The Curse of the Silent Church

by Ted Kyle

The Curse of the Silent Church

Erwin Lutzer, in his book, Hitler's Cross, spends most of his pages detailing Germany's abysmal descent, following the demonized leader, Adolf Hitler. All this happened more than a half-century ago, and many might think of it as ancient history. But the author is building up to a very pertinent point for the church today.

At one point, Lutzer paints the tragic scene of Germans en masse standing silent, with eyes averted, when Hitler's goons initiated what we call today the Holocaust. The Jews were first trumpeted as non-human-an inferior sub-species, which infected the blood stream of the nation. And then they were eliminated.

All this took place among a people who overwhelmingly (95 percent!) identified themselves as Christians-either Protestant or Catholic. But it was a badly-flawed religion, which had become commingled with nationalistic pride in the "German myth," and had become, for the most part, something distinctly less than the church which Jesus founded. Sadly, the churches were filled with Nazi banners and were led by pastors who "cooperated" with the government.

But before we condemn the church in Nazi Germany too loudly for allowing evil to flourish without effective protest, Lutzer invites us to see ourselves: "If Christians are silent at our universities for fear of being disgraced; if believers are intimidated at work because of new laws that might keep religion out of the workplace; if a Christian nurse is silent about abortion because to speak out would put her job in jeopardy…is not our sin even greater, since the consequences of our obedience to Christ are so minimal in comparison with what they faced? Are we qualified to sit in judgment of the church in Germany if we ourselves have never lost a job or failed a course because we are Christians?"

Germany had a handful of courageous pastors who stood against the floodtide. How many leaders do we have who will publicly stand against abortion, against homosexuality, against all that is ungodly in our once-great nation? And how many will we have when Christianity becomes a crime? More to the point, where will you stand, dear reader? Where will I?