THE SIFTING OF AMERICA'S SAINTS
“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold , Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.”
When Adolph Hitler and the Nazi party came to power in Germany, Hitler made it plain to the German clergy that he would tolerate nothing from their pulpits that did not represent what he called “positive Christianity.” Hitler defined “Positive Christianity” as being exclusively that which supported the humanistic principles upon which he intended to rule the German people. His announced purpose from the beginning was to scrub all personal convictions and values that conflicted with his will from the German state. Article 24 of the Nazi party platform demanded, “liberty for all religious denominations in the State so afar as they are not a danger to the moral feelings for the German people” – and the “moral feelings of the German people were whatever Hitler decided they were. Hitler declared that he would use all of his power to do whatever he decided – not what was in accord with the Bible or even natural law – but what he decided, was best for the German people.
Early in his government, Hitler in anticipation of possible resistance from the churches, scheduled a personal conference with the most influential ministers in Germany. At this meeting on January 25, 1934, he told the clergy that they would have their freedom only as long as they didn’t say or do anything that could be considered subversive to the state. He told them that the allegiance of German Christians to God would be demonstrated by their allegiance first and foremost to the German state. One pastor, Martin Niemoller, objected to Hitler’s declarations and demands. Shortly thereafter, he was arrested for the crime of “hate speech” for saying things from his pulpit that were non supportive of Nazi policies, and spent the next eight years in Nazi concentration camps. The “Hate Speech” that resulted in his imprisonment consisted in part, of the following:
“We have all of us – the whole church and the whole community – we’ve been thrown into the Tempter’s sieve, and he is shaking and the wind is blowing, and it must now become manifest whether we are wheat or chaff! Verily, a time of sifting has come upon us, and even the most
indolent and peaceful person among us must see that the calm of a meditative Christianity
is at an end . It is now springtime for the hopeful and expectant Christian Church – it is testing
time, and God is giving Satan a free hand, so he may shake us up, and so that it may be seen
what manner of men we are! Satan swings his sieve and Christianity is thrown hither and thither;
and he who is not ready to suffer, he who called himself a Christian only because he thereby
hoped to gain something good for his race and his nation is blown away like chaff in the wind
Niemoller’s message to the Christians of Germany is a message for the Christians of America today. A series of government administrations, both Democrat and Republican, each more daringly lawless than the previous ones, have brought us to the place where such things as “hate crimes” are now used as tools to intimidate, silence and marginalize any Christian influence in this country. “Hate Speech” is next on the agenda – saying anything unfavorable about humanistic government or society that wants to scrub God out of the American conscience. During past presidential administrations, many powerful people in government considered Christians who publicly give expression to their faith to be guilty of “Domestic Terrorism.” In spite of the much more Christian-friendly White House that we now have, a great many of the the former political “swamp creatures” are still around, maintaining their hostile view of Biblical Christianity.
America’s Christians are being sifted in the devil’s sieve. The wheat is being separated from the chaff more and more, day by day. The tidal wave of wickedness now bearing down upon us can only be prevented or prepared for by a revival of the fear of God and of personal holiness by those who know themselves to be children of God. We need more believers in the pulpits and the pews with the convictions and steadfastness of men like Martin Niemoller.