Tag Archives: Hitler

JRF

JRF’s #2 – The Lamb and the Fuhrer by Ravi Zacharias

I often listen to master apologist Ravi Zacharias’ podcast and have been meaning to read a book by him. This short book, with an interesting title and concept seemed like a good place to start. I’m not so sure.

The concept of the book (and “Great Conversations” series) is simple but intriguing – “what would the conversation between Jesus and Hitler be like at the Final Judgement?

While there were great apologetical points made during the conversation a few things bothered me:

1. Zacharias’ Arminian perspective is evident in some places, and in my view diminish the glory of God. For example in a section where Hitler asks Jesus why He didn’t just make people love Him, Jesus responds, “It’s not enough to command love; it must be wooed” (p.81). Is this to imply that, among other things, that if someone does not fall in love with Christ, it is because Christ is an incompetent wooer? This seems to contradict Scriptures like John 10:14-18, John 6:37 and many others that speak of the sovereign, gracious, irresistible call of the Shepherd to His sheep. If Jesus had never made me love Him, I wouldn’t.

2. For some reason Bonhoeffer shows up as sort of a prosecutor. This was interesting but unnecessary. He is given some of the best lines.

3. There is just something that feels trite about Jesus arguing with Hitler. Maybe I’m way off but I can’t imagine Hitler (or anyone not reconciled to Christ) being able to keep his underwear clean, let alone verbally contending with, the risen, glorified Christ sitting on His throne of judgement.

I still admire and will continue to learn from Ravi Zacharias and his ministry. But I don’t think I will be recommending this book to many people.

JRF

JRF’s #3 – Hitler’s Cross by Erwin Lutzer

Adolph Hitler’s rise to power did not happen in a vacuum.  In this thought-provoking book, pastor Erwin Lutzer traces the story of how Hitler’s Nazis came to power in the very heartland of the Protestant Reformation.  Through tracing the cultural, theological and political storylines of pre-World War II Germany Lutzer skillfully shows what happens when patriotism, nationalism, and humanism are given a higher place than the Gospel and Biblical fidelity in the church.

It was at once fascinating and terrifying to examine how Hitler deceived, seduced, and hijacked the German church to serve his diabolical purposes.  It was also inspiring to learn of the brave few believers who stood against both Hitler and the apostate church at the cost of their reputation and lives.

Lutzer gives much food for thought in regard to how this “christian” nation with such a rich theological history was so easily led down such a Satanic path…and what that means for the American church.  While I at times think Lutzer overgeneralizes or connects dots through assumption rather than hard facts, his assumptions are well worth considering.

I leave you with a few questions:  Were the church-going German people any less depraved than you and me?  Why were they able to silence their conscience and give tacit or even enthusiastic approval to the slaughter of their neighbors?  Are we as American Christians susceptible or even guilty of conveniently being apathetic to injustice or even genocide in our own midst?  Have we put our faith in the power of politics over the power of the Cross?

Read Hitler’s Cross to have your mind engaged and your soul stirred to stand for the Gospel at the cost of your life, for the good of your neighbor, and to the glory of God.

 

“Denying God and casting down the cross is never a merely private decision that concerns only my own inner life and my personal salvation, but this denial immediately brings the most brutal consequences for the whole of historical life and especially for our own people.  ’God is not mocked.’  The history of the world can tell us terrible tales based on that text.”

- Helmut Thielicke

 

“The Cross reminds us that the battle is not so much between church and state as it is within our own hearts.  If Christ has all of us, if the Cross stands above politics and the world as Bonhoeffer has reminded us, we shall overcome regardless of the cost.”

 

 

mark

Mark’s #28 – In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson

In 1933, America and the world was gripped in economic crisis known later as “The Great Depression”.  Fresh off his campaign promises of “change” (he may have used the term “hope” as well), newly elected President Roosevelt now faced the difficult task of making good on such promises.  Americans were eager to restore the economy, and even more eager to avoid any military involvement around the world.
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Meanwhile, in Germany, a charismatic leader was rallying the German people and infusing a level of nationalistic pride rarely seen in history.   Of course, we now know how the story of Hitler and the Nazis progressed and ended, but in 1933 the fate of world history was still very much “up in the air”.
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In the Garden of Beasts gives the readers a vivid and unique insiders look at 1933-34 Berlin through the stories of two principle characters; newly appointed Ambassador to Germany William Dodd and his young adult daughter Martha.
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Knowing how the story ends so tragically, as I read this book, it was hard not to cringe whenever the Ambassador, other members of the State Department, the president, or the American people would somehow think the best of Germany and the Nazis. Dodd, a history professor by trade, eventually does connect the dots and is able to see the terrifying direction the Nazi party will eventually lead the world… though it was either too late, or too few western democracies were willing to face reality.
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As for Martha, she basically ‘sleeps’ her way through Berlin, with a variety of illicit affairs and trysts.  Most notably, she had prolonged and overlapping love affairs with the head of the Gestapo as well as the Russian ambassador to Germany.  In my opinion, these retellings in the book were too long and uninteresting.
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As is common with history books, there are many lessons to be learned and applied in our day… but will we choose to learn from the past, or will we choose to put our heads in the sand as most of America and other western democracies did while Hitler scrambled to gain absolute power.
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