I am usually reading three books at any one time; I have one in my bedroom, one in my living room and one in my library - the latter giving me something to do while waiting my turn on the computer! Currently, my bedroom book is Volume one of a 10-volume set on the writings of the ante-Nicene Fathers, and I am in the last half of this book, reading Irenaeus’ Against Heresies. In the living room is War Against the Weak, which is a history of the eugenics movement. And for waiting my turn I am currently reading The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Of course, whenever a new journal or other apologetic news letter arrives in the mail, books get set aside until I’ve finished reading the new stuff. Occasionally someone will give me a book with a request that I read it, either for reporting on or because they think it is important enough for me to put as a priority. The book I just finished is in that latter category.
When A Nation Forgets God, by Erwin W. Lutzer, is a must read for all Christians, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt non-Christians to read it. The subtitle is, 7 Lessons We Must Learn From Nazi Germany. Lutzer demonstrates parallels to how the USA is currently operating compared to the way Nazi Germany rose to power, and it is quite sobering.
In reality, there is nothing in the book which I haven’t read before, but Lutzer packs it all succinctly in 141 pages, in a format which makes for an easy read. The seven lessons are as follows:
1. When God is separated from government, judgment follows. Lutzer explains how the Nazi government slowly removed any reference to God from German schools and politics, in the same way we are doing in America. “When God is ousted from government, transcendent values are replaced by *) The raw use of power, *) Eroticism, *) Arbitrary judicial rulings *) The morality of personal pragmatism."
2. It’s always the economy. Summed up this way: “When given a choice, most people probably will choose bread and sausage above the free market and individual liberties. ...many people would prefer economic equality along with tyranny rather than economic opportunity with freedom.”
3. That which is legal might also be evil. Lutzer cites R. J. Rushdoony: “If the source of law is the individual, then the individual is the god of that system...if source of law is our court then the court is our god. If there is no higher law beyond man, then man is his own god... When you choose your authority, you choose your god, and when you look for your law, there is your god.” This allowed Hitler to define Jews as non-human as well as allowing the U.S. Supreme Court to define the pre-born as non-human. Laws can make actions legal, but they can’t make them moral.
4. Propaganda can change a nation. Lutzer quotes Hitler as saying, “How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think!” The same type of propaganda Hitler used to get Germany to accept his beliefs as true is being used now by those promoting the homosexual agenda. “[A cultural current] is a dominant idea promoted by the media and willingly adopted by a critical mass of people who want to believe a myth so badly they will close their minds to all contrary evidence. When such cultural movement gains momentum, people will stare at facts and filter out what they don’t want to believe. Contrary evidence will be ignored or reinterpreted to fit their deepest wishes. And the more people who believe the myth, the more difficult it is for those who wish to counter it. In a spirit of euphoria, all warning signs are brushed aside. Before we know it, we are in a world where facts do not matter.” (Lutzer’s emphasis)
5. Parents - not the state - are responsible for a child’s training. In Germany Hitler forced all children into public education so as to be able to indoctrinate them in Nazi philosophy. Hitler stated, “Your child belongs to us already...what are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.” State-sponsored education in America is radically changing the values of our children, and more and more of the leftist agenda is being forced upon them without parents being able to do anything about it.
6. Ordinary heroes can make a difference. Lutzer gives many examples of Christians who did not join the state church in compromising to Hitler and often gave their lives for it. We, as Christians, must not compromise our faith just because we don’t want to be persecuted. “But 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; in short, if we keep Christ to ourselves out of fear of reprisals, are we not taking our stand with those pastors in Germany who chose to close ranks with Hitler?”
7. We must exalt the cross in the gathering darkness. “[Bonhoeffer] warned that when a people idolize a leader, ‘then the image of the leader will gradually become the image of the “misleader.” Thus the leader makes an idol of himself and mocks God.'” The church in America, on the whole, has compromised the message of the cross for self-help and self-esteem teachings, as well as entertainment-oriented worship. Without the cross being central to our teachings, we will have nothing to stand on. “Destroyed for being blinded by the pride of nationalism instead of being humbled by its great need for repentance. The church stood with pride, but it would not bow in humility. The church neglected the cross and had to live with the consequences.”
I recommend you get a copy of this book ASAP, and buy many more to pass out. At only $7.99 retail, it should be a relatively inexpensive item to get into as many hands as possible.