by Erwin W. Lutzer
Excerpted by Alex
Here are some excerpts from that book chosen at random beginning with pages 20, 21,22: THE FIRST REICH (800 - 1806)
Charlemagne (you do remember him, don't you?) was crowned emperor by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day in the year 800. Charlemagne was praying in front of a crypt in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome while Leo sang the mass. Then without warning, Leo placed the crown on Charles's head as the congregation gave their blessing. Charles was both surprised and pleased: he left St. Peter's determined to used the sword to build the one universal Catholic church. His conquest bought unity to Europe and began the Holy Roman Empire (an empire that Voltaire said was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire!).
Nevertheless, Charlemagne, or Charles the Great, cemented the growing unity of church and state that was begun during the days of Constantine (274-337). During the first two centuries A.D., the church was persecuted by the Roman Empire: when Constantine conquered the city of Rome in 312, the church married its enemy and became corrupted by it. The sword of steel (the state) would now exist to promote the sword of Scripture (the church). The coronation of Charles the Great was the high point of the fatal marriage. Though Charles had mistresses and a limited education, he saw his role as the protector of the doctrines of the church. Since infant baptism was the law of the land, anyone who was baptized as an adult upon profession of faith in Christ was persecuted and even put to death. It was not that Charles was interested in theology, rather, he believed that the universal church had to remain universal, encompassing everyone within the boundaries of the empire. Religion unified the diverse countries, and infant baptism would keep future generations "Christian."
THE NAZIS WRAPPED THE CROSS IN THE SWASTIKA, AND IT BECAME A WEAPON TO FURTHER HITLER'S AGENDA
Of course the state also persecuted those who differed from its interpretation of the Mass and those who spurned the authority of the pope. Such "heretics" were tried, imprisoned, or even put to death. Interestingly, many true believers claimed that little changed when the Roman Empire was "christianized." Previously, they were persecuted by pagan Rome: now they were persecuted by the religious Rome. Either way, the sword hurt just as much!
This uneasy relationship between church and state (sometimes cozy, sometimes competitive, and often corrupt) did not end with the reformation of 1517. Even today the church in Europe (both Catholic and Protestant) is supported through taxes. Of course the so-called golden rule often applies; Whoever has the gold has the rule! In my opinion, the marriage of church and state is always detrimental to the mission of the church. Either the church will change its message to accomodate the state's political agenda, or the political leaders will use the church to their own ends. Regardless, the purity of church is compromised.
This unholy unity contributed to the paralysis of the church during the Hitler era. At the very moment it should have been condemning the politics of the day with one unified voice, the church found its existence dependent upon the good will of the state. The church had a history of allegiance to its militaristic Prussian heros. In the fourth century Constantine had the cross of Christ emblazoned on the shields of his soldiers: in the twentieth century the Nazis wrapped the cross in the Swastika, and it became a weapon to further Hitler's agenda.
Pages 128-129: THE "GERMAN CHRISTIANS" REVEAL THEIR AGENDA
On November 13, 1933, the "German Christians" staged a massive rally in the Sports Palace in Berlin. The demonstrations opened with a procession of Nazi flags. Then a choir sang, "Now Thank We All Our God," and a chorus of trumpets blared out, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." In opening remarks it was said that the "Faith Movement" had not yet achieved all its goals and the "enemy had to be pursued until he fled in disarray."
Then Dr. Krause, a dignitary of the "German Christians," gave a sensational, if not blasphemous speech to the twenty thousand people present. He pled for a second German "Reformation." Interrupted by thunderous applause, he declared that if the church was to find a home in Germany, the first step was;
"the liberation from all that is un-German in liturgy and confession, liberation from the Old Testament with its Jewish recompense ethic, from all these stories about cattle-dealers and pimps.......Our provincial church will have to see to it that all obviously distorted and superstitious reports should be expunged from the New Testament, and that the whole scapegoat and the inferiority-type theology of the rabbi Paul should be renounced in principle, for it has perpetuated a falsification of the Gospel".Unquote.
Now I turn to David S. Wyman's book, "The Abandonment of the Jews" just to show you what kind of fair weather friends "Christians" really are:
In the chapter titled "Responsibility" on pages 317 - 318- "America's Christian churches were almost inert in the face of the Holocaust and nearly silent too. No major denomination spoke out on the issue. Few of the many Christian publications cried out for aid to the Jews. Few even reported the news of extermination, except infrequently and incidentally.
On the Protestant side, Quakers and Unitarians responded to the moral challenge through their service committees. But both denominations were tiny. An even smaller organization, the Church Peace Union, persistently but vainly pressed the churches to take a stand and urged the government to act. Mercedes Randall of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom published The Voice of Thy Brother's Blood, a booklet calling for action "one of the most urgent matters of our time." The only comprehensive discussion of the Jewish disaster issued by an American Christian source during the Holocaust, Randall's essay closed with a clear warning: "If we fail to feel, to speak, to act, it bespeaks a tragedy more fateful than the tragedy of the Jews.....We have passed by on the other side...Shall we have to live out lives with that terrible cry upon our lips.....Am I my brother's keeper?" -----------------------------------------------
Another question---With friends like these, who the hell needs enemies?
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