Clapham Sect & The Socialists
ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for
what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
and what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part
hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for
ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I
will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their
God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,
saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I
will receive you,
And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and
daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
the Clapham Sect came the Christian Socialist movement with
many convinced that Jesus was the first Socialist, a
Communist. That belief gave them the impetus to try to
reconstruct and control the direction of society in a bid for
the kingdom of God on earth. Cambridge became the center for
the 'evangelicals' and the social reform.
the end of the 18th century evangelicalism had spread to the
Church of England. Charles Simeon at Cambridge University
began encouraging the training of Evangelical clergymen.
Simeon argued that there was a great need to raise moral
enthusiasm and ethical standards among the clergy. The
Clapham Sect, whose group included William Wilberforce and
Granville Sharp, was another centre of the evangelical
movement in the Anglican Church.
1848 saw the emergence of the Christian Socialist movement.
Preachers such as Frederick Denison Maurice, Charles
Kingsley and Thomas Hughes began to influence many that
Jesus Christ was the world first socialist. One of those who
became convinced of this was James Keir Hardie, a trade
union leader and lay preacher for the Evangelical Union
Church. Later, Hardie was to become the founder of the
Labour Party." 50.
in England known as being part of the "Christian
Socialists" included occultist B.
F. Westcott, Charles Gore, Scott Holland, and Studdert
Kennedy. That Cambridge University became the center of
the Anglican and Evangelical training of leadership should
cause us some concern. Cambridge and the Anglican Clergy were
the links to the Cambridge Ghost Society, the precursor to the
The Society for Psychical Research or SPR as discussed
previously. In other words, the foundations of the Anglican
Evangelicals and associated groups were rooted with people
heavily involved in the occult.
It was James
Keir Hardie who wrote "From Serfdom to Socialism (1907)"
generation has grown up ignorant of the fact that socialism
is as old as the human race....When the old civilizations
were putrefying, the still small voice of Jesus the
Communist stole over the earth like a soft refreshing breeze
carrying healing wherever it went." 51.
"In 1910 James Keir Hardie explained the influence that
Christianity had on his political beliefs.
"I have said, both in writing and from the platform
many times, that the impetus which drove me first into the
Labour movement, and the inspiration which has carried me on
in it, has been derived more from the teachings of Jesus of
Nazareth than from all other sources combined." 52.
were there communist roots and heresy in the development of
the social gospel and ecumenical movement, but roots of the
Unitarian movement. Mentioned in the History of The
Park, Zachary Macaulay, a member of the Clapham Sect,
helped form the Anti-Slavery Society. His son became embroiled
in politics and helped develop the theology of Unitarians.
Babington Macaulay, eldest child of Zachary Macaulay,...
went to Trinity College, Cambridge in October 1818. Macaulay
became friends with other students... including Lord Grey
and Charles Austin. Macaulay became very interested in
utilitarianism and was influenced by the ideas of Jeremy
Bentham and Joseph Priestley. One of Macaulay's campaigns at
university was to bring an end to the rule that forbade a
discussion of public affairs at the Student Union later than
those of the last century." 53.
Unitarian began being used in Europe at the beginning of the
17th century. John Biddle (1615-62) is considered to be the
first minister to establish a Unitarian congregation in
Britain. It grew from there, with many famous names involved
trying to reconstruct society. Unitarians believe that social
evils are man made and can be corrected by their human
the the late 18th and early 19th century, Unitarians were
closely identified with the campaign for social and
political reform. Unitarians such as Joseph Priestley,
Jeremy Bentham, Harriet Martineau, James Martineau and John
Stuart Mill were all advocates of universal suffrage. Other
leading radicals of the period such as Tom Paine and Thomas
Muir were described by their critics as Unitarians. After
the publication of Paine's Rights of Man, religious
radicals in London formed the Unitarian Society to promote
the cause of parliamentary reform."
congregations developed mainly in large industrial cities
such as Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds. Growth was slow
and by 1851 there were only 229 congregations with about
30,000 members. However, they had considerable influence
owing to the prominence of Unitarians in British Industry
(Josiah Wedgwood, John Marshall, Thomas Ashton, Samuel
Fielden, George Courtauld, Samuel Courtauld, Peter Taylor,
Samuel Oldknow, Henry Tate... etc.) and in Parliament (John
Fielden, Robert Hyde Greg and Peter Alfred Taylor." 54.
Martineau, the brother of Harriet Martineau, was the leading
English Unitarian in the middle of the 19th century....In
the 19th century Unitarians were very active in the
movements for factory reform, public health, prison reform,
temperance, women's rights and the abolition of slavery.
Unitarian reformers included Edwin Chadwick, Florence
Nightingale and Charles Booth." 55.
Mill was a member of the Dialectical society along with Sidney
Webb, Bernard Shaw and Annie Besant. Jeremy Bentham, an
influence on Macaulay and many others, was involved in
establishing the theory of Unitarianism as well as radical
social reform, aligning with the Clapham Sect, Quakers
and others. Bentham and Joseph Priestley worked side by
Jeremy Bentham... was born in London in 1748...[and] entered
Queen's College, Oxford at twelve and was admitted to
Lincoln's Inn at the age of fifteen..."According to
Bentham, "pain and pleasure are the sovereign masters
governing man's conduct". As the motive of an act is
always based on self-interest, it is the business of law and
education to make the sanctions sufficiently painful in
order to persuade the individual to subordinate his own
happiness to that of the community. It was this work that
helped to establish the theory of Unitarianism. That is
the rejection of the doctrine of original sin and eternal
punishment and replacing it with a belief in individual
conscience and reason as a guide to right action...Radical
reformers such as Sir Francis Burdett, Leigh Hunt, William
Cobbett, and Henry Brougham praised Bentham's work....In
1824 Jeremy Bentham joined with James Mill (1773-1836) to
found the Westminster Review, the journal of the
philosophical radicals. Contributors to the journal included
Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas Carlyle...Bentham
argued in favour of universal suffrage, annual parliaments
and vote by ballot. According to Bentham there should be
no king, no House of Lords, no established church. The
book also included Bentham's view that women, as well as
men, should be given the vote." 56.
wrote: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.
For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are
ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power,
resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall
receive to themselves damnation." Romans 13:1-2
said in Matthew 22:21 "They say unto him, Caesar's. Then
saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things
which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are
Priestley ...was deeply influenced by David Hartley's views
on free will and the notion of human perfectibility through
good education....In 1755 Joseph Priestley became a minister
at the Presbyterian church at Needham Market...In .The
History and Present State of Electricity ... Priestley
put forward the theory that the history of science was
important because it showed how human intelligence discovers
and directs the forces of nature...[His] books developed
[his] ideas on Unitarianism. They also included attacks
on such doctrines as the virgin birth and the Holy Trinity.
Many people, including King George III, became convinced
that Priestley was now an atheist.... Priestley...became
friends with businessmen and scientists such as John
Wilkinson, Josiah Wedgwood, Matthew Boulton and James
Watt... in 1774 he decided to emigrate to America... settled
in Pennsylvania and over the next few years he wrote several
books on Unitarianism. Priestley also established the first
Unitarian Church in America..." 57.
know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that
Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God." 1John 4:2
so-called "Christian" leaders and ministers doing
aligning with those who rejected Jesus Christ? Why were they
joining ranks with heretics and those rebellious against
chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of
uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they,
self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of
dignities." 2 Peter 2:10
are to teach sound doctrine. Paul told Titus, "Put them
in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey
magistrates, to be ready to every good work." Titus 3:1
Priestley immigrated to America, Jeremy Bentham became the
most important advocate of Unitarianism in Britain. Charles
Booth, mentioned as one of the reformers and a Unitarian,
"...was born in Liverpool on 30th March, 1840. Booth's
father was a Unitarian and head of the Lamport & Holt
Steamship Company...In the 1860s Booth became interested in
the philosophy of Auguste Comte, the founder of modern
sociology. Booth was especially attracted to Comte's idea
that in the future, the scientific industrialist would take
over the social leadership from church ministers. One of
the consequences of reading Comte was that Booth began to
lose his religious faith...Booth decided to investigate
the incidence of pauperism in the East End of the city [and]
recruited a team of researchers that included his
cousin, Beatrice Potter...Whereas many of his researchers,
including Beatrice Potter, became socialists as a
result of what they discovered while investigating poverty,
Booth became more conservative in his views." 58
Britain, the three socialist groups were, the Independent
Labour Party, the Social Democratic Federation and the Fabian
Society. Society for Psychical Research member, Edward Pease,
was a communist:
Pease spent one year in the S.P.R. as secretary of its
haunted-houses committee, but then turned to politics with
the conviction that a social revolution was necessary. For a
time he worked with an associate of Karl Marx, Henry Hyndman
who founded the radical Social Democratic Federation.
However, Pease was of the opinion that social revolution
must begin with educating the intellectual and wealthy
classes rather than fomenting agitation among the working
class. He organized a Progressive Association which was
joined by Podmore and other young fallen away
Association split into the Fellowship of the New Life, a
commune with utopian illusions, and a research/debating
group which Podmore named the Fabian Society..."60
formation of the Fabians, the Christian Socialists and
Christian Social Union was the avenue by which socialist
doctrine would flood the Anglican Church.
first Fabians…had almost all been lapsed Anglicans from
Evangelical homes. There was a Christian fringe to the
London socialism of the eighties, but this too was
Anglican. The Christian Socialists came together in
Stewart Headlam's Guild of St. Matthew and the Land Reform
Union; and the more respectable Christian Social Union,
formed in 1889 -- seeking in Fabian style to permeate the
Anglican Church -- soon attracted more than two thousand
clerical members. Dissenting clergymen too began to find a
place in the Fabian Society and the London Progressives,
while Unitarian churches and centres like Stanton Coit's
Ethical Church provided a meeting place for believers and
idealist agnostics . . . Socialism was for all of them,
the new Evangelism." (65)" 61.
of the Fabian Society is attributed to "Thomas Davidson,
a Scottish philosopher, and its early members included George
Bernard Shaw, Sidney
Webb, Annie Besant, Edward Pease, and Graham Wallas. Shaw
and Webb, later joined by Webb's wife, Beatrice, were the
outstanding leaders of the society'" 62
In 1886, the
Fabian executive committee included Pease, Podmore, Besant,
Shaw and Webb. However in 1889, Annie Besant was converted to
the cult of Theosophy by Madame Blavatsky, whom she succeeded
in 1891 as president of the Theosophical Society. 63
Potter Webb, cousin to Booth, was born into the upper class of
English Society and was wife to Sidney James Webb. They were
the impetus behind the socialist Fabian Society and helped
found the London School of Economics. "... Webb was born
in London...[and] after attending evening classes he secured
admission to the civil service and three years later (1884)
passed his bar examinations. For some time he had been the
close friend of the young journalist Bernard Shaw, who in 1885
induced him to join a very small, newly founded Socialist body
called the Fabian Society. Shaw believed that Webb's extensive
factual knowledge was exactly what the society needed as a
foundation for its theoretical advocacy of Socialism...."
executive member of the Fabian Society, Webb, in 1889,
delivered one of the public lectures that made up Fabian
Essays and put the society on the map. The following year he
met Beatrice Potter, who was making her own way to a belief
in Socialism and had been greatly impressed by Webb's
contribution to Fabian Essays..." 64
the Webbs, in late 1914, became members of the Labour Party,
they rapidly rose high in its counsels. (Their leadership in
the Fabian Society had been shaken by the opposition, first
of H.G. Wells and later of the Guild Socialists, who
advocated self-government in industry, and other left-wing
rebels led by a historian and economist G.D.H. Cole. In the
meantime they had established a new forum for themselves by
founding the New Statesman as an independent journal.)
...Sidney became a member of the executive committee and
drafted the party's first and, for a long time, its most
important policy statement, Labour and the New Social Order
(1918). Shortly afterward he consolidated his position by
serving as one of the experts chosen by the Miners'
Federation to sit on the Sankey Commission on the Coal Mines
(1919)... in the election of 1922 he won the constituency of
Seaham Harbour in Durham with an enormous majority, thereby
securing for himself Cabinet office in both Labour
governments, in 1924 as president of the Board of Trade, and
as Colonial Secretary in 1929, with a seat in the House of
Lords as Baron Passfield."
collaborated with him wholeheartedly...in 1932 he and
Beatrice... went to the U.S.S.R. and "fell in
love," as they said, with what they found there. The
next three years were spent writing their last big book,
Soviet Communism: A New Civilisation? (1935)..." 65.
As we have
seen, the "social gospel" incorporated the Anglican
Church, John Wesley, The Clapham Sect, so-called
'evangelicals,' Unitarians- who reject the divinity of Christ,
George Fox's Quakers and those who were blatantly Communist,
rebellious and anti-government individuals, the Bible Society,
the corruption of the Bible texts and more.
justification is there to have aligned with these? The
insertion of the social gospel into the church has been often
through the cry and fear of "communism." All the
while the proponents were aligned with those advancing
communism, heresy and/or the occult.
not mean all involved were socialists or communists or
Unitarians or occultists. On the contrary, many followers were
most likely sincere Christians. It does mean that many were
being lead into teachings that were at times in direct
contradiction to the Word of God. While The Park
glorifies its heritage, the theology of its founders was not
necessarily the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We cannot derive
Biblical doctrine from those who reject our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ. Nor can we call those who do, "comrades in
many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not
that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver
and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not
those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a
full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in
the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.
that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the
Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring
not this doctrine, receive him not into your house,
neither bid him God speed. For he that biddeth him God
speed is partaker of his evil deeds." 2 John 7-11
Clapham Sect, The Ghost Society & The Word of God
The Evangelical Movement
Thomas Babington Macaulay, http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/PRmacaulay.htm
Jeremy Bentham http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/PRbentham.htm
Joseph Priestly, http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/PRpriestly.htm
"Webb, Sidney and
Beatrice" Encyclopædia Britannica Online
"Webb, Sidney and Beatrice" Encyclopædia Britannica
Copyright . All articles are the sole property of SeekGod.ca and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.
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