A History Lesson

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?

David Fredrickson

This entry was posted in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A History Lesson

  1. Jay Redinger says:

    Hi Dave, if possible, could you please give me your source for the Martin Luther comments?

  2. Jim says:

    My understanding is that Luther’s wife Katharina von Bora, among other administrative tasks, ran a brewery. Perhaps she is the figure that should have been the real influence on the Protestant Reformation. At least this would have made drinking beer a mandatory religious sacrament. Cheers

  3. Beyond Church Walls says:

    I did most of my research on line from various sources, but most of the quotes have come from a tract by Luther called “On the Jews and Their Lies and a book he wrote called Vom Schem Hamphoras.

  4. Kara says:

    Wow, what an eye opener. I have always been a Martin Luther fan to a point. Especially his stance against works based religion but never read this before. It only makes you think that no matter what, in the end our relationship with Christ is what will sustain us during tought times. I believe Father is stripping away everything that is not of Him in these times we live in.

  5. Jon says:

    I think the vast majority of evangelical born again Christians are operating at the kindergarden, elementary school, level when it comes to knowledge and understanding of Church history, how we got our bible etc. How else would some of the silly teachings that the church offers up as sacrasanct continue to survive. I believe that its both willful on the part of church leadership as a whole. Most dummy down the average church service to make it almost meaningless. Who has ever learned about the preterists or the marcianites or the aryans. Or what caused the rift between the western church and eastern church.
    Or take for instance the view of the cross that is the dominant strain in most evangelical churches. Were we ever taught that there was any other thought, or streams of belief out there??? Our bad for being duped too.

Comments are closed.