For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife. -Mark 6:18
John the Baptist, a prophet of God, rebuked Herod: a ruler, a politician, one with civil authority--for adultery. This passage, is one among many that rebukes Christians who advocate for the deception that fellow believers should remain out of politics! Nazi Germany may be the ultimate evidence that this error, may arguable be the greatest mistake of contemporary Christendom!
For the next tidbits, I will base my writing on the excellent book “For The Soul of The People”, by Victoria Barnett. I highly recommend this outstanding book.
As I have written before, I have had a ‘fascination’ with Nazi Germany from a child. Although I did not understand this ‘fascination’ for decades, I now know the reason to be that God would have me to understand and unveil the similarities of the church in pre-Nazi and Nazi Germany, to the church in contemporary America. Ms Barnett’s book has helped greatly with that understanding.
For this tidbit, let’s begin in 1933, the year Hitler takes power. Shortly after 1933, the German church split into the Confessing church, and the German Christians. The Confessing church is what we would consider the authentic church, while the German Christians were apostates. The German Christians were the religious face of the Nazis, while the Confessing church was the church of Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemoller. In case you are unfamiliar with these names:
-Karl Barth has been called by some the greatest theologian of the 20th century.
-Deitrich Bonhoeffer has been called the epitome of 20th century Christian martyrs
-Martin Niemoller is credited with probably the greatest quote of that period:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me”
With these significant men leading the way in the church, one would assume the Confessing church had it going on; that they certainly had to have been a bright light in the midst of such gross darkness! Yet, as we look back, the Confessing church, the supposedly real church--had some real issues! Mrs Barnett writes, “The only thing all Confessing Christians had in common was their opposition to the absolute demands of Nazi ideology on the religious faith” (pg5).
What happened? Why was this true? I believe there were at least two primary reasons:
By these two terms you might think I am referring to the apostate ‘German Christians’. On the contrary, I refer to the vast majority of the Confessing Church Christians!
What do these two things mean? By nationalism I mean a ultra-hyper patriotism. It is a patriotism that shouted, “Germany...right or wrong!” Many Germans, and Confessing church members, including Martin Neimoller (at least initially) believed Germany should win World War II!!
Authentic patriotism, on the other hand, speaks calmly, but carries a big stick (if you will)---saying, “United States right, to be kept right, and if wrong, to be made right.”
In my opinion, what was worse than Germany’s nationalism was their anti-semitism! It was through centuries of simmering German anti-semitism that enabled Hitler’s seduction! I use the word ‘seduction’ not ‘deception’, because Germans were not deceived by Hitler. Remember, Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf in 1925--a full 8 years before he assumed power--that he would annihilate the Jew, and enslave the slav!!! Therefore, Germans knew what they were getting!! Well before Hitler entered the picture, Germany was deceived by her anti-semitism, which again, is what I believe enabled both their nationalism and Hitler!
Incredibly, if these two horrific doctrines could infect the Confessing Church Christians, who were supposedly the authentic church in Germany, how much more would these unbiblical and unGodly philosophies affect the apostate church….let alone secular Germany?
Mrs Barnett makes a statement on page 6 that caused me to mark it, highlight it, and put a star by it—to emphasize my shock!
“The story of the Confessing Church, then, is not of the triumph of good over evil. Good people do not always recognize evil. Even when they do, their behavior is guided not only by strength of conscience or love of humanity but by fear, nationalism, and human weakness.”
All I can say is ‘WOW’!!!!
What profound points:
1.How can a Christian not recognize evil?
2.Her point was capped off by: Yet, “when they do, their behavior is guided” by at least 5 things:
a.strength of conscience
b.love of humanity
Without a second thought, we can easily agree that many ‘Christians’ in America do not recognize evil! Regarding her second point however, every letter with the exception of d.nationalism, describes most American Christians! Yet, if I replace nationalism with anti-Americanism*, we have an American church that can wear the German church shoe!
*I categorize racism as a sub-point of anti-Americanism. By racism, I mean liberal racism. In contemporary America, racism is driven by liberalism…both black and white liberalism!