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Hitler, Germany and Government

May 7, 2008

Often times a discussion of government involvement ends up at a place like Nazi Germany. If Christians are not involved in government what is to stop another Hitler?

I will be honest it is a hard one to disagree with. Recently I was reading the book Glow in the Dark by Bill Bright and Ron Jenson and they made this observation.

There were millions of Christians attending church every Sunday in Germany during the 1930’s, but with only a few exceptions, they did nothing to prevent their nation’s humiliation. In fact, many justified it and supported their government’s policies.

Now that is pretty stark isn’t it? They did nothing to prevent the holocaust. Embarrassing I should say. German pastor Martin Niemoeller has a famous quote in which he says that no one spoke up when they came for the communists, the Jews, the Unionists etc. until they came to get them.

Here are my struggles. First, the church was actively involved with the government at that point. How can we be so sure that this wasn’t part of the problem? People backing a government that claimed it would do good that actually carried out some of the greatest atrocities known to man.

You see a big assumption is that Christian involvement would have changed things when the actual facts show Christian involvement supported what happened.

We can argue that they didn’t follow the Christian ideal and the values of Christ and I would agree but how can you be so sure government involvement didn’t contribute to that fact?

One of the great stories that came out of World War II was that of Oskar Schindler. The story became Schindler’s List. The story is clearly not about a man who got involved in the government to change it or correct it. He worked against the government and within a corrupt system for the sake of 1,100 Jews. It is the story of one man doing what he could to save lives.

Think about this. What if after Hitler did what he did and the armies stopped him, what if the church had similar testimonies but not one but thousands? What if instead of individuals standing up for them it had been entire congregations? What would the story be today? What would the movie be?

It is easy to say government involvement could have stopped this but impossible to really know. It is a fact that a different response, no matter what Hitler decided, would have looked much different.

Imagine reading this in a book today…

There were millions of Christians attending church every Sunday in Germany during the 1930’s and with only a few exceptions they began to hide Jews and other undesirables as they worked to get them to a safe place. Many died for their efforts to stop this Holocaust and many Jews today have Christians to thank.

Imagine what that would say, think of how God would have been glorified.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 8, 2008 12:37 pm

    Interesting post brother.
    I love reading your blog.
    Keep up the great work!
    I hope you have a blessed week.

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