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- WITNESS -
by Whittaker Chambers

F. Earle Fox

Chambers is a hero of the 20th century -- leaving the Communist underground in 1938 to expose the Communist infiltration into the highest levels of American government.  He was ignored by everyone until the early 1950's, even being mocked by Harry Truman.  He stood almost alone through severe Congressional investigations, but a rising Congressman, Richard Nixon, on the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, defended him.  His revelations in the end secured the prosecution and conviction of Alger Hiss. 

Though contested for a long time, his charges were proven true when the Soviet archives were opened after the fall of the Evil Empire.  The Soviets had a whole network of infiltrators working in the US government, right under the noses of so-called patriotic conservative leadership.  The Democratic Party was drifting more and more into the socialist camp, God was about to be dismissed from His sovereignty in and over America.  (It happened with the Engel vs. Vitale Supreme Court decision in 1962, ruling that students could no longer talk to God on government time -- ruling, in effect, that the Court itself was God.)  

The Evil Empire did not really fall, it only changed garb and strategy -- along the lines of Antonio Gramsci, aiming for the inside subversion of a society rather than the Stalinist conquest by numbers of divisions.  The whole "fall of Communism" might have been staged, because the Communists, and their socialist and "liberal" sympathizers all over the globe, knew that Gramsci's strategy would have to be followed.  And follow it they did. 

Chamber back in 1938 knew what was happening.  He saw the power of the Communist movement and told his wife that in becoming a Christian they were switching from the winning side to the losing side (he says this right in the opening pages of Witness).  He joined the Society of Friends, and do not know whether he was an orthodox Christian.  But he was a saint, and intuitively understood sacramental religion, how the physical reveals the spiritual.  His comment was, I suppose, about the state of the Church, not of God, or he would hardly have converted.   He understood that the conservative leadership did not have the wisdom, courage, or desire to stand up against the evil which was seeking (and is still seeking) to convert the world to its own image.  He said that an honest man must make his decisions by what is right, not by what is probable. 

Chambers wrote Witness in the early 1950's to document his own life and journey through Communism and then to Christianity.  He understood the spiritual warfare in which we were all engaged better than almost anyone of the time.  Most of us were oblivious.   

[The following is lifted from the Preface to my (as of May 2012) coming book, Personality, Empiricism, & God.  Hopefully by the December 2013.  Keep posted.]

The title, “Witness”, is meant in its deepest sense, standing for what one believes to be right, at any cost to oneself. Whittaker Chambers is one of the great (but ignored, and/or despised) heroes of the 20th century. He came to understand the deep nature of spiritual warfare, and what was at stake in world civilization. But he saw little hope that Western leadership could, or would, deal with the realities, that it had bought too far into a compromise-and-get-along mentality to stand up against Communism, mortal enemy of everything for which Western Civilization had stood. Chambers understood that without God, we have no hope against the enemy.

Chambers describes in detail Communist strategy, using local small groups of utterly committed persons, who were knit together in a vast and secret network, secretly infiltrating the institutions of a given society to undermine and erode local tradition and belief, rendering them susceptible to Communist mind-control.

It has become a platitude that a society can be changed by just such a dedicated minority. Everyone seems to recognize it but Christians -- who mostly continue on their self-absorbed, institutionalized way, forgetting that it was small, local groups of Christians who won the Roman empire because they knew how to die well, who would not hold back their lives, if required, for their witness to Jesus as Savior and Lord, including over Caesar.

In quite a different setting, Whittaker Chambers was fighting the same battle, which can be summed up as: Either Jesus is Lord, or civil government will be lord.  Either God will rule, or we will be ruled from the Tower of Babel.  We will be ruled by the Bible or by the bayonet.  

That is the apocalyptic stuff of Armageddon, whether seen as a continuing and on-going battle between freedom and totalitarianism, or the final denouement anticipated by Christians at the return of the King.  It is the stuff of J. R. R. Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings.  Indeed, much of Witness reads like The Lord of the Rings, only in real time. Many of us lived through those mid-1900's episodes, and the drama continues, muted, hushed, but unabated.

The whole of Biblical spiritual life is built on and for freedom.  The law itself is to produce a free, not a constricted, people.  The Tower of Babel knows nothing of freedom except that self-worship which a tyrant keeps for himself.

The winner in this struggle for world authority will be whichever worldview can continue to stand in the open, honest contest of ideas in the public square. The winner will be whichever view, whichever community representing that view, can do so with truth, righteousness, and love, i.e., the community which can hold the intellectual, moral, and spiritual high ground.

Or, more accurately, the winner will be whoever can restore that open, honest arena of public debate, the high ground which has been so badly compromised by cowardice, power struggle, and mind-control throughout Western culture. It hardly exists in politics, education, the media, or the Church, and is badly beleaguered within the scientific community.  Yet the Church and scientific communities have common interests.  They both are based on a common Biblical source, and (in their better moments) both rest their cases on objective truth.

But -- there will be no secure winning on the side of freedom, truth, or righteousness if the Biblical worldview cannot be defended, and that rests on evidence for the existence of God. The Tower of Babel, which rests on some theory of evolution, cannot consistently produce any of those values. Ideas have consequences.

Those small groups of dedicated warriors who will restore sanity to Western Civilization must know and believe that truth and righteousness are their foundation, that they can enter the public contest with intellectual, moral, and spiritual integrity, or they will be made to look like fools. At bottom that means being able to explain why they believe in God. The best way to convince others that you stand on the intellectual, moral, and spiritual high ground is to be in demonstrable fact standing there. Helping do that is our task in these pages.

On the Biblical view, the level playing field is where God conducts His campaign to convert the world back to Himself. God has created the world as the common ground upon which He will meet the rest of us, an open, level playing field, where, in an astonishing act of grace, He invites, “Come, let us reason together...” to form a freewill covenant (Isaiah 1:18). God does not tilt the ground in His favor, He meets us where we are, and engages us (friend or foe) in honest dialogue with the 2-edged Sword of the Spirit, reason and revelation welded back to back.

(Witness may be available on Amazon, second hand or new.)   

[See also, The Quigley Formula or the Jesus Formula?]

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