actual guillotine from Scholl executionSixty-eight years ago today, on Feb 22, 1943, three Christian students in Munich, Germany, were executed for their peaceful resistance to the Nazi German government.   Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans, and their friend Christoph Probst (who had a wife and children) were members of the White Rose resistance – a non-violent, intellectual movement of students opposed to the policies and actions of Hitler and his government, based upon their Christian beliefs.  They were decapitated by guillotine in Munich’s Stadelheim Prison for the “crime” of passing out pamphlets in opposition to Hitler and Nazism, a crime of treason.

All too often, I have heard Christians lament the lack of opposition from within the German Church to the rise of Hitler and National Socialism. Sadly, there is some truth to this, but I have found more and more stories – like those of the White Rose, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Claus von Stauffenberg and others – which show that not all of Germany, nor its Christians, were in agreement with their government’s actions.

How many of us would be comfortable standing not only for our faith, but for its teachings, in such a situation?  I wish I could say I would be, but I wonder how it would be when the rubber met the road…

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28 Comments(+Add)

1   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 22nd, 2011 at 10:41 pm

I am well versed with that situation. It has been documented on film as well. But I do not remember their “martyrdom” having anything to do with Jesus.

Our calling is not to change the governemt, but to be used by God to change the lives around us. When we act humbly and in concert with the life of Jesus, and when we refuse to pledge allegiance to anyone but Christ, we are committing the very act of treason.

Let us prepare our hearts to duie for Him.

2   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
February 22nd, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Thanks Chris. I have never heard this story before. I’m glad these Christian students were willing to die rather than live under the rule of such policies as those of Nazi Germany.

Would that I too had such courage.

3   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 23rd, 2011 at 3:17 am

I am not sure these students were Christians. The group to which they belonged was basically a non-violent group that was aggressive in their words (pamphlets). They wrote phrases like “Down With Hitler”, “Hitler Mass Murderer” and “Freedom”.

In one leaflet, Fellow Fighters in the Resistance, they wrote: “The name of Germany is dishonoured for all time if German youth does not finally rise, take revenge, smash its tormentors. Students! The German people look to us.”

Just before he was executed Hans Scholl shouted “Long live freedom!” It does not seem that their cause was Christ.

4   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
February 23rd, 2011 at 9:44 am

Sophie Scholl:

“Her firm Christian belief in God and in every human being’s essential dignity formed her basis for resisting Nazi ideology. This belief was foundational to her view of the world around her that fundamentally differed from the one expound by National Socialism which was, by the time of her death, the only approved or allowed one within the Nazi State.”

5   Neil    
February 23rd, 2011 at 9:54 am

i see a parallel between this and the topic of the sheep and goats thread (and it is not fair trade coffee).

can something (be it opposition to tyranny or assistance to the oppressed and poor) be considered christian if the motivation to do so is based on christ?

or must these acts be accompanied by a presentation of certain biblical facts for consideration and acceptance before it is considered a christian act?

6   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 23rd, 2011 at 9:56 am

I realize that, Chris, but she and her brothefr were Lutheran and far from being evangelical. And if she was a believer, the White Rose movement had little to do if anything with Jesus. I have personally watched several documentaries on them and being german am familiar with their lives.

They were bold for human rights.

7   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 23rd, 2011 at 9:57 am

#5 – Without Jesus all movements can be done by unbelievers. If something is “based on Christ He must have His name voiced.

8   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 23rd, 2011 at 10:03 am

There is a subtle yet profound diffference between something being based upon the teachings of Christ and something based upon the Person of Christ.

Upon this Rock and all that jazz.

9   Neil    
February 23rd, 2011 at 10:54 am

#5 – Without Jesus all movements can be done by unbelievers. If something is “based on Christ He must have His name voiced.

while i agree with #8, i see no reason to agree with this. i do not think i need to pronounce the name of jesus to do something based on jesus.

10   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 24th, 2011 at 7:29 am

I do not know how we can go into all the world and be witnesses “unto Me” and make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit without sharing the name.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

If we do goods works to people, and we should, without being a witness for Christ and His redemption (gospel), it becomes a subtle form of self righteousness since those people will give you the credit.

11   Neil    
February 24th, 2011 at 10:06 am

well i certainly agree that we cannot bring christ to people or make disciples without naming the name of jesus.

i was not thinking of evangelism when is said – i do not think i need to pronounce the name of jesus to do something based on jesus.

i’ll try wording this more precisely”

i think it is possible to do something based on the teachings of jesus and a relationship with him without to pronouncing the name of jesus.

12   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 24th, 2011 at 11:01 am

“A cup of water in my name.”

I suggest that Jesus be overtly mentioned in all our humanitarian deeds. No abrasively or contentiously, but with humility to both give our Master the glory as well as lift Him up to draw sinners to Him. It does not seem like a hard task to do so.

13   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
February 24th, 2011 at 10:16 pm

i think it is possible to do something based on the teachings of jesus and a relationship with him without to pronouncing the name of jesus.

But why would you?

14   Neil    
February 25th, 2011 at 12:28 am

But why would you?

i suppose we could pursue this line of questioning, but it would be tangential.

Rick said:

If something is “based on Christ He must have His name voiced.

and i simply disagreed. audibly saying the name of jesus, or even some other voicing of his name is not a requirement for some action to be “based on christ.”

15   Neil    
February 25th, 2011 at 12:30 am

“A cup of water in my name.”

I suggest that Jesus be overtly mentioned in all our humanitarian deeds.

i would agree, if it possible and appropriate. though i do not think voicing the name is necessary for it to be “in my name.”

16   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
February 25th, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Neil,

Then why else would you do it? I mean, if you are doing it ‘in Jesus’ name’ and ‘based on Jesus’ and you are not going to bother mentioning Jesus to the person you are doing it for, why would you?

“Here, be warm. Be fed….”

(*Hey, Jesus, I did that in your name.*)

Not trying to be snarky, although I can see how it might appear that way. I’m just sort of following your train of thought…

17   Neil    
February 25th, 2011 at 1:00 pm

there are cases and scenarios where it is illegal to name the name of jesus – yet we still do things “in his name.”

also, i have been involved with scenarios in which, in the short run, it was best not to name the name of jesus.

i agree that it is always the best case scenario, and it is always the goal.

maybe i am being overly picky, i just wanted to push back on the thought that – if something is based on christ he must have his name voiced.

18   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 25th, 2011 at 1:34 pm

#17 – I agee with that. But those believers should look for an opportunity to share Christ while they water with good works. But in a free country He should always receive the glory openly.

19   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
February 25th, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Right. I’m not trying to be contrary. And I get there may be times when ‘we’ can’t use his name.

This goes back to a thought I had a long time ago that was never resolved that goes something like this: What about all the good that unsaved people do quite apart, and sometimes in direct contradiction to, the name of Jesus?

Is good good regardless of who does it? Is good good regardless of whose name it is done in? What meaning is there to good done simply for the sake of doing good?

Seriously.

20   Neil    
February 25th, 2011 at 1:51 pm

re #18 – absolutely agree…

21   Neil    
February 25th, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Is good good regardless of who does it? Is good good regardless of whose name it is done in?

i would say – yes, absolutely. if it is good to feed the poor, advocate for the oppressed, clothe the naked… it is good regardless of whether it is done by a christian or a pagan… whether in the name of christ or not. so much the better if it is, but that does not make/determine something as good.

What meaning is there to good done simply for the sake of doing good?

this is a little more difficult. a christian doing good “just” for the sake of doing good – is still doing good. and that has meaning in and of itself. i would say they could do even better, if they also overtly did good in the name of jesus.

but even a pagan, who does good just for the sake of good – still does good. and therein we find the meaning.

22   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 25th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

The only reason anything good exists is because God proclaimed creation as good when He created it. Yes, the cosmos is fallen, and the fall affects everything, but even fallen people are capable of doing good every now and then because they were created in His image. I tend to think that God actually rejoices a bit when good is done by fallen people.

23   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 25th, 2011 at 2:30 pm

This is just philosophical, but I believe good works done by an unbeliever are tainted. When Hitler helps an old lady across the street while Jews burn in the ovens his “good works” are nothing more than fallen facimiles.

24   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 25th, 2011 at 2:30 pm

“I am the vine and you are the branches. Without Me you can do nothing.”

25   Neil    
February 25th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

i don’t see why a cup of cold water given by a pagan is any less good than one given by a christian.

26   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 25th, 2011 at 2:59 pm

I really have never heard of Hitler helping old ladies across the street…

As far as the passage in John 15, Jesus is talking to the disciples about bearing fruit. The statement is that if they aren’t attached to the vine, the branches can’t bear fruit. So I guess the only inference I would take from that passage is that good works done apart from a relationship with Christ aren’t considered fruit, which makes sense.

Obviously there are degrees of good and evil that people can do apart from a relationship with God. For example, if a leader of a country is less oppressive towards the people of that country, I would say that is a net good. Certainly just because people are fallen doesn’t mean they are as evil as they could potentially be.

27   Neil    
February 25th, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Certainly just because people are fallen doesn’t mean they are as evil as they could potentially be.

or even further, it does not mean they cannot do good.

28   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
February 28th, 2011 at 7:53 am

#25 – Jesus said His cup would be accompanied by His name. There is no one that can do “good” in the abstract without Christ. “Good” goes far deeper than just an outward act.