About two years ago, after reading the biography about Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas, I wrote an article titled, “Cheap Grace, Nazi Germany and the Future of America.” In the piece, we learned how the spiritual condition of the church in 1930s Germany created the conditions that gave rise to Adolf Hitler.
It’s impossible to understand . . . without becoming acquainted with the shocking capitulation of the German church to Hitler in the 1930s. How could the “church of Luther” . . . ever come to such a place? The answer is that the true gospel, summed up by Bonhoeffer as “costly grace,” had been lost. On the one hand, the church had become marked by formalism. That meant going to church and hearing that God just loves and forgives everyone, so it doesn’t really matter much how you live. Bonhoeffer called this “cheap grace.” On the other hand, there was legalism, or salvation by law and good works. Legalism meant that God loves you because you have pulled yourself together and are trying to live a good, disciplined life.
Both of these impulses made it possible for Hitler to come to power. (emphasis mine)
It was my contention at the time that the spiritual condition of the 21st century church closely resembles that of 1930s Germany, and how we could see our great nation fall into the hands of a Hitler-like leader.
In light of the current reasoning employed by the so-called spiritual leaders today for supporting Donald Trump, along with the campaign’s announcement about forming a “Religious Advisory Board“–which sounds more like an attempt to buy evangelical votes–I felt it was a good time to revisit the article. In hindsight I wish I hadn’t, because the parallels between 1930s Germany and today are even more stark that they were two years ago.
The church in Germany had become a house divided, with one side preaching an “anything goes” abuse of God’s grace, and the other side preaching that salvation was based on the law and good works. And it was their embrace of these false gospels that created the vacuum filled by Adolf Hitler. The leaders of these two extremes may have seen some things in Hitler that bothered them, but nothing bothered them enough to risk their comfortable existence.
In today’s church, the “cheap grace” spiritual leaders are supporting Donald Trump much like the 1930s church supported Hitler, and as a reward for the servitude, some of them will have a seat on the Religious Advisory Board. These Pharisaical leaders often mention that they have a problem with Trump’s behavior and policies, but just as it was in 1930, they apparently aren’t bothered enough to risk the comfy, cozy existence of their “ministries.”
I’m not saying that The Donald is Adolf Hitler, at least not yet. But I am saying that the religious leaders who support Trump, along with the ones who will have a seat at his table, are acting a lot like the church that enabled Hitler’s rise to power.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative, your source for opinion that’s politically-incorrect and always “right.” His articles can also be found on RedState.com.
His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.