Another look at America today through the eyes of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Part II)

Earlier this year, I posted a three-part series based on articles I had written in the past that detailed the parallels between 1930s Germany and America today based on the spiritual condition of the church then and now. I’m sharing it again as a type of status report of where we are today as 2018 comes to a close, and as a warning of what we are facing in 2019 and beyond.

In this series, you’ll see the common threads of the lukewarm church and the spread of cheap grace theology. Just as it was in Nazi Germany, America is falling to the powers of dictatorial government, and since the church is more into “feel-good” spirituality and a seat at big government’s table than it is proclaiming the truth, its silence in the face of evil is accelerating America’s demise.

Part II of this trilogy was written two years after Part I during the 2016 election season and shows how the Fellowship of the Pharisees compromised conservative Christian values and embraced Donald Trump. As we learned in Part I, these compromises have led us to where we are today; where lukewarm Christianity is giving rise to the same conditions that gave rise to Adolf Hitler.


Election 2016: American religious leaders = Nazi Germany religious leaders

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 the 1930s, 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. His politically incorrect and always “right” columns are also featured on

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