In this world, especially the modern world, with its flood of literature in the form of magazines and newspapers, and its incessant radio broadcasts, it is very easy indeed to become acquainted with the world’s viewpoint with respect to anything at all. Predominantly that viewpoint, the viewpoint of Man, is being presented of any topic that is being discussed. And it is not easy for the Church and for the individual believer to escape the danger of adopting this viewpoint and to maintain his own, or rather Scripture’s viewpoint with respect to the same realities and events that are evaluated by the world. Before we know it, we are under the spell of the world’s presentation of matters, fall in line with it, adopt its standards as our own, and speak the same language as mere Man, whose wisdom is always from below, earthly, devilish, because he refuses to live by the higher light of the Word of God.
An example of this we have in our discussion of the present European conflict.
It is but natural that it is the topic of the day and even of the hour. It is uppermost in men’s minds, for they all realize that it deeply affects their earthly destinies. And it occupies the chief place in the news that reaches us over the radio and through the daily paper and the various magazines that are offered for sale on the newsstands. And it is made the subject of discussion by many a news analyst and commentator. Opinions on the subject are offered several times a day by war experts and economists, by university professors as well as by lesser lights.
And overwhelmingly, if not almost exclusively, the viewpoint taken in all these opinions, evaluations and discussions is that of the world, of mere Man. The matter is presented as if there are mere earthly and human interests at stake, such as the question of a new world-order, or new European order, or whether we shall be able to do business with Hitler, or that of democracy vs. Nazism and Fascism, or of “the four liberties,” or the important question of interventionism and isolationism, the question whether our country shall be kept out of the war, and whether our boys are going to be sent into the conflict, the question of our own self-defense, of taxes, production, training, equipment, sending supplies to Hitler’s opponents, etc. etc. Important questions these are, no doubt, but always they concern mere earthly, human, temporal aspects of the present war. Besides, the question as to the possibility of Hitler’s becoming ultimately victorious and dominant in Europe, if not in the world, is considered from the same human and worldly standpoint. The powers (number of men, equipment, efficiency, etc.) on both sides are compared, the possibility of America’s being able ultimately to equal and to surpass Germany in producing implements of war and in training an army, the problem that faces the German dictator of keeping the conquered nations in the occupied territory of Europe under his thumb,—all these factors are taken into account and discussed pro and con. And again, they are, indeed, essential and very important questions, but always it is the human factor, and that factor alone, that is being considered. And even the important question whether or not we shall enter the war on the side of England is being weighed only, or almost exclusively, from the utilitarian point of view, the viewpoint of our own national benefit. We are made to feel that this is Man’s war, and that, although it may be a question whether it is Hitler or Churchill, Great Britain or Germany, that will ultimately hold the reins, Man is in control of this conflict.
Such is the predominant note in all the news we hear, in all the discussions that reach us through radio or through the printed page.
It is the spirit of the world that is explaining things to us. And it is exceedingly difficult to escape the spell of this spirit.
Yet, there is certainly a higher viewpoint. And it is equally certain that it is the calling of the Church and of the individual believer to maintain this higher viewpoint and to give expression to it in the midst of the world. It is the viewpoint of Scripture. And this viewpoint is that God is the Lord, that Christ is exalted at the right hand of God, and that this is God’s war. It is the viewpoint that things do proceed “according to plan”, indeed, but not according to Hitler’s plan, but according to the counsel of the only Potentate of potentates, the Lord of lords, the King of kings. It is the viewpoint that the present conflagration was kindled, indeed, by the fire of Man’s ambition, lust, pride, covetousness, malice, hatred and desire to dominate; but that it is, nevertheless, a catastrophe, a judgment sent into the world by Him that sitteth upon the throne of the universe, and Who laughs in the heaven at all the vain raging of puny man against Him and against His Anointed.
That is the viewpoint of Scripture throughout. According to this viewpoint Hitler is nothing but the rod of God’s anger to chastise the nations, the axe wherewith He heweth, the saw which He draweth. The red horse of Revelation 6 takes its course through the world only when Christ opens the second seal. The two hundred million of triple monsters appear only upon the command of the Voice from the four horns of the altar. Rev. 9. The way of the kings of the east is prepared only when the sixth angel pours out his vial upon the river Euphrates to dry it up (Rev. 16). The nations that live on the four corners of the earth arise for war only when Christ releases the devil (Rev. 20). God is the Lord also of war. Things proceed according to His plan!
And this viewpoint is more important than the philosophy of mere Man. In the light of this higher viewpoint, even Hitler is only an instrument in the hand of the Most High, “the rod of His anger,” and we may well talk about other than mere utilitarian interests before we reach the conclusion that we dare to stop or have the right to stop this “rod” in the hand of God. And, as believers, we know, as we stand in the light of this Scriptural viewpoint of the present catastrophe, that all things must work together unto the coming of the day of the Lord. We have Christ’s communique: “things proceed according to plan.” And we know that all is well.