Monday, October 9, 2017

Hitler's Cross- Erwin W. Lutzer

My Rating: 2 Stars

Description: When Hitler was ruling Europe, where was the church of Christ? “Deine Reich komme,” Hitler prayed publicly: “Thy Kingdom come.” But to whose kingdom was he referring? When Germany truly needed a savior, Adolf Hitler falsely assumed the role. He directed his countryman to a cross, but he bent and hammered the true cross into a powerless substitute: a swastika. And many Christians followed him there.

In Hitler's Cross, Erwin W. Lutzer helps us see how. Outlining a number of lessons from this dark chapter in world history, he teaches us about:

The dangers of confusing church and state
The role of God in human tragedy
The parameters of Satan's freedom

Hitler's Cross is the story of a nation whose church forgot its call and discovered its failure way too late. It is a cautionary tale for every church and Christian to remember who the true King is.

My Thoughts: I believe that a better title for this book would have been Hitler's Cross: How the Cross was Replaced with the Nazi Agenda, as that is what this book is truly about. Through much of the book, Lutzer discusses how Hitler was able to turn people away from the truths of Christ to those the Nazi regime instated. Other chapters detail the history of Hitler before the war as well as the fate of Christians who apposed him during.

As an anthropologist with a background in history and research, Hitler's Cross is a bit of a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, Lutzer discussions of church history is well researched and honestly portrayed, going so far as to admit to the antisemitism of Martin Luther and many medieval churches. For the most part, I found these portions to be enlightening, however I wish that Luzter had not tried to lessen the stench of those events as simply a mark of their times.

When it came to events during the war, Lutzer also had some good information. Yet it was in the first few chapters, which described Hitler's childhood and interest in the occult, that I found problematic. From the first, I found many of the assertions came across as gross exaggerations, particularly since so few of them were cited. And citation was a major issue for much of the book. While all of the scripture used was cited, along with any direct quotes, very little of anything else was.

Part of the reason I appreciated the portion on church history was that Lutzer used direct quotes to back up his assertions. However, this was not the case for hardly any of the sections discussing Hitler, forcing me to doubt his arguments as to Hitler's occult practices. As well, there instances where he made statements that show a lack of true knowledge in that area.

When I first chose to read this book, I had thought it would be a true work of historical research. While there was some of this, it consisted mostly of assertions that were not defended, as well as criticisms of present American culture that at times seemed to conflict with earlier statements about the failings of the church in Nazi Germany. Ultimately, these failings forced me to lower my rating of the book, despite Lutzer's engaging writing style and knowledge of early church history.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this book from the publisher.

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