An Enduring WITNESS

The most important book of the 20th century was Witness, by Whittaker Chambers, the former communist who in 1948 testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee that Alger Hiss was a communist spy.

Despite its stranger-than-fiction political intrigue, intrigue featuring murders, spy games, clandestine meetings, and broken relationships, Witness at its deepest level is not about politics. Witness is about God and the human need for God, which communism rejects. Communism, as Chambers explained, is an attempt to envision Man without God.

Inevitably, that attempt failed. Godless communism did not contribute any cultural idea or achievement that was worthwhile, and it perpetrated assaults on human life and freedom that were unimaginable.

The depravity of communism helped show Chambers that God is absolutely necessary for mankind. That communism was doomed because it rejected God. That rejection of God leads inevitably to immediacy and materialism. That man without God can only treat his fellow man as the enemy.

Facing communism’s impact and realizing the need for God, Chambers changed his worldview and his witness.

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