The Message of the Children of God
The Children of God’s message to the world was unique, unequivocal, and unapologetic. It was often iconoclastic, and challenged the status quo, conventional values, and materialism. It decried the lacks of society and the oppression of the weak; it highlighted the ills of the “System,” and the policies of its governments and education. It spoke to the lacks of the conventional churches to reach the world with the Gospel message. It called for a return to the basic message of the Gospel of love for God and fellow-man as the solution to all of humankind’s suffering.
The message that motivated the Children of God in their evangelistic and missionary endeavors had its foundation in the Bible; it was also faithful to its counterculture roots. It has been described as world-rejecting, adamant, radical, and uncompromising. By nature, the message was intended to be revolutionary, to call for spiritual change, and to serve much as the message of Jeremiah of old to his society, or John the Baptist as a voice in the wilderness, calling people away from the things of the world to the things of God.
Jesus Christ was a revolutionary! He was not a reformist! He attacked the System of His day!—Not the Roman government, that was ordained of God, but He attacked tooth and tong in no uncertain terms the false religious system and its advocates and participants and leaders.—If you don’t believe it, just read the Bible! (See Matthew 23)
Likewise, we today are not mere reformists trying to improve or patch up the old decrepit, false Systems of man! We are a revolution!—For Jesus! And a real, red-hot, genuine revolution is not merely for something, but against something also!
It’s not a revolution if you’re not against anything! Because if you’re not against anything, it means you like things the way they are and you don’t want things to change!—And that’s no revolution!
Therefore, we have declared war of the spirit against the System’s Godless schools, Christless churches and heartless Mammon!
Now, when we say we’re at war with the system, what do we mean? What are we talking about? In fact, God’s Word tells us that “the powers that be” are allowed to rule by God and that we are to try our best to live peaceably with them, “rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” etc.—providing they don’t interfere too much or forbid our service to God. (Romans 13; Matthew 22:21)
But the Bible speaks a lot about the rest of the System—against the System! It just doesn’t happen to use that word, but instead it calls it “the world”: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world!” (1John 2:15,16)
Excerpted from writings of David Berg, 1968-1978
At the heart of the Children of God’s message was the love of God. It was a message of God’s love for all humankind, His desire to bring newness of life and to grant salvation to all who would accept His Son, and of His great forgiveness and desire to enter into a personal relationship with each of His creations.
The Gospel message was to be believed implicitly, lived completely, and shared with others. It was a message for all people of all races, creeds, and political persuasions: there was no limit to who could be reached with the love of God.
We believe in love! Love for God and others, for “God is love” (1John 4:8). That’s our religion—love! Love is everything, for without love there is nothing.—No friends, no families, no fathers or mothers or children or sex or health or happiness or God or heaven. There could be none of these without love. And none of these is possible without God, for He is love!
This is the solution to all of the problems of today as well as to the problems of the past: love!—True love, the love of God and the love of fellowman.—This spirit of God’s divine love which helps us all to fulfill His great commandment to love one another. This is still God’s solution, even in such a complex and confused and highly complicated society as that of the world today.
For it is man’s rejection of the love of God and His loving laws that causes him to be selfish and unloving and vicious and cruel and unkind to each other, man’s inhumanity to man which is so apparent in today’s weary world with all of its enslavement by oppression, tyranny and exploitation, robbery by the rich, suffering from hunger, malnutrition, disease, ill health, overwork, evil abuse, the tortures of war and nightmares of perpetual fearful insecurity. All of these evils are caused by men’s lack of love for God and each other and their defiance of His laws of love and faith and peace and harmony with Him, each other and His whole Creation. “For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1John 4:20)
This is why Jesus said the first and greatest commandment is to love—to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind … and the second is like unto it,” it’s almost equal—almost the same, “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matthew 22:36–40)
“Our Declaration of Love,” 1977
The Children of God believed it to be part of their unique calling and mission to preach the message of preparation for the second coming of Jesus Christ and the times of the End, or the “Endtime,” referring to the final period of world history prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Members distributed millions of pieces of literature detailing “signs of the times” and explaining the book of Revelation and its significance to their generation.
The message of the Children of God was resonant with the anti-establishment vibes of the 1960s, an era of social revolution, anti-government and anti-war protests, and uprisings in many countries. The youth of the day sought to break away from established religion and conventional social constraints. Many advocated a return to simplicity and natural ways of life.
It was also a time of revolutionary thinking and political upheaval. The status quo was being challenged on all fronts. In the midst of this clime of social and political upheaval, the message of the Children of God was one of spiritual revolution. Their belief was that lasting change would be brought about in both the world and religious systems only through a right relationship with God and the spiritual transformation that occurs through acceptance of Jesus as their personal savior. This emphasis on spiritual revolution, appealed to the radical, anti-establishment interests and sentiments held by the youth of that day.
Ours is a war of the spirit in faith and love to win the minds and hearts and spirits and save the souls as well as the bodies of men! Ours is a war to free men from the evils of the spirit and mind and heart of man which cause them to be selfish and unloving and vicious and cruel and unkind to each other, man’s inhumanity to man because of his lack of understanding of how to be happy because of his lack of the knowledge of the love and faith and power of God and loving laws of God designed for our eternal happiness.
Ours is a war to free men’s minds and hearts and spirits from the bondage of evil and the soul-slavery of the devil. We must free men from fear with faith, we must free them from hatred with love, we must free them from sorrow with joy, we must free them from war with peace, we must free them from poverty with plenty and we must free them from death with eternal Heavenly happiness!
We must inspire men’s spirits to believe in God and His love and His plan for the glorious future of man in the Kingdom of God on earth run by the righteous in which there shall soon be no more sorrow nor crying nor pain nor death, but all shall be light and health and happiness and peace and plenty for everyone!
“Holy War,” 1975
The Children of God’s message was distributed in the form of tracts, “Mo Letters,” and “comix” in dozens of languages in over 80 countries. Ultimately, their mission was about reaching the whole world—anyone, anywhere, and anytime—with the message of God’s love and gift of salvation, to win disciples of all nations, and to change the world one heart at a time.
If you have changed one life you have changed a part of the world, and you have proven that there is hope that it can all be changed! If one life can be changed it shows that there’s a possibility that more lives can be changed and many lives can be changed and whole areas can be redeemed and the world can be changed, starting even with one person, just one person—maybe you!
“Change the World,” 1977