Friday, October 18, 2013

Misled churches in Nazi Germany: Lessons for US?

Many reasons are given for the German population being sucked into the whole Nationalist Socialist Party scheme.  Things all the way from a charismatic leader (Hitler) to  discriminatory feelings (anti-Semitism) to abused doctrine of the state church (Lutheran/Reformed Two Kingdoms) to fear of a threatening nation and ideology (Russia and Communism).  Stoke these feelings of anguish, fear, and hope in a population and the folks will follow you anywhere.  And they did.

We have parallel reasons why an authoritarian government  in the United States is well on its way.  In fact, with some minor changes of actors and circumstances the factors are eerily similar.

Hitler was a charismatic leader.  And so is Obama and who knows who will follow him.

Anti-Semitic feelings were part of Germany’s social fabric since well before Hitler.  Part of the prejudice originated in religious differences, especially the latent belief among some Christians that Jews killed Christ.  But there is a more practical reason, one that hits on pride and pocketbook.  And that is the intellect and success of the Jews in Europe. 

Here is a little background from

When Jews entered into Europe in large numbers during the Middle Ages, "they found themselves living among primitive Western people who were repelled by their superior intelligence and their clever business acumen. There was mutual contempt and hate . . . the two peoples were living geographically alongside each other, but they were immersed in different cultural stages."

This contempt and hate grew and became part of the fabric of the German culture up until much of it (not all) was wrung out by Germany’s defeat in WWII. 

This situation has its parallels in present day United States.  Today we call it pitting one class against another which Obama does very well.  This began in the form of the so-called 1%, i.e. the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Even though the accused 1% may be 50% of our population, this 50% is seen as having an “unfair” advantage over the masses in terms of income, wealth and influence.   It doesn’t matter that this 50% is more responsible, works harder, and is more law abiding.   The “masses” have in fact captured the power structure of the federal government and are using the government to discriminate against the 50% of us they call the 1%.  This is today’s equivalent of the Jews in Germany’s  Hitler era.  Both the Jews of Germany and the “1%” in the US are seen as evil due to the jealousy of the many slackers within the entitlement community.  That is visceral and motivational for the prejudiced.  And both the government in Germany and the government in the United States have taken advantage of that jealousy and gradually developed policies to put the rest of us in our place:  The Jews first, and now conservative Christians.  (Note for those who might take offense:  Conservative Christians and Jews, even those of lower income or receiving aid of some sort, are less likely to develop the jealousy and quest for revenge that comes to the entitled masses so easily.)

Now comes the Church.  Protestantism was by far the primary religion in Germany, double the number of Catholics.  And Lutheranism was by far the largest denomination of Protestants.  That church was funded by the State.  So you can imagine how little separation between church and state there really was, a concept foreign to Germany.

At the same time, the Lutherans and Reformed churches had a pervasive doctrine called “Two Kingdoms.”  The portion of that doctrine used by the State and embraced by the churches was that part of Romans Chapter 13 that says, in its first few verses:

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.

The parts of the Two Kingdoms doctrine the churches downplayed and mostly forgot was the separateness of the Spiritual Domain (the Church) from the Secular Domain (the State) and the need to be “salt and light” in a fallen world. An abusive government is what occurred when the above Romans 13 verses were elevated above all others.  What made it even worse was the Church’s reliance on government funding, causing the Church to be virtually one and the same as the Third Reich.   So, the  Church was not merely separate and silent; it not merely failed to exert itself with Christian boldness to influence the government for Bible-based morality, but the Church partnered with the State, forgetting its own job description.

What is happening with the Church in THIS country?  For starters, the Church has lost its way.  It has succumbed in many denominations, the biggest ones, to a secular world view – jettisoning the orthodox values of Christianity for the secular orthodoxy of the culture and the Federal Government.  The Church has established not merely separation from the State, but a rigid taboo against any attempt to influence the government for Bible-based morality.  In fact, in many respects, a growing number of denominations are actually partnering with the government to either go along with or endorse and promote governmental mandates concerning morality:  abortion, birth control, and gay marriage come to mind.  This is little different than the State Churches of Germany partnering with the Third Reich.

And yet again many churches are abusing the Two Kingdoms doctrine as if “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities…” is the only verse of Scripture.  Churches are silent about government encroachment into the Spiritual Domain.  And we have no Dietrich  Bonhoeffers on the horizon to give us courage. 

The US equivalent of government funding is the church’s tax exempt status.  Many church leaders quash any message that smacks of criticizing or influencing public policy because of their fear of losing their tax exempt status – an overblown fear.  It is likely that church leader fears of losing tax exempt status is conveniently hidden by their over interpretation of their “separation” or two kingdoms doctrine.  They can feel really “Biblical” that way – in a perverted sense.  It is sad the way doctrine can be so easily manipulated into conforming with the culture and government in vogue at the moment.  Is this Biblical adaptation or Biblical unfaithfulness?

And finally, The Threat.  What threat will our government use to rally the masses around an authoritarian Big Brother government?  What will be the US equivalent to the German people’s fear of Russia and Communism?  This is the remaining unknown before our nation lapses full throttle into an oppressive and out of control nation a la Nazi Germany.

Some guesses include Islamic terror (this is popular among conspiracy theorists who still consider 9-11 to be a “false flag” event perpetrated by our government to create a catalyst for enabling government overreach.  This theory is a mixed bag.  We do have a number of blatant losses of liberty due to enhanced national security on one hand.  On the other hand our government denies the threat of Islam.  Strange to say the least.)

Other guesses include a purposeful financial collapse.  This appears more likely given endless federal policies to spend more, increase the debt more, and tax more.

And some others guess it could be a cataclysmic world event that affects our interests, such as a nuclear Iran attacking Israel.

We don’t know what it will be, but most of the pieces are in place that set the stage for our government turning tyrannical.  This will be due in large part to the failure of our churches doing their job of influencing our culture and public policy with Biblical morality, attitudes, and values.

1 comment:

rjones said...

Our household has had many discussions about the current administration being foisted upon us. Is it God's will because he cannot find enough righteous people in our country who worship Him in the manner that He wants us to? Or is it God letting things happen because he has given us free will or choice, if you prefer?
I personally believe it is a combination of both. The government, at all levels, has kicked God out of government spaces such as schools, the town squares, the military (in some areas). Yet He does continue to bless those who believe and have entered a relationship with Jesus, His son, and accept the Christ as their own personal savior.
My grandson left the church awhile ago and yet, when he entered basic training at Parris Island, church and Bible studies have again become part of his life. It's possible that the military led him back. In any event, for this realization on his part, I thank Jesus Christ.