In the last tidbit I wrote that Alfred Rosenberg’s 1930 book attacking Christianity in a predominantly Christian nation caused a firestorm. However, Nazi propaganda was able to quiet the Tsunami by contending that Rosenberg referred to ‘negative’ Christianity. In other words, the Nazis invented the terms ‘negative’ Christianity and its obvious counterpart ‘positive’ Christianity to remain politically relevant.
What is ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ Christianity? And, why would a ‘Christian’ people allow the Nazis to re-invent their theology?
To cut to the chase, ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ Christianity do not exist. In fact, Nazism has no right, nor the capability to define anything theological. Therefore, any twist they had regarding God, should have immediately been declared heresy and utter foolishness! Remember, Rosenberg’s book was published in 1930, a full three years before Hitler came to power—so the people did not yet have to be concerned with being imprisoned or killed for opposing the Nazis!!! Why then did Christians allow it?
First, to set the record straight, the Nazi theological designations of ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ Christianity should have been discerned as:
1.UnBiblical. The German church should have dismissed the entire Nazi party as ungodly
and unworthy of their support because the two terms are blatantly unbiblical.
2.Illegal. Germany had a separation of church and state meaning that German people, both Christian and non-Christian, should have discerned the Nazis crossed the line by attacking Christianity.
Second, the first reason the Nazis were able to diffuse the Rosenberg controversy, and appease the ‘Christians’, was by using propaganda to move the controversy away from the theological arena to the political arena. They accomplished this by defining ‘negative’ Christianity as pro-Jewish. Because the German culture had adopted both the anti-Biblical, and anti-theological concept of anti-semitism, violating both 1 and 2 above, the culture was already wallowing in deception, which prevented them from seeing the deception of the Nazis! The German cultural wickedness of abandoning God’s word regarding the Jews, set the foundation for later Nazi anti-theological aggressions, which further clarified their definition of ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ Christianity. For example, after the Nazis came to power in 1933, their hatred for the Jews spilled over into such things as recommending the Old Testament be removed from the Bible because it was pro-Jewish! Let me repeat that, in a nation that professed to be 95% Christian, a ‘political’ party was able to recommend the Bible be purged of the entire Old Testament!! Furthermore, a little later, the Nazis removed Bibles from churches and replaced them with Hitler’s Mein Kampf! In addition to that, they demanded crosses be removed from the churches replacing them with swastikas. At its core, the church allowed the Nazis to create ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ Christianity in order to redefine sin! The redefinition of sin means the Nazis were now responsible for determining right from wrong, and good from evil---which is the sole responsibility of God, Himself! Therefore, Hitler declared himself god!
The first lesson this teaches the church (everywhere) is there is no separation of church and state as defined by liberalism**! In other words, in essence, ‘ALL’*** nations have a god(s), and follow the direction of that god (Ps96:5, Ps33:12). Because God was never meant to be separated from any part of life (Col3:23,Pro9:10,Pro28:5), even if one creates a god, that created god’s law will still rule!
Next, in the redefinition of sin, every evil becomes possible (Is5:20,Rom1:30). Like Germany, America is moving down the road of redefining sin. Although this process did not begin with President Obama, because of his position of authority, he has greatly contributed toward its establishment as unwritten national public policy. For example, in 2008, before becoming president, Tribune journalist Cathleen Falsani asked Obama, his definition of sin, he answered: "Being out of alignment with my values". 1John 3:4 offers God’s definition of sin.
The redefining of sin in America has given us not only the establishment of the sin of homosexuality, but gay marriage, and transgenderism! Tragically, America’s explosion of sexual perversion is now often marketed by the church!! Interestingly, the same way the redefinition of sin allowed Germany to commit evil never before seen (Rom1:30); without repentance by the American church, its redefinition of sin will end in worse catastrophic evil!
The good news is—it’s never too late:
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. -2Chron7:14
*These series uses Victoria Barnett’s work, “For the Soul of The People”
**Liberalism defines the separation of church and state as the separation of God from the state.
***ALL people serve a god—no exceptions! All humans serve:
1.The real God: the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2.A false god: Allah, a Hindu god, Buddha, idol, etc.
3.Self: People determine self to be god.
"Life is like a grinding stone - it can polish you or pulverize you - depending on how you position yourself" -- Larry De Angelo
Victoria Barnett* writes, “…during the 1920’s…the birth of extreme “folk religions,” which mixed selected scriptural passages with reflections on nature, the Fatherland, and the German Volk, appealed to Germans who were reaching back to old cultural traditions as a bulwark against the uncertainty of the Weimar years. Nazi rhetoric used this theme” (pg26).
Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ was published in 1925, which advocated the extermination of the Jews, and murder and enslavement for the Slav people. In 1930, Barnett cites Alfred Rosenberg’s, The Myth of the Twentieth Century, a book which used “a bizarre blend of selected New Testament verses and citations from Hitler’s Mein Kampf.” It was, “aggressively anti-Semitic, anti-papal (it was censored by the Vatican), and, in its essence, anti-Christian” (pg26).
Despite Germany being an overwhelmingly Christian nation, the attacks Rosenberg made in his book against the church were offset by Nazi propaganda which declared he referred only to “negative” Christianity, which the Nazis argued, “threatened to devour German moral principles.” Of course, the Nazi alternative was to recommend its obvious opposite-- “positive” Christianity, “which would defend the supremacy of the German people.”
Here is the key, Barnett writes: “Most Christians ignored the basic paganism of Nazism and focused, instead upon the “positive” Christianity that the party promised” (pg26).
The 1920’s German ‘church’ culture which joined the Bible with folk religions allowed the amalgamation of nationalism with Christianity. In other words, to be a proud German, was to be a proud Christian, which allowed for Christianity to be German. This became the foundation for what later became the “German Christians” of the 1930’s. This teaches that the marriage of the Word of God and human pride produces twins: the rejection of sin, and self-justification!
A necessary question arises at this point: How could Mein Kampf advocate the extermination of a people group; the murder and enslavement of another entire group, in a nation that declared Christianity? Because pride self-justifies! Hitler was German; Hitler was a proud patriot; therefore, Hitler was a Christian, therefore, Hitler must be good! But what about his murder? Doesn’t the Bible say no murder? German self-justification responded in two ways:
a.“he doesn’t really mean it”
b.They simply ignored the T-Rex in the living room! When the horrors began, Germans refused to look.
The German ‘Christian’ culture was allowed to stew in the spirit of ‘German Christianity’ for five years when Rosenberg came along with his bold, rash attacks on Christianity. At first, “German Christians” were perplexed at the contradiction of being so patriotic, yet now condemned. However, the deception of ‘self-justification’ kicked-in and the “German Christians” breathed a sigh of relief with a smile, as the Nazis resolved the issue through the creation of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ Christianity. “Aw, yes!” the ‘German Christians’ cried, “Our minds are free—we are proud German Christians again!”
Now, we transition to America. We have learned that the deception of the rejection of the Word of God, i.e. which is human pride, leads to the rejection of sin and self-justification. Presently, in America, there are people who would be highly offended if they were categorized as anything other than Christians: they are called liberal Christians. They attend church, some of them even attend regularly. Yet, these ‘American Christians’ imbibed the liberal interpretation of the separation of church and state, not only allowing them to intellectually reject the Word of God in application to their ‘public’ understanding, but not to even consider it! Of course, the twins of the rejection of sin and self-justification were born.
Though the ‘German Christians’ were initially condemned, American liberal Christians have had a much easier time with their atheist, gay, evolutionist and Muslim…attackers! Simply, their rejection of the Bible, along with America’s Christian history, coupled with the obvious consequences, like the acceptance and promotion of abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage, and anti-Americanism…have turned their attackers into friends!!
The question is, as a judgment of God, will a leader arise in America, like the one who arose in Germany? To be honest, even though the similarities of the two nations and time periods are obvious; and even though God must judge sin-- I really don’t know!
On the contrary, in spite of the obvious American liberal church apostasy, there exists a couple of real differences between the church of Nazi Germany and the contemporary American church. First, there yet remains a large remnant of ‘authentic’ believers in contemporary America—who really love God, and are committed to see His Word and will done in this nation. Second, unlike pre-Nazi Germany, that remnant is also very pro-Israel, and loves the Jew.
Pray with me, that though judgment fall on America, that He would have mercy on His own who have not forsaken Him:
A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come
nigh thee -Ps91:7
'The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.' -William James
And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 1 Samuel 8:5
This passage records the elders of Israel requesting of Samuel to give them a king. We understand from verses 6 and 7 that it was not God’s will for Israel to have a king, and by requesting one, they rejected God! There are many lessons from this passage of scripture, but the lesson I want to focus on is crisis. The elders used the crisis of Samuel’s family--his sons were wicked--to demand a king to follow the example of other nations. In essence, Israel used the spiritual condition of Samuel’s sons as a means to sin!
At the time the Nazis were vying for power, there were many crisis happening in Germany. For example, during the decade of 1920-30, the Versailles Treaty which was signed by German officials after World War 1 was considered anathema; a national tragedy! The Weimar government, which was a democratic-republican form of governing, were considered traitors for attempting to comply. Instead of disgruntlement with the Treaty however, the German people opted to hate the entire government. Furthermore, the German mark (dollar) was worthless, creating another crisis. Millions of marks were necessary to buy one loaf of bread!
Instead of crying out to God, and searching the scriptures for answers, because of the tradition of the people, who for centuries had been ruled by the Kaisers(kings/monarchs), the people began to cry out to ‘return’ to their former one leader rulership!
Interestingly, just prior to his death in 1900, Friedrich Nietzsche, German atheist philosophy, homosexual, and son of a Lutheran pastor, predicted (prophesied?) Ubermensch, a blond superman, would emerge to rule the world.
In addition, before meeting Hitler in 1920, Rudolph Hess, one of Hitler’s henchmen, wrote an essay entitled, “What kind of Man Will Lead Germany Back to Her Previous Heights?” He said, first, the man must be a person of the people. He meant someone whose roots were in the masses. Second, he must be someone who had nothing in common with masses. He must keep his distance from the people in order to shed blood when necessary. Third, he had to be able to slaughter his closest friend to achieve his objectives. He must be a man of “terrible hardness.”
After meeting Hitler, Hess was shocked to find that he possessed all these characteristics! Hitler believed he was the fulfillment of both Hess’ and Nietzsche’s predictions. Like Israel, Germany cried out for a leader of ‘their’ desires!
How did the German church respond?
Victoria Barnett* writes of Hitler’s impact on one theology student,
“I knew a man—a theological student—who said, “Hitler is coming to Heidelberg, I’m going. But he won’t get me”…I knew this man well, and I thought a lot of him; there was something to him. He was someone who, normally, you couldn’t fool. And he came back from Heidelberg and said, I’m completely convinced by him.” And it was true. Very strange. Hitler must have had a charisma, and unstable and ignorant people fell for him at once. But even someone who was educated, was a convinced Christian, who argued with everything—he came back and said, “He convinced me.”
Like Germany, America is in crisis. Most recently, the cases of Kim Davis, Planned Parenthood videos, and mass murderer Chris Harper-Mercer; not to mention the 18 trillion dollar national debt, which Candy Carson, wife of Presidential candidate Ben Carson says, “If we paid 10 million per day, would take 5000 years to pay off!” YES! America is in deep crisis.
How has the American church responded? Fasting, prayer, seeking God’s face?!?!
There are at least 2 responses that capture the American church’s present state and attitude:
1.The response to the Planned Parenthood videos
2.The church’s response to Obergefell gay marriage case
Many church people have either yawned at these monstrous evils, or simply turned their head, closing their eyes, acting like the monkey who: “sees no evil, hears no evil, and speaks no evil.”
Other Christians have declared, “Oh well, it’s Monday, back to work—Kay, sa ra, sa ra, whatever will be, will be!”
Christianity in Germany was split into:
1.Confessing Church. Those who attempted to remain true to the Word of God.
2.German Christians. Their name expresses their belief—Nationalism. They tried to Nazify Christianity.
In America, the church is also split into two names--Conservative and Liberal. The Conservative line of those who confess Christ attempt to remain true to the Bible; while the Liberal line, in the name of love and tolerance, bend the scriptures to their desire, promoting abortion and gay marriage, etc., while creating division through their own racism!
The final word is that, like the German Christians, the Liberal version of the American church will possess an ‘appearance’ of growth and dominance because media, government, academia, sports, business, music, etc., will both support and promote them. However, because the Bible says where sin abounds grace will much more abound(Rom5:20), the real church will experience actual growth because persecution will push us to make a stand for Christ! God will honor that stand, and bring many to Himself! The blood of the martyr is the seed of the church!
*These tidbits use Victoria Barnett’s, ‘For the Soul of the People’
If you develop the habits of success, you will make success a habit.