THE RED TERROR
Dr. W. A. Criswell
11-24-63 8:15 a.m.
You are sharing in the early morning service of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. According to the admonition of the Word of God in 1 Timothy 2:
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
For kings, and all that are in authority; that we may live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
[1 Timothy 2:1-2]
That the Lord might remember our present government and bless our nation through these days of crisis and trial, I have asked Dr. E. S. James formally to lead our congregation and our people in this supplication before God. Dr. E. S. James:
May we stand together please and pray?
Our Father, we thank Thee for the privilege of praying unto Thee in hours of sorrow and hours of crisis. And Thou knowest how hard it is for any of us to pray in public. But we pray Thee to help us forget one another for a little while and to realize that each of us stands naked and alone before Thee. And wilt Thou help us to pray out of hearts of sincerity. May the gloom that has settled over our city, our state, and our nation, mellow and humble our hearts and help us in reality, to turn back unto Thee. Realize, dear Father, that the tragedy that has come to us is in a large measure responsible to every one of us. For we have so often drifted far from Thee and followed our own desires and sought the things that belong to time. We pray that now You will help us to realize how very brief is life, and how quickly even the most prominent ones may be taken, and help us to realize that some of us who are in this room may not live through this day, but this day is ours. And we pray that Thee help us to join the millions all over the nation in giving gratitude for all of the good, in President Kennedy’s life and administration, we thank Thee for it and for him. And we pray that Thee take the good and the mistakes, not only of our national leader, but of all of us—our lives and death when it comes—and use all of them to Thy glory, to cause us to be the kind of a nation we ought to be when we claim to follow Christ.
We pray today for the families bereft of loved ones; for Mrs. Kennedy and her children and for Mrs. Tippit here in Dallas. And we pray for our governor as he recovers in the hospital, and we pray for President Johnson and the people who shall be associated with him in government. May Thy Spirit guide every one of them. Help us to support them everyday with our prayers, for the nation is ours and we are Thine. May we glorify Jesus in it. Grant that in everything we do.
All of the nations in the world that try to lift their hearts to Thee today in sorrow and prayer might be able to repent, and to really come back to the throne of grace, not only for comfort but for direction throughout life. Bless our pastor as he speaks to our hearts now. Help us to be calm and to look unto Thee and may Thy peace rest upon the earth, as we seek to do the will of Jesus in every area of life, for His sake we pray.
Again, these are the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing the early morning message. I have changed the message from the one announced. I had planned to deliver an address today, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I had planned to deliver an address upon the life, and hope, and blessing, and freedom, brought to our country by our Pilgrim Fathers. I have changed the address; I shall speak this morning on The Red Terror.
The assassination that so darkly and tragically was enacted upon the streets of our queenly city of Dallas was perpetrated by a man who was schooled in communist ideology. What is that ideology? It is well for us to know. For it reaches into every corner of the earth; it has touched, tragically, even us. The ideology of communism is one of murder, and terror, and blood, and revolution. It has been that from the beginning; it is increasingly that today.
In 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Communist Manifesto. The Communist Manifesto is a document that describes all human society as class conflict. For the most part, they divided humanity into two classes: the bourgeois, the ruling richer classes, the proletariat, the laboring, poorer classes. And they evolved a theory of history that the story of mankind is nothing other than a conflict to the death between those two classes.
It was the thesis of the Communist Manifesto that the bourgeois, all who owned property, all who possessed anything, must be liquidated and destroyed in order that the rule of the proletariat might be achieved. And it was their thesis that the only way to destroy the bourgeois was by murder, and terror, and revolution.
That is why communism has as its basic and fundamental persuasion, atheism; because there is no religion in the earth that could countenance such destruction and such wanton shedding of blood. That’s why Karl Marx said, “Religion is the opiate of the people.” In order to be murderous and revolutionary—full of latent terror and death—first godliness and religion must be destroyed. This was the Communist Manifesto of 1848.
In 1917 there occurred the violent revolution in Russia. The leader of that violence was a brilliant lawyer and orator by the name of Nikolai Lenin. He had read and had become a disciple of the writings of Karl Marx and Friederich Engels. And in the time of that tragic crisis in Russia, he was prepared. With his little band of terrorists he was able to take over the entire government of the vast expanse of Russia. And first of all you see in Nikolai Lenin, the illustration of the terror that lies in the principles and ideology of communism.
In his book, Masters of Deceit, J. Edgar Hoover says of Lenin, I quote:
The skill of Lenin simply cannot be overestimated. He introduced into human relations a new dimension of evil and depravity not surpassed by Genghis Kahn or Attila the Hun.
It was Nikolai Lenin who said, “What would it matter if two thirds of this earth were destroyed, if only the third remaining were communist?” It was that man, a violent man filled with blood and terror, who seized the reins of government of Russia after the revolution of 1917. One of their first acts was to take the Russian czar, Nicholas II, herded into a dungeon, and with his pistol a common communist shot down the czar and the czarina, his wife, and their children in cold blood. It was because one of the children was thought not to have been in that terrible room of murder, that these romances of Anastasia keep circulating through the nations of the earth; born in blood and in terror.
In 1924, suddenly, to the amazement and surprise of both Russia and the world, Lenin died. He left two lieutenants: one was named Leon Trotsky, who was the leader of the Red Army, the architect of its martial forces. The other was Joseph Stalin, far less forensic and able than Trotsky, but infinitely more cunning and devious. From 1924 to 1928 there was war between Stalin and Trotsky. In 1928 Trotsky was exiled from the country, finally came to live in Mexico City. But the hatred and the bitterness of Stalin never relented, and once again you have the blood and murder of communist programming and ideology. With a pick ax, with a pick ax, a supposed friend—but a henchman of Stalin—with a pick ax, Trotsky was murdered in the city of Mexico in 1940.
The record of Stalin was filled with more blood, more blasphemous repudiation of all that is human and decent than the record of any other tyrant on the pages of human history. In 1928 he signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact that outlawed and repudiated forever war as a national policy; and the next year threw his Red armies into Manchuria to seize the Chinese eastern railroad to the Pacific Ocean. In 1932 he signed a pact of peace and mutual assistance with Poland. In 1938 he reaffirmed that pact of peace and assistance with Poland. And the next year, 1939, with Hitler he divided Poland, and as Hitler threw in his Nazi armies from the west, Stalin poured in his Red armies from the east.
In 1944 Stalin signed an agreement with the Allies that Berlin should be a city governed by America, France, Britain, and the Soviet Union. The four should share in the common government of Berlin. In 1948 they repudiated that pact and blockaded Berlin with the consequent series of sorrows and tragedies that afflict us to this present day.
In 1945 in the Potsdam Protocol, Stalin signed the Soviet Union to an agreement of a free eastern Germany, and in 1949 created the present communist regime in East Germany, that apparently—until the intervention of the providence of God—shall divide that miserable and unhappy nation forever.
In 1940 the Soviet Union pledged that the three Baltic states—Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania—should be, their integrity should be nationally preserved, and immediately, immediately destroyed all three of them in blood and in death.
In October of 1956 the present tyrant of Russia pledged that the armies of Russia would be removed from Hungary, and the next day began to pour into that unhappy country Soviet reinforcements. And by the third day of November in 1956, the Hungarian flame of freedom and liberty seemingly was forever crushed under a bloodbath beyond any violence the civilized earth had ever seen, or had ever read.
Today, today, one billion people, one out of every three that inhabit this earth, one out of every three human beings lives in the enslavement of a communist regime. The tyrant and dictator of the Kremlin, by pushing a button or by speaking a word can create a crisis anywhere in this earth; in Cuba, in Venezuela, in Berlin, in Vietnam, in the Middle East, in Indonesia, in British Guiana, in Africa, anywhere that he so chooses. And we live in that kind of a world of blood and violence, of murder and of death.
I think of the poem of William Blake:
Tiger, Tiger. Burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye.
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
[“The Tiger,” William Blake]
Ah, the day and the hour, the time, the crisis in which our lives are constantly passed. Anywhere, any time, the fruit of that communist ideology can break out and break forth—in a university anywhere, among students anywhere, in any government anywhere—infiltration, espionage, murder, blood, death, that is the Red Terror.
I could not but be overwhelmed in the city of Istanbul, old Constantinople, Byzantium, I could not but be overwhelmed as I broke bread in the home of Dr. Black, the president of Roberts College, a great Presbyterian school in Istanbul founded by noble missionaries. He had married a Bulgarian. He had lived many, many years in Bulgaria, and Bulgaria is just pressed next to their great city of Istanbul. He described the communist regime and the communist method: children informing on their parents, murder and blood around every corner. And he finally said, “I cannot explain it. I don’t understand it. To me it seems to be a kingdom of darkness, presided over by Satan himself.”
The Book says that there are powers and principalities, there is a kingdom of evil and depravity [Ephesians 6:12]—of blood and murder, of violence and revolution—presided over by Satan himself. And we look upon the fingers, and the tentacles, and the outreach of that ideology every day of our lives.
It is for us to turn our faces toward the hope we have built in a Christian America. Daniel Webster, the incomparable orator said, “It would be but a trifle if the walls of yonder capital were to fall, if its lofty pillars were to crumble. All these can be rebuilt, but who shall reconstruct the fabric of demolished government? Who shall rear again the well-proportioned columns of constitutional liberty? Who shall frame together the skillful architecture which unites national sovereignty with states rights, individual security, and public prosperity? Bound up in the government of our America are our lives, our homes, our churches, our people, and our destiny?”
“God give us men,” wrote Josiah Holland in the days of the cruel War Between the States:
God, give us men! A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
In public duty, and in private thinking;
For while the rabble, with its thumb-worn creeds,
Its large professions and its little deeds,
Mingle in skillful strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
Long rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.
[“God Give Us Men,” J.G. Holland]
We have seen on the streets of our city, a typical product of communist ideology: vengeance, blood, terror.
God, in these days of crisis, bless and keep our people, the bastion of hope we have built in America, and the contribution that we, as a church and as individual citizens, may make toward that gift of life and hope to the world. May we pray?
Our Lord in heaven, all of our people are bowed under the tragic sorrow of this present crisis. Ah, that men could be persuaded to follow the spirit of the gentle Jesus who spake of teaching, and preaching, and persuasion; who renounced the use of force, and blood, and violence, and war. What a tragedy! But so much of the effort of our great country must be expended in munitions, in capability to retaliate, in instruments of destruction and death.
O Lord, O Lord, forgive our people, our nation, forgive us when we fail to exemplify the spirit of the blessed Lord Jesus; who preached, and who taught, and who healed, and who sought any saving ministry to persuade men that the way of peace, and of love, and of forgiveness, was the better way than violence, and murder, and death. And our Lord, may these hours of crisis, and burden but bring to us a greater commitment, a deeper devotion to the message of our blessed Lord, to the preaching of the gospel of this great congregation, and through missions, and through services, and through personal witnessing, to bring the story and the blessing of Christ Jesus to the world; in the name of our blessed Savior, amen.
And now while we sing our hymn of appeal, somebody today to give his heart to the Lord [Romans 10:8-15], somebody today to put his life into the fellowship of the church [Romans 10:24-25], while we sing our word of appeal, would you come and stand by me? While all of us together stand and sing.
A. Assassin of John F.
Kennedy schooled in communism
B. Ideology of
communism one of murder, blood, revolution and violence
II. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles
A. Published The
1. All society is
a record of class warfare
2. Called for
violent liquidation of bourgeois
tenet is atheism
III. Nikolai Lenin
A. Russian lawyer and
orator immersed in teachings of Marx and Engles
B. Engineered overthrow
of Russian government
C. Sudden death in 1924
left Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky
IV. The record of blood
A. Kellogg-Briand pact
C. Latvia, Estonia,
D. Berlin, Eastern
V. God’s future and our dedication to help
frame a godly nation