Samuel Zane Batten Wrote a Book Titled “The New World Order”, Published by the American Baptist Publication Society

As the Interchurch World Movement was gaining momentum, Samuel Zane Batten wrote a book titled “The New World Order”, published in 1919 by the American Baptist Publication Society. In this book, Batten paints a picture of a world entering a new phase in which a “new order” is rising out of the turmoil of World War. Batten proposed that a “world federation” be created which would be supported by an “international mind” and justified by a faith of “world patriotism.”

It begins:

The world can never again be as it has been. The house has collapsed, and its structure is discredited. In this period of reconstruction it is imperative that men should know what are the defective principles of the old order that must be kept out, and what are the true principles that should be builded in as the very foundations of the house that is to be. What kind of world order do we want? What are the principles and ideals that should guide us in our planning? What are the immediate things in our efforts, and what are the ultimate ends? What are the forces and factors on which we may count for aid and inspiration? These are questions of first importance in this hour.

View Online Copy of ‘The New World Order’

The Interchurch World Movement (1919 – 1920)

In the aftermath of the bloody conflict of World War I, the League of Nations was presented as a solution to the horrendous problems that the world had witnessed. During the same time period that the League of Nations was formed, John D. Rockefeller Jr. launched the Interchurch World Movement (IWM) in 1919. [1] The Interchurch World Movement was the first attempt by Rockefeller to consolidate the churches into a corporate like structure which would exercise control over their activities. The “stability of government”, and the promotion of “harmonious relations” between people in an industrial society that the Rockefeller family was already dominating was a driving force behind the IWM.

Charles E. Harvey, professor of history at California State University, wrote a history of the Interchurch World Movement in a 1982 paper titled “John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and the Interchurch World Movement of 1919-1920: A Different Angle on the Ecumenical Movement”. Harvey traces the roots of the “social gospel” and the resulting battle between fundamental Christians and liberalism back to Rockefeller’s Interchurch World Movement. Upon investigating the IWM, Harvey found that the historical information that most historians and researchers were using to research the IWM had been directly prepared by the lawyer of John D. Rockefeller Jr., a man named Raymond B. Fosdick. The doctored information, writes Harvey, was “…compiled precisely to conceal the real role Rockefeller played in the organization.”

Harvey documents the request on part of John D. Rockefeller Jr. to his father for millions of dollars to consolidate the churches,

“He wired his father a request for 50 to 100 million dollars to create a foundation that would use the IWM to administratively consolidate the denominations along the lines of big business. The foundation would bind ministers of participating churches in a common pension fund and unite the denominations’ foreign and domestic activities.”

Rockefeller Jr. wrote in a letter regarding the IWM, that the organization could potentially have a larger influence than the League of Nations,

“I do not think we can overestimate the importance of this Movement. As I see it, it is capable of having a much more far-reaching influence than the League of Nations in bringing about peace, contentment, goodwill and prosperity among the people of the earth.”

Harvey presents another letter written by Rockefeller in which he describes the IWM as a smart business investment. Rockefeller writes,

“I know of no better insurance for a businessman for the safety of his investments, the prosperity of the country and the future stability of our government than this movement affords…”

The Interchurch World Movement lasted for a very short time, but it succeeded in planting the seeds of an ideological conflict that has lasted to the present day. By no means did the Rockefellers give up their quest. The centralized structure of churches that the IWM first developed would be put to use in the future under other organizations with Rockefeller financial support.

The work of Batten is significant in that the ideas he proposed in ‘The New World Order’ would be pursued aggressively by Rockefeller and other like minded organizations in the years after the publication of the book.

In it, Batten declares, “…the new world rises upon our vision….We have vindicated the right of social control….There must be developed a national spirit of service….The natural resources of the nation must be socialized…The state must socialize every group…Men must learn to have world patriotism. World patriotism must be a faith….There is no more justice for the claim of absolute sovereignty on the part of a nation than on the part of an individual….The only alternative is World Federation…with a world parliament, an international court, and an international policy force…Men must have an international mind before there can be a world federation. They must see and affirm that above the nation is humanity. Internationalism must first be a religion before it can be a reality and a system.” 46 

An avid supporter of the Northern Baptist Convention and missions, liberal theology changed the acceptance of [John D. Rockefeller] Juniors funding by some. Many, however, chose to move into liberal and “modernist” theology, including those the Rockefellers entrusted their investments and philanthropies to. According to Colby and Dennett, originally ‘fundamentalist’  they were replaced by liberals, such as “lawyer Raymond Fosdick and his brother Rev. Harry Emerson Fosdick, the liberal theologian.” Raymond Fosdick was President of the Rockefeller Foundation from 1936-1948.

The belief in a world federation was also held by Harry Emerson Fosdick and brother Raymond, who, as noted previously, was deeply involved with the Interchurch World Movement. Harry was very close to the Rockefeller family and its inner workings, as the family lawyer and President of the Rockefeller Foundation during World War II. [2] The Riverside church in New York, where Fosdick served as pastor from 1926-1946, was built with money given by John D. Rockefeller Jr. Interestingly, Fosdick held a belief that in the future a federation of the world would be created. Fosdick writes,

“Some day, I predict, a man will rise by whose hands a federation of the world will be so effected, and wars so stopped thereby, that his name will go down across the centuries associated with that great achievement, as Copernicus’ name is with the new astronomy, or Lincoln’s with the preservation of our union. That man will come. Some day he will arise.” [3]

Just as the Interchurch World Movement was presented to the churches as a solution to problems facing the globe after the first world war, the Federal Council of Churches (FCC) presented its own solution in the early 1940’s for a program “for a just and durable peace” upon the end of World War II. Not surprisingly, the Federal Council of Churches – which was merged with the National Council of Churches in 1950 – received significant funding from John D. Rockefeller Jr. [4] Using a similar corporate structure of churches that the Interchurch World Movement first pioneered, the program developed several agendas for churches to adopt, with world government named as the ultimate goal.


[1] Batten, Samuel Zane. The New World Order. American Baptist Publication Society, 1919. p. 117-159.

[2] Harvey, Charles E. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and the Interchurch World Movement of 1919-1920: A Different Angle on the Ecumenical Movement. Church History, Vol. 51, No 2. (Jun., 1982), p. 205.

[3] Fosdick, Harry Emerson. Living Under Tension. New York: Harpers & Brothers, 1941. p. 228.

[4] lbid 1, Harvey. p. 205.

Get involved!

Get Connected!

Join our community and get uncensored news, history, and social media. Expand your network and get to know more like-minded patriots and truthseekers!


No comments yet