Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Letter to the American Church by Eric Metaxas Book Review

 Letter to the American Church by Eric Metaxas


Unavoidably Crucial Crossroads in History


Introduction Points 


-Central role has been used for good and for God’s purposes has had everything to do with our churches, or with the American Church.

-America is in any way exceptional

-the blood that runs through the veins of America has everything to do with the blood shed for us on Calvary

-America has led the world in making religious liberty paramount

-the Church was adamantly opposed to the idea of political liberty, in America it was the churches that helped encourage, create, and sustain a culture of liberty

-America plays a huge role in the world today-we must learn the lesson of what happened to the German Church 90 years ago cannot be overstated

-the monstrous evil that befell the civilized world because of the German Church’s failure is likely a mere foretaste of what will befall the world if the American Church fails in a similar way at this hour.

-God has sovereignly chosen us to hold the torch of liberty for all the world

-American Church must stand against the evils and deceptions of this present darkness

-We are facing nothing less than the forces of the antichrist

-The ideas and forces we face have an atheistic Marxist ideology

Ex. Critical Race Theory, radical transgender, & pro-abortion ideologies are anti-God and anti-human

Ex. war on the ideas of family and marriage

Ex. America is not a force for good, should not spread the Gospel, or the Gospel values in the public square or in the world

***American churches are abandoning the Gospel and giving in to pure culture or for politics


Church Mistake

1-the above is not nonsense, but supremely deceptive and satanic lie, designed only to silence those who would genuinely speak for truth

2-being “apolitical” is a tragic mistake

3-buys into the “don’t worry about all of those other issues out there” as they don’t concern us

4-our job is to focus on God, so to pretend that we are not required to fight for those He loved, whose lived and futures are being destroyed-never entering the fight in the public square is a mistake

5-it is a great sadness when churches just allow generations to think that America is nothing special or even worse a force for evil

Awaken Church

-God calls us to do something, but the choice whether we do it is entirely ours

-We are made in God’s image, we are perfectly free, so we should be compelled to do what is right

- God has chosen the American churches to play a vital role in society

-Churches need to speak God’s truth into the battle against Marxist globalists

****Stop ignoring God’s call to get involved against the lies of Satan 


Chapter 1 What is the Church?


Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

-Christian martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a dissertation “Sanctorum Communio” where he questions academically, theologically, and intellectually; but most important was the fundamental question in human existence

-Addressed: God of the Bible is real, He created the universe and human life, His Son died and rose again so we might have a relationship with Him now and for all eternity. 

-Dietrich was killed by the Nazi regime for addressing and questioning the purpose of the church 

*** He called out the church to not be apathetic, but to be God’s church

***He made it clear that the German church should be living out their faith in all the spheres of their lives so that all of society is blessed

-He was told not be “political”

***His Christian faith gave him strength to speak out for German Jews who were being wickedly persecuted

-He spoke truth against the wicked to the point that he was willing to give his life fighting for the lives of German Jews


The battle:

-It is the church versus secular doctrines

-should be taking the Church out into the world–Blessing the world 

-not to shrink back and just stay in the proper “religious” sphere

-push back on the accusation that Christians are out of place and should not be too political

-be uncompromising with secular doctrines


Wrong thought:

-Churches should speak strictly on theological and religious issues

-Churches should only be preaching the Gospel

-Churches should not speak to all of the issues of human life

-Churches should not be bold about what we believe and proclaim 

-Wise Churches should keep a bit quiet and not be very active or engaged with the world

-Churches should keep away from the public square

-Churches witness in the public square is inherently untoward and overly aggressive

-Christians should only express their faith on Sunday mornings and in certain buildings

-Christians should worship privately and keep our religion to ourselves

-Christians are deeply un-American


Purposeful Voice:

-God who Himself is Truth

-under no circumstance should we cower into a “religious” corner

-world to its core is secular, and constitutes a fundamental misunderstanding of who God is-Who will tell them He is Truth?

-Freedom of Religion should be expressed loudly in the public square

Ex. God created  marriage to be his creation: Man and Woman 

Ex. God knew us in the womb so we are obligated to tell the world and stand up for the unborn, human freedom, and human rights 

Ex. Speak against Marxist values that are evil such as the communist country of China that persecutes religious minorities 


William Wilberforce:

-During the rise of Nazism, he was told to keep his faith private

-He was told his religious views was modern day slavery and it was wrong

-He was told not to bring his religion into the public sphere

-He should not dare impose his views on the laws of the land


American Church:

-shrinking back from public engagement

-quietly assented to the decidedly unbiblical-decidedly un-American, and unconstitutional-view that God is not applicable beyond the church

-we have been persuaded to be silent in the face of evil

-no good ever comes from silence and inaction

-human beings whom God loves suffer when His own people fail to express boldly what He has said and when we fail to live as He has called us to live


“In the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign, does not cry ‘Mine’!” Abraham Kuyper


History:

-1960s= U.S. Supreme Court took prayer out of the public schools 

-Lies of Jefferson’s famous “wall of separation” between church and state. Not in the Constitution

***rather than protecting people of faith from government intrusion which is what the founders intended–twisted to mean the public square should be stripped of faith entirely

***secularize the public square is to impose upon it a religion of another kind 

-American people should be able to exercise their wills and have freedom in all things–But imposing secular views by removing founders freedom in all things

-1973= Constitutional “right to abortion”

-unconstitutional and secular view began to be enshrined in our laws and our culture

-Christian leaders did not sufficiently see the dangers and did not speak out against secular views

***Submissive pastors in Germany are like today’s American pastors who give up religious liberty and freedom of speech

-1954= Senator Lyndon Johnson introduced an amendment to the U.S. tax code prohibiting churches or other nonprofit organizations from taking a public stand on political candidates

***Pastors have forgotten that their voices that helped us to gain our freedoms and that helped us to create a Constitution in which all of our freedoms were enshrined in a way that has been the envy of the whole world ever since!


***Have Pastors have forgotten the very reason God called them to the pulpit in the first place?


Reminders: 

-God expects us to serve Him in everything we have, in leadership, and with greater position of authority come with even greater expectations

-We should no avoid taking sides in these terribly divisive culture wars

-We should protest against injustices done to our fellow Americans

-We need to fight politically for what is right

-We must speak against injustice and what seems merely political

-Being Gospel oriented means that we do not retreat when issues fall on one side of the political spectrum 

-Fight politically for what is right addressing complex social and political issues


Point:

-Political= during the pandemic churches were deemed “non-essential”

-Political= pastors deemed their duty is to not speak against the lockdowns

-Believers have always been called to speak the truth and to fight against injustice, so we are obliged to courageously bring our faith to bear on all issues 


Questions:

-if we do nothing when we see our culture being attacked in ways that will cause innumerable people to suffer, will we not be held accountable?

-will we be crushed into silence when accused of being political, members of the Religious Right, being racist, homophobic, white supremacists?

-will we allow the forces of evil to crush the poor in our time?

***To remain silent if cowardly and simply a failure to trust in God 


The Left:

-intimidates the faithful= being political means that you do not follow Jesus so stay away from politics

**counter=God demands we speak the truth so we can’t be silent 

-Silent churches = accept American Marxism that is false, confusing, and wicked ideas that come from Critical Race Theory, and Transgender and Queer Theory which have erupted into culture and even welcomed by churches 

-Marxism is at war with God= it is atheistic and dedicatedly opposed to the God who we claim to represent and serve 

-Communism has arrived on the shores of America = all people of faith are the enemy and need to be reprogrammed or wiped out of existence

EX. when church leaders hold back from speaking or acting-politics takes advantage like COVID-19 pandemic that removed the in-person church and affected the spiritual health of Americans


***American Christians genuinely look to their leaders to help them face the evils being unleashed on them and their neighbors-Pastors need to equip people 


Chapter 2: 

Does God Ask Us to See the Future?


History:

1930s-the Church in German failed to stand against the start of the rise of Adolf Hitler, so they failed to see what evils would take over even with the signs of restrictions being placed on German Jews

-the Church didn’t pay attention to the grimmest of warnings, but America can see from the Jewish experience that we are without excuse-present day church should be paying attention to the warnings as we do not want to repeat history

-The German Church did not take his warnings seriously and paid the gravest price imaginable

-small actions or inactions set the course of the future

-German Churches didn’t listen to Bonhoeffer’s warnings regarding Hitler becoming Chancellor in 1932


Chapter 3

Repent!

“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent” (Revelation 2: 4-5).



-our culture has become so secular that it’s a bit hard for us to relate to what that church was


History:

-Bonhoeffer’s sermon in 1933= do not put a human above God-humans do not grace the church with their presence, but God graces a church with His presence

-German Church blurred the lines between the church and state-allowed the state to start warping God’s word

-Kaiser Wilhelm II whose father was named on the church-so it became a figure-head of man beautifully adorned, but spiritually dead

-Kaiser built the philosophy that the authorities of the church and state must stand together-slowly removing Jesus from public life and into the interior of the church

-Church of Germany did not keep the lines between church and state bright and clear, so religious liberty was thrown out the window and an all powerful state crushed the Church under its heal and out of existence

-the state is tempted to control the Church and would effectively wipe it out

-Dietrich Bonheiffer warned the churches to not be deluded by the state as it affected the German Church

-Bonheiffer spoke about the consequences of Christianity without Christ. He wrote a book “The Cost of Discipleship” in 1937

-German and  Lutheranism had already effectively melted together the church and state 

-Reformation day: celebrated that all Christians were thought of as Lutheran Christian by birthright

-this is a mockery of both Martin Luther’s profound devotion to Christ and to the otherworldly devotion that true faith in Christ demands of us

***Reflect on the history of the German Churches in today’s American Churches 

-Bonheiffer presciently and prophetically aware that the moment in Germany, the tribalist pagan forces that put German pride ahead of God

Ex. America celebrates pride month to worship LGBTQ+ (antichrist) by removing God’s truth of creation of man and woman 

-Germany moved toward National Socialism

-German nationalism was a wicked perversion of healthy nationalism

-Nationalism was the sworn enemy of Christianity and of Christ

-Bonhoeffer’s sermon was calculated to wake the church up=awaken Christians

***Judgment: Israelites, German Church, and American Church

-Bonhoeffer knew from scripture that if the people of God did not act like the people of God, God sent His prophets; but the prophets’ warnings went unheeded, judgment fell

**Prophet’s warned God’s people of what he saw, hoping they might see it, too, and repent before it was too late

-Bonhoeffer knew the German Church was not in shape to stand against the powerful pagan and tribalistic forces being unleashed in his country

-Germany’s indifference allowed the destruction of the church which ended a whole world at war


Big question = is the Church dead? Jesus takes his warnings seriously

Jesus= certainly not the nonjudgmental caricature that so many have made Him out ot be

John= in the book of Revelation, Jesus appears as a fearsome judge giving His warning with the deepest seriousness

Jesus= warns of Him removing His blessing and protection of the unrepentant evil 

***Find the connection between God’s warnings + God’s judgment - unless you turn it around = Heal our Land or destruction


Chapter 3

Church and the Jewish Question


History:

1933-Adolf Hitler with his power as chancellor was deeply dedicated to fundamentally changing Germany

***Sound familiar in America

1933-Adolf Hitler called himself “Fuhrer” which is the German word for “leader”

-He presented himself as the living embodiment with messianic overtones

-German Church leaders simply could not see the changing situation so they never changed their approach 

-the Church clung to what was safe and departed from leaning on God and trusting Him with what lay ahead

-the Church became comfortable with “business as usual”= comfortable can lead to destruction

**Biblical leadership was dramatically and utterly opposed to Hitler’s idea of it

**the Bible speaks of servant leadership

** Jesus Himself famously modeled this idea for His disciples-He took on the role of a lowly slave and washed their feet

-Hitler used the incident of the Reichstag Fire to enact sweeping emergency decrees-step 1

-Nazis took control of the media narrative that whipped up hysterical fear-step 2

**Sound familiar to America?

-step 3 was to demonize their enemies to crush any dissent 

-step 4 April 7, 1933, Hitler signed the  “Restoration Act” that suddenly made it illegal for anyone with Jewish blood to hold a government position-so began the antisemitic restrictions

-step 5 Hitler expanded his power over German society by making the the German Lutheran Church as officially part of the German government

-step 7 Church becomes the government so no separation line

-step 8 Jewish pastors would be legally barred from serving

-step 9 Church organized along racial antisemitic lines 

Mistake: the church was willing to look the other way until it was too late 


America:

–always understood the biblical idea of leadership

-”We the People” means we govern ourselves, we are obliged obliged to reject the idea of leaders who do not serve those whom they lead

-American idea of self-government comes to us in no small part from the biblical model-Israelites made a covenant directly with God 

-America can’t mock the covenant of God

-warned: we must not be thoughtlessly sucked a long into the mainstream of popular thinking, since that is often the broad road that leads to destruction

-Wake up: the evil today is different than the evil of yesterday or of tomorrow-we must be shrewd as “serpents”


Called to do:

-Christians get political-call out the state when doing wrong-don’t stay silent

-Church help the victims of the state

-if the state refuses to change course to do what is right then the Church must become active in politics 

***the Church is obligated to God to get political to boldly stand against their own government 


Chapter 5: Pastors

 

Learn from history:

-church pastors did not see immediate emergency so the state took over the church and lost its mission and purpose in Jesus

-Nazis masterfully exploited the scrupulousness of timid pastors to consolidate power

-German church lacked even the ability to fight back

-the Church became comfortably aligned with the German state

-Adolf Hitler despised the Church and Christianity

-when the church is subservient to the state or to the reigning worldly culture then it is effectively dead


Regret:

-silence & compliance leads to persecution

-pastors realized the wrong being done too late to stop the persecution

-pastors chose to not be “political” and shrank from taking a heroic stand

-Nazis successfully were able to marginalize and openly demonize so arrested seven hundred such pastors

-churches gave in to tremendous cultural pressure to conform


Today:

***Not thinking Biblically will destroy the American church

***Follow Jesus = radical obedience stand against the enemies of God in culture 

-America must speak out when the state tries to force Christians' to violate their Biblical views

-pastors need to stand on what we can now see as an extremely important principles

-when a church is neutral satan succeeds

-when a church bends cultural power succeeds 

-churches cannot remain “neutral”

***God will certainly judge his church

***God is still the God of Judgment

-evil is anti-christian who wants to obliterate the church

***Virtue-signaling is deceptive

-labeled as disenfranchised: BLM flags and rainbow banners unite against the rigid narrow-minded churches

***Symbols are not benign-breeds fear through satanic overtones


Awaken America: ignorance, silence, inaction, and theological confusion only helps evil gain a foothold and lending evil a helping hand


Chapter 6

Spiral of Silence

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. God will not hold us guiltless.”

God holds us accountable as inaction is participation

Spiral of Silence

-refers to the idea that when people fail to speak, the price of speaking rises, so as the price of speaking goes up fewer speak out, which further causes the price to rise, so that even fewer people yet will speak out, until a whole culture or nation is silenced (As seen in Germany)

***Silence in evil is evil

***Cowardice beget cowardice

***Courage begets courage


Speak out:

***Don’t make God a liar

-We are to speak out to encourage others to speak out

***the question is whether we are willing to pay the price of speaking and acting

-understand the roots of our fears and our own silence when it matters

-Christians claim to believe that Jesus defeated death on the cross, but if we are fearful including death then we are fools

-do not misunderstand the word “faith” or turn it into “cheap grace” or make an “idol of evangelism

-resist the false commandment “thou shalt not be political”

-put everything through the lens of the proper relationship between church and state


Chapter 7

Errors of Faith: either works or beliefs

Answer: Christians should live out both


By Faith 1st = good works:

-Martin Luther grew up in a world that had effectively forgotten that we are saved by faith 

-High Medieval church was corrupt teaching how to “work the system” of the church through confession, prayer, and devotion to God in the sacrifices made to the church through tithes and works based faith

-never able to work hard enough to be morally perfect or justified without faith

-only through confessing to a man ordained by God could a person be forgiven and their verbally confessed sin be washed away-or the penalty would be to be dragged into the eternal torment of hell


Jesus = a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Christ, so being justified through Christ we want to share it through our works of life 


“Faith apart from works is dead” (James 2: 14)

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).


***Faith leads to works, works doesn’t lead to faith

***actions illustrates what we believe 

***Even demons believe in God, but their actions are evil so reflects the character of satan


Example: story of Adam and Eve

-Adam and Eve disobey God by eating from the tree of good and evil

-Adam and Eve knew they had done wrong

-They don’t turn to Go after they sinned-they hid themselves from God

-They used fig leaves to cover their nakedness

-When asked how they knew they were naked Adam points the blame at Eve-the woman you gave me tricked me

-Then Eve points the blame at the serpent who deceived her

-humans try to cover themselves with fig leaves-nothing is hidden from God-the fig leaves are insufficient

-covering up our nakedness cannot begin to bridge the divide sin created between us and God

-only Jesus through his blood could cover our offensiveness to God

-God provides even in estrangement-but he doesn’t approve of deception and lies

-Today, don’t cheapen grace

-Today, don’t reduce belief into just intellect 

***God is not fooled-He sees our hearts-He sees our actions


Ask:

-Does how I live show God that I actually believe what I claim I believe?

-How does God respond to sin?


***Believe that Jesus defeated death on the cross, so do what God calls you to do


Chapter 8

Is the Church Paralyzed?

“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24).

If you have faith = Do good works


True Faith

-a good idea can be twisted away from God’s purpose and can become an idol

-faith expresses love of God in our acts

-even demons believe but they despise God

-Christian faith is an expression of whom we trust = God

-to engage in faith is to believe, trust, and act

-faith is a commandment = God commands us to passionately and utterly and wholeheartedly love Him and what follows is love for your neighbors


“ Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22: 34-40).


Nicene Creed

-We need to know the faith you believe and how you live out that faith

-God asks, Will you trust me?

-People see precisely what we believe by how we behave

-What do you claim to believe?

I believe in one God,

the Father almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all things visible and invisible.


I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,

the Only Begotten Son of God,

born of the Father before all ages.

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;

through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation

he came down from heaven,

and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,

he suffered death and was buried,

and rose again on the third day

in accordance with the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead

and his kingdom will have no end.


I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son,

who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,

who has spoken through the prophets.


I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins

and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead

and the life of the world to come. Amen.


Bonoeffer

-wrote “The Cost of Discipleship” as an indictment against the German Church in 1936 

-calls out “cheap grace” which is like faith that is not really faith but that only pretends to be faith, so we deceive ourselves and God

-God cannot be fooled

-”Saved by faith” is used as God’s grace does it all so I can do nothing and be covered-(Wrong)

-Souls sleepwalking toward the abyss

-He warned the German church that Hitler was twisting evil definitions to the terms: discipleship (to follow after), faith, belief, 

-He called out the church that they are No longer a followers of Jesus 

Today

-result of “cheap grace” is secularizing the Christian religion

-do not take God’s grace for granted

-Christian life is not living in the world as the world lives

-the duty of Christians is to leave the world 

-Bonhoeffer’s words should be a an indictment of the American Church today


Chapter 9

Idol of Evangelism

“To have faith” is an action verb “to live out”


-”faith” must be lived out with our whole being and manifested in how we behave 

-when someone comes to faith their life is transformed

-our views on every subject comes into line with God’s will

-we lead others to salvation and then we help build walls or to fight in battles

-to never say anything that might offend someone then fear is in man 

-fear God and not who you will offend

-joy is in bringing others into personal salvation

-God calls us to “to speak truth in power”

-Jesus called the Pharisees “white-washed tombs” and that were “of their father, the devil”

-Jesus was not timid, but aggressive


 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!  Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me?  Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God” (John 8: 44-47).


-Jesus was an engaged “truth teller”

-our holy God who acts in history

Ex.in the Old Testament, God judges Israel and its people for their behavior


Hypertrophied Evangelism

-refuse to comment on anything controversial or political if they think it might conceivably interfere with the possibility of leading someone to salvation

-all of our professions of “nonjudgmentalism” are not quite enough to bring  people to Jesus

-German Church was silenced while embracing “we only preach the Gospel”

-Bonhoeffer was imprisoned at Tegel Prison, but still preached truth and shared his faith with innumerable souls before taken to be put to death

-What topic is off limits? -How can you preach the Gospel with a muzzle?

***We have an obligation to speak out on any number of issues which the cultural elites had declared off limits

***When you only preach the Gospel you help the enemies of freedom

***If I am not willing to speak out how can I expect others to be courageous for me?

***It is becoming more difficult for people in a free society to speak the truth, speak freely, and without fear when it becomes a “Gospel Issue”


-Wake up Church-Act-we cannot prevent terrible things from happening, but we can no longer be “just business as usual”

***If we are unwilling to show the self-giving agape love of Christ by openly risking all you have for the sake of those who are suffering, who have no voice, you are no Christian at all, but a hypocrite and a fraud


On what issues are we ourselves being silent?

-unborn, sexuality, indoctrinating children, mutilated kids, socialism and communism ideas, or what is harming the poor 

Ex. William Wilberforce cared about the Africans suffering in the abomination called the transatlantic slave trade. He spoke out against and called for the end of the slave trade.

-he was told that he mustn't mix faith and politics


***Do we believe it? Are we acting as though we believe it? Do we honor Him in all we say and do? Do we allow our ideological enemies to tell us what we can and cannot say and what views we can and cannot have? 


If so, then we have taken our eyes off God!


Chapter 10

Speak Truth in Love

What is Truth?

Jesus = Truth


-God used Pilate and Caiaphas to complete the mission of Jesus being the redemptive redeemer


Jesus

-One who is Truth

-se Him as the standard bearer, and as the standard too

-image of truth itself

-battle flag of truth

-His is the standard raised up amidst the carnage of the battle between truth and lies

-we are to rally to that battle flag, to Jesus Himself

-Jesus is alive, eternal, and immortal

***Love and Truth cannot be separated


God’s asks of us

-believe that truth and love are united in Him

-declare any truth in a way that steps away from God’s love is to speak no truth at all

-do not step away from the One who is Truth

-we cannot claim to love if we step away from the Truth of God then it is not love at all

-don’t fool yourself into thinking you are being loving when you step away from God’s truth

-do not be more concerned with justifying ourselves-Jesus did that on the cross

-if you forsake God’s truth then you misrepresent the real love of God

-fear of saying something controversial or potentially disagreeable then you cease to live out God’s love in truth

-Progressive American Christians take the fundamentals of truth in love lightly

-doctrines as the Resurrection and Atonement must be taken seriously


“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe” (Proverbs 29:25).


Speak out:

-Christians that internalize worldly criticism now gives up freedom to speak

-speak on the issues fearlessly

Ex. sexuality and transgender madness-Truth-God created us male and female in His image

-being silent in the face of evil, you partake in the evil

-lead the way through the carnage of this ideological warfare

-the battle standard is Jesus Himself

-truth is not some theory-silence allows applause for the hopeless, confused, and feeds into our broken culture 

-live out my faith or be enslaved to public opinion

-our silence encourages sin and leads to the path away from God


***Bonhoeffer modeled his public witness, so in God’s grace may we do the same


Chapter 11

Be Ye not Political

A silent church can’t lead 


-1930’s Germany, church’s central error was that Christians ought not to be political

-today-there is some truth in every lie= Christians mustn’t be overly political to the point that our hopes are in politics not in God Himself


Church

-where did the church ever get the idea that it was possible to avoid being political at all?

-doing God’s will sometimes entail entering the world of politics whether we wish it or not

-God’s enemies shout that we should not be political is the voice of the devil

-christians have allowed themselves to be silenced and neutralized to the great harm of many of our fellow human beings

-unbiblical roots is being religiously justified to do nothing

-How can christians allow such things to take place?

Ex. medical castration of children, mutilating the bodies of children


Paul

-Paul’s letter to the Romans as been taken out of context

-separation of church and state is not in America’s constitution

-God looks to His church to stand against the great evil

Ex. extermination of Jews

-unprecedentedly evil results; church’s inaction = evil reigns


Church

-American churches swallow the same lie to separate church and state= The biggest lie

-we have been silenced from speaking and acting boldly against what we see happening in our own time as it is characterized as “political’

Ex. patriotic American demonized as “white supremacists”

-we should be ashamed of ourselves for being silent when any injustices are allowed to persist because of our fear and silence

Ex. Jesus = life in a mother’s womb is sacred, Satan = murder of the unborn child is legal

Ex. Jesus = humans created by God as man and woman, Satan = genderless society, redefined marriage, promotes immoral and unnatural law

Ex. activism is hailed as the very kind of thing christians should be doing =

men competing in women’s sports 

***Political is a  subjective and meaningless statement designed to silence truth 


In the End:

-we must only worry about what God thinks of what we say

-we must look to Him and to Him alone or be in bondage to the spirit of the age in which we live

-if someone attacks us for being political, we must cheerfully ignore their criticism

-to allow the voices of this world to silence us in this way is precisely how the German Church was silenced

-Jesus had critics who hated Him and what He proclaimed

-those critics were motivated by the devil himself to use whatever they could against Him

-Jesus knew that it was a spiritual battle

-we must expect to be criticized and reviled and hated for they hated Him first


Bonhoeffer advice:

-God means that the Church to be the conscience of the state

-the Church must exist apart from the state and must be free to criticize the state 

-when the Church shrinks from this duty to God and to its fellow citizens-it is not behaving as God’s Church-the state and everyone in it will suffer


Today: non-Christians bolder than the Church

-there are more non-christian patriots who have the courage to speak out

-these good Americans see the anarchic forces working to abolish God-given freedoms enshrined in our founding documents that will upend nearly every aspect of American society

-those outside the Church see the injustice and madness and know they must fight

-they see the wiping away the distinction between women and men

-wipe away any semblance of clarity about sexual behavior and to introduce alien sexual ideas to our children-they know something is wrong

-they see half-mad abortion activists foaming at the mouth to have the ‘right’ to kill children in the womb

-they have witnessed all kinds of powerful forces in government, media, Big Tech, and Big Pharma attempting to silence anyone who dares to voice any disagreement with the radical elites

**Truth is truth-there is no Christian truth-All God’s truth is truth

**Church is lacking leadership

-not protecting

-not validating voices

-not hearing cries

****A silent Church can’t lead

We must be the missionaries in the halls of Government


Chapter 12

Who Do You Say God Is?


Bonhoeffer

-disgusted with German Church’s “theologically based restraint” which was bad theology and wrong

-disgusted that his fellow German Christians including the Confessing Church who were slow to act when so many were suffering

-Asked “what price are you willing to pay to do the right thing?”

-Bonhoeffer became dedicatedly “political”

-Bonhoeffer acted-He paid with his life


The Cost of Discipleship?-The Church has no neutral stand

-In the end, we are alone with God and His judgment of us, so is God enough?

-What is God asking us to do?

-What does He think of what we are doing or not doing, saying or not saying?

-Is what He thinks enough? Or must we have the approval of others too?

-Are you willing to pay such a steep price or just hang back?

-Do we believe God looks on our hearts and sees our intentions as they really are?


Not Sure?

-Franz Hildebrandt used scripture in his memorial sermon 3 months after Bonhoeffer’s death

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2nd Chronicles 20:12).

-He expects us to do the hard thing and to step out in faith though we will be reviled by our brethren.


Chapter 13

The Parable of the Talents

“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

OR

“But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Matthew 25: 14-30


Jesus’s Parable

-Circle: master freed them to take risks, knowing this is what he would have want them to do, He trusted them to do that, and they trusted him to trust them to do so

-forces us to see ourselves 

-is a powerful illustration of what God thinks of our “safe” and “religious” reasons for not doing the right thing

-there is no safe middle path-you only have two options: Serve God or Serve the Counterfeit God=Satan

-choice to love Him and trust Him-because you know He loves and trusts you

-He is God, so He knows our hearts so we cannot fool Him

-use what God has given you with diligence

-stay in reach of the master’s grace 

-He made you in His image with full freedom

-You choose the God whom you choose 

-Don’t choose the counterfeit God=Satan

***Either we rejoice in God and love Him and trust Him or we do the very opposite and side with His enemies, judging Him as “hard” and behaving in a way calculated not to entrust ourselves to Him.

***Stand with Christ who set us free or we stand with satan who is the accuser


Chapter 14

Justifying Ourselves


-trying to justify ourselves to God or wishing to be God never ends well

-don’t fall into the trap of behaving in a “religious” way-moralism never ends well

-don’t fall into the trap of burying the talent is the safe path-this is an attempt to manipulate Him with your actions so that it is we who are in charge and not God Himself.

-hiding your talent is the path of dead religion 

-don’t be like the German Church who worked to avoid trouble by cooperating with the authorities to be seen as good citizens that let things just happen as they happened

-the Church has an obligation to counter the state when its actions are evil. Romans 13 states to honor authority, but only when it is honorable, trustworthy, and puts its citizens 1st through God’s authority. 


“Being a Christian is not about avoiding sin, but about passionately and courageously serving God”


Theologically Restrained Objections

-keep silent at certain times and with certain topics

-not want to come across as “political”

Ex. even voting for a candidate is silenced for fear of combative conversations

-see no value in making your voting criteria vocal

-selfish as only think about own comfort not lead others to make a decision based on God’s criteria


Chapter 15

Religionless Christianity

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).


American Church

-drifted from the pure and utter freedom that it means to live out our faith fearlessly

-humanist position in which the God of Scriptures is not longer necessary


“We need a true and deep Christianity, one that is not merely “religious,” but understand we are to live out our faith with every atom of our being in every second we have on this earth and with every breath God gives us to breathe. Anything less than this kind of faith is nothing at all.”


-dead religion is flimsy and useless, but to be playing a part assigned by the devil himself

-The churches cannot be a dead religion masquerading as Christianity

-religionless Christianity just means we move from the the hypocrisy of outward piousness like the pharisees which is false Christianity-to require a true faith and relationship with the one true God

-we need to stand with everything we have against evil

-that we not give in or move the line in the sand, 

-that we  live by the grace of God who died for us so stand in his triumph in all His glory

-Cry out for a full-throated faith that doesn’t just hope, but knows God has defeated death so live in a plain view speaking in God’s truth

-wipe away false boundaries between our faith and everything else: politics or culture

Make an Impact: This is the hour of the American Church-It is an honor to represent Christ


“We are charged with pointing our fellow Americans and the whole world to the God who has somehow allowed us the inexpressibly great privilege of representing Him in these dark days.”


“Act as though Truth is a Person who knows no bounds, who created the heavens and the earth, and who died that we who are the crowns of God’s creation might at last live in true freedom, with the authority that He gave us when He died and rose from the grave.”


“If we live fully in that freedom for which Christ has set us free, we will see God’s hand in ways we dare not imagine. We will see miracles small and great, and we will see not only revival, but reformation.”


-Church= collection of people with a direct personal relationship with God

so:

-Show we really do know that God has defeated death

-Reveal to others what a deep and personal relationship with Christ looks like


***God has chosen each of us to live now, at this very moment in history, for His eternal purposes. 


Ch. 16 

“Realpolitik” means accepting things as they are and not trying hard to change the status quo.


-Evil must cancel voices that speak against it

-Evil must imprison those who might escape its reach

-Evil must kill those who stand against it

-It’s always a challenge to argue with the worldly wisdom

-The world doesn’t understand that believers in Christ can’t stay in the “safe” approach of worldly wisdom

-Great leaders know that sometimes doing the heroic and right think is a lonely business

Ex. Bonhoeffer felt quite alone in what he was doing but he did it anyway

Ex. Wilberforce focused on the atrocity of the Africans in slave ships as he wanted to deliver them from their suffering

-If these two men brushed aside their God given convictions and bought into the lie that there are just “necessary evils” then how would the evil ever be vanquished?


***Words are more than just words when carried through by tremendous spiritual power

***We should be outraged by the evil that we see

***We should be willing to risk everything to engage in the battle against evil

***We need to fight with all our might so that evil doesn’t win (Jesus wins in the end, but that doesn’t mean we stand by for Him to do all the work-we are called to stand in the battle until it is time to be reunited with Jesus in His kingdom)


Expectations of “we the people”

-fate of the free world depends on you-so take responsibility for our Constitutional principles

-trust God who tells us that victory will be given into our hands and that we must fight with all we have to guarantee that evil doesn’t prevail

-speak out, advocate, vote, and denounce candidates that are un-Christian

-be a champion of God’s purposes 

-show Him that you know that whatever you have is His gift to you, and that you can trust Him with it

-God’s goodness is not safe and it is not tame

-God is not the religious God of the pharisees

-He doesn’t call us to be tame or safe or religious


***God condemns us for hanging back when He has called us to the battle



 










































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