What shall we …do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews?
First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them.
Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed.
It is to (our) discredit that (we) have not exterminated the Jews.
Who made the above statements? a) Adolph Hitler b) Mrs. Fields c) Martin Luther
If you guessed Martin Luther, you’re correct. Amazing that the same man many call one of the greatest fathers of the Christian faith would spew forth such poison. And those statements are only the tip of the ice burg.
If you guessed Hitler, you were close. Hitler also called himself a Christian and referred to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He greatly admired Luther, calling him one of the greatest reformers.
The Nazi, Hans Hinkel gave credit to Luther’s acts and spiritual attitude for beginning the fight that the Nazi’s waged in their day.
So how could such disparity between Luther’s teaching and the heart of God come about? Was it a lack of knowing the scriptures? Hardly. Luther actually translated the Bible into the German language. Was it a lack of passion? He came against the Roman Catholic Church at great risk to his life.
Perhaps it was a sense of failure. What? The great reformer feeling like he failed? When Luther was younger he didn’t have the same animosity toward the Jews. He tried to win them to Christ and was unsuccessful, and through the years his resentment toward them grew. As he grew older he suffered from depression and mental anguish. He complained of being chained to too many responsibilities and sometimes despaired at his lack of spirituality. Most likely he had little success in seeing his follower’s lives changed, because he stated that being transformed was not important. He said the only thing that mattered was doctrine.
It’s not my intention to enrage those who may revere Luther for bringing to light the truth of justification through faith, but to point out some ideological roots of modern day Evangelical Christianity. Religion is built on influential individuals, performance, false expectations, obligation and adherence to an intellectual understanding of doctrine. Life in God is built on Jesus Christ, his finished work, hope that doesn’t disappoint, fruit bearing love and living by his faith.
Here are a couple questions. Do you think what is commonly taught as church history actually deals with the roots of our faith? If not, what does it cover? Do you think the identity of today’s average Christian is based on the beliefs that have been handed down through the centuries by influential historical figures or on their personal relationship with Christ?