correct relationships
with his fellows. It should also be noted that he is told to love
his neighbour as himself. A man who has neither love for God nor
respect for himself, has no pride in his own people, his own country
and its traditions, must always reflect that attitude in his approach
to his fellows. The fundamental problem of all civilisations has
been the relationship of the group to the individual. While the Christian
conception of freedom led to the freeing of the individual from the
domination of the group, it also balanced this with the conception
of the individual accepting personal responsibility for how he used
Freedom must be used in conformity with God's laws. Inalienable rights
were held on lease from God, not from the state or governments.
It is sometimes argued that as Christ is not recorded as having said
much about society and governments, this is a reason for Christians
not to involve themselves in politics. But politics is concerned
with power, and Christianity would have had no impact on man's history
if it had not insisted that there was a right and a wrong way for
power to be used.
When the famous Lord Acton propounded the law that all power tends
to corrupt, and that absolute power corrupts absolutely, he was speaking
as a Christian aware of what Christ had said on this vital subject.
St. Matthew, 5 IV, 8-9 reads,
"And the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain and
sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them,
And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt
fall down and worship me". This was an offer of world power. Christ
rejected that offer, indicating quite clearly that God's will was
not going to be done on earth through power centralised on a world
When Christ gave His reply to the question about the subject of the
Roman coin, He was not, as some cynics have suggested, giving a trick
answer to a trick question.
"Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the
things that are God's", was the enunciation of a basic truth whose
application changed the course of man's history. Christ said, in
essence, that the state was necessary and legitimate, but He also
set bounds to the state's power, previously never acknowledged.
If Christ was allegedly not concerned about creating a perfect society,
then why His concern about the perfection of the individual? A perfect
society would be one in which all individuals associated in that
society would be living in accordance with the laws of God's universe.
Christ laid down in principle what these laws are. But the individual
is left free to decide whether or not he will attempt to obey these
laws, or perhaps to make his own.
A perfect society is impossible because all individuals can never
be perfect. But to the extent that they manage to apply the truths
of Christianity, they obtain greater satisfaction in their societies.
It is significant that during last century, while Continental Europe
was being convulsed in a revolutionary ferment, a legacy of the French
Revolution, the British people were enjoying comparative stability.
British society reflected to a much greater extent the Christian
concept concerning individual freedom, rights, and personal responsibilities.
Every civilisation is the incarnation of underlying values.
The British historian, Christopher Dawson, a devout Christian, has
observed that all the great civilisations
"have admitted the existence of a higher law above that of the tribe
"have subordinated national interest and political power to the higher
spiritual values which are derived from this source. On this point
there is a consensus of principle which unites all the world religions
and all the great civilisations of the past . . ." Western civilisation
has been correctly described as a Christian civilisation. It is true
that this civilisation has owed much to the legacy of both Greece
and Rome. The Greek philosophers struggled with the problem of how
to make individual liberty a reality, while the Romans provided man
with a firm concept of the Rule of Law.
But it was the Christian teaching that man is a special creature
made in God's image, which have the human person a significance unknown
outside Western Europe. Now man saw himself as part of a type of
cosmic spiritual drama and felt that he had the power to shape history.
Unlike the religions of the East, which have been described as "religions
of pessimism", Christianity was a religion of hope. It encouraged
the development of man's creative spirit. And it resolved philosophical
problems which had baffled the philosophers of Greece and Rome. MAGNA
CARTA One of the most famous, and important, landmarks in English
constitutional history was the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215.
When the Caesar of the day, King John, attempted to combine both
power and authority in his own person, be violated constitutional
principles which had grown out of the climate created by the Christian
There were three sovereignties represented at the historic event
on the isle of Runnymede:
and the Barons, who claimed to speak for the people.
Although the Barons provided the physical sanctions, these in turn
were modified by the spiritual sanctions of the Church, which in
the person of Archbishop Langton, played a decisive role in the formulating
of Magna Carta.
Here was the Christian Church insisting, not that complete power
should be taken from one man and given to another group of men, but
that power should be divided and subject to God's laws.
As the famous English historian, Sir Arthur Bryant, writes in his
History of England:
"It was not Langton's wish to see the Crown overthrown, the law ignored,
the realm divided, the Barons petty tyrants. What he wanted was that
the King should preserve the law his predecessors created. And it
was to the law that the Archbishop appealed, not only of man, but
of God. For it was the essence of mediaeval philosophy that God ruled
the earth, and that man, and kings above all men, must further His
ends by doing justice or it was not in Christian eyes justice at
all." The first clause of Magna Carta reads:
"That the Church of England shall be free, and enjoy her rights and
This was imposed on King John as a declaration of independence in
certain well-defined areas from interference by the Crown or any
other power concerning matters of religion these things which belong
to God. It was a declaration against a monopoly of power.
The underlying concept of Magna Carta was to establish every individual,
irrespective of his station in life, in his rights. It was a striking
manifestation of the application of the Christian concept of the
sovereignty of the individual, as was English Common Law, one of
the most priceless aspects of the essential Christian heritage.
Magna Carta was a major landmark in English constitutional development.
But is is important to stress that basically it reaffirmed principles
which had been accepted for centuries in England. What came to be
known as English Common Law grew out of the active part played by
Christian theologians in attempting to evolve ways and means of successfully
subordinating power to authority. While the Roman concept of the
Rule of Law was a major contribution to the development of civilisation,
and while English constitutionalists acknowledged the importance
of the Rule of Law, they also grasped that unless a people's customs
are considered in the development of any legal system, there can
be serious injustices.
English Common Law was a unique contribution to the development of
Western Christian Civilisation. Englishmen spoke less about wanting
justice, which can be an abstraction and more about their rights,
rights stemming from a tradition rooted in the Christian philosophy.
It was because Englishmen in the North American colonies were denied
what they considered their God-given rights, that they eventually
revolted against the British Government.
The modern concept of what is called the Rule of Law is far removed
from the concept of English Common Law. A realistic examination of
this subject requires that first we ask, "whose law?". Like every
other human system, a system of law must, if the Christian view of
reality is to be accepted, seek to serve the individual, to ensure
that his natural rights are protected, that his sovereignty as a
free and responsible individual is ensured, and that the Courts exist
to enable him to seek the protection of an independent judiciary.
In a Christian society it is essential that members of the judiciary
also accept the Christian basis of English Common Law, and are not
afraid to pronounce against governments when they are violating the
The suggestion that the world can be subordinated to a rigid Rule
of Law implies that the relationship of every individual in the world
to the Law must be exactly the same.
William Blake, the English poet and mystic grasped the necessity
of any system of law being related as far as possible to reality
when he said that "One law for the Lion and the lamb is oppression".
Shakespeare also understood this issue. Justice as seen by Shylock
demonstrates the unsuitability of the strict, rigid legal process
to anything but a purely static situation. There can be a vast difference
between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law, a difference
which Christ attempted to demonstrate to the Pharisees of His day. A
BREAK WITH THE CHRISTIAN CONCEPT OF LAWIt is important to recall
that up until 1917 British Lord Chancellors had expressly stated
that Christianity was part and parcel of the English Common Law.
But in 1917 a British House of Lords, formerly a vital part of the
British constitutional system, providing a check and balance concerning
the use of power, but weakened over the years by the attacks of the
British Liberals, declared that Christianity was no longer a part
of the law of England.
This decision was a major defeat for the Christian heritage. It
reflected the weakening of belief in the undergirding spiritual
values of a civilisation. It was a break with the tradition of
law as expressed by the famous English constitutional authority,
William Blackstone, who wrote, "The Law of Nature being coeval
with mankind, and dictated by God Himself, is of course superior
in obligation to any other. It is binding all over the globe in
all countries and at all times; no human laws are of any validity
if contrary to this . . ." Commenting on the break with the Christian
Heritage by the House of Lords in 1917, but certainly not commending
it, Sir William Holdsworthy, Professor of Law at the University
of Oxford, said:
"The Judges are obliged to admit that (Government statutes) however
morally unjust must be obeyed ... One might have thought that the
excesses of the Nazi regime would have made our jurists realise
the iniquity of such a theory of law. England's Attorney-General
at Nuremburg demanded the death sentence for Germans who obeyed
the Nazis, but back in England the same Attorney-General ("Times",
May 13, 1946) said 'Parliament is sovereign, it can make any laws.
It could ordain that all blue-eyed babies be destroyed at birth'.
Herod could not teach our modern jurists anything. They are grimly
earnest Laws may be iniquitous, but they cannot be unjust'." Professor
Holdsworthy said at the time the House of Lords decided that Christianity
was no longer part of the law of England, that "It is not unlikely
that Caesar, now that he has deliberately abandoned the task of
securing for God the things that are God's, will find considerably
greater difficulty in securing for himself the things that are
Events have grimly confirmed Professor Holdsworthy's warning. The
challenge to authority in all its form is the greatest problem
threatening the foundations of civilisation today. Authority has
been undermined because the fountain-head of all authority is denied.
Truly, "the fool has said in his heart there is no God".
It is significant that one of the most influential Marxists of
this century, Professor Harold J. Laski, stressed that the idea
of Christianity being an essential part of the British Constitution,
must be rejected in favour of the concept of the "sovereignty of
Parliament". This totalitarian concept is widespread today, with
the result that modern governments now believe that if they can
persuade a majority of electors to vote for them, irrespective
of how this is achieved and how small the majority, they then have
the "right" to do as they like until the next elections.
The lawyers and judiciary are expected to spend their time interpreting
the stream of laws passed by governments without any reference
to Natural or Christian Law. Added to this is the framing of regulations,
which have the force of law, by non-elected officials using delegated
One of the first to perceive the erosion of responsible government
and the freedom and rights of the individual, was a former Lord
Chief Justice of England, Lord Hewart, who caused a major sensation
after the First World War with his aptly described book, The New
The warning was brushed aside by Professor Laski and those who
accepted his philosophy. Laski blatantly stated that government
should be able
"legally" to acquire any property desired. He said that it did
not matter if financial compensation had to be paid, as the government
could then take care of this through its taxing powers!
The sequel to Lord Hewart's The New Despotism came from the pen
of another eminent English constitutional authority, Professor
G. Keeton, 30 years later. Keeton's book was called The Passing
One of the most significant chapters in this book was "On the Road
to Moscow". Only the shell of the once famous British Constitution
remains. It is a far cry from that period in English history when,
as described by Blackstone in his Commentaries, 1765, that Edward
I had confirmed Magna Carta by a statute "whereby the Great Charter
is directed to be allowed as the common law; all judgements contrary
to it are declared void; copies of it are ordered to be sent to
all Cathedral Churches, and read twice a year to the people; and
sentence of excommunication is directed to be as constantly denounced
against all those that by work, deed or counsel act contrary thereto,
or in any degree infringe it."
This explains why Communist literature always seeks to pervert
the real significance of what Magna Carta was about. How many children,
even in Church schools, throughout the English-speaking world today
are taught about the real significance of Magna Carta, a major
event in their Christian heritage?
Rightness in politics and economics will not be achieved until
the scope, function and authority of human law is resolved.
An eminent lawyer, Professor R. W. Chambers has succinctly stated
the issue: "Upon that difference, whether or not we place Divine
Law in the last resort above the law of the State depends the whole
future of the world."
The doctrine concerning free will is a major feature of the essential
Christian heritage. It is only through genuine freedom of choice
that the individual can seek to love God and to serve Him. The
basis of all freedom is economic freedom. A society's economic
arrangements must therefore concern the Christian.
History has demonstrated that the widespread ownership of property
in some form is essential for independence, stable social structures
and efficient production. Early Christian philosophers like the
great St. Thomas Aquinas stressed the vital importance of private
property in a Christian society.
One striking measure of the success of anti-Christian, collectivist
philosophies is the fact that even some who call themselves Christians
accept the view that Christ was some type of Communist and that
private property is one of the great evils of the world.
As Christ was concerned with the whole of life, and that includes
man's economic activities, it is not surprising to find definite
economic implications in His teachings.
Consider the parable of the labourers in the vineyard (Matthew
20: 1-6). Here we have an employer hiring a number of labourers
at different hours of the day and at the end of the day paying
them all alike. When those who had worked the longest complained,
the employer replied,
"Is it not lawful for me to do as I wish with my own?"
Whatever theological meaning may be attached to this parable, it
clearly implies that a man has a right to his own property. The
condemnation of stealing affirms the principle of private property.
When the Christian philosophy was more dominant in society, property
rights were more inviolable than they are today, when Governments,
claiming to represent majorities, take property from the individual
by force, or more subtly by inflation, taxation, and death duties.
We might note that Christ not only rejected stealing, but he also
rejected the view that wealth is static. The parable of the ten
pounds (Luke 19: 11-18) is a lesson in favour of individual enterprise.
The servants who improved their position through enterprise were
applauded, while the one who didn't was criticised.
Just as it is impossible to have light without shade, so everything
of which we have knowledge is relative. Sometimes therefore the
best understanding of something is to understand what it is not.
Marxism specifically repudiates Christianity, and the central policy
of Marxism is the attack on private property. The Marxist understands
that widespread ownership of private property not only provides
a barrier against totalitarianism, but that private property and
the responsibility that it entails, helps to make possible the
flowering of the human personality.
Some Christians support the institution of private property only
on the grounds of expediency. They deny that private ownership
is a natural right of man, that it has any metaphysical value.
Their general argument is that without private ownership man will
not have sufficient incentive to work and to produce. This argument
is important, but much more fundamental is the Christian view that
man is more than a higher animal living in society, but a person
whose personality should transcend that association of individuals
The development of personality requires the use of free will, the
making of decisions, the personal responsibility for the results
of those decisions, through which the individual spiritualises
his life. He develops and strengthens his creative initiative.
As economic centralisation takes place, increasing numbers of individuals
are reduced to the level of cogs in machines -over which they can
exercise no control. The development of personality becomes increasingly
The violation of human personality, the soul of man, results from
treating the individual as nothing more than a part of an association.
When that happens an association is no longer a society of persons,
but has degenerated to the level of a herd. Because some men have
abused private property is not a valid reason for abolishing it.
The traditional Christian view of property is that it is not an
end in itself, but a means to an end. Because some men abuse freedom
is no reason why freedom should be abolished. The more widespread
the property, the greater the number of individuals with the opportunity
of developing their creative capacities, and their sense of responsibility.
Christ saw property and other individual rights as a type of stewardship.
The individual is responsible to God for what he does with his
rights. How to use wealth of any type, for example, was a problem
for the individual to solve against a background of a sense of
stewardship to God.
Man's accountability to God helped to develop a special approach
to his fellow human beings. Christ stressed compassion and charity.
But true Christian charity becomes increasingly difficult as individual
property and other rights are eroded. It is only the individual
who is secure in his own rights who can assist his fellows to protect
"Social welfare" schemes are the very antithesis of Christian charity,
which requires that the individual giving of some of his substance
to help others is making a free choice because he feels that this
is a means of serving God. GOD OR MAMMON?The
current process of increasing economic centralisation is a major
feature of the retreat from Christianity. As an objective study
of the basic cause of economic centralisation reveals that this
centralism stems from the use of money as a power instrument, it
is essential to examine the original and Christian view concerning
The Founder of Christianity was quite specific: it was impossible
to worship both God and Mammon. One of the most misquoted texts
from The New Testament is that money is allegedly the root of all
evil. What Christ did say, of course, was that it was the love
of money which was the root of all evil. That was a searing indictment
of the worship of a man-made system, form of idolatry elevating
an abstraction, a system of man made symbols, into a God.
Christ's strong views on the misuse of money were demonstrated
by His only recorded act of violence: He whipped the money changers
out of the Temple. There was surely something symbolic in this?
The early Christian philosophers were quite clear on the question
of using money in accordance with moral law. There is a wealth
of Christian literature on the evils of usury, the charging of
excessive interest. It is symptomatic of the retreat from Christianity
that this literature is generally unknown today and has to be searched
for in libraries. At one time coin clippers were treated as being
amongst the worst type of criminal. Today modern Governments openly
support coin-clipping on a massive scale under the label of "controlled
This progressive debauching of the value of the people's money,
and the robbery of all those attempting to live on savings and
fixed incomes, is a blatant violation of Christian morality.
It was the break in English constitutional development, with the
death of Sir Thomas More in 1535, which ushered in a changed attitude
to money in England.
With the prohibition of Canon Law all previous enactments governing
the use of money were swept away.
By 1571 it was not considered a usurious transaction if interest
did not exceed ten per cent.
In 1694 the Bank of England was established, one of the founders
frankly stating that he and his colleagues would have the benefit
of the money they would create out of nothing. This was the beginning
of the National Debt in England.
Today it is a fact of life that the astronomical expansion of debt,
with increasing taxation required to pay interest bills, is a basic
cause of an inflation which is a destructive social force of increasing
Social stability becomes increasingly impossible. The quality of
life deteriorates. The struggle inside present finance-economic
system becomes fiercer, not only between individuals, but between
The elevation of the production system into an end in itself, instead
of being used as a means to an end, is an example of what St. Thomas
Aquinas described as "the essence of sin". THE
TRUE PURPOSE OF ECONOMYChrist said that He had come that man
might have the life more abundant. The way to the life more abundant
was through applying the truths He revealed. The essential feature
of these truths was the releasing of the creative initiative of
the individual through freedom with personal responsibility.
It is significant that it was in Christian Western Europe that
the creative spirit of man, applying natural laws to God's abundant
material resources, flowered in the industrial revolution which
laid the economic foundations for a new major advance in Civilisation.
But an economic system can either be used to further enslave
man, as the Marxists have demonstrated, or to free him. It is
primarily a question of purpose.
What is the true purpose of man's economic arrangements?
The famous French historian and philosopher, Daniel-Rops, writing
in Christianity and Freedom, puts the true Christian viewpoint: "It
is all too clear that we are traversing now one of those ages
in which freedom is in full retreat, that a whole combination
of forces exists which seem intent on making for its ruin, and
that unless humanity is on its guard it may find itself tomorrow
in a state of servitude in comparisign with which that known
by antiquity was nothing . . .
We find ourselves, thanks to the machine-revolution, presented
by a hitherto undreamed-of-opportunity, a chance unique in
all human history. It is the opportunity to free man from all
brutalising labour, from all his most painful material tasks.
Shall we be able to seize it?
Christian teaching presupposes a very definite organisation
which I might characterise thus: a regime that is wholly directed
to the human. I feel very deeply that if the human person is
to be truly free, the whole system of economy must be directed
in the interest of man. Yes, the aim of an economic regime
is not to increase production for production's sake, nor to
increase capital; nor is it to give special advantage to this
or that trade union. Its aim should be to make it possible
for man to dwell on this earth at ease, in harmony and brotherhood;
in the language of the economist, that means a consumers regime
. . .If freedom is now withering and threatened with extinction,
we know the reason . . . It is because it is impossible for
it to live in a materialistic climate where there are no moral
principles." Perhaps it is not too optimistic to suggest that
one of the more encouraging signs of a more realistic consideration
of man's economic arrangements, is the growing widespread concern
about the deadly impact on the physical, as well as the social
environment, of the policy of "production for production's
Pollution in all its forms is surely not a manifestation of
God's will on earth. It is a measure of man's failure to act
as a proper steward of God's gifts. A renewal of the essential
Christian heritage urgently requires a re-orientation of man's
finance-economic arrangements to serve the Christian end of
man: increasing freedom and material security. It is surely
obvious that a financial policy which generates increasing
debt, crippling taxation and inflation, is antiChristian. THE
VALUE OF EACH INDIVIDUALRamsay Muir, in his Civilisation
and Liberty, writes that "The history of human progress is,
in truth, the history of the gradual emancipation of individuality
or personality from the shackles by which its creative power
was restrained. But the emancipation of individuality is the
same thing as the growth of liberty."
While stressing the importance of the Greek tradition of
personal liberty and the Roman concept of the Rule of Law,
Muir draws attention to the Christian revelation as a great
inspirational force in the creation of Western Civilisation.
Christianity stressed that all individuals had a value in
the sight of God, the Father, and were all capable of being
in communion with Him. This resulted in the freeing of the
human personality as never before.
Christianity was far more than an intellectual creed; it
was a movement set aflame by the emotion of Christ's teaching
on love. It was under the influence of Christianity that
chattel slavery was abolished, and that women were given
a status and dignity they had previously lacked. The family
was given a new significance. The arts reflected the spirit
A new style of living evolved, a feature of which was the
concept of a gentleman, one who was expected to uphold certain
ideals in his personal life.
Literature of the past is full of famous figures reflecting
Christian ideals of chivalry, service, sympathy and charity.
Many of. them will be found in the works of that Christian
A classical example of the Christian influence is Portia's
mercy speech in The Merchant of Venice. The concept of mercy
is essentially Christian.
As the Christian influence worked its way throughout Western
Europe, it not only profoundly influenced the relations between
individuals, but also had a modifying influence upon the
manner in which military conflicts were conducted.
Attempts were made not to involve women, children, and the
elderly. Mercy was shown to the defeated. But with the erosion
of the influence of the Christian Church on the modern highly-centralised
Power State, this century has witnessed a return to the type
of barbarism symbolised by the sack of Carthage.
"Total War", as practised during the Second World War, saw
a frightful destruction of priceless buildings, churches
and art treasures and many other physical products of Christian
Civilisation. We should carefully note that this type of
destruction was only made possible because Authority on the
Moral Law in the form of the Christian Church had failed
to prevent the excessive concentration of power in the hands
of the State.
There are very few, if any, Archbishop Langtons around today.
Large numbers of Christian clergy now openly advocate progressive
compromise with Caesar in the form of Communism. They have
nothing to say about the progressive centralisation of all
power, or they support those revolutionaries whose activities
can, unless checked, only result in a state of anarchy.
Others go so far as to justify providing funds for African
savages trained and equipped by Communists to murder and
destroy not only Europeans, but also their fellow-Africans.
The emotional epithet of "racist" is hurled at those who
suggest that diversity and separate development between different
peoples of different racial and cultural backgrounds, is
the road to true unity. They support compulsion, which inevitably
produces friction, as opposed to inducement.
We often hear about the alleged abuses and tyrannies of the
Monarchs of the Middle Ages, but this is mainly the propaganda
of secularists. In reality, these Monarchs had comparatively
little power compared with modern States. As one of the greatest
authorities on the history and nature of power, Bertrand
de Jouvenel, has said in his work, Power, Its Natural History
"The grossly inaccurate conception of the Middle Ages is
deeply embedded in the unlettered, whom it serves as a convenient
starting point. There is not a word of truth in all this."
Christian Monarchs and rulers of the past were far from perfect.
But most did recognise the existence of a higher law, even
when they broke it. Many instances could be given of royal
recantations in which an uneasiness of conscience played
a major part. But no such spirit of remorse, or admission
of error, is demonstrated by modern Governments which, in
the main, must be described not merely as non-Christian,
but as anti-Christian.
They devote themselves primarily to increasing their own
power at the expense of the individuals policy which is the
very antithesis of Christianity. The retreat from freedom
now taking place all over the world is, in reality, a retreat
There are many manifestations of the disintegration of Western
Civilisation, not the least of these being the emphasis on
the cult of speed, mass, noise and vulgarity. In that Europe
and Britain which gave so much to Civilisation,the great
guildhalls and cathedrals are today little more than monuments
to a past glory. The shell remains, but the spirit has been
This is also true of man's political and other institutions,
which no longer serve man but are used by power-lusters to
control him. There is a smell of decay everywhere, even though
this is not obvious to all but a perceptive minority.
History shows that during the decay of a Civilisation the
great majority, lacking standards of comparison, are not
aware of what is happening. As the great Roman Civilisation's
life ebbed away Cicero and other statesmen warned in vain.
The price of evil had to be paid. And so it is today.
But paradoxical though it may appear, it may be that catastrophe
contains the seed of hope for regeneration.
Bishop Fulton Sheen comments on this in his Communism and
the Conscience of the West: "What death is to a sinful person,
that catastrophe is to an evil civilisation: the interruption
of its godlessness ... God will not allow unrighteousness
to become eternal. Revolution, disintegration, chaos must
be reminders that our thinking has been wrong, our dreams
have been unholy. Moral truth is vindicated by the ruin that
follows when it has been repudiated. The chaos of our times
is the strongest negative argument that could ever be advanced
for Christianity. Catastrophe becomes a testimony to God's
power in a meaningless world, for by it God brings a meaningless
existence to nought.
The disintegration following an abandonment of God thus becomes
a triumph of meaning, a reaffirmation of purpose. Adversity
is the expression of God's condemnation of evil, the registering
of Divine Judgement. As hell is not sin, but the effect of
sin, so these disastrous times are not sin, but the wages
of sin. Catastrophe reveals that evil is self-defeating;
we cannot turn from God without hurting ourselves." REGENERATION
It is certain that a regeneration of an evil
civilisation requires a policy of atonement. Atonement means more
than mere repentance; it's literal meaning is to be as,one with God
and God's laws. This means that a conscious policy must be pursued
of basing policies upon absolute truth.
Although much of the Christian Heritage has been eroded or destroyed,
its regeneration is possible because there is still sufficient knowledge
available concerning the truth about this heritage to indicate what
is essential. Those who do not study and learn from history, are doomed
to continue repeating the mistakes of history, and paying the inevitable
price of those mistakes.
The lessons of the history of the growth of Christendom, particularly
amongst the English-speaking nations, indicate the basic essential
for the regeneration of the essential Christian Heritage.
Power must be progressively decentralised into the hands of individuals
and made subordinate to the Authority of the higher Spiritual Law.
Man's institutions, political, economic, financial, constitutional,
social, must be so arranged that they serve the true purpose of man,
freedom and personal responsibility for that freedom.
Man has reached a major crossroad in the road of history. Christian
leadership is a vital necessity for a right decision concerning which
direction to take.
That leadership must be based upon the truth that he who would be the
greatest must be the servant of his fellows.