[A note in prior issue of the newspaper reads: “To Preach – Dr. Gordon Clark, head of the philosophy department at Butler University, will speak on ‘Total Victory in Vietnam’ at 10:45 a.m. tomorrow at the First Reformed Presbyterian Church, 79th and Allisonville Road. Dr. Clark is interim pastor at the church. The church moved to its present location from 22nd and Park last November.]
[Indianapolis News – July 7, 1967]
Local Clergyman Rejects Pacifism Of Church Bodies
by Ross Hermann
IT ISN’T VERY often that a minister places himself wholly at odds with the bureaucratic super-structure of world Protestantism.
But in the theological grounds on which the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches have opposed American efforts to halt Communist aggression in Vietnam, Dr. Gordon H. Clark finds good cause to be outspokenly critical of the two bodies.
Dr. Clark, interim pastor at the First Reformed Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, chairman of the Butler University’s department of philosophy, and author of numerous religious and philosophical works, takes the organizations to task by name for misusing the Christian gospel in opposing the war in Vietnam.
“IF WE PREACH all the counsel of God,” he stated in a sermon last Sunday, “we are forced into a political controversy that is right now raging in our land … The trouble is that a vociferous segment of society is using anti-Christian ideas in opposition to the war in Vietnam. It is the duty of the pulpit, in such a case as this, to oppose the attack on Christianity and to present the Biblical position.”
Clark includes in this “vociferous segment of society” the National Council of Churches which he calls an “extreme left-wing organization that has for a long time been a severe critic of American policy … Its proposals frequently favor the Communist nations.” He includes also the World Council of Churches, a former president of which—German theologian Martin Neimoeler—was recently award the Lenin peace prize by the Kremlin.
Dr. Clark counter the pacifist view of Christianity which prevails within the two church organizations with the “whole counsel of God.” He observes: “Everyone admits that God not only approve of but even commanded certain wars in the Old Testament. But some people assert that the New Testament has a different God, one which forbids all wars. This assertion is not so.”
“In Luke 3:14, he continues, “when certain soldiers came to John to be baptized, he did not tell them to desert the army. He told them to be satisfied with their wages. Furthermore, the New Testament uniformly treats the centurions, the army officers, with honor and respect.”
“THE WHOLE counsel of God,” the minister says, must include Romans 13:1-4, which assigns to government, the power of the sword. “The verse says that the civil ruler has the duty to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. This includes both the individual criminal and the criminal nations … Note well that the Communists are criminals.”
Dr. Clark led his congregation in “prayers for victory” in Vietnam, counseling that it is a Christian’s duty to support the nation’s armed forces. “Not only is it wrong,” he admonished, “to give aid and comfort to the enemy, not only should we disown the agitators who wants us to lose the war; beyond this we should pray for victory. At the very least, and in opposition to the liberal theologians, there is no Christian principles that shelters crime and obstructs its suppression.”