Friday, March 2

No One Left

On this day in 1938, Martin Niemöller was tried in a Nazi court for the crime of preaching a "rebellious" sermon. He was convicted and sentenced to seven months in prison. Hitler had him arrested again almost as soon as he was released. This time his resistance placed him in concentration camps at Sachsenhausen and Dachau until the end of World War II.

Niemöller was an ex-submarine captain, who after he entered the ministry had become one of the leaders of the Confessing Church which offered fierce resistance to Hitler’s repressive regime. Altogether he spent eight years in prison. Nonetheless, he apologized with deep regret in October 1945, after the war, for failing to speak out earlier and more strongly against Nazism.

Often he would say, "First they came for the socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me."


zimbloggy said...

i thought i had commented earlier, but i could not find my comment. anyway, i was wondering what your thoughts are on the auburn avenue coventalism thing.

gileskirk said...

Hmm. Interesting. I am not sure what "the auburn avenue covenantalism thing" might possibly have to do with Martin Niemoller.

But, about that very complex, multi-textured controversy involving many dear friends on all sides of the argument, I have said very little in public for several good reasons:

1. It is a complex and multi-textured issue;
2. It is quite controversial;
3. It involves many dear friends;
4. Those friends happen to fall on all sides of the question.

But, I have regularly said (including numerous times on this blog) that: I am a committed Westminsterian--and I am committed in the most ordinary, Reformational sense. I am very much in the mainstream of the PCA in my views of the active and passive obedience of Christ, the imputation of Christ's righteousness, and the doctrine of justification by faith and by faith alone.

Lawrence Underwood said...

Niemoller was an exceptional man. Would that we had many men of his calibre today. He stands in stark contrast to much of the horn tooting that takes place among evangelicals who 'take a stand'against evil today. He was heartbroken that he did not do more, downplayed what he did, and lifted up the work of others. Humility rather than hubris-beautiful. Thank you for pointing out the significance of this day.

And, thank you for not throwing stones in the Auburn Ave,/NPP discussions.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dr. Grant~

I saw below that you are/were reading John Piper's book on William Wilberforce, and that cause me to wonder two things:
* Did you go see the Amazing Grace
* Have you read A practical view of Christianity by W. Wilbeforce? It was recently updated by Bob Beltz- Real Christianity.

It would be great to hear your thoughts.

Thanks Esther

gileskirk said...

Esther: Yes, I've seen Amazing Grace--and tomorrow morning, I am taking a hundred of my students to see it again. I've also read Wilberforce's book--but, an older edition.

I think the film is great. I loved the lead actor, Ioan Gruffudd. He is one of my favorite young British actors (you should see him in the BBC Hornblower series). Albert Finney is always fabulous. The story is accurate. And the direction and cinematography are first rate.

But, as much as I like the film, the book is even better. It was written in snatches of correspondence between Wilberforce and one of his mentors, Thomas Chalmers (one of my theological heroes). Great stuff.