When the hypocrites and accomplices to Adolf Hitler (Matthew 7:21-23) would sing praises to Jesus in the Protestant churches in Germany, they would sing louder to drown out the noise of the Jews, gypsies and dissidents that were crying out for help while they were being hauled off in cattle cars to concentration camps, or even worse, extermination camps (Psalm 78:9).
When church services were over they would find their cars dusted with the ash of the bodies that were burned in the incinerators.
To further the atrocities of these traitors to Christ, they were the ones handing off their youth groups to do Hitler’s killing for them.
These professors loved Jesus so much that they simply disobeyed His commandments at every opportunity they had (1 John 2:4).
I am sure most of you have heard:
First 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 for me.
– Martin Niemöller
Martin Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for this quotation. I have heard this quote many times before, but it was just recently that I learned that the man who said it was a prominent Protestant pastor during the time of Hitler and the Nazis. It was learning this fact that made all the difference in the world in understanding from where this quote stemmed.
This quotation stemmed from Niemöller’s lectures during the early post-war period. His point was that Germans and, in particular, the leaders of the Protestant churches had been complicit through their silence in the Nazi imprisonment, persecution and murder of millions of people.
Niemöller was one of the earliest Germans to talk publicly about the broader complicity in the Holocaust and guilt for what had happened to the Jews. Although he did suffer, spending the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps, he still recognized his own guilt for not speaking out against tyranny.
In fact, we could rewrite Niemöller’s quote quite well for today’s church leaders. It would probably go something like this:
First they came for prayer in school, and I did not speak out, because I was not a student. Nor did I ever look into the fact that the Supreme Court is not above the law (Article III, Section 1, of the United States Constitution (Ephesians 6:18)).
Then they came to murder the unborn in their mother’s womb, and I did not speak out, because I was not an unborn child. After all, I was told that the Supreme Court could sanction the murder of the innocent in the womb by simply calling it a woman’s choice (Proverbs 6:17).
Then they came for marriage through the legalization of two men or two woman getting “married” to upend America’s sovereignty, and I did not speak out (as if to say the Supreme Court injustices have a God-given right to redefine what God Himself designed), because I did not want to be called a hater or a bigot (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Romans 1:24).
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me, because I never spoke out for anyone else (let alone God) (Ezekiel 3).
It is disgraceful what we are not seeing from the pulpits in America today. Rather than seeing a thunderous barrage of righteous indignation against murder of the unborn and zeal against tyranny, injustice and immorality, we are hearing virtually nothing from over 300,000 pulpits … silence (Zechariah 1:15).
We hear church leaders (1 Corinthians 12:28) say, “Well, I don’t speak out against anything political.” The murder of innocent children, political? Homosexual marriage, political? A corrupt, wicked and lawless administration that means to destroy your country and religious freedom, political?
Here we see Niemöller, a man who could not change the destruction that took place in the lives of millions of people. Prevention would have been better than cure. He could not go back in time and right the wrongs, but America still can.
If not now, then when? If not you, then who?
Together, we can turn this destruction around, but if you choose to remain silent, don’t be surprised when they come for you and there is no one left to speak out. And at that point you can rest assured that others may sing loud enough to drown out your cries.
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