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

As 2018 comes to a close, we’ve been taking a look at the death of conservatism and the threat to liberty we are facing in America. In response to this reality, I’ve been re-sharing a three-part series I posted earlier this year where I detailed some of the parallels between 1930s Germany and America today.

As I hope you are seeing by now, the common thread between Germany then and America today is 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 III of this trilogy was written after Trump had been in office for one year, and it shows how the Fellowship of the Pharisees continued to compromise conservative Christian values and embrace him. Nearly four years after the article mention in Part I was written, we can now confirm that these compromises have led us to where we are today — an America where lukewarm Christianity is giving rise to the same conditions that gave rise to Adolf Hitler.


Cheap grace, Nazi Germany, and the future of America: A look back

A few days ago, I wrote a piece about how recent revelations of an affair between Donald Trump and a porn star once again exposed the Fellowship of the Pharisees serving as his “spiritual advisors” of being more like spiritual prostitutes selling their services for a seat at his table.

As you might expect, the article brought out the Trump cult in droves. More surprising, however, was how so many of those who call themselves Christians rushed to his defense as well, calling me judgmental or worse for writing it in the first place.

While surprised, I can’t say it was totally unexpected. In fact, I believe it validates an article I wrote nearly four years ago—Cheap grace, Nazi Germany, and the future of America.

In that piece, I reflected on many of the similarities we see in today’s church compared to the church in 1930’s Germany after reading a biography about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In the book written by Eric Metaxas, we learn how the church at that time had capitulated to Hitler and embraced what Bonhoeffer referred to as “cheap grace” at the expense of “costly grace.”

Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as a general truth, the love of God taught as the Christian ‘conception’ of God. An intellectual assent to that idea is held to be of itself sufficient to secure remission of sins…. In such a Church the world finds a cheap covering for its sins; no contrition is required, still less any real desire to be delivered from sin. Cheap grace therefore amounts to a denial of the living Word of God, in fact, a denial of the Incarnation of the Word of God.

Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything they say, and so everything can remain as it was before. ‘All for sin could not atone.’ Well, then, let the Christian live like the rest of the world, let him model himself on the world’s standards in every sphere of life, and not presumptuously aspire to live a different life under grace from his old life under sin….

Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

It was in this spiritual vacuum that the Nazi party rose to power.

As I wrote in an article during the 2016 campaign comparing religious leaders in Nazi Germany to religious leaders in America today, we are currently caught in a similar vacuum. In today’s church, the “cheap grace” spiritual leaders are supporting Donald Trump much like the 1930s church supported Hitler.

But it’s not the Fellowship’s support of Trump that’s most problematic; it’s their embrace of cheap grace to defend his indefensible behavior. Just since Porngate, Franklin Graham and Tony Perkins have added their voices to those defending Trump under the cheap grace banner.

Sounding much like a liberal when defending abortion, the Fellowship of the Pharisees often express their “personal objections” to Trump’s moral ineptitude, but apparently it doesn’t bother them enough to say to Trump as the prophet said to King David, “Thou art the man.” (2 Samuel 12:7).

Trump is only the symptom; the disease is cheap grace; and the prognosis is terminal for America’s future if we are never healed.



David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His politically incorrect and always “right” columns are also featured on

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