I just finished reading the new Dietrich Bonhoeffer biography by Eric Metaxas – Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. It was a long read I really enjoyed. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of Germany’s brightest young theological minds during the rise and rule of Adolf Hitler. As Hitler rose to power and began to commit terrible atrocities against the Jews and any who stood in his way, Bonhoeffer was one of the few who spoke out, and worked behind the scenes to over throw and even assassinate the crazed dictator. For that he would be hanged at the young age of 38, by a direct order from Hitler himself, just weeks before the Allied forces marched into Berlin.
What was the condition of the church when Hitler came to power? The great, historic Lutheran church had lost it’s way, and had grown weak. The leading German seminaries were teaching that the Bible was not the inspired, infallible Word of God, but a collection of stories complied over a long period of time from different sources. The German church had nothing to stand upon, and was filled with nominal Christians. When Hitler came to power instead of standing against him, the German church actually embraced him. He was their long awaited messiah. Hitler was able to bring the nominal Christians into his fold, and he used them for his own purposes. Instead of speaking out, the church was swept away, and actually participated in and supported Hitler’s monstrous crimes. In the end six million Jews would be murdered.
It really shows me that what we believe about the Bible is critical. If we treat it like a book of fairy tales the church will be weakened, and will be in no place to stand up and be the light of the world, a city set on a hill, the salt of the earth. Our dark world today desperately needs a church who stands upon, proclaims, defends, and clings to the timeless Word of God. Without that conviction we are nominal, name only Christians, who belong to a club not the body of Christ. So, our world today needs more churches, real churches, dedicated to the cause of Jesus Christ. Only then will their be sufficient salt to preserve the world around us from the decay and rot that is always trying to creep in and corrupt.