Not to Act is to Act

Written by Rev. Michael S. Heath

The bitter German Bavarian winter of 1945 was a recent memory along with his 18 month imprisonment.  With the spring thaw came hopeful news concerning the war.  The cause to which he would surrender his life would finally prevail.  The liberators would arrive soon, but not soon enough to spare him.  The iron will of the dictator, who he failed to kill, would cause the unyielding granite bedrock of Flossenberg quarry to provide the stone for his tomb.

Following Hitler’s command on April 8, 1945 Otto Thorbeck condemned Dietrich Bonhoeffer to die by hanging at dawn the following day.  After kneeling naked in prayer before the gallows the humiliated Christian pastor ascended to the pitiless noose.

An eyewitness to the execution later wrote, “I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer… kneeling on the floor praying fervently to God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the few steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.”

Two weeks later the 90th and 97th Infantry Divisions of the United States Army liberated Flossenberg Concentration Camp.

Dave Smith, the Executive Director of Illinois Family Institute includes a quote by Bonhoeffer below the signature in his emails.  In the quote Bonhoeffer observed, “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself:  God will not hold us guiltless.  Not to speak is to speak.  Not to act is to act.”

A passionate and voluntary silence by today’s Christians helps explain a tragic trend.  Research by Barna recently confirmed what many Americans lament.  Confidence in the Bible and Christianity is declining.

The online news service shouts in a headline, “Cue the alarm bells: Barna stats show Bible haters doubled in four years.”  The survey also reveals a decline in the number of Bible readers who make any effort to apply what they read to their everyday lives.

Were he alive today the author of one of America’s first state constitutions (Massachusetts) would be deeply saddened by this trend.  John Adams, America’s second President, wrote, “Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. . . . What a Eutopia – what a Paradise would this region be!”

He further stated, “I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world.”

It is ironic, to say the least, that the Massachusetts constitution was the first of America’s solemn charters to be perverted by activist judges.  The black robed tyrants of the Massachusetts Supreme Court fabricated a right to sodomy based “marriage,” supposedly based on the Adams-authored constitution.

This legal fantasy of the Left is now being forced on all of us — especially our impressionable youth — by our government.

The courts are able to do this because of our silence.

The eroding rock of Christian morality in America will be scoured by an avalanche of evil if we don’t find our voice soon.  The Barna research suggests that the avalanche’s mass is building.  A staggering thirty nine percent of young people have never even cracked open the Bible.

A young person of a wiser period, John Adam’s son — John Quincy Adams — had this to say about the Bible:

The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth. Never since the foundation of the world have the prospects of mankind been more encouraging to that hope than they appear to be at the present time. And may the associated distribution of the Bible proceed and prosper till the Lord shall have made ‘bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

It is time for Christians to arise with the same love, confidence and humility that these great men embodied.

Not to speak is to speak.

Not to act is to act.

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