Would It Have Been Right for a German Christian to Assassinate Hitler? (And an update on the attempt to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”)

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29 Comments
  1. The Lord gave us the authority over the enemy.

    For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places, EPH 6:12.

  2. Dr. Mike Brown,
    Do you tell anyone how you stay so close to the Lord? Is it humility and diligence and fear to sin and fail Him? I cannot believe how tender your heart is. It puts me to shame, but also gives me hope… it feels so difficult…

  3. I mean, its one thing to have this dead religious force-myself, gritted holiness; but, it is the correct way (and an entirely different thing) to live as having fallen completely in love with Another… the two are just not the same; they are night and day… sorry for too many posts

  4. I joined the Army back in 1978, long before DADT. When I joined the Army I did not feel a need to tell everybody that I was a heterosexual. It wasn’t anyones business so why do the homosexuals have to tell everybody about their lifestyle choice and shove their choice in our faces? I agree that there should not be a DADT policy because people should not be asking and people should not be telling!

  5. There is a time for Action a time to stand up to evil and hit back FOR THE GREATER GOOD. If a man was in a school shooting children what could a Christian do ? just kneel down and pray ? (not dismissing prayer at all here, i have no hope of a Godly life without prayer).

    Jesus took action in the Temple with the moneychangers this was not sin it was righteous anger in action.

    having said that taking such action should be done prayerfully and be weighed with what is the greater good.

  6. Bonhoeffer’s conspiratory question banners this forum. We studied the aforementioned biography, and post humous compilation of his concept of “ethics” in an adult Sunday school class last summer into the early fall. Some conclusions were that the group conspiring to do away with Hitler was dedicated, secretive, and failed. It cost them their lives. Why so, when the allies were pouring hundreds of millions into efforts to destroy the axis, and its cultic leader? Why so, when we can trace similar efforts in other arenas of conspiracy–acting out different consequences in real flesh and blood–around efforts to establish modern Israel?

    Perhaps there remain conditions for judgment written in the Prophets of Old, which honor the words so spoken, by conditional and unconditional promises so made, with unique abilites to deconstruct evil intentions, or let them go their own futile course: where God is the power and the glory which is and is to come as the final word after such play out so to speak. When, when considering what happened to Bonhoeffer and his friends shortly before the demise of Nazi Germany, does one think that one’s faith founded values will in some desperate action replace the coming judgment of God on any errant nation among nations?

  7. Also, take the story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus doesn’t want us to stand by and do nothing if someone is being hurt. We need to take action.

  8. Though we are called to action, as Bonhoeffer was, killing for the greater good remains morally ambiguous.

    I think the underlying question here is: what does it mean to risk personal judgement for the sake of others and the good?

  9. Ryan, So, you seem to be saying that any such intention has unclear motives and may cloud results. We do not live in the best of possible worlds. Bobhoeffer argued that in such a place, without a pure hearted world wide or system wide population, all ethical interchanges will remain ambiguous, so, for the greater good situations would call for relative decisions. Trace the histories of nations, conflicts, political movements, even sociological causes and what have we? Imperfection abounds, so why is it vital to risk for others, or why not so?

    Jesus, it seems, did not risk for others, but for assurred promises and completions of godly intentions. His risk was of his mission, body, and legacy. Definitely established “for others”.

  10. Just for the sake of clarity, Jabez, are you arguing in your previous posts that the actions of Bonhoeffer and the conspirators against Hitler were a usurpation of God’s coming judgement on Nazi Germany?

  11. Ryan

    I agree it *could* be ambiguous, but i think if the person is steeped in the Word of God they stand a good chance of knowing what action to take. We have the mind of Christ.

    Of course its the last resort, and if killing is possible to avoid then that should be the way to go, but if someone is out on a killing spree and so happens you have the means to do something and dont and the spree continues, no doubt the person would be filled with regret ?

    not an easy topic to bring to a conclusion but very interesting.

  12. JJ,
    I agree that it does seem possible for the end of an action to be unambiguously good.
    The moral ambiguity arises in the commission. And the reality of commission is a bomb that kills Hitler’s teenaged secretaries, or standing over the wounded, pleading Hitler to fire a second shot.

    It is likewise for communities: we incinerate women and children in the firebombing of German cities to force Nazi Germany to capitulate. Without doubting the rightness of the end, I think we, at times, have to accept the ambiguity of the actions we take toward that end.

  13. Just want to state this. As for myself personally I do not have it in me to kill anyone. The most I would ever kill and did kill were insects. I am no way army material.

    I know Christians are called to be peaceful and loving, however sometimes there is a need for Holy Anger or justice. Ex. of how President Bush took down Saddam Hussein. Maybe that is a bad example because Pres. Bush was the law.

    Okay, an another example is when on 911 the 4th plane went down in PA and these men who were your average “Joe Americans” who try to take down the terrorist. Plane crashed anyways but they tried.

    Sometimes in life you need to step up and react.

  14. Romans 13: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

    If you take it to mean any earthly authority, it is directly contradicted by Hosea 8:4 “They set up kings without my consent”.

    I don’t get why Christian kept reverting to an Augustine approach and forget the world is still in rebellion.

    And if you take it to apply to America then the police officers should be submitting to you because our Constitution says that the people are the higher authority and we pay servants to govern.

    People forget what authority is; a father has authority in his home, but does this give him power to abuse his wife and children? Authority is always limited in men’s hands.

    Notice that civil government must not be a “terror to good works.” It has no power or authority to terrorize good works or good people. God never gave it that authority.

    Civil government is a “minister of God to thee for good.” It is a not a minister of God for evil. Civil magistrates have a divine duty to “execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” They have no authority to execute wrath upon him that doeth good.

    “Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.” Would following Hitler ease your conscience?

    I see it similar to a wife submitting to her husband should be taken as a logical pairing to him loving her as Christ loved the Church; submitting to government should be paired with what a godly government looks like.

  15. I don’t think that scripture any where advocates for pacifism or forbids defending ourselves and our loved ones from harm.

    In the case of Hitler, he created a totalitarian regime. As long as Germans went along with his rule and never questioned or spoke against him, they had nothing to lose. If I had been there and had come to know other Germans who were part of some resistance group to Hitler and the Nazis, I might prayerfully consider joining in order to help in whatever way I could. Not that I’m a super action star with big muscles and guns. Quite the opposite. However, what if someone or some group took over the U.S., and Americans found themselves under a totalitarian regime of whatever kind? And NO, I’m NOT talking about our current president. What if our nation was so drastically changed that we had no rights? Would it be wrong for christians to oppose and resist that regime with physical aggression? Or should we just witness to people secretly and be martyrs?

    We would still witness to people and spread the gospel, right? If we had to die as martyrs, then we would do so knowing that we didn’t deny our faith in Christ. But if no other country came to our aid, would we just let some demon-possessed tyrant like Hitler have his way? On the other hand, if I lost perspective of Jesus while fighting the regime, then that would be a tragedy. If I were looking to people and my own self more than Jesus, then the war really is lost. Without Him, I have nothing.

    I don’t claim to be right, by the way. I’m just expressing my opinion and throwing out some questions.

  16. It’s hard to call because one of the greatest military strategists of ALL TIME – Stonewall Jackson – as we know, was a TRUE Christian. Many among his ranks turned to Christ because of him, and his prayers made someone say he was crazy (some1 saw him praying alone in the forest, flailing his arms around, and screaming) – sounds like a real Christian to me… hard call, because you might say “Jesus said not to murder.” I think He said not to be ANGRY or HATEFUL. You can, potentially fight in the Military without being ANGRY or HATEFUL, can’t you? …..

  17. It was angry “without a cause” that He referred to…Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.”

    There was plenty of cause in the case of Adolf.

    And Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.”

    There is some difference between “pacifism” and peacemaking. Pacifism is a contemporary political term for the idea that violence is never justified and that nations must always seek peaceful resolutions, and that military institutions should not exist. Though well-intentioned, generally not considered realistic.

    Peacemaking itself, though, can be a process which, arguably may at times require force. “Keeping the peace” is more than a euphemism for the police forces. The Pax Romana was achieved only after several wars.

    Isn’t Jesus coming back with a sword?

    Revelation 19:11-21 (NIV ©2010)

    I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

    I know that we can’t really compare the governments of this world to the government of God.

    But if killing any mad man could have saved millions of lives, wouldn’t it have been justified? Wasn’t Jael’s act (Heber’s wife; Judges 4) considered righteous when she drove the tent spike into the forehead of army commander Sisera, who had been terrorizing the Israelites?

    We read in Judges 4:1-3 “Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, now that Ehud was dead. So the LORD sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the LORD for help.”

    So even though their sin brought the punishment of the LORD through this Canaanite king, the LORD did hear their cries for help.

  18. I just heard the broadcast; did not know you were going to bring up Jael in Judges, Dr. Brown. Wrote my post before listening.

    Now that I have:

    The American Revolution, justified or not, is a good question. Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, Common Sense, is considered to have been the spark which ignited the Revolution, but if you read Paine’s work, “The Age of Reason” (link attached) you can clearly read that Paine is far from a Christian, in his own words. Something to consider along the lines of “Christian patriotism”….is that an oxymoron? Just asking.

    http://www.ushistory.org/paine/reason/reason1.htm

  19. It brings into question the ENTIRE FOUNDATION of America, altogether: HOW could these men who CLAIMED to be Christians start a WAR?

    We call the Catholics ‘false’ for the Crusades… and we FORGET this. (not that I call them false; not that I agree 100% with them)

    Does GOD call us to wage wars, or set up governments? This is so confusing… I guess that’s “Babylon” for ya (mixture; confusion)!

  20. Then we try to put Christian ethics into Law… “if the Lord doesn’t build the house”

    Flesh does not give birth to Spirit… you can’t start off in the flesh (war), and end up in the Spirit; this is why we’re where we’re at today.

  21. Daniel,

    Where do you see it in scripture that christians (those who are disciples of Christ) cannot fight in a war or set up a government? The Israelites went to war to defend their nation. With God’s leading, they established a government. Just trying to understand your viewpoint.

  22. Holly N… it was a QUESTION, because I am not certain.

    Reason being, being Jesus Christ said to “turn the other cheek”; He said, “My Kingdom is not of this world”, and if we’re living for HIS KINGDOM which is NOT OF THIS WORLD, why would we set up a kingdom here??? We should continue working for Him, is what I think…

  23. Dr. Brown;

    One thing I find rather disconcerting in your show is that you tend to run around and light lots of fires within a broadcast without really systematically dealing with each fire you light. You really never answered the question of when and if it is ever right to rise against the government despite Paul’s position.

    It seems Paul’s position needs clarification. It seems unlikely that Paul would have objected to the apostles who refused to stop speaking about Jesus when commanded by the authorities. It seems unlikely that Paul would have faulted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, for not following government authority. It would be useful if you put your opinion on this subject in writing on your website. And if you light a fire, it would be helpful if you did not just let it burn.

    Regards

  24. Daniel,

    It can be confusing. But I agree with your questioning of the “entire foundation of america”. How can we claim ourselves a “christian nation” when we “cleansed” the land of indians and built our wealth on the back of slavery? Just because some of the people included the name “God” in their speech doesn’t change the fact that “actions speak louder than words”.

    And we wonder why people have trouble with the phrase “take america back for God”.

  25. Dave,

    We find that the scripture states that YHWH sends nations to judge other nations. He holds back until it is absolutely necessary. He even uses other nations to bring correction to Israel. The American Indians are not exceptions. There were plenty of horrible practices that needed to be judged.

    The aspect that is reprehensible to me is that we (European white guys) made covenants with them and then broke them, over and over. The term should not be “Indian giver”,but “American giver.” Or scripturally speaking “covenantbreakers”:

    Romans 1
    31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
    32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

    And just to be clear we still display this sin in America and our churches are prime examples. We may be on the verge of having our just recompense brought to us via another nation. Europeans, and their descendants, have never been the paragons of virtue when comes to keeping covenant. European Christianity has much to learn from Middle easterners…at least the historic middle eastern ideal of covenant.

    Galatians 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man‘s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.

    Shalom

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