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The Sin of Silence

October 31st, 2013 2 comments

hitler and clergy

On September 6, 2000 at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, MO
Dr. Laurence White, the senior pastor, Our Savior Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas gave a prophetic address directed toward American pastors and their congregations. In his address, he compared what took place among the clergy during Hitler’s rise to power with what is taking place in the American Church today. White writes:

When Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, he scornfully dismissed the church, and her pastors, as an irrelevant force which posed no threat to the Nazi agenda for that great nation. “I promise you,” he boasted to his inner circle, “that if I wish to I could destroy the church in just a few years. It is hollow, it is rotten, and false through and through. One push and the whole structure would collapse.”

“We should trap the preachers,” he said, “by their notorious greed and self-indulgence. We shall thus be able to settle everything with them in perfect peace and harmony. I shall give them a few years reprieve, why should we quarrel? They will swallow anything in order to keep their material advantage. The parsons will be made to dig their own graves, they will betray their God for us, they will betray anything for the sake of their miserable jobs and incomes.”

The dictator’s words proved to be tragically accurate. The great majority of Christians in Germany looked the other way and minded their own business. They kept their religion and their politics strictly separate from one another, and refused to vote on the basis of single issues which would have set them apart from the rest of the electorate. They blended in and they went along and they followed the path of least resistance. They did that which was expedient and practical and safe, while their country was dragged down into a swirling maelstrom of barbarism and death.

My prayer is that Rev. White’s words, spoken over a decade ago, will not be true about the Church in America today. We must speak boldly on the biblical issues of life, marriage and religious liberty before these precious gifts from God are trampled before our eyes. Now is not a time for blending in, getting along and avoiding conflict. These are all code words for men who have lost their fear of God and their courage to speak on His behalf. Those who sin by silence will, as Hitler boasted, be forced to dig their own graves.