Today’s American church shows alarming parallels to the German church of the 1930’s. The so-called “christians” of the German church remained silent in the face of evil and one has to wonder if had they had had more Diedrich Bonhoeffer’s would the incredible evil of Hitler ever been unleashed?
When the train cars filled with dissidents would pass through town, those in the German church during Hitler’s reign would simply sing more loudly so as to drown out the cries of those in the boxcars heading to their gruesome deaths. “Sing with us they would say and do not worry about all the other issues out there. They do not concern us. Our job is to focus on God, and to pretend we can do so without fighting for those He loves, for those whose lives and futures are being destroyed before our very eyes.”
Diedrich Bonhoeffer was one of those dissident voices during the reign of Hitler. He called the German church to be God’s church in their time. He said that those who call themselves Christians have an obligation to God to get “political” if necessary and to take a bold – and likely dangerous – stand against their own government. The Germans and the world at large failed to heed his warning.
As believers, we all encounter ambiguous situations. But adopting a secular worldview, in whole or in part, is not “loving your neighbor.” Living as a courageous Christian who stands for the truth and extends an arm of love to others while never sacrificing the principles of God’s Word is what it means to “love your neighbor.”
Jesus was not crucified for what he did. He was crucified for what he said. Jesus was divisive. He challenged the practices and prejudices of the establishment of the time. He openly confronted the leaders of his day for their lack of spiritual substance. He was loving, BUT he was not considered nice to those who disagreed with him. While love (grace) and truth are optimal, are you more likely to be obedient to God through truth without love or love without truth?
And what if Jesus does not return for another 100 years or maybe 1,000? What life will we leave our children, our grandchildren? I for one am not willing to simply kneel and acquiesce. Even David, after kneeling and praying, stood up and picked up a rock.
“Live like Jesus is coming back tomorrow but be deciding like He is coming back in 1oo years.”
That is occupying the culture until He comes.”
Satan is VERY powerful right now. Worldview, culture, and politics are inseparable, and for anyone, especially church leaders, to say Christians have no business getting involved in any of those is doing a terrible, terrible disservice to God’s Children. If we do not get involved and influence culture and politics, then who do we leave it to? Answer: Satan and his minions.
Other questions we should all ponder:
- Had you been living in the early 19th century America; would you have said it was a sin to help slaves escape to freedom after the Dred Scott decision that said Blacks were mere property and could be owned and sold like chattel? Would you have instructed fellow believers to patiently wait and pray for the Supreme Court to reverse itself – while leaving millions of their fellow brothers and sisters in slavery?
- Had you been living in the 1920’s and ‘30s, would you have told fellow believers to stand down and simply pray while certain Americans deemed unfit to reproduce were forcibly sterilized simply because the Supreme Court said the practice was constitutional in their 1927 Buck v Bell decision?
- Had you been living in the 1940’s, would you have told fellow believers to stand down and pray while innocent American citizens of Japanese descent were forced into internment camps causing many to lose their homes, businesses, and families – all because the Supreme Court said it was constitutional to do so in their 1944 Korematsu v United Sates decision?
- Had YOU been living in 1944 Germany, would you have encouraged your fellow believers to simply stand down and pray while millions of Jews and other political dissidents, including many Christians, were rounded up and placed into internment camps where they were forced into slave labor and worked to death or were gassed and had their bodies cremated in massive furnaces?
- How many millions of lives would have been saved had the “Church” stood up as one and forcefully denounced and spoke out against the unconstitutional Supreme Court decision on abortion?
The evil that has fallen on the world in general and America specifically has, for countless generations, persuaded many in the American Church to believe that to fight this evil is to abandon the “Gospel.” This is not only pure nonsense but supremely deceptive and is a satanic lie designed purely to silence those who would speak out in truth.
Where did we ever get the idea that we should not express any number of things too loudly? Where did we ever get the idea that we should not be at the forefront of criticizing the Great evil of Communism? Who decided that being too political means not being Gospel-oriented?
The truly faithful have always been called to speak the truth and to fight against injustice of any kind. We are obliged to courageously bring our faith to bear on all issues.
So those who want us to behave as if there is nothing to worry about and to think that we should avoid fighting this evil at every corner are mistaken.
Can silence be construed as condoning something? Yes. Romans 1:26-32: Even condoning sin, is sin.
In the Old Testament God sent prophets to call the people of God to actually be the people of God. Scripture appears to be clear that when God’s people did not act like God’s people, God sent His prophets; but if the prophet’s warnings went unheeded, judgment fell. We are on that same cliffs edge right now.
Christians have allowed this collapse by remaining silent, but we can no longer afford to be silent.
For Christians, love of neighbor DOES NOT MEAN obeying the commands of false worldviews (Matthew 22:34-39).
For Christians, love of neighbor DOES MEAN you do what God commands, not what the world demands, and from that God-obeying stance, reach out to others in grace and truth.
On the final day, is God going to be more concerned with whether you were loving or is He going to ask if you were obedient to the truth?
The lesson from Bonhoeffer’s life and the Holocaust is that we cannot remain silent in the face of evil.
Every action we take has one of two effects: either it helps bring down a foretaste of heaven or it helps establish a hell on earth. Either we are a part of the world’s brokenness or we are helping God make the world righteous by working with him to change it. Either the reign of God is being established or the reign of Satan is being advanced. So, every time you nod your head to a lie, you are helping to create hell on earth. If you are choosing between being divided by truth or united by lies, ALWAYS choose division by truth.
The Great Commission and the Cultural Commission are Inseparable
Culture is a decidedly human phenomenon, arising out of our creation by God in His image and likeness. It is essentially a relational activity. We either build or tear down, there is no middle ground.
Unfortunately, in our highly pluralistic culture, those of us who claim to be Evangelical, Born-Again Christians with a Biblical Worldview make up a paltry 6% of the American population.
This is why having a Biblical Worldview is so critical.
If you do not recognize evil, judge it, or confront it, you will be incapable of fighting it.
The failure to understand the capacity of evil in man is what has brought us to this brink of chaos and tyranny.
Maybe we have lost our influence over the culture because the church has focused solely on the Great Commission of saving souls and has neglected to save/build the culture as the Cultural Commission [Genesis 1:26-28] commanded.
“Let’s think about what this means for each of us. We were redeemed from sin. But is that it? Redeemed just to wait for heaven and life to come? We are, also, redeemed for something. As Christ’s ambassadors, we have the privilege of carrying out His work in culture. Christians tend to make much of Christ’s resurrection (past) and His second coming (future) – but they forget that He is alive and active all around us right now.” ~ Chuck Colson, Colson Fellows Biblical Worldview Foundation