Hitler's Cross: How the Cross Was Used to Promote the Nazi Agenda by Erwin W. Lutzer (forward by Ravi Zacharias)

Categories:  church and state, church history, Germany, religion and spirituality, WWII
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Release Date: January 5, 2016
LCCN Permalink
Source: paperback review copy from MP Newsroom
My Rating: 5-stars

Description

The story of Nazi Germany is one of conflict between two saviors and two crosses.

“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 countrymen to a cross, but he bent and hammered the true cross into a horrific substitute: a swastika.

Where was the church through all of this? With a few exceptions, the German church looked away while Hitler inflicted his “Final Solution” upon the Jews. Hitler’s Cross is a chilling historical account of what happens when evil meets a silent, shrinking church, and an intriguing and convicting exposé of modern America’s own hidden crosses.

Erwin W. Lutzer extracts a number of lessons from this dark chapter in world history, such as:

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.

Review

Hitler’s Cross is fascinating, enlightening, and downright terrifying.  It is a book that I was meant to read.  Erwin W. Lutzer covers an extremely dark subject matter in a clear, concise, and compassionate manner.  I believe that the state of humanity is such that burying or hiding from our history is dangerous.  Instead, truthful evaluation and personal introspection are imperative in order to avoid repetition of humankind’s greatest atrocities.  We must not forget the atrocities committed nor can we forget the unfortunate fear, lack of faith, and lack of response that was exhibited by the Christian church during WWII.  Hitler’s Cross is an excellent resource for the church to use in understanding this period in our history.

As a follower of Christ, it is so challenging to wrap my mind around the level of deception and depravity that we can be brought down to.  But as I have grown in my faith I have gained a clearer picture of the Christian church as a whole.  We are solely dependent on God’s grace, mercy, and personal sacrifice to save us from falling into the pit.  It is far too easy for us to remove our eyes from Christ and submit ourselves to the will of the world.  It is possible that we would respond to a similar situation in much the same manner today… I sure pray not.  I specifically pray that I will always have my focus upon Christ so that I do not fall into the same trap, which when I am honest with myself would be far too easy to do.

This biblical study of one of the church and humanities greatest failings is truly valuable.  We are a depraved people.  As I read I realized that the degradation of human life and it’s intrinsic value induced by Hitler and those that inspired him is something altogether deeper and darker than I could have ever imagined.  There is value in the backstory which Hitler’s Cross provides.  Lutzer provides background information on Hitler’s insidious rise to power which I found extremely helpful towards gaining an understanding of the Christian lack of response.

Hitler’s atrocities are just one chapter in a very sad story that has been written over and over again since Satan first deceived Adam and Eve. Fortunately, Lutzer doesn’t leave us flailing in the dark subject matter… this portion of our history is dark indeed but God provides us with one bright shining light of forgiveness and redemption in His Son Jesus Christ.  His conquering light comes shining forth in spite of Hitler’s attempts to annihilate it through his regime of hate and pride. 

In addition, amidst all of the important historical information, Lutzer provides one of the best responses to atheism that I have seen. He writes:  

We have met those who tell us that no God could see the atrocities of this world (eg. the Holocaust) and not intervene.  We must be sensitive to such a reaction as it is difficult to understand how a good God could permit (and hence ordain) such evil.  But atheism is very unsatisfying; it affirms not only that we have horrific injustice in the world, but also that justice will never triumph.  

I have a Jewish friend who does not believe in a personal God precisely because of the Holocaust.  But he seemed perturbed when I reminded him one day that according to his view, Hitler and his henchmen would never be judged for what they did.  In an atheistic world not only is this world unjust, but there can be no justice.  Atheism teaches that our cry for justice will never be satisfied.

If you wonder

  • how Hitler gained such prominence while holding such radical ideas
  • why the Christian church didn't object before it was too late
  • why the Christian church was silent overall
  • what hidden "crosses" exist in modern America

read Hitler's Cross

As a reviewer for MP Newsroom, I received a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. My thanks to the author and publisher.


Side Trips (or rabbit trails)

I feel that a great non-fiction book draws your interest and encourages the reader to seek out other works in order to expand their knowledge of the subject matter presented.  Hitler's Cross led me on that journey for knowledge several times.  Specifically, I found myself researching Ghandi and Hitler's obsession with the occult.

A couple of places that wandering led me (in case you want to journey with me):

Gandhi

Hitler and the occult

  • Watch National Geographic's video Hitler and the Occult.
 
 

a small sampling of the books written by Erwin W. Lutzer