Concerning the Barmen Confession
© Jordan White 4/02
In 1934, a group of German Christians courageously stood up to the Nazi government of the day and boldly renounced the government's intervention in the practices of the Protestant church. This "Nazification" extended even to a proposal to rewrite the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, to make its teachings coincide with the demands of the government. "One People, One Reich, One Faith", was the rallying cry of the Nazi leaders.
The German Christians, led by Pastor Martin Niemoeller of Dahlem, helped bring about what has come to be known as the "Barmen Confession", a document that confirms the true principles of Christianity, based upon the Scriptures, declaring that the Church will stand against the government's interference in their freedom to worship God as they chose.
Sometimes the Church must take a stand against a point of view held by the government, and even by the majority of the population. Sometimes the Church has to cast off the mind-set of millions, and declare itself to be on the side of justice and equity.
The following is a sort of "Barmen Confession"-style declaration, stating my own refusal, based on Scripture, to accept Israel's racist and inhuman treatment of the Palestinian people. Those who unthinkingly support Israel must examine, for themselves, whether our government, and yes, even our churches should call for that nation to be investigated and held accountable for its atrocities against the Palestinians.
"Action springs, not from thought, but a readiness for responsibility."
Here is my "Confession", sort of in the style of the folks from Barmen:
Scripture: "And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise." (Galatians 3: 29)
Confession: Jesus has made the way for us all, regardless of our heritage, to become warmly welcomed into His spiritual kingdom. This kingdom was foreseen by Abraham, according to Hebrews 11, who "was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder
Denunciation: We reject Israel's claim that they, through some convoluted path through 5,000 years of history, somehow still, through doubtful kinship to Abraham, stand to inherit land lost to legitimate heirs of Abraham through disobedience and idolatry. We believe that God used the "land of Israel" merely as an example of His undying faithfulness to mankind in general and therefore has given His word that His eternal kingdom will, indeed, be extended in full measure to all who have put their faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Scripture: "Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, "We have Abraham for our father; for I say to you, that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham."( Matt. 3: 8,9)
Confession: John the Baptist was telling the self-righteous Jewish rulers of his day that the important thing for them to do was look at their own sin and repent from it, and not to lay claim to any kinship of Abraham as their "raison d'etre". In other words, without repentance, there is no claim to kinship with God.
Denunciation: We are letting the Jewish people of the world down when we wholeheartedly support their spiritually bankrupt, godless, racist state by agreeing with them that they inherit it through some claim that Abraham is their ancestor. They need to be told that their only hope for salvation is through genuine repentance. Salvation will not come from holding onto any piece of real estate by butchering the native people who reside there and have internationally binding, legal deeds to those lands.
Confession Three :
Scripture: "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands..." (Acts 17:24, 25)
Confession: God no longer needs a building in which He meets with man in order to display His glory and extend to man forgiveness through the sacrifice of certain animals. Jesus' sacrifice has made that all unnecessary. A mere building seems insignificant in light of the fact that God has already stated that He does not dwell in houses made by human hands. (Acts 7: 48).
Denunciation: The nation of Israel has made a large issue out of the fact that the Muslim shrine, Kubbet es-Sahkra (Dome of the Rock) and the Al-Aqsa Mosque sit on land originally occupied by both the first (Solomon's) and the second (Herod's) temples and are willing to shed Palestinian blood to hang onto this real estate. Do the Scriptures validate this stance?
Scripture: ..."She came and began to bow down before Him, saying, 'Lord, help me!' And He answered and said, 'It is not good to take the childrens' bread and throw it to the dogs.' But she said, 'Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.'" (Matthew 15: 25-27)
Confession: Jesus showed extraordinary kindness and love toward this Syro-Phoenician woman (modern-day Lebanon). He initially teased her by saying that He could not show her the same grace as He could offer the Jews, but then extended to her exactly the same amount of lovingkindness He gave the House of Israel. The Lebanese woman knew that even God's crumbs were sufficient for her.
Denunciation: We reject Israel's racist, cruel, unjust apartheid-like treatment of the Gentile inhabitants of the land upon which Jesus walked. We refuse to allow these precious people to be deprived of basic human rights by this abusive, oppressive regime when Jesus Christ Himself offered them full privileges into His Kingdom of Heaven.
Final thoughts ("applications"??):
1. Can we see the Palestinian crisis as a wake-up call that we, as Christians, need to do a sort of internal "reformation" and turn from our self-absorbed, materialistic ways and realize that there are those around us who desperately need our help and support to cast off a regime that is killing and oppressing them, and that we taxpayers are paying for this genocide, no strings attached, to the tune of over $3 billion a year?
2. Can we realize that "Israel" is not the God-fearing, heroic nation of the Bible, but a modern nation of secular Europeans who have a humanistic, capitalistic agenda, not a spiritual one? Do not the events of September-October 2000 show that they rely more on their weapons and military strength (much of it provided by US taxpayers, no strings attached), than on faith in God?
3. Can we realize that Israel has no respect for the gospel of Jesus Christ; that Orthodox Jews in that country regularly spit upon crucifixes and train their children to follow suit; that churches as well as mosques are being torn down and Jewish settlements built in their place, all to the glory of the great and godless state of Israel?
4. Can we really think that God will not hold us accountable for disobeying His very definition of the Gospel: "This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." (James 1: 27)
All Scriptures taken from NAS.