We visited the church in Wuppertal-Barmen where the Confessional Synod of the German Evangelical Church met in May of 1934 to unite in one confession regarding the events of Nazi Germany. Karl Barth and the Confessing Church risked everything in doing so.
Those who stood in opposition to Hitler and to what was going on in the mainstream German churches wrote and signed a confession that actually put them in danger from the state. They risked everything in order to do what they knew was right. They defied public (and state) opinion to follow sound Biblical Truth.
I wonder what it took for each of them as they signed their names to that confession. I wonder how it felt for them to turn their backs on those who were probably family and friends, knowing that they could be turned in as traitors.
In our current context, it's really easy to mix patriotism and Christianity. I'm sure it was in Germany in 1934, too. It's important to continually evaluate the decisions of the country and to determine what is right to do as a Christian, not just as an American. Sometimes those two don't mix well.
And everyone seems to draw their own lines in the sand. They say things like "You're not a Christian if..."
- You read Harry Potter
- You don't believe the end times will happen just like in the Left Behind books
- You don't accept homosexuality as normal
- You accept homosexual people as beloved by God
- You don't worship the way I want to (i.e., the "you ain't bringing drums into my sanctuary" argument)
- You don't believe Y2K will usher in the end times (whoops)
- You stumble...
What I'm getting at is this: every year at Annual Conference (West Ohio - UMC), something is brought up about unity. In fact, there was talk about "amicable separation" recently at General Conference, and that brought out all sorts of emotions. That talk was quelled, but at what cost? When will it come back up? And whenever "unity" is brought up, it's to push an agenda (usually regarding homosexuality). The so-called "unity" talk is simply manipulation. "If you want unity, then you have to accept our unbiblical mandate" -- and, of course, everyone wants unity.
But there are times, as in Germany 1934, when the church must take a stand for what is right.