By Brannon S. Howse
In his book The Nazi Persecution of the Churches, J.S. Conway documents that, in 1938, the head of the Gestapo wrote in his annual report that “the situation in the Churches is characterized by weariness with the struggle, by uncertainty of purpose and by lack of courage.”
Could this same report be written about most of the churches in America? Far too many self-professing Christians want nothing to do with a faith that requires struggle and sacrifice, yet the Bible is filled with stories of men and women who suffered for the cause of Christ. In 2 Timothy the Apostle Paul writes:
Verse 1:8—Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God.
1:12—For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
2:33—You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
2:8-9—Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained.
3:12—Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
4:5—But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
And what is the end result for those of us that follow Paul’s example? He tells us in 2 Timothy 4:7-8:
[quote] I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. [end quote]
But what awaits those who have used the Church for personal gain and betrayed the biblical Gospel, persecuted and ridiculed the saints, been part of the religious Trojan Horse, and built a false, dominant church that will eventually be destroyed? Matthew 7: 21-23 describes the scene:
[quote] Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” [end quote]
Although many Christians in Germany become weary with the struggle against tyranny, the Bible commands us not to tire of well doing: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9). In addition to neglecting the individual calling of each Christian, the church in Germany, as so many of today’s churches, forgot the calling and purpose of a New Testament Church. When measured against the New Testament, most churches in America should not even be called churches, and the men leading them should not be called pastors. They are not much more than social clubs and corporations run by CEOs, and I believe much of this can be laid at the feet of men like Rick Warren with his Purpose-Driven Church movement that is anything but aligned with the biblical purpose of the New Testament Church.
Many Germans responded to Hitler by retreating into neutrality, and today, most Americans prefer to remain neutral on moral issues that they think don’t affect them personally. In Germany, pastors often cited Romans 13:1-2 to encourage Christians to obey the Nazis. Today in America, many pastors have a false view of Romans 13:1-2 and have convinced millions that to disobey God is acceptable if commanded to do so by governing authorities. This poor training will facilitate Christians here doing just as German Christians did if faced with similar challenges.
Becoming a leader does not mean you must be on the radio, give speeches, or even stand up in front of a group. An effective influencer leads through his or her actions and lifestyle. Lovingly defending and proclaiming truth in a world bent on political correctness is leadership. Even in private conversations, leading can take the form of lovingly correcting another person’s false beliefs or ideas.
While the false church in Germany was impacted by financial collapse during the Weimar Republic, which precipitated the rise of Hitler, the false church in America has been impacted by financial affluence. It was said that the churches in Germany were characterized by weariness with the struggle, and it could be said that the churches in America—increasingly since the 1990s—have been characterized by intoxication with pleasure, entertainment, and hedonism, all of which is the antithesis of the biblical purpose of a true New Testament Church.
Copyright 2015 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative.