Formations Lesson for February 13- Bold Spies
February 3 2011 by John Pond, associational missionary, West Chowan Baptist Association

Focal Passages: Numbers 13:1-2, 25-33; 14:5-10a

On January 30, 1933, Adolph Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. He was received on a wave of popular support.

He promised the German people a new beginning of discipline and dignity for the nation. Germany had suffered under the Versailles Treaty and Hitler’s appointment promised a restoration of greatness and justice.

During that period the churches welcomed the change and challenged the German people to remember their moral heritage. With Hitler’s support, the church experienced a new vitality and the hearts of the public were stirred with a new will to live.

National Socialism appeared calling for a renewal of public life, the Church as the People’s Church and the partnership of political and church life working in harmony.

It seemed that a new hope had sprung from the ruins of Germany’s humiliation and despair and all joyfully welcomed it. Not all were enthusiastic and receptive to Hitler and his solutions to Germany’s problems.

There was a “minority report” given by a small group of academics and Christians.

Among them was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. On February 1, 1933, two days after Hitler came to power, Bonhoeffer broadcast on the radio “The Younger Generation’s changed view of the concept of the Fuhrer.”

In this broadcast he spoke on the concept of leadership in youth work.

He described theologically the structures of authority and warned of the dangers of the growing tendency toward making idols of the leader, or Fuhrer.

He further warned that whenever a leader gives in to the wishes of those he leads, who turn him into a idol, will ultimately believe himself and his office infallible, thus mocking God. The broadcast was interrupted and censorship began. 

Bonhoeffer, along with many brave individuals, opposed the Nazism and its cruel abuses. 

He spoke out against the persecution of the Jews, taught in an underground seminary, served as leader within the Confessing Church, and participated within the resistance movement. He ultimately paid the price with his own life, being hung in the early hours (around 5 or 6 a.m.) of Monday morning, April 9, 1945.

Sadly, the majority is not always right (and the minority is not always right either!), but there comes moments when we are called to stand, even when it is not popular or logical. 

Twelve spies went into Canaan to “spy out the land.” They returned with reports of unlimited resources and paradisiacal conditions. But 10 reported doom and destruction —catastrophes beyond comprehension.

Two came back with hearts afire with God’s Spirit, ready to take the land in His name.

The majority rule won out (or lost out) and after a 40-year interim in the wilderness, they finally took the land. 

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2/3/2011 8:10:00 AM by John Pond, associational missionary, West Chowan Baptist Association | with 0 comments

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