The Social Program Of Jesus -- By: James D. Rankin

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 089:355 (Jul 1932)
Article: The Social Program Of Jesus
Author: James D. Rankin

The Social Program Of Jesus

James D. Rankin

Every thoughtful person, looking upon the disorder, strife and bitterness of the world, must recognize the need of something that will stabilize society and strengthen the spiritual forces which make for righteousness. The unanimity with which thinking people are turning to Jesus Christ as the only power by which this can be accomplished, is significant. Dr. Orchard, in his book, The Necessity of Christ, says, “The thinking of men and the movements of the time are running toward Christ. . . The world cannot be saved without Christ.” Gilbert Murray, the most scholarly and influential unbeliever of Great Britain, said a few years ago, “The ethics of Nietzsche brought on the war and only Jesus Christ can undo its evil; the world recognizes its need of Jesus Christ as it never did before.” G. Bernard Shaw said, “I am ready to admit that, after contemplating the world and human nature for sixty years, I see no way out of the world’s misery but the way Christ would use, if He were to undertake the work of a modern practical statesman.” Many similar testimonies are at hand. The Christian religion is the great underlying force which has given moral vigor and conquering might to the world and it alone can maintain these.

I. Some of the Underlying Principles of Christ’s Social Order

1. The Basal Unit of Christ’s Social Order is the Individual.

He came in the era of Institutions. Man was nothing; the institution was everything. Paganism was built around the idea that the individual existed for the State and was valuable only as he gave strength thereto. The Jew believed that everything existed for the Church. Between these two, the individual was crushed.

Against these two conceptions, Jesus launched His kingdom, based upon the value of the individual. He taught that man was the child of God and therefore the most valuable thing in the universe. He said that State and Church existed for the individual and were valuable only as they served him. He said, they were the servants and not the rulers of man. He trampled upon the regulations of the Church wherever they infringed upon the rights of the individual.

He fronted these institutions with the sovereign individual and demanded for him the throne they had usurped. He asked, “What shall it profit a man though he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” It was a startling valuation. The idea was revolutionary. It contradicted the whole genius of ancient civilization and gave birth to a new civilization. John Stuart Mill, the deist, said to the husband of George Eliot, “A great crisis, in the history of liberty, came at the Cross of J...

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