two options are offered by Schirrmacher, the Hegelian left/right state which is
the only source of salvation, and the Reconstructed State built by the zeal of
is the model that finds Christ ruling from his throne in Jerusalem. The good intentions
of Reconstructionists fly in the face of revealed biblical Truth.
Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher With a response by Steve Van Nattan
we about to repeat the horrors of Europe in the USA?
startled me in his analysis of Otto von Bismarck's German restoration of statist
Christian rule. I had no idea this was the case. You will also be surprised to
see all the social horrors of our day which duplicate the Bismarck's state religious
is urgent to understand this, and then to see Schirrmacher's conclusion that Reconstructionism
is the only hope of the state in the future.
I disagree with the Reconstructionist solution, I have learned much about the
pious but misguided past movements which imposed a mongrel form of Christianity
on the nations of Europe.
we in America poised to do this again?
Lawless Pietism and Salvation through the State
Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher
evangelistic method of pietism in Germany, which became
prominent after the revolution of 1848, started its message by claiming a bad
conscience and Jesus as the solution to get rid of it. Sin was what produced a
bad conscience. This made sin a subjective feeling. There was no discussion about
the objective law which must rule and guide the conscience. There was no discussion
about sin being sin even if one was unconscious of it. And the discussion did
not start with the creator as reality, but with conscience as a feeling.
Since for centuries millions of Protestants learned the Ten Commandments through
Luther's Small Catechism, this evangelistic method did work for some time. In
Catholic areas the problem was much greater, as this evangelistic method bound,
and still binds, Catholics back to their church. That this evangelistic method
is devastating in the long run can be seen nowadays because today most German
consciences do not even make judgements on the basis of some Christian-oriented
natural law. Pietism could not claim God's law to govern the whole creation. God
rules the individual heart, and the heart was defined together with Goethe, Schiller
and other German classics more as a feeling, than - as it is in the Bible - as
the centre of thought, decision and judgement. So for pietism Jesus only dealt
with part of the inner life, not with the thought and work of the whole person,
not to speak about the family, the church or the state.
We have to understand this if we want to understand why pietism was so often ready
to preach salvation through the state. We will look at three examples.
The first example is from the 18th century. At the beginning
of Prussian state education you will find one of the fathers of pietism August
Hermann Francke. He founded huge Christian schools which for a long time
educated the best Prussian officers, officials and politicians. But in order to
get an education for all children he forced the Prussian state to educate all
children in state schools and did not ask the Christian parents to shoulder the
The second example is from the 19th century. It is the Prussian and later German
chancellor Otto von Bismarck. During my studies I wrote a thesis
about Bismarck's pietism. I argued that he was born again
and that he read his Bible and prayed daily. His wife was a truly pious woman.
Of course I had difficulties understanding why Bismarck never really belonged
to a local church. But I must confess that I did not have any insight about his
politics and was unembarrassed by his views of law.
I know that Bismarck was one of those politicians who increasingly turned Germany
into a country dominated by the state and obstructed the influence of church and
family on German everyday life and culture. As the uniter of Germany he made what
became a model to the whole world: 'Realpolitik', a practical politics not following
principles and ideas, but the real situation, meaning choosing the best among
the possibles. The real value was the 'Volk', the nation, which had to become
one, no matter what this meant.
the re-unification of Germany you could see that the 'Volk' still is a religious
value in Germany, and even among the evangelicals. A lot of pietists, who normally
keep out of politics and do not believe in a God who rules history, suddenly praised
God in special services for the re-unification. The parties in the German parliament
only agreed on the re-unification treaty because it allowed a major change in
the abortion laws. Although protest against the abortion laws is normally the
only political and moral topic which stirs up the evangelical world, they suddenly
kept silent and praised the 'Volk' becoming one, even though this re-unification
was only possible by taking over the devastating legacy of East German abortion
Back to the pietist Bismarck. In order to fight the socialistic party he founded
the social security system run by the state, which in the long-run made Germany
the forerunner of a state secured future which forces nearly every citizen to
pay into the different state assurance policies all his life. Most evangelicals
think that this is evidence of his Christian influence in politics!
In order to oppose the influence of the Pope and the Catholic Church Bismarck
also brought all private and mainly Christian schools under the control of the
state. From the time of Bismarck on every teacher had to
be state-approved, no matter where he taught. From now on everybody had to marry
at a state office, so that the Christian or religious marriage became an optional
ceremony with no legal value. With this and other new laws Bismarck hit mainly
the Protestant Church because the Catholic Church was much stronger through its
international connections. The Protestant Churches did not protest, because liberals
and pietists alike were in favour of Protestantism being the uniting factor of
the new Germany. They loved their Kaiser Wilhelm I, the only man above Bismarck,
because he confessed his Protestant belief personally to the Pope; they were unconcerned
that he was not only the protector of the Prussian Protestant churches, but at
the same time the protector of German Freemasonry, a position held by most Prussian
Kings since Frederike II called "the Great".
The third example is from the 20th century. In 1966 the left-wing Social Democratic
Party became partner in government of the right-wing Christian Democratic Union
which had governed Germany since 1949. In 1969 it took over the government until
1982. The minister of justice, who became president of Germany later, was a well
known Christian lawyer, Gustav Heinemann, who had belonged to
the confessing church under Hitler. He was not a pietist in the strict sense,
but was heavily influenced by pietism. With the argument that Christians could
not force their ethics on the non-Christians he started to get rid of nearly all
German laws that had something in common with the Ten Commandments. Soon it was
no longer forbidden to speak blasphemously about the Christian God - a typical
start. Later the laws on abortion, homosexuality and divorce were changed, to
name just a few examples, and with the exception of the problem of abortion most
evangelicals do not even know any longer what the law forbade 30 years ago. To
most of them it seems impossible and incredible that the state outlaws things
that are seen as criminal acts in the Old Testament, although many of those laws
were still in force till the sixties.
Without God's law, pietism was lost and helped his biggest enemy, the modern state
claiming salvation, to come to power.
salvation through the state
is well known that the minister of propaganda of the national socialist government
Joseph Goebbels was a Marxist and a socialist before he became
a national socialist. Ulrich Höver now has shown in his outstanding book
Joseph Goebbels as national socialist that Goebbels stayed a socialist all his life. Judging from
the common left-right-spectrum people are shocked to hear that a fascist like
Goebbels at the same time was a socialist. But has there ever been a fascism and
a nationalism that was not socialistic and statist? And has there ever been a
socialism and statism that was not nationalistic and fascistic? Was the Russian
socialism in the Soviet union really an international socialism? Was it not a
Russian National Socialism? Ask other ethnic groups in the former Soviet union
how 'international' this kind of socialism was. On the other side Hitler's National
Socialism was 'international' because Hitler wanted to reign the whole world after
the final victory ('Endsieg') of the Second World War. He planned to send German
national socialists as protectors to every country of the world.
common root of National Socialism and Marxistic socialism is Hegel's salvation
through the state. The German atheistic philosopher Ernst Topitsch has shown
that National Socialism and Marxism are only the best known examples of the right
and left wing totalitarian state ideas that followed Hegel's philosophy which
saw the Prussian state as the final outcome of the spirit governing world history.
Hegel's philosophy was heavily influenced by the French revolution and Freemasonry,
as some of his followers have shown to relieve him from being responsible for
the Prussian and German idea that the state is above everything and the people
live for the state. But they did not understand that the left and right revolutionists
understand the same message of Hegel as the Prussian kings and the Marxists and
national socialists after they had come to power: salvation comes through the
This message is still working in reunited Germany, which now tries to get all
of Europe under a even bigger - European - state, which is believed to bring even
more salvation. If this plan, the United State of Europe, does not succeed, than
the only reason will be, that the religion of nationalism in the European countries
is too strong, which also believes in salvation through the state.
if Christian Reconstruction takes place - being based
on the presupposition of a creator, 2) who revealed himself in His infallible
book, which contains 3) His laws as theonomic ethics for the whole world,
4) the salvation according to Calvinistic understanding and 5) the hope
and faith that this earth once will serve God at large
can the two rival static religions be overcome by the "kingly law of freedom",
as James calls it.
Of course all the following judgements on pietism are only true in general. There
always have been exceptions and especially some of the few Reformed pietists (e.g.
in Bremen and Wuppertal) have protested against of typical thoughts among pietists.
details on the biblical view of the conscience see my article "Das Gewissen
in der Bibel", Querschnitte 2(1989): 2/19-22 and Hans-Joachim Eckstein,
Der Beriff Syneidesis bei Paulus, WUNT 2/10 (Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr,
On the Prussian state education and its influence on the USA see Samuel L. Blumenfeld,
"Is Public Education Necessary". Journal of Christian Reconstruction
IV(1977), vol. 1(summer 1977), pp. 108-120, here p. 110-112; Samuel L. Blumenfeld,
Is Public Education Necessary (Boise: The Paradigm Company, 19852/1989),
pp. 158-164; Samuel L. Blumenfeld, NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education
(Boise: The Paradigm Company, 1984/1989
War Bismarck Christ? Ein Urteil im Spiegel der Geschichte, Master Theses
(Basel: Freie Evangelisch-Theologische Akademie, 1982), reprinted under the same
title Lörrach: Institut für Weltmission und Gemeindebau, 1982)
the biography Sophie Charlotte von Sell, Fürst Bismarcks Frau (Berlin:
For a general overview over this so called "Kulturkampf" see Karl Kupitsch,
Kirchengeschichte V (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 19862), pp. 51-69 and Ronald
J. Ross, "Enforcing the Kulturkampf in the Bismarckian State and the Limits
of Coercion in Imperial Germany", The Journal of Modern History 56(1983):
456-482. For general characteristics of Prussia see Oswald Hauser, Vom Wesen
des preussischen Staates (Kiel: F. Hirt, 1962)
See my book on the Freemasons Jochen Neuer, Die Freimaurer: Die Religion der
Mächtigen (Berneck: Schwengeler, 1991)
Ulrich Höver, Joseph Goebbels als nationaler Sozialist (Verlag Bouvier:
Ernst Topitsch, Die Sozialphilosophie Hegels als Heilslehre und Herrschaftsideologie
(München: Piper, 19812); Ernst Topitsch, Gottwerdung und Revolution,
UTB, (Pullach: Verlag Dokumentation, 1973). On Hegel religious background in Freemasonry
and his influence on right und left totalitarianism see also: Jacques D'Hondt,
Verborgene Quellen des Hegelschen Denkens (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 19832)
(from the French); Jacques D'Hondt, Hegel und seine Zeit (Beerlin: Akademie-Verlag,
19842) (from the French); Gerd-Klaus Kaltenbrunner (ed.), Hegel und die Folgen
(Freiburg: Herder, 1970); Karl R. Popper, Die offene Gesellschaft und ihre Feinde
Band 2 (Tübingen: Francke, 19806) (title of English original: The Open
Society and Its Enemies II)
Van Nattan's Response
Schirrmacher serves us very well in delivering a condensed examination of German
history and its slide from Reformed Church/Stateism into the utterly mongrel state-as-saviorism.
I have been an admirer of the Bismarck as a commander and as a decent God fearing
men. But, in his zeal to lock down Germany under Church power, he sent the nation
down the road of becoming the broker of religious piety. The Bismarck traded the
propositional truth of the Word of God he read every day for unity and political
power over people. And, where ever piety rules in the place of Christ, it runs
into the ditch sooner of later. It displaces God the Holy Spirit, and it takes
captive the will of every man to submit and thrive, or he may rebel against God
and get purgatory on earth now and hell in eternity.
I do not agree with Schirrmacher in seeing Christian Reconstructionism as the
force to rescue humanity in the nationalistic and governance of all men. This
is virtually impossible in the Age of Grace. Every attempt at ruling the civil
world by the leaders of the Lord's Church has gone into the ditch every time.
This is because God the Holy Spirit is not in it, and Christ did not command it.
Indeed, when the Church takes charge of the magestrarum, they deny their calling
to preach the Gospel and call men to Christ. The state Church, no matter how lofty
and thoughtful the leaders are, ALWAYS gets around to forcing men to convert or
suffer lack of privileges. Thus, the Church is filled by coercion, not invitation.
only mission of the Lord's Church today:
16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples,
saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say
that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the
prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon
Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh
and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build
my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will
give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind
on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall
be loosed in heaven.
did not pledge allegiance to the flag of Israel, nor did he denounce abortion.
Peter said nothing about the Law of Moses, that is, he did not promise to keep
Moses' law to prove he was loyal to Jesus. Jesus did not ask for that. Jesus asked
Peter to tell him who he was. Peter "confessed with his mouth the Lord Jesus"
as we are told to do in Romans 10:9-10 in order to "be saved."
the Age of Grace, the ONLY program of Jesus Christ in the earth is to build the
Church. The Church, as defined in the Word of God, is the people of God in this
age. It is not a political or ecclesiastical organization. There is NOTHING in
the above verses to imply we are to agitate for the salvation, evangelism, or
management of the state. Peter's confession is the "rock" on which the
Church is built, NOT your piety of my zeal. Jesus commanded us to preach the Gospel
to "every creature," not to every legislature and parliament.
again Schirrmacker's five essentials for the perfect Theocratic Empire on earth.
Did you see what is missing? Salvation by faith. As with the August Hermann
Francke, and later with Otto von Bismarck, salvation was not included in the plan
for the perfect state. This lack of salvation is because the Reconstructionist
is governed by Five Point Calvinism which does not even give man the choice to
be born again. The man is thus going to be forced to bow to the Theocratic Reconstructionist
God while he hates him. This is possibly one of the most grotesque monsters ever
dreamed up in the name of Jesus Christ who started this Age of the Church, a Church
he wants to build his way.
you imagine Christ on his throne watching as men bow in churches every Sunday,
repeating a prayer, burping up a confession, cursing abortion, pledging allegiance
to his holy name, and hating him all the time. Reconstructionists believe this
is the perfect plan for the state. When you join ANY movement which mixes political
process, patriotic rhetoric, or party politics with Christian zeal, you are doing
exactly what those German pietists and ordinary Germans did when they went along
with the Theocratic kingdom of their day. AND, can you see how their state piety
cum spiritual ignorance primed them for the Roman Catholic patriot and moralist,
meditate on this in the coming elections.
18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this
world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews:
but now is my kingdom not from hence.
mission of the coming Kingdom Rule of Christ is clear
7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with
the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near
before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom,
that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an
everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall
not be destroyed.
as Jesus Christ returns to rule for a thousand years will this totally inclusive
authority over all nations and humanity be united under one governing Head, Jesus
Christ. The Church is NOT the one coming in Daniel. Messiah Christ is the coming
Samaritan woman at the well was smarter than these Reconstructionists BEFORE she
knew she was talking to the Messiah.
4:21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither
in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship
ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father
in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God
is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ:
when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that
speak unto thee am he.
woman's world was socially, morally, nationally, and physically in deep error.
The Samaritans worshipped Jehovah on Mount Gerizim, but they had totally mutilated
the truth which God had delivered to them. The woman soon was converted and became
an evangelist of the Messiah, and she did not run back into town and tell the
folks they needed to set up a Theocratic government quick because Messiah was
coming to town. Here is her message, AND IT IS YOURS STILL:
4:28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith
to the men, 29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did:
is not this the Christ? 30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.
4:40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would
tarry with them: and he abode there two days. 41 And many more believed because
of his own word; 42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of
thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the
Christ, the Saviour of the world.
SHALL WE THEN LIVE?
we must all decide whether we will agitate our souls, and the souls of men around
us, to set up a Reconstruction of the Theocratic monstrosity that Otto von Bismarck
set up long ago in Germany, a state where unrighteous people bow to the state
Jesus with no love for the biblical Jesus in their heart, OR will we tell men,
"Come see a man.....?"
saint, try to be content to BE the salt of the earth where you are. Learn to wait
for the salvation of Israel and the Church when Christ returns in power and great
glory. I am convinced that these Reformed Reconstructionists simply do not believe
Jesus can do it himself without their help. After all, they know that the cruel
brutal methods of old John Calvin made people submit to the state Church. I believe
they see themselves flogging the masses and asses in the market place while Jesus
sits in Jerusalem on his throne and plays Parcheesi with visiting world leaders.
if you have a Reformed friend who is a real soul winner and loves the hope of
Messiah's return soon, do not lump them in with these arrogant Reconstructionists.
There are a lot of Reformed Christians these days reading about the Rapture of
the Church and the coming Messianic Kingdom from some book they hide in the bathroom
and read while ruling in the present kingdom of reality.
OFF TOPIC LECTURE BY DR. THOMAS SCHIRRMACHER
is his lecture on Islam and how to win Muslims for Christ in Europe. This is priceless,
and it applies 100% to the American Church also. I have many experiences seeing
and hearing alleged born again Christians raging with hate against Muslims, and
down the street were Muslims they could have given a Bible of a Christian testimony.
and think please:
was blessed by this lecture in the light of the article above. After suggesting
the Church use the Reconstructionist plan to change the state in the article,
in this lecture he makes it very clear that the Evangelical church community must
use the biblical methods it has always used to win Muslims.