Focal Passages: Numbers 13:1-2, 25-33; 14:5-10a
On January 30, 1933, Adolph Hitler was appointed Chancellor
He was received on a wave of popular support.
He promised the German people a new beginning of discipline
and dignity for the nation.
Germany had suffered under the Versailles Treaty and
Hitler’s appointment promised a restoration of greatness and justice.
During that period the churches welcomed the change and
challenged the German people to remember their moral heritage. With Hitler’s
support, the church experienced a new vitality and the hearts of the public
were stirred with a new will to live.
National Socialism appeared calling for a renewal of public
life, the Church as the People’s Church and the partnership of political and
church life working in harmony.
It seemed that a new hope had sprung from the ruins of
Germany’s humiliation and despair and all joyfully welcomed it. Not all were
enthusiastic and receptive to Hitler and his solutions to Germany’s problems.
There was a “minority report” given by a small group of
academics and Christians.
Among them was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. On February 1, 1933, two
days after Hitler came to power, Bonhoeffer broadcast on the radio “The Younger
Generation’s changed view of the concept of the Fuhrer.”
In this broadcast he spoke on the concept of leadership in
He described theologically the structures of authority and
warned of the dangers of the growing tendency toward making idols of the
leader, or Fuhrer.
He further warned that whenever a leader gives in to the
wishes of those he leads, who turn him into a idol, will ultimately believe
himself and his office infallible, thus mocking God. The broadcast was
interrupted and censorship began.
Bonhoeffer, along with many brave individuals, opposed the
Nazism and its cruel abuses.
He spoke out against the persecution of the Jews, taught in
an underground seminary, served as leader within the Confessing Church, and
participated within the resistance movement. He ultimately paid the price with
his own life, being hung in the early hours (around 5 or 6 a.m.) of Monday
morning, April 9, 1945.
Sadly, the majority is not always right (and the minority is
not always right either!), but there comes moments when we are called to stand,
even when it is not popular or logical.
Twelve spies went into Canaan to “spy out the land.” They
returned with reports of unlimited resources and paradisiacal conditions. But 10 reported doom and destruction —catastrophes beyond comprehension.
Two came back with hearts afire with God’s Spirit, ready to
take the land in His name.
The majority rule won out (or lost out) and after a 40-year
interim in the wilderness, they finally took the land.
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