Tuesday, April 5, 2016
When A Nation Forgets God-A Book Review
I was pleasantly surprised to find this book very insightful and less dogmatic then I expected. The author cites credible sources for his claims and presents a well balanced voice in making his comparisons between our culture today and the society that allowed Hitler's rise in Nazi Germany.
I confess I was drawn to this book because of frustration with the political system in our country and a growing deep concern for the future of the 'land of the free and the home of the brave'. Lutzer begins the book stating that he hopes for the reader to see his concern is for the church even more than concern for the country. The church has the important mandate to bear Christ's witness to God's saving grace, realizing that God is the only one who can save us from those "trends that have already evoked his judgment". Will we take the charge seriously and not react with anger, vindictiveness or self-pity?
As Hitler's methods advanced, freedom was traded for promises of a better economy, propaganda revolutionized thinking and eventually turned into law which no one could resist or reverse, and Germany's youth were taught to be loyal to the State and against parents who would dare to teach them anything contrary to the revolution. Gradually, laws determined what pastors could share publicly. The role of the church was minimized; the State provided alternate ways to marry, celebrate holidays, dedicate children-no need for a religious ceremony. The book finds many parallels to our culture today, such as, propaganda that normalizes same-sex marriage, politically correct textbooks, hate-crime legislation, and media conformity.
While we can judge the church in Germany for not being an opposing voice to Hitler's evils, are we preparing now to respond any differently to times of persecution and suffering that are likely to happen even here in our country? There were heroes of the faith during Nazi Germany and the author tells some of their stories in a later chapter of the book. It is not necessary to have freedom to remain faithful believers. "As freedoms decrease, our witness becomes more focused...It is not how loud we can shout, but how well we can suffer that will convince the world of the integrity of our message".
What does it take to prepare? The author offers answers at the end of each chapter, pointing the reader to Bible promises and hope to live in this time of history where our faith truly counts. It's more about glorifying Christ, than winning political battles. It's believing suffering to be a divine gift and not fearing it. It's showing the character of Christ even when we lose. According to Lutzer, the characteristics of those who can stand up under persecution are those who know the power of prayer and fasting, can recite large portions of Scripture and hymns, count it an honor to suffer for Christ and know that suffering is a gift God gives to the church.
This book encourages me to keep my focus on the cross of Christ and to live fully committed to his call to be a faithful follower, no matter what happens in the days ahead.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.