Erwin Lutzer, When a Nation Forgets God

Erwin W. Lutzer, When a Nation Forgets God: Seven Lessons We Must Learn from Nazi Germany (about 140 pages)

This was just published last year, 2010.  Lutzer is a dispensationalist, which means he does not think the Church will win, but his analysis of how a nation degenerates is still basically on target.  (I would suggest that one get my book, NOT Ten Suggestions, for a more Reformed analysis of how a nation (or individual or denomination) slides into the abyss.  My Part 3 of my book is especially helpful for this analysis.)

The book is very easy to read but also insightful.  For example, the title of Chapter One is “When God Is Separated from Government, Judgment Follows.”  Indeed, sir, so it does.  The First Amendment has been interpreted to mean freedom from religion rather than freedom for religion.  Since Christ is King of kings, it is not possible for Him to be ignored or rebelled against without consequences.  Lutzer demonstrates how Hitler neutralized Christianity by making all the public schools atheistic and requiring children to attend them.  Moreover, Hitler made the church confine itself to the church building.  In the public arena, Caesar (Hitler) was lord, but the church, at first, could preach Jesus as Lord in the ever narrowing religious realm.  The German church thought appeasement to Hitler was the way to get along, but that is idolatry.  Anytime Christians spoke out, he complained that such was insurrection.  Today Christians speaking out is called “hate speech.”  Hitler wanted all vestiges of Christianity removed from government, much as the ACLU is doing today.  Then Lutzer says what I’ve been saying for 25 years: “We will not win these battles simply with politics.”  Amen.  We must preach Jesus as the Lord over all lords, the “president” over all presidents.

Chapter two is titled “It’s Always the Economy.”  Dictators have gained power from monetary crises, either ones they inherited or ones they created.  In 1923, one U. S. dollars was equal to a trillion marks.  The people cried out for a deliverer, and in gaining power, and they got Hitler.  Hitler used democracy as a stepping stone to dictatorship, and when in power, he murdered anyone who was perceived as a threat, especially Jews and Christians.  Winston Churchill said that Hitler’s achievements were “among the more remarkable in the whole history of the world.”  That was on his way to power, but once he had it, he revealed his true self.  Here were some of Hitler’s accomplishments on the way to power:

  • Revived a collapsed economy in four years
  • Instituted national health care
  • Gave millions of Germans attractive vacations
  • Established training schools for those unskilled and thus brought the nation to full employment
  • Brought crime under control
  • Built freeways

But once his power was consolidated, he murdered six million Jews and millions of Christians.  Given a choice, most people will choose bread and meat over morality.  In our country, people want the thriving economy back, and they don’t care how many little innocent babies are slaughtered in the abortion mills.  Lutzer quotes Benjamin Franklin: “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”  Amen.

The title of Chapter Five is “Parents―Not the State―Are Responsible for a Child’s Training.”  I have a section in my book on the same thing mentioned above, and one should read my 40 page booklet on this topic, Keeping Covenant and Educating Our Children.

Lutzer has a chapter promoting the idea that ordinary people can and do make a difference.  I can’t summarize the whole book, but it is an inexpensive paper back that can be read in a sitting or two.  Get this one!

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