by Kevin Reeves
(author of The Other Side of the River)
History is filled with stories of those who have stood for truth, many of whom gave their lives to defend the faith God had put in their hearts. History is also filled with those who tried to squelch that truth. In his riveting account of the Nazi empire, historian William L. Shirer meticulously documents the internal workings of a system that once threatened to take over the world. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is a chilling account of the effects of mind-numbing propaganda.1 The endless barrage of misinformation, incredibly, molded a once-beaten and fragmented people into the icon of elitism, which culminated in grisly death camps and the cold-blooded murder of those deemed lesser humans. A firsthand witness and opponent of the Nazi regime, Shirer recounted instances of conversation with German people, when he dared contradict the ludicrous governmental and media declarations of ethnic, cultural, and military superiority. He was met with shocked silence or an amazed stare. He noted that to question the Nazi machine’s view of anything was considered blasphemy of the highest order. It dawned on him that the minds of many of the people had become so warped that they were no longer able to think for themselves or evaluate anything by a higher standard. Shirer observed that with the rise of the new German empire, the truth had become whatever Hitler and Goebbels said it was; they were the final arbiters of reality— spiritual and otherwise.
Some may think it is extreme to compare the spiritual deception and control tactics within the church today to that of the Nazi regime and the death camps, but we should remember that the church in Germany in the 1930s was very much like the church is today—having a head in the sand mentality about spiritual deception and turning religious leaders into super-human heroes who can do no wrong. Perhaps we are not all that different than Christians in Germany back then. We should not fool ourselves and think we would never be duped like that. The apostle Paul issued a warning to Christians:
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. (I Cor. 10:11,12)
Despite all of this, there is hope in the Lord; He is “Faithful and True” (Rev. 19:11). And He promised to preserve His church, that true body of believers whom He calls the Bride of Christ. Praise His name—there is hope. When truth is challenged, mocked, and thrown against the wind, we can be sure, it will never be altered. And that Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.
The Lord is calling His people out from the midst of the false, to adhere to His truth, no matter what the cost. Let us respond with joy and thankfulness, knowing His grace is sufficient to strengthen us and give us courage.
Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. (Hebrews 13:13-14)
1. William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster/Touchstone, 1959).
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