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Steve Van Nattan

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SALVATION THROUGH THE STATE

The 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 biblical Christians.

Neither 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.

 

By Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher
With a response by Steve Van Nattan

 

Are we about to repeat the horrors of Europe in the USA?

Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher 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 institutions.

It is urgent to understand this, and then to see Schirrmacher's conclusion that Reconstructionism is the only hope of the state in the future.

While 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.

Are we in America poised to do this again?

Germany's Lawless Pietism
and Salvation through the State

By Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher

Chalcedon Report 1993

 

The evangelistic method of pietism[1] 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[2].

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 task[3].

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[4]. I argued that he was born again and that he read his Bible and prayed daily. His wife was a truly pious woman[5]. 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.

Today 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.

During 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 laws.

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[6]. 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"[7].

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.

 

 

Hegel's salvation through the state

It 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[8] 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.

The common root of National Socialism and Marxistic socialism is Hegel's salvation through the state. The German atheistic philosopher Ernst Topitsch has shown[9] 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 state.

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.

 

Only if Christian Reconstruction takes place - being based

1) 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.


Copyright © 1993 Dr. Thomas Schirramacher


Notes

[1] 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.

[2] For 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, 1983)

[3] 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

[4] 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)

[5] See the biography Sophie Charlotte von Sell, Fürst Bismarcks Frau (Berlin: Trowitsch, 1915)

[6] 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)

[7] See my book on the Freemasons Jochen Neuer, Die Freimaurer: Die Religion der Mächtigen (Berneck: Schwengeler, 1991)

[8] Ulrich Höver, Joseph Goebbels als nationaler Sozialist (Verlag Bouvier: Bonn 1992)

[9] 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)

 

Steve Van Nattan's Response

Dr. 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.

However, 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.

 

The only mission of the Lord's Church today:

Matthew 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.

Peter 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."

During 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.

Read 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.

Can 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, Adolph Hitler.

Please meditate on this in the coming elections.

John 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.

 

The mission of the coming Kingdom Rule of Christ is clear

Daniel 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.

ONLY 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 One.

The Samaritan woman at the well was smarter than these Reconstructionists BEFORE she knew she was talking to the Messiah.

John 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.

This 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:

John 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.

John 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.

 

HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?

So, 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.....?"

Christian 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.

And, 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.

 

LINK OFF TOPIC LECTURE
BY DR. THOMAS SCHIRRMACHER

This 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.

Read and think please:

I 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.

Thanks doctor.

 

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