Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 21, September 6, 1976.
Visiting evangelist, Canon Michael Green, delivered a provocative if not telling broadside to a large audience in the Union Hall last Thursday, telling them that, if "sold on social and economic security", they should keep clear of Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus Christ, he said, came not to support the Establishment but to rock it (it was the Establishment that crucified him), and Canon Green was markedly critical of the Church's support down through the centuries for the Establishment. He said that many people in the Church had sought power and glory for themselves.
He also said that the revolutionary claims made by Christ indicate that either he was who he said he was or else that he was mad. Canon Green stated that the New Testament disproved the latter and so it was open to assume that he really was... the son of God, that then he really could forgive sins and accept the worship of men.
Canon Green outlined that Christ's revolutionary programme was to bring men and women into harmony with God by a truly radical approach - a change in human nature, to the extent of being "born again" (John 3).
Revolution came through a change in a person's heart, not through ideas.
Canon Green claimed that a failure to recognise this need is the chief intellectual weakness of socialism. The socialist program he said dominates society by muzzling its freedom whilst the hippie (one would have thought he died at the 1971 Altamont Rock Festival) or dropout withdraws from the world with indifference.
Readings from Mao's works were taken, each one being replied to with words of Jesus as recorded by the New Testament writers.
Canon Green explained how radically different was the message of Jesus Christ; for, whereas Mao spoke of violence, continual turmoil and class struggle Jesus Christ told of his love and spirit which would dissolve the bitterness of hate. This love would be actioned in the lives of those who accepted Jesus Christ into their lives. Society then would only be revolutionised after peoples hearts had turned towards God.
For revolution to succeed, four ingredients were needed claimed Canon Green. Firstly, a vision - a concern for God's love and justice to be in the world, as opposed to the violence of socialism, and the indifference of the hippie/dropout.
Secondly realism - a realisation that imperfect people cannot make a perfect society. Thirdly, leadership - that Christ came down from heaven to not only sacrifice his life for all men (black and white, rich and poor) so as to unite them to God, but to be raised from the dead enabling him to dwell in person in the lives of his followers - a claim no other revolutionary could hope to make ( Though Che Guevara's ideals live on the man himself hasn't).
Lastly, committment - Christ offers a new birth whereby the seeds of God' spirit came into a person's heart.
Questions were few and concentrated almost wholly on the oppression in Southern Africa. Canon Green believes that the only means of overcoming of overcoming oppression is the love of Jesus Christ, which unites people by dissolving hate and prejudice. He said that violence creates more violence. (The writer asks whether the hate will 'leave' when and if the whites leave?).
What was the evidence for all that Canon Green was claiming? He said that Christians did not simply rely on the Bible but on the changes effected in peoples lives by the love of Jesus Christ.