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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

7 False Teachers in the Church Today

I take the unusual step of directing my readers  to a faithful blogger, Tim Challies, and his latest blog - well worth a read.

7 False Teachers

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Mission to Nuremberg - Christ died for the Ungodly

How the West treated its worst Criminals
In the aftermath of the second world war some western leaders - including Winston Churchill - called for summary justice. They wanted the Nazi leaders to be merely recognised by those they had tortured/imprisoned and then shot, all within 6 hours. In other words don't listen to evidence, don't hear both sides, no fair trial, presume they are guilty, at least by association, and then punish them with death.

Had this method of (in)justice taken place at least three men who were acquitted (out of the 21) would have been served great injustice (von Papen, Fritzsche & Schacht) and six other men who received varying prison sentences would have also suffered injustice.

Listening to both sides
Fortunately, the western tradition of a fair trial prevailed. Evidence was heard. Both sides were able to speak and argue their case.

True justice, of course,  proved to be very costly, financially. Around 160 British staff and over 1000 American staff manned the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg.
Palace of Justice Nuremberg

This fair treatment of the accused is the direct fruit of Christianity where both the just nature of God and the infinite value of a human soul contribute to a justice system where the accused is not summarily condemned without hearing the other side of the story, but the accused is given opportunity to defend himself fully, and both sides of the case are heard - no matter what the accusation. 

Another way care for the accused was shown - even towards Nazis - was that they were given pastoral oversight.  Since 15 of the 21 men identified themselves as protestant, a Lutheran Pastor, well-accustomed to caring for prisoners, was assigned to them.

Henry Gerecke - the pastor who loved lost men
When Henry Gerecke, an American chaplain who knew the German language, was asked to take on this role he agonised over it, but remembering that in the Gospel, Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6) - which includes all of us - he accepted the task.

His "flock" now included some of the most notorious killers of all time. Men like Goering and Ribbentrop and Speer.

The 21 men on trial at Nuremberg
Little by little he encouraged them to come to a weekly service he held every Sunday and before long 13 of the 15 men in his charge (the remaining 6 were Roman Catholic) were coming every week.

What is more, in the year he was given to care for their souls, Gerecke saw changes in some of these men before their sentences were meted out (most were to die by hanging). By the end of the whole ordeal, Gerecke was convinced that at least 4 of the 15 men in his care had become true believers: Speer, Fritsche, Sauckel and Schirach.

Gerecke's work was not liked by some who called him all sorts of names. But he believed in an amazing Gospel which teaches that "Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).

The story is well worth reading and is a tribute to the amazing grace of God, which teaches that no-one is outside the grace of God, no-one beyond grace.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
to every believer the promise of God;
the vilest offender who truly believes,
that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.