Dear Sovereign Redeemer and other friends,
I am part way through “When a Nation Forgets God”, a book by Dr. Erwin Lutzer, the senior pastor at Moody Church, Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Lutzer portrays Germany during the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, showing that many of the trends in modern America correlate with that time in German history. His point is not that today’s America is the same as Nazi Germany, but that our trajectory is similar. In other words, if we continue down this same track, the American church can expect to face similar challenges. The question: Will we be ready?
As part of his analysis, Dr. Lutzer gives the history of two German pastors who were prominent during this time: Martin Niemoller (a name I don’t know) and Dietrich Bonhoeffer (a name everyone knows). In 1934, seeing what was on the horizon, Niemoller said the following in a sermon to his church:
“We have all of us – the whole church and the whole community – we’ve been thrown into the Tempter’s sieve, and he is shaking and the wind is blowing, and it must now become manifest whether we are wheat or chaff! Verily, a time of sifting has come upon us, and even the most indolent and peaceful person among us must see that the calm of a meditative Christianity is at an end… It is now springtime for the hopeful and expectant Christian Church – it is testing time, and God is giving Satan a free hand, so he may shake us up and so that it may be seen what manner of men we are!… Satan swings his sieve and Christianity is thrown hither and thither; and he who is not ready to suffer, he who called himself a Christian only because he thereby hoped to gain something good for his race and his nation is blown away like chaff by the wind of time.”
It is hard to read this quote and not think that such a time will be upon us in our own lifetime, or if you’re an optimist, in the lifetime of our children. Will we be ready? If we aren’t asking the question, what is the likelihood we will be? I want to be a genuine Christian, seeking the Lord and being sanctified by His Spirit day by day. Then I know I’ll be ready. I want the same for my family and our church. I know that God will make us ready to serve Him faithfully in the midst of trial and persecution if we call on Him now. In Matthew 7:7-8, Jesus exhorts us, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” I intend to ask, seek, and knock, knowing that our Father gives good things to those who ask Him. Join me.
I also commend the book to you. Happy reading!