It has been well stated that if we do not learn lessons from history and the tragic consequences of bad decisions, they will be repeated. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
- From bondage to spiritual faith;
- From spiritual faith to great courage;
- From courage to liberty;
- From liberty to abundance;
- From abundance to complacency;
- From complacency to apathy;
- From apathy to dependence;
- From dependence back into bondage.
Sad, but true; and I am witnessing an ever-increasing dependence and move toward bondage. Keep in mind that without the freedom that can be found in a relationship with God through Christ, at best our freedom is limited. Without God’s help, true freedom will not be rightfully protected or preserved and liberty will soon be interpreted as license. I have shared with all who will listen and read that God has given me a great burden for our nation. We are not merely at a crossroads any longer. Nationally, we have taken the wrong road and most of the church has remained uninformed, lacking inspiration to act, and, without question, uninvolved.
Recently a concerned friend handed me a very important book. It is entitled When A Nation Forgets God written by Dr. Erwin Lutzer, the pastor of Moody Church for 30 years. I’ve had two meaningful visits with him on the phone. He is brilliant, very articulate and I am convinced he relates to many of the concerns God has placed on my own heart. In his book, he shares lessons we should learn from Nazi Germany, and I emphatically proclaim that we must learn them or freedom’s blessings in this nation could come to an end. Not for one moment am I implying that there is a person or personality on the scene like Hitler. But Americans are presently vulnerable to the power of deception which allows big government to become all-controlling like National Socialism was in Germany.
Remember, as I’ve said before, I am well-aware God can raise us up from the ashes and He can certainly use the tragic consequences of sinful choices to correct us, but I also hear clearly the invitation that Jesus offered while praying over Jerusalem long before the desolation that they might come to Him as chicks came to the safe covering of a hen’s sheltering wings.
I am crying out for all to come totally into the shadow of the Almighty and come quickly. I am not looking at the Second Coming as some escape mechanism. I am calling out to the church to become adorned in God’s glory as a fit and ready bride. I am challenging Christians to make the difference by revealing the light that can illuminate the way and offer solutions to the challenges we all face.
Let me say very pointedly to each one of you who has a job: you need to be thankful, but you also need to be concerned and now more actively involved in the decision-making process than ever. “Choose you this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” As Elijah asked, “How long halt you between two opinions?” Are you going to worship the God of Baal and numbers and boast in your accomplishments and what man has done, or are you going to seek God and thank Him for what you have? If you have a job, you need to be concerned. If you need a job, you need to be concerned. If you have been very, very successful, you need to look beyond your gain and your prosperity and begin to express appreciation for the fertile field you have worked in and ask God to forgive you for simply focusing on yourself, if that’s been the case. If you are in poverty, you need to be concerned because destroying prosperity will not lift anyone out of poverty. Get that deep down inside your soul!
Dr. Lutzer shares very clearly the tactics that Hitler used. He wanted the church to be forbidden from interfering in what he referred to as “temporal matters.” The state would be scrubbed clean of all Christian convictions and values and Hitler called this “positive Christianity” that was in line with government policies. The German people were led to become accustomed to the doctrine of “two spheres” which was interpreted to mean that Christ is Lord of the church, but the Kaiser (or Caesar) is, after a manner of speaking, lord over the political sphere.
The Germans were deceived into believing that allegiance to God was best demonstrated by allegiance to the state. Hitler stood down and negated the influence of two strong Christian theologians – Martin Niemöller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Although Niemöller and Bonhoeffer refused to buy in to the Nazi propaganda, the more than 2,000 pastors that had stood with them in the early stages of Nazi development withdrew their support.
Hitler had told Niemöller and other church leaders, “You confine yourselves to the church, and I will take care of the German people.” Niemöller left that meeting, which was intended to manipulate and nullify the effects of Christianity, by responding, “You said ‘I will take care of the German people.’ but we, too, as Christians and church men have a responsibility toward the German people. That responsibility is entrusted to us by God and neither you nor anyone in this world has the power to take it from us.” The sad fact is, other church leaders did not follow suit. They not only wavered, they waffled and soon disappeared.
In his book, Pastor Lutzer shared an eyewitness account of how some church members reacted to the Nazism of their times:
“I lived in Germany during the Nazi Holocaust. I considered myself a Christian. We heard stories of what was happening to Jews, but we tried to distance ourselves from it because what could we do to stop it. A railroad track ran behind our small church and each Sunday morning we could hear the whistle in the distance, and then the wheels coming over the tracks. We became disturbed when we heard the cries coming from the train as it passed by. We realized that it was carrying Jews like cattle in the cars. Week after week the whistle would blow. We dreaded to hear the sound of those wheels because we knew that we would hear the cries of the Jews in route to a death camp. Their screams tormented us. We knew the time the train was coming, and when we heard the whistle blow, we began singing hymns. By the time the train came past our church, we were singing at the top of our voices. If we heard the screams, we sang more loudly and soon we heard them no more.” And then the eyewitness shared with Pastor Lutzer, “ Although years have passed, I still hear the train whistle in my sleep. God forgive me, forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians and yet did nothing to intervene.”
I do not believe that we are even close to genocide or hatred that leads to the extermination of people we can see or hear, but many Americans without batting an eye (including church goers and professing Christians) have allowed more than 50 million unborn babies, whose cry could not be heard, to have their lives ended. The media and most Americans will not call it “taking a life,” they call it “a woman’s choice” and never even ask the question: “A woman’s choice to do what?” No one would be allowed to say, “Allowed to terminate a life – to actually kill an unborn baby.” No, it is referred to it as an “unidentifiable mass of tissue.” It is, in fact, not that. It is a life!
The conscience of many has been seared with a hot iron and the church simply sings louder. They say, “Oh yes, we care, but we can’t do anything.” Yes, we can because we as Christians have a choice! Roe vs. Wade is not the simple problem. Deceived hearts, irresponsible people and depraved thinking are the problems. People are walking in darkness not only because they love darkness rather than light, their deeds being evil, but because the church has not been a light.
I ask every one of you reading, are you just going to keep singing louder while everything precious in our country is destroyed and America also begins to depend upon Caesar, to depend upon Pharaoh and become slaves to the state? We are rapidly headed there and many people being appointed to the highest offices in our land care nothing about the law! They have a collective, secular, humanist mindset. They are going to continue to increase the power of the government until those of you who have a job will not have one. Those who have been successful will be accused of being the greatest problem, and much of what you have been blessed to produce will beconfiscated and distributed according to the will of the Caesar, the state, the power brokers. The Old Testament prophets often referred to the effect of forsaking God as eating away at life like a moth – slow destruction. Well, the moths are multiplying and are about to consume as did the locusts described by the prophet Joel.
Leaders deceptively used words like “freedom, peace and fairness” until the Germans were totally subject to the control of Nazi power. America does not face the evil of Hitler’s regime today, but the same tactics are being used by statists, progressives, and liberal theological minds that say: “It is for the greater good of the people.” Presently the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) believes that God must be separated, not just from government, but from every sphere of American life. Religion – particularly Christianity – must be ousted from government, law, education, and the workplace. They want the public square purged of any hint of religious value. The vacuum will then be filled with secular values – the cheapness of human life, abortion and euthanasia, the promotion of all forms of immorality including homosexual marriages and the sexualization of school children, often with pornography, and the ridicule of traditional values. And as a boy growing up without a father, I for one know how much damage can be done to the mind of a child and to all of us by free exposure to things we’d be better off not seeing. Such impressions sear into the minds of young people. Don’t ever doubt it.
Why are those who hate God so afraid of the truth? Are their minds too delicate to handle the truth? Why has today’s society come to only fear truth and to be totally intolerant of Christianity while in the name of tolerance demanding the right for every possible despicable action, practice and expression including the termination of innocent lives? Fyodor Dostoevsky famously said, “When God does not exist, anything is possible.”
In the 1970’s, I said homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible and pointed out that this lifestyle could be in some ways a danger to health (this was prior to the epidemic of AIDS). I was basically accused of hate speech and the Fairness Doctrine was used to take me off the largest television station in the south. Because Christian people stood up for me and the First Amendment, I was not only restored to the air under the banner of freedom of speech – the right to preach, but the Fairness Doctrine was rightly overturned. Many people believe that the bold public response of Christians standing together in behalf of the right to preach helped lead to the election of Ronald Reagan and the collapse of Soviet communism.
Nazi Germany saw hate speech as anyone stating an opinion that the government did not think should be expressed. Remember, those who worship the power of the state and interpret equality and individual rights as coming from government rather than from God will always work to diminish individual freedoms. Someone has said, “Statism is the golden calf of the modern world.” And I must say, it appears that without a response to the divine call of God to stand up and make a difference, the church will, in a very real way, be participating in the building and worshipping in this present day the golden calf.
In 1934, Niemöller, speaking from the pulpit of his church in Berlin, had a word for us today: “Verily a time of sifting has come upon us and even the most indolent and peaceful person among us must see that the calm of meditative Christianity is at an end. It is now springtime for the hopeful and expectant Christian church. It is testing time and God is giving satan a free hand so he may shake us up so that it may be seen what manner of men we are. Satan swings his sieve and Christianity is thrown hither and thither and he who is not ready to suffer, he who calls himself a Christian only because he thereby hoped to gain something good for his race and his nation is blown away like chaff by the wind of time. God is separating the wheat from the chaff.”
Bonhoffer was right when he said we will never be a victorious church until we see suffering as a divine gift. Now hear me loud and clear: the present-day suffering and trials are minor compared to what’s coming upon us if we don’t turn to God. And there will be no national repentance if the church doesn’t stand up and truly make a difference. Jesus never would have prayed for Jerusalem to come to Him like chicks to the mother hen if it had not been possible. He never would have prayed for the believers to be one with God and perfected in unity if it were not possible. I am living every moment of my life to be a part of the answer to the prayer of Jesus and I can tell you firmly that whatever the cost, I will be pursuing Him with my whole heart and I will love my neighbor.
I am inviting you — my friend, neighbor and hopefully fellow believer — to join me shoulder-to-shoulder, hearts in harmony with God’s, to help turn the tide. Yes, this time of testing is a time for the most glorious awakening of the church in human history and I am praying with all my heart it will happen. Don’t just sing louder, stand firmly and boldly for the truth that sets men free.
Here is another quote from Adolph Hitler: “How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.” In contrast, consider a quote from Benjamin Franklin, “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” Americans must not ever tolerate a government masquerading as God. Only He alone can give us real security and the possibility for personal well-being. Government without God cannot!
Thomas Jefferson was right when he said, “The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” Pastor Lutzer said, “It is almost as if our leaders are swiping our personal credit cards to get votes. The Bible’s warnings against bribes should also be applied to government. It is wrong for politicians to use our money to reward their supporters… To vote for the candidate who promised you the most money is stealing [since your entitlement is actually someone else’s money]. It might be legalized stealing, but it’s stealing nonetheless.”
Never doubt that liberal theology and the diminishing importance of the Word of God has contributed to the negative progressive trends of the present day. John Warwick Montgomery states, “The loss of the Bible leads to the loss of God, for in the Bible God is most clearly revealed. The loss of God leaves man at the naked mercy of his fellows where might makes right.”
Pastor Lutzer asserts “that a student of the history of law in the United States should have been able to predict that human life would soon be reclassified as unworthy of special protection. Abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, homosexual marriage – these are the inevitable results of secular humanism’s world view. When God dies, so does man!” And I add – so does freedom and opportunity.
My friend, we have a choice: the right to life and the right to choose whichever way we as individuals want to walk. If you choose life, you will choose God and His way for “He is the life and the light of men.” I am praying for the church to stop just singing louder and begin shouting loudly with lives that demonstrate the facts: “God is God! The Bible is true! And Jesus is Lord!”
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Much of this article is taken directly from Erwin W. Lutzer’s book When a Nation Forgets God: 7 Lessons We Must Learn from Nazi Germany . (Moody Press)