This World War II American anti-Nazi poster is definitely from a different era. The concern clearly expressed is that the Nazis were the enemy of the Christian faith represented by the Bible. The Nazis were trying to kill the Bible, that is the Word of God. In fact, the Nazis even produced their own Bible which is called “the Hitler Bible”. Hitler and company did their own version of the commandments, Hitler’s 12 commandments.
The federal government produced this poster in ’43, and 71 years later, government (federal, state and local) is trying to do what the Nazis could not. A Houston mayor subpoenas pastors for their sermons because they brought a lawsuit against the city regarding LGBT style legislation for unisex public bathrooms. Prayers in school and at public events forbidden. Anti-Zionism is just a mask of the new antisemitism. Universities and the military removing Bibles in their guest rooms, curtailing the Gideons. The social ostracization of churches who deny same-sex ‘marriage’ (pseudogamy, false marriage) as “homophobic”. I do not think that we are living a nation that is Nazi, but it must be remembered that when the Nazis began their campaign against Church and synagogue, many thought this was a good thing. Those who did not, said little or nothing.
The knife to Scripture was not first wielded by secularist proponents, but by friends of the Bible: 19th and 20th Biblical scholarship. The Biblical scholarship that denied Scriptural inerrancy and authority. It was less like a knife and more like a scalpel, removing those living parts of God’s Word that do not comport with the secularist, worldly agenda: ordination of men, abortion, greed,lust, same-sex marriage and the denial of gender, etc. Again, this was done within the Church, by ‘friends’ who were (are) trying to make the Bible relevant, timely, palatable and all under the rubric of ‘doing good’. This reminds me Julius Caesars’ response as Brutus knifed him to death, Et tu, Brute? Satan quoted Scripture to Jesus for Him to use the Word for His own purposes for ‘doing good’, on His terms,. This is grim. This is the struggle of our time, against the zeitgeist of the powers and principalities in the heavenly places (see Ephesians 6:12 ).
The most sung and loved of the sizable number of Reformation hymns is “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” by Dr. Martin Luther, the last stanza, emphasis my own:
God’s Word forever shall abide, No thanks to foes who fear it;
For God Himself fights by our side with the weapons of the Spirit.
Were they to take our house, Goods, honor, child or spouse,
Though life be wrenched away, they cannot win the day.
The Kingdom’s ours forever!
Jesus promised that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church. Then Peter tried to deter Him from being crucified. Peter eventually denied Jesus three times. The dark army was moving and it was met by the Lord of Hosts upon the Cross. He is risen. He then sent the Church militant moved out into occupied territory with His Word alone.
One of the periods of Christian history we tend to overlook is the two centuries, from AD33 to AD312 (The Edict of Milan), in which the Church grew greatly under mild and severe persecutions. The Church had no churchly institutions. No government to give them a hand to help, but the hand of government to hurt and martyr. No Bill of Rights protected their religious freedom. They lived in a society in which sexual immorality was taken for granted, from the almost pornographic statuary of Greece and Rome to acceptance of deviancies of all descriptions. The Church had the Bible, the Word, the Sacraments, prayer, faith, hope and love, weapons of the Spirit, the armor of God (Ephesians 6). The Lord watched over His Church, His bride, His body and still does.
It may be that the chastisements of the Church, mild and severe, are the Lord’s way of teaching us the faith anew. His Word will not be killed, on purpose or by accident by the hand of mortal man,but the Word dies in our hearts when we seek other comforts and hopes, however pious looking. When the religion of the self’s symbol is a mirror, rapt continually looking at ourselves, we do not see the enemy coming from behind. The Church had enemies and Jesus said, Love your enemies, yet they were still enemies. It is those times when Christ and His Church seems to have had no enemies may be the times of faithlessness and apostasy. When the Church is derided,denied and decried, then rejoice and be glad, said Jesus, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.This does not mean we are to be “nice” and not say anything when wolves in sheep’s clothing preach a false Gospel. As a dear colleague liked to say, Nice is the enemy of the good. Americans want to do right and when someone says I am hurt by what you Christians say or do,an American’s response: “Oh, we do not want to hurt anyone.” The answer of “no” maybe that is the very thing they and we need to hear.
You may not have not heard of Hitler’s ‘Bible’. One website said there is only one extant copy of Hitler’s ‘Bible’ because it is guessed the rest were burned by churches…may be even in one of the Nazi book burnings. This World War II poster is scary. When the Apostle Paul was imprisoned, he wrote his brother Pastor, Timothy this:
8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! (2 Timothy 2)
Paul was bound but the Word is not. He was chained as criminal for the crime of preaching Christ which is no crime. Luther and the Reformers knew this. They knew the knife of those who denied the authority of Scripture alone. They did not prevail. Luther and company did not prevail, the Lord did. He still will. He calls us, as He did the blessed Reformers: Confess Christ! Fear not, I am with you until the end of the age. You do not build the Church, I do. You are to confess. Confess Christ as Lord! Confess Christ so that saints are remade in Baptism. All the saints surround the Church encouraging us to look to Jesus Christ alone, His grace alone, as His baptized saints.
Let us pray…Almighty and gracious Lord, pour out Your Holy Spirit on Your faithful people. Keep us steadfast in Your grace and truth, protect and deliver us in times of temptation, defend us against all enemies, and grant to Your Church Your saving peace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever