"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
Throughout the rise of Nazism in the 1930's there were many who opposed the movement led by Adolf Hitler. Churches along with many individuals stood up for the Jewish people while they were being brutally persecuted. "Nazism infiltrated the Protestant Churches under the banner of the German Christians (Deutsche Christen) movement. The "German Christians" sprang up throughout protestant parishes. The organization advocated the creation of an "Aryan Paragraph" in church synods that would prevent non-aryans (Jewish converts) from participating, ministering, or teaching within the churches. However, there were some church officials who opposed the movement."(1) Some of the churches involved in the resistance against the Nazi's were the "Confessing Church". By resisting to Hitler's plan they were faced with severe persecution. This however never stopped them from standing up for Jews while saving many of their lives in the process.
The Confessing Church was started by Martin Niemoller after he developed the Pastors' Emergency League in 1933. This league was developed after Niemoller realized that Hitler was indenturing the Gospel with the Nazi ideology.
Niemoeller said, "First they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was not one left to speak for me!"
His early passivism is what drove him to start the Pastors' Emergency League because he had stood by long enough. Niemoeller began this emergency league because he saw that many churches were taking oath with Hitler. He could not confess his oath to Hitler because he did not feel that it would be what Jesus would do if he were in the same position. The Pastors' Emergency League soon became the Confessing Church that had very prominent members who also vowed to stand opposed to the Aryan law. Some of the most predominant members were Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
In our time it is also important for us to stand up for those who can not stand up for themselves. (The poor, the battered, the neglected, and even those of other religions who are being persecuted.) It is the Christian thing to do. It is the right thing to do. It is what Jesus would have us do.
If we see someone throwing a brick through a Muslim's shop we should stop them. If we see someone abusing someone because of their race or sexual practices, we should confront them with the error of their ways. If we can not persuade them to stop then we may be forced to report them to those in our community who can. We may actually one day be called upon to stop injustice or fight for what we know is right.
A vocal church can often stop uninformed masses if they speak with one voice and speak clearly the message of Christ. But even if the whole Christian community does not rise up at injustice, you can. Jesus led his small band of believers to turn the world upside down. He can do the same thing through you.
1. Cleef, Ron Van, "Lights in the Darkness: Resisters to the Nazi Regime" [work on-line],1997, (accessed 3 October 2009); available from http://hometown.aol.com/baronvanc/christa.htm, or http://web.archive.org/web/20061006090121/hometown.aol.com/baronvanc/christia.htm; internet.
Daily prayer focus: Pray for courage to always do the right thing in the face of injustice.
On The Go Prayer Focus: On The Go's Neighborhood Outreach Program. In reality, very little is being done to reach people in many communities across the USA. On The Go is striving to train local Christians and help them develop programs that can systematically and permanently reach real needs in their neighborhoods.
Thank you for taking the time to pray for this important division of On The Go Ministries. For more information on any our ministries here at On The Go, you may send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On The Go Daily Devotion for November 11, 2017
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