The United Nations are today engaged in an all our struggle of life and death with the Axis Powers to destroy German Nazism from the earth. All of us sincerely hope that ere long the bloody warfare may be brought to an end and the dominion of National Socialism in its present farm banished as well as vanquished.

But will peace mean freedom from fear and want for all men in all lands? That is one of the peace aims pointedly agreed upon by the two heads of the governments of the United States and Great Britain. The sixth point of the joint declaration of Churchill and Roosevelt of 1941 treads, “Sixth, after the final destruction of Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all men in all lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want.” This sixth point of the eight point program expresses the real aim of the war—it is to destroy Nazi tyranny on the one hand, and on the other to create a better world in which all men in all lands may have assurance of living out their lives in freedom from fear and want.

Surely an ordeal.

Freedom from fear and want for all men in all lands certainly is a high and attractive ideal. Apart now from the fact whether there is much possibility of anywhere nearly approximating the ideal, the ideal certainly is attractive and appealing. Nothing is said as to the manner in which this glorious reign of peace is to be brought about, it is true, yet the ideal presented is indeed attractive.

If it means anything it means that the United Nations hope to bring out of the post-war chaos a really better world, a world where force will be replaced by arbitration, wherein the nations will live “and let live, wherein all will have equal access to the raw materials of the world, wherein there will be food enough for all and freedom from the fears of new wars and economic collapse. It means that one nation will not be exploited by the other, one people not trampled upon by the other, one group not have less privilege than the other. If it means anything it holds before men the goal of freedom from the dread of conflict, freedom of religion, freedom to join a labor organization or not to do so; freedom to labor and earn one’s daily bread, whether or not you belong to certain labor organizations or not. If it does not mean the later, there still will be fear and discrimination. It means all that and much more. Briefly, it holds forth the olive branch of peace and concord.

And it does that in respect to all nations. That means to the Axis Nations as well as all others. The peace then shall not discriminate against these Nations at all, in any way. They will be treated as equals and not as vanquished criminals. It means economic equality for India, for China, for the South American countries. It means equality for the Jew and all the oppressed minorities everywhere. All men in all lands have the assurance of living out their lives without freedom from fear and want.

Certainly that is in the light of the past a high ideal. It means a really New Deal for the world in general. It means the old methods of racial discrimination, of extra-territorial rights, of exploitation, of subjugation, will be things of the past. It means you and I as Christians will have the privilege of serving God according to the dictates of our conscience in the land or country, that we will be able to earn our bread honestly without affiliating with any worldly and ungodly labor organization without fear of losing our livelihood.

A high ideal to be sure.

How will it be attained.

We should not allow ourselves to be misled by this glorious ideal. It is only an ideal, and there is little opportunity that anything much of it will be attained.

For, first of all, the program is entirely too idealistic. It does not reckon with history, with reality, as it is. It is Wilsonian, and I’m afraid as doomed to failure as that idealism was. Did not Churchill already state that he had not become prime minister to divide the British Empire? He meant, of course, that Britain’s dominion over India would not be sacrificed to give India her right to self-rule. Besides, about the peace table also Russia, the Great Bear will be seated. And political spokesmen of Russia seem already to have definitely let it be known that Russia does not expect to restore Poland to its former position.

What about all the heterogeneous peoples in some of the occupied countries? What about Alsace-Lorraine, who shall have it?

Secondly, after this war is over we may be sure that Europe for one will be in a state of chaos. When the strong Nazi government is broken, there will be no strong governments in the occupied countries to take over. That will mean internecine war. Hunger and starvation stalk Europe already, and by the time the war is ended will be much worse. Who will be able to feed the starving hordes and put them on their feet? An ideal will not feed stomachs, and there will be little desire on the part of the peoples of the United Nations to lower their own standards of living (which already will be low) to be able to feed all of collapsed Europe. Hunger and starvation will stalk the land. The problems of reconstruction will thereby be magnified to the nth degree. Pent-up hatreds will be let loose. Post-war Europe will be pandemonium; we will have a task on our hands to control things in our own land.

The undersigned has little hope even from a merely natural viewpoint of establishing in the world after the war a world-wide utopia. There will still be conflicting ideologies, economic pressures, national selfishness, and the complexes of fear, hate and revenge. And it is a serious question whether the conquerors will have the will to establish a fair, just and equitable peace.

I do not mean to say that some of the gross evils disturbing the international life of the past fifty years may not possibly be controlled. Undoubtedly. But other forces will even thereby be set at work to undermine anew international honor and peace.

To my mind we need no idealism but a realism such as Herbert Hoover suggested if there is to be a measure of peace.

Above all this

Above all this, we need to remember as Christians that no war changes men’s hearts. Only the gospel of Christ can do so. And we have no illusions that mankind as a whole will adopt Christianity. Therefore we do not expect the golden age of peace except in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Freedom from fear and want will only come in the day of Christ. Not by human effort, but as the gift of God. Only then will peace as a mighty river cover the earth as the waters cover the bottom of the sea.

That does not mean that Christians may assume the attitude that all is ill with the world and nothing can be done. Consequence of that attitude is anabaptistic separation, lit is as fatal as if one would let criminals continue to run loose, unhampered, because the heart could not be changed anyway. Criminals must be put behind bars for the protection of law abiding citizens. Of course. But it does mean that we do not imagine thereby we have once for all rid ourselves of criminality, or that we can improve the criminals by incarcerating them. Of course not. So too it is among the nations of the earth. Criminal nations must be punished, and their tyrannies suppressed. But we do not entertain any idealistic notions that thereby crime can be permanently stopped, or that we are able to so order society that the populace can henceforth live without fear of ever being attacked again. Nations will fight in the future. Certain evils may be suppressed but others will arise.

And, finally, even if the reign of anti-Christ were established at this time, there would indeed be a measure of peace and prosperity, but not for the people of God. That same time will know no room for them. It will be a time of tribulation. In the name of human welfare the faithful will be persecuted. It will be a fearful time for them, and a time of want—not able to buy or sell unless one has the mark of the beast.

We hope the peace that comes after the war will take away some of the underlying irritations existing in the world prior to this war. We hope the peace will not at once create a host of new irritants, as the Versailles peace did. We hope, but we doubt it very much. We see little hope for an era of freedom from fear and want; at least in our generation the opposite effects of the stress of waging this war will tend to feed the fires of fear and want, rather than quench them.

But we do have peace and freedom in our hearts. Through Jesus Christ the Lord. And we look for the Savior to come from heaven to establish in its final glory peace forever. Then freedom from want and fear shall be realized, but then alone. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.