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Best Known Christian

Added: Monday, January 21st 2008 at 2:15pm by robertflynn



Best Known Christian of the Twentieth Century


The best known Christian of the twentieth century was not Albert Sweitzer, Mother Teresa, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Billy Graham or Martin Luther King, Jr.  The best known Christian of the Twentieth Century was Adolf Hitler.  In December 1941, he said,  “If I live my life according to my God-given insights, then I cannot go wrong, and even if I do, I know I have acted in good faith.” 

No present politician has more blatantly declared his Christianity than Adolf Hitler and since Hitler the faith of no politician has been so widely accepted.  Millions of Christians around the world admired him.  In Austria priests were authorized to display the swastika.  Some bishops wrote “Heil Hitler” on official letters. A parish newspaper declared “One people--one Reich--one Fuehrer--one God.”  Bishop Alois Hudal helped Franz Stangl, commander of Treblinka death camp, and other war criminals, to escape. 

While writing an article on the meeting of the Baptist World Alliance in Berlin in 1936, Lloyd Allen, professor of church history and spiritual formation at the McAfee School of Theology, discovered that “an immense Nazi flag, hung where the congress met, was a vivid reminder of the bloody purge executed only a few weeks before by anti-Semitic fascists.  “Most of the BWA delegates spoke out for soul liberty, the kinship of all humanity and the separation of church and state, but too many Baptist leaders did not. Indeed, a number of U.S. Baptists wrote sympathetically of Hitler’s Germany.”

The Watchman-Examiner printed a letter by Boston pastor John Bradbury who wrote, “It was a great relief to be in a country (Germany) where salacious sex literature cannot be sold; where putrid motion pictures and gangster films cannot be shown.”  John Sampey, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, expressed gratitude to Hitler for prohibiting German women from smoking cigarettes and wearing red lipstick in public.  Southern Baptist Convention President M.E. Dodd defended Hitler’s persecution of the Jews, who he declared were guilty of ‘self-aggrandizement to the injury of the German people.’ Besides, Dodd continued, most of the 200,000 Jewish refugees who went to Germany from Eastern Europe ‘were communist agitators against the government.’”

Some German-American Bunds taught German propaganda, as did Defenders of the Christian Faith, Knights of the White Camellia, Sentinels of the Republic and the Christian Front.  The America First Committee accepted funding from Germany.  On February 23, 1933, the Associated Press reported, “Hitler Aims Blow at ‘Godless Movement.” The article described Hitler reaching out to Catholics for support in his attack against the “spread of atheism,” citing a papal encyclical admonishing priests to “serve the religious interests of the nation.”

The reasons for this admiration are many, but some are: 

•His morality.  He did not smoke or drink and he abhorred pornography and homosexuality.

•He called his nation to repentance.  “Providence withdrew its protection and our people fell. . .And in this hour we sink to our knees and beseech our almighty God that He may bless us, that He may give us the strength to carry on the struggle for the freedom, the future, the honor, and the peace of our people. So help us God.”  March, 1936    

•His family values:  “And marriage cannot be an end in itself, but must serve one higher goal, the increase and preservation of the species and of the race.  This alone is its meaning and its task.” (1)  “...man limits procreation, but is hysterically concerned that once a being is born it should be preserved at any price.” (2) 

•His faith-based charity: “With a tenth of our budget for religion, we would thus have a Church devoted to the State and of unshakable loyalty.” (3)

•God had given him a mission to cleanse Germany of evil as personified by the Jews, liberals, homosexuals, labor leaders, homeless people, immigrants from inferior cultures, and the weak and sick.  “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” (4)  “We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit. . .We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press--in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess. . .” (5) 

   •His patriotism and the belief that his nation’s weakness was because  “...the watchword of German foreign policy ceased to be: preservation of the German nation by all methods; but rather: preservation of world peace by all means.” (6)

•Because he condemned others who sought to use religion for personal gain.  “Worst of all, however, is the devastation wrought by the misuse of religious conviction for political ends.  In truth, we cannot sharply enough attack those wretched crooks who would like to make religion an implement to perform political or rather business services for them.  These insolent liars, it is true, proclaim their creed in a stentorian voice to the whole world for other sinners to hear; but their intention is not, if necessary, to die for it, but to live better.”  (7) 

•Because he had no doubts: “The greatness of every mighty organization embodying an idea in this world lies in the religious fanaticism and intolerance with which, fanatically convinced of its own right, it intolerantly imposes its will against all others.  If an idea in itself is sound and, thus armed, takes up a struggle on this earth, it is unconquerable and every persecution will only add to its inner strength.” (8)  

•Promised an end to terrorism: “. . .we must not dodge this struggle, but prepare for it, and for this reason acquire armament which alone offers protection against violence.  Terror is not broken by the mind, but by terror.” (9)

•He said the Ten Commandments were the foundation of Nazi Germany: “The Ten Commandments are a code of living to which there’s no refutation. These precepts correspond to irrefragable needs of the human soul.” (10)

•God seemed to favor him.  “I would like to thank Providence and the Almighty for choosing me of all people to be allowed to wage this battle for Germany.” “I follow the path assigned to me by Providence. . .there is a God. . .And this God again has blessed our efforts during the past 13 years.”  February, 1940

More tolerant Christians died resisting this evil and millions died, including many Christians, to defeat Hitler’s armies.  Nevertheless, the once vibrant churches of Europe are now largely deserted at least in part because of Hitler’s excesses in the name of Jesus.  Those of us who declare Jesus as Lord must never again allow anyone to use our Savior’s name for political power or personal profit.


NOTE: the information about Baptists is from an article written by Lloyd Allen, professor of church history and spiritual formation at the McAfee School of Theology, and published in EthicsDaily.com, a publication of the Baptist Center for Ethics.  The information about Austria is from “Gruess Gott und Heil Hitler,” (Hail God and Heil Hitler) by Stefan Moritz.  References to Mein Kampf are to the translation by Ralph Manheim, published by Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1971.




(1) Mein Kampf, p. 132

(2) Mein Kampf, p. 252 

(3) Hitler’s speech to Reichstag, Jan. 30, 1939

(4) Mein Kampf, p. 65

(5) Hitler’s Speeches and Proclamations, (1932-1945 ) Quoted by The Institute for the Study of Religion in Politics (www.isrp.org)

(6) Mein Kampf, p. 142

(7) Mein Kampf, p. 268

(8) Mein Kampf, p. 351

(9) Mein Kampf, p. 358

Hitler’s Table Talk, p. 85, translated by Cameron, Stevens & Trevor-Roper, Enigma Books


A slightly different version can be found on SoMa Review: A Journal of Religion and Culture.  (www.somareview.com)


See my website:  www.robert-flynn.net, author of Growing Up a Sullen Baptist, and more.


User Comments

SurprisedCry Sigh, tho I agree with your final exhortation here, your argument about his being a "Christian" is flawed: he was heavily into the occult (it was *THE* religion of the SS), he hated Jesus and the Bible (they were despicably Jewish, according to him), in his Tischreden (tabletalks) he was quite upfront about the fact that once he had "finished" with the Jews, the Christians were next. If you know German, get some of his speeches on DVD or video and listen carefully to the way he uses religious innuendo and sometimes outright religious terms, but they are decidedly NOT Christian. A biblically rooted Xtian would have immediately picked up on that (as did the Confessing Church; even as early as '34, long before Bonhoeffer and crew came on the scene, there was a group of Lutheran pastors who put out a "mini-encyclical" demonstrating that Nazism was a false religion; I have a copy of it, in German no less). His diabolical gift was to make himself sound spiritual, enough to appeal to the nominal Christian (or even the non-Christian with a spiritual appetite), the one who's religious but not genuinely regenerate, and as for his emptying out the churches (recall Jung's and Nietzsche's rejection of the church), that had already happened prior to his ascent to power, bec. of the poisonous influence of the "Higher Criticism" (which by rights should be called the "Lower Criticism" bec. of its origins in the Nether Pits of Hell), which German "scholars" had spawned in the mid-19th century. The effects of this slowly seeped into all of German society, leaving a gigantic spiritual vacuum in the collective German soul, which they eventually tried to fill with the pursuit of New Age stuff (of course, New Age isn't), which then in turn made them ripe for Hitler's toxic brew. Hitler was a cunning counterfeit "Messiah," and the reason even so many non-religious folks flocked after him (many glitterati and literati among them) was bec. his "religion" was disguised as politics (just like Communism, which was a Xtian heresy). If you want some good reading on this, refer to Voegelin's "Die Politischen Religionen" as well as some of the chapters in Fritz Stern's "The Politics of Despair." Dusty Sklar's "The Nazis and the Occult" is also an eye-opener.

The long and the short of it is: the Germans were spiritually starved and Hitler, like Snow White's evil stepmother, came along with tasty looking poisonous apples. But those who were solidly nurtured on the Bread of Life weren't fooled for one minute.

PS:  his moralism tallies quite well with Islam, so could we therefore argue that he was a Muslim?Tongue out

Hitler said he was a Christian.  He said he was born a Catholic and he would die a Catholic.  He was never excommunicated.  Reagan was another Christian who dabbled in the occult.  Germany was one of the most Christian nations in Europe but had a tradition of anti-semitism.  The first religious group to be persecuted was Jehovah's Witness but Christians were quiet about it as Pastor Martin Niemoller confessed.  The Confessing Church did oppose Hitler and Nazism but represented a minority view.  Were Christians in Germany and Austria misled by Christian nationalism?  Yes.  That's the point of the blog isn't it? 
The blog's point is spot on, but the argument you use is fallacious.Wink

soultrawler: spot on. but forget about reasoning with a zealot.

 I am an American, was born American, say I'm an American but if I go and slaughter millions of people  ... my "warped values and acts" get attributedas representing American.

 So the next homosexual that becomes notarious is representative of homosexuality?

Just because someone is or claims to be a part, inspired or representative of a group, does not automatically mean they actually represent the group or that their interpretation and inspiration of what the group stands for is correct.

 In science,  it's called validity, validating your test groups. Hitler's acts hardly represent someone practicing versus a megalomaniac practising what he wants and thinking God is on his side.

To not recognize that is either to be stupid or to be a zealot oneself pursuing an agenda for which accepting Hitler at face value and otherwise doing little thinking, validating, puttting in context, etc. serves their "holy" agenda.



Exactly.  I didn't write that Hitler was the "best" Christian.  I wrote that he was the "best known" Christian.  He was recognized as a Christian by many, even in the US before Pearl Harbor, and is still remembered as a Christian by many.  Does Osama bin Laden represent Islam?  He doesn't represent any Muslim I know and I have never been threatened or mistreated in an Islamic country.  Jesus said, "By their fruits you will know them."  That's why I think we should never say "America is a Christian nation."  I also think we should go back to what the first Christians called themselves: People of the way.  It's too easy to claim that you're a Christian.  Look at the politicians who wrap themselves in the cross and the flag.  It's hard to call yourself one of The Way if you're not walking The Way. 

If Hitler was a Christian, he would not have orchestrated the death of others (Jews etc.)

To claim that he even is a Christian is an injustice to the followers of the teachings of Christ

Christianity is not a religion of profession but a religion of action.  The Christian faith is lived not spoken

It is when people emulate the life and faith of Christ can they ba called Christians, not how strong they shout on the rooftop that they are so

Therefore, not everyone who claims to be a Christian are real Christians

I have seen rappers cursing their own mothers and sisters, thank Jesus when they receive they grammy awards, singers who show almost their full naked bodies in their videos, thank Jesus for the inspiration.... what a SHAME!!!


I agree that everyone who says they are a Christian is a Christian, but that's for God to decide, not me. That's the point of this essay. Many people and religious groups that called themselves Christian, even in this country before December 7, followed Hitler. Check Southern Poverty Law Center and see how many groups that claim they are Christian are violent, white supremacist, neo-Nazi groups.

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