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Maybe America Needs a Pastors Emergency League

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Hitler’s agenda for the domination of Germany included the introduction of Nazi philosophy into, and Nazi dominance over, Germany’s churches. Predicting his success in this, he said, “The parsons will dig their own graves. They will betray their God to us. They will betray anything for the sake of their miserable jobs and incomes.” He was right. Around 95% of the pastors willingly and enthusiastically allowed their congregations to to be Nazified and become part of the “official” church of the Third Reich. But about 5% of Germany’s churches refused to go along. They took their stand. They did so courageously, and as publicly and on as large a scale as they could.

The pastors of the churches that came to be known as the Confessing Church were courageous and committed to Christian principle regardless of the outcome. They would be imprisoned, tortured, and many, like Dietrich Bonhoeffer would be executed by the Nazi regime. They had formed what they called the Pastors’ Emergency League to resist the Nazis. In May of 1934, these men met to draw up and publish the “Barmen Declaration” which was printed in major newspapers throughout Europe and in the United states. This document constituted a crystal clear renunciation of Nazism and a denunciation of the churches that had become subservient to it. In it, the “Confession” churches claimed legitimacy as the true church in Germany, and denied the legitimacy of churches that had departed from the faith and fallen into the camp of the Third Reich.

Just as Hitler, with the cooperation of pastors, brought about the Nazification of most of Germany’s churches, Satan has brought most of America’s churches under the domination of the spirit of worldliness. One Christian apologist, put it like this: “American Christianity is worldly. It is shaped more by worldly culture than it is by the Gospel … Anything goes among evangelicals. Hardly anything is unthinkable.” This is so very, very, true. It is generally undeniable. It is why American is in the mess it is in, and it’s why America is under the terrible judgment of God that it is under. Pastors have bought into the spirit of worldliness and have, by way of their pulpits and personal example, brought their congregations to the place where they are conformed to the spirit of worldliness, comfortable with it, and always ready to contest anything that threatens its place in their lives.

There’s a need right now in America for a Pastors’ Emergency League; a need for pastors to stand against the spirit of worldliness—worldliness of attitude, activities, association, attire, etc. that now permeates and predominates so much of Christianity throughout the western world and especially in the United States of America. We’re in a state of emergency, spiritually speaking, in America today because of the spirit of worldliness. We need to make a “Barmen Declaration” of our own, and demonstrate our resistance to the spirit of worldliness. This needs to be done by families and churches, and before the eyes and ears of the world.

They constitute a small minority, but there are plenty of pastors across the country who haven’t sold out to the spirit of worldliness. If you have one, stand with him. If you don’t, find one with whom you can stand. Christians shouldn’t support in any way churches that are compromising with the spirit of worldliness howsoever much these churches may be in the majority. Christians shouldn’t be in a church based upon labels or names, their comfort or convenience or what their children want. They need to be in, and supportive of, a “Confessing Church”—one that confesses with their lives and their lips “all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Pet.1:3).

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