Authoritarianism, Totalitarianism, Liberalism -- By: I. R. Wall

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 03:1 (Spring 1960)
Article: Authoritarianism, Totalitarianism, Liberalism
Author: I. R. Wall

Authoritarianism, Totalitarianism, Liberalism

I. R. Wall, D.D.

Campbell, California

EVERY AGE requires that its current dominant movements should be examined in the light of contemporary thinking.

The doctrines and ideologies underlying Authoritarianism, Totalitarianism and Liberalism are of such paramount importance to the life of the world that we would be derelict in our duties towards our present and future generations if we did not speak about them with clarity and authoritativeness.

There are in the world today two great movements which stand at opposite poles. They are considerably more than schools of thought or political parties. They reach deep into the lives of people and create, humanly speaking, immovable objects and irresistible forces which at some point of time must clash, not to be merged but to exterminate one or the other.

These forces are fundamental Christianity on the one hand and Marxian Totalitarianism on the other.

These two forces stand at opposite poles and are in their very nature authoritarian and totalitarian. In between is what is known as Liberalism. Liberalism cannot be defined until we have posited the former.

There are many ways in which these movements can be defined; the best way we can think of is to place them alongside of each other and to compare them, part by part. This is what we are going to do here.

The definitions of the terms we use are necessarily somewhat arbitrary, since they have been employed to define a variety of ideas from time to time.

We herewith give them in a way that would best designate the movements in their aggregate meaning.

Since the subject under consideration here is a very large one, we can do little more than to outline them. But that is necessary before a discussion of the subject is appropriate.


First, we define the terms used in the title of this article.

Authoritarianism as we use it here has reference to Christianity in the form of the acceptance of the Bible as the revealed Word of God, and its teachings about God and man as fundamental to faith; the term specifically has reference to Fundamental or Conservative Christianity.

By the term we do not mean that God makes dictatorial demands upon the will of man, but that the Scriptures speak with authority and with the finality of God on all subjects it touches.

Totalitarianism in this discussion has reference to Marxian, materialistic, atheistic Communism in its finality, especially as it is translated into experience by the Soviet Union and its satellites and...

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