There is only one way of Community



 

We recognise in all that divides and seeks to bring division, a devil’s work which fights against love and life. This recognition goes deeper than the crudely manifest strife of the world as seen in war and social injustice. It sees as deadly that scepticism which denies the possibility of true enduring unity and peace between men. It is within those movements which confess themselves to the aim of Community and Brotherhood, but which are based only upon human idealism and its scepticism of absolute truth, that this poisonous attack upon faith in the one way is most dangerously at work. We rejoice greatly at the urge to community which is moving many people to-day in many different places, but we must confess we stand in absolute opposition to those influences and teachings which seek in the name of community to justify the existence, side by side, of separate and mutually exclusive groups, based on the necessarily temporary coincidence of limited and changing human ideals. True community seeks to embrace all in one true life. Community can have genuine meaning only when it is recognised as the one way for all men. Genuine community is the unhindered fellowship which results from the overcoming of all that divides and isolates men from each other, either as individuals or as separated groups. We see in the substitution of the many ways for the one way a contradiction and a denial of community which must inevitably lead back to confusion and breakdown.

Without faith in the one way as God's way for all men, we dare not set out to live in community. Without the certainty of faith that the strength and clarity to tread this way to the end will again and again be given, we dare not seek to live in community. To do so would lead only to breakdown, and would bring the hope for community before the mockery of the world which cannot believe. Without the certainty of faith in the power of God’s love as that which enables men to live unswervingly and faithfully in community, we dare not call others to leave all things for community. To do so would be to lead them only to heart-breaking disillusioment and ruin. It.would be to serve those devilish and destructive forces of scepticism which, with more subtlety than is shown in the crude strife of armed conflict and social injustice, work in the name of peace and community to mislead seeking men and to bring them back to the confusion which is death. The false prophets of such teachings are the wolves in sheep's clothing who starve that which seeks to come between the hope and longing of men, and the manifestation and proclamation of true community life.

Everywhere men are hungering in hope for a true life of brotherhood. The false prophecy of the many ways works to muffle and drown the clear word of such a true life. This gales prophecy is the inevitable fruit of unreadiness to give all back to God and to his one way which demands everything. But God wants everything. He cannot give his life of peace and unity to men until they give their lives wholly back to him.

The unclarity which clouds the suffering and confused hearts and consciences of so many men and women to-day has its root in those false teachings and philosophies of world religion which cannot believe in God as the God whose will for man is the one unified brotherly life of community here and now, and who gives hat life to all who in faith seek for it. These false teachings which turn away from God, and from belief in his one way of life, are the same which in the past led to the religious divisions of the world churches or sects, and to that justification of these divisions which has worked to destroy faith in the reality or possibility of a pure, living, united and redemptive church of the Spirit, and covered up in a dark cloak of human interpretations the simplicity of the way and commands of Jesus. It is the same false prophecy which is to-day misleading the urge to community life, and clouding the vision of true, all-comprehensive and enduring brotherhood.

We confess our faith in the one way, the one life and the one truth which is God’s truth from the beginning, and which was revealed and brought into the world in Jesus. Jesus brought to men not merely a code of personal morals but the reality of the overcoming of division. In his victory over death, in the forgiveness of his enemies, in the outpouring of his uniting Spirit over his followers, the peace and unity of God’s coming kingdom became actual and present in deed amidst the suffering and discord of the world. The ever-renewed outpouring of his Spirit of love comes in answer to faith as the daily clarifying of the brotherly way, and the overcoming of all division. In the fellowship of his followers, his peace and unity remain and endure through the ages as the peace of his people, and the unity of his Church amidst the darkness around. Identity with the way of Jesus becomes the unity of those who surrender themselves to him in the reconciling power of his Spirit. It becomes community in the power of the love that is love to all men.

 


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