In the 1930s, if you were a Jew in Germany, you would be faced with unforeseen challenges, that would only get worse. And if you were a Christian during the same period, you would have to make the same choices many of those brave men made, to follow Christ or the Reich. This choice is now thrust upon each of us who are called by the name of Christ. Will we follow His commands or cower to the oppressive power of the State? And just like Bonhoeffer and the members of the Confessing Church, we must stand or fall together. So yes, we are living in Bonhoeffer’s Germany.
Recently, the Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 decision, denied an appeal for a Nevada church to allow additional worshipers to join in-person services based on building capacity during the virus. Nevada has placed a 50-person cap on all places of worship, no matter the capacity of the building. But that cap doesn’t apply to casinos, movie theaters, and restaurants. Does something seem amiss?
And in California, churches must meet outdoors and limit the number of participants. Plus, there are no potlucks or fellowship dinners allowed. No singing, even in small, home groups. And all of this is happening while riots and demonstrations are permitted and encouraged by the same government officials, yet ordinary citizens must comply with Covid19 restrictions. Why? Because our governmental officials state the demonstrations are “too important” to regulate. So how are we to respond to this hypocrisy?
How Are We Living in Bonhoeffer’s Germany?
Our response is simply saying, “Enough!” This is exactly what some churches, including Grace Community Church in California and their pastor John MacArthur, have done. They have publically said, “Enough!” But they have said it with grace and respect. And they have not said it quietly or behind closed doors. Boldness seems to be the great need for the church today.
Remember the poem found in the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem that speaks of the times in which we live. It is titled “First They Came.”
First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Grace Community Church published a position paper on why they will not adhere to the Governor of California’s decrees to limit worship and curtail freedom of religion. It is a paper that communicates the rationale behind civil disobedience from a Scriptural perspective. We, at the Church Without Walls, have modified and adopted this statement as our official position. In this message, we will talk about the ramifications of standing for Him alone, even if you have to do it alone.