The debate over the beliefs of Adolph Hitler continues to rage. Atheists claim Hitler was a Christian.
Christians claim Hitler was an atheist. This post will not try to resolve this issue. Instead what I’d like to show was how it was Christians who ultimately opposed and defeated Hitler.
The German Confessional Churches, made up of evangelical Christians, formed the only organized internal opposition to Nazism. They did this on the basis of opposing the false Reich Church of “German Christians.” The “Confessing Church” was made up of many evangelical denominations.
The argument of the Confessing Church was that the German Evangelical Church was being corrupted by the “German Christians” of the Third Reich. The “Theological Declaration of Barmen” was written in 1934 to oppose Hitler’s national church and the attempt by the Nazis to change their beliefs and try to control them. The Barmen Declaration made several points which were preceded by the words “We reject the false doctrine . . . ” (I will be paraphrasing.)
- . . . that there is another revelation to humanity outside of the Word of God.
- . . . that there are areas of a Christian’s life that are not subject to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, that could be lorded over by another.
- . . . that the church could abandon the Gospel message in exchange for other political or ideological messages.
- . . . that the church could give itself to “special leaders vested with ruling powers.”
- . . . that the church could become an organ of the state.
- . . . that the church could place the work of the Lord into any arbitrarily chosen man-made purpose or plan.
The Confessing Church, made up of 6000 pastors, said that the “Christianity” of Hitler and his national church had errors and they rejected the false doctrine of the German Christians, criticizing them for supporting the Nazis.
This caused the Nazi regime to rage against the Confessing Church.
Karl Barth, who argued against the liberal “historical critical” theology of Friedrich Schliermacher (which contributed to Karl Marx’s loss of faith) wrote the Barmen Declaration. He sent the Declaration directly to Adolph Hitler. Within the year Barth was forced to resign from his position at the University of Bonn because he refused to swear an oath to Hitler. He was exiled from Germany.
Martin Niemoller formed the “Pastor’s Emergency League” in response to Hitler’s appointed bishop of the German Evangelical Church, Ludwig Muller, who was using the “Aryan Paragraph” (a law used to block Jews from holding positions of public service) to defrock pastors of Jewish descent. In 1936, as leader of the Confessing Church, Niemoller wrote a memorandum to Hitler in which he argued that the Nazi regime was anti-Christian, anti-semitic, and demanded that the regime stop interfering with church affairs.
As a result of the church refusing to go along with Hitler’s Reich Church, hundreds of pastors of the Confessing Church were arrested. Martin Niemoller was arrested and sent to two different concentration camps.
Another leader of the Confessing Church was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Two days after Hitler came to power, Bonhoeffer went on the radio and warned against following Hitler and being seduced by a cult of leadership. His “Bethel Confession” spoke about anti-semitism being a false doctrine. He was actually involved in the failed plot to assassinate Hitler. He ended up in Tegel prison, the Buchenwald concentration camp, and was finally hanged at the Flossenberg concentration camp.
Hitler conquered 21 nations, including much of Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Denmark, Yugoslavia, Greece, Norway, the Netherlands, Hungary, Belarus, Ukraine, Luxembourg, Libya, Tunisia, East Prussia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia). He was also attacking Great Britain, but the United States tried to stay out of the war (other than helping to provide arms and food through the Lend-Lease Act).
It wasn’t until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor that the United States was willing to declare war. Four days later Hitler declared war against the United States. At this point, Great Britain was the only democratic nation left standing between Hitler and the United States. The U.S. entered WWII and began to fight against Hitler.
If the United States hadn’t joined the battle against Hitler, it’s doubtful that England would have been able to stand. The United States, that bastion of creationism, fundamentalist Christianity, evangelicalism, and biblical inerrancy, led the charge against Hitler. The invasion of Normandy on D-Day (as portrayed in Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan”) was accomplished by American, Canadian, and British forces. Great Britain, another bastion of Protestant Christianity, almost stood alone against Hitler for a time.
To blame Nazism on Christianity, when it was Christian believers within Germany who opposed Hitler at the outset, and it was Christian nations who fought wars against Nazism, is an unjust charge. As I try to reveal in this blog, Christian believers have been heroic in their opposition to tyranny. Their battle against Hitler’s Nazism is a great example of how Christians have been at the forefront of the battle against evil.
It’s also important to note that the Christianity that embraced Nazism wasn’t interested in preserving sound doctrine. They were willing to compromise biblical Christianity in order to bring about their German paradise on earth. They abandoned the truth of the Gospel and were willing to follow Hitler as Lord instead of remaining faithful to Jesus and his Word. As a result, they became a sad, ugly, compromised people who will be remembered by history as a failure and scourge against humanity.
Well, you might want to re-think your position. Hitler was most definitely a Christian and won the support of the Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches. Regardless, saying Hitler killed in the name of Christianity is an absurdity. He used Christianity, yes, but it wasn’t his motivation. Despots are despots.
Still, you might find the following interesting. These are excerpts from a speech made by Hitler early in his career taken from a book called My New Order, a collection of some of the more significant speeches he made from 1922-1941 (edited by Raoul de Roussy and published by Reynal & Hitchcock). In this speech Hitler proclaims his devotion to the Christian religion, thus laying the basis for the support he eventually obtained from the Roman Catholic and Lutheran religious establishments of Germany. The speech was made on April 12, 1922:
“My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter.
“In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison.
“Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross.
“As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.
“And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly, it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people. And when I look on my people I see them work and work and toil and labor, and at the end of the week they have only for their wages wretchedness and misery.
“When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil, if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom today this poor people are plundered and exploited.”
Christianity has always been at war with itself. Because of the historical-critical theology that entered the church (incidentally, through the work of German theologians) much of the church had stopped trusting in the scriptures. The Christians who didn’t stop believing in the Bible were the members of the evangelical Confessing Church, who took their stand on the Word of God. If Hitler was a Christian, then why were his greatest enemies members of the church? There’s a difference between false teachers who abandon the scriptures, and teachers who believe in the fundamental teachings of Christianity. This is why the apostle Paul cried: ”
“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. (Acts 20:28-31)
“If Hitler was a Christian, then why were his greatest enemies members of the church?”
Well might you ask why France and Britain (two armies composed predominantly of Christians) fought countless wars over the centuries, or why the United States and Spain (two armies composed predominantly of Christians) fought in 1898? I could, of course, go on and list scores of Christian filled armies fighting each other, but I think you get the point.
Also, the Nazi’s greatest enemy was the Communist Russians. The US didn’t even get involved until countries like Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and even India had been fighting for three full years before the Americans even rolled out of bed. Regardless, it was the Russians who absorbed the full brunt of the German Wehrmacht then took Berlin in 1945 and defeated Germany, not the Western allies.
There is no doubt that Christians have fought each other in wars. This doesn’t disrupt my worldview. As I said, there are divisions within the church. The Civil War in the U.S. is one example of this. Southern Christians claimed that they had a biblical right to hold slaves, while the northern Christians argued that was absurd. The abolitionists were overwhelmingly Christian. This is why it’s so important to preserve sound doctrine. (And perhaps why the apostle Paul cried about savage wolves who were false teachers rising up in the midst of the church.)
I see the cause of most wars being that of wrong doctrine.
Yes, the Communists fought Hitler too.
To your last point first: No, the Communists didn’t just “fight Hitler too.” They bore the full weight of the Nazi’s, suffered the greatest losses of all allied nations, and ultimately defeated Germany. That is a historical fact. The Germans had 200+ divisions on the eastern front, compared to just 80 on the western front. The Americans (when they finally got involved three years late) had a total of 15 divisions in Europe… a number that grew to 60 by the time the Russians took Berlin and ended the war. Most of those divisions, though, never saw any action and returned Stateside without ever firing a shot.
Now, we actually agree that’d it be good if Christians did maintain sound doctrine. 42,000 Christian sects leaves a lot of room for disagreements. As Ghandi said:
“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
And yet the Christians have been the source of so many blessings to the world!
Gandhi’s Hinduism, with its caste system, widow-burning, animal worship and idolatry wasn’t exactly the hope of the world.
Perhaps you never thought of how much of an impact Jesus had on the world. Here’s my perspective. (It’s a short piece.)
Interesting piece from a psychological perspective. It’s nothing but 400 words that are a textbook example of conformational bias. You’ve cherry picked history and arranged it in a specific way to support your beliefs. That doesn’t make those 400 words definitionally true. In fact, your unbelievably loose use of “facts” is an indication that you’re not at all interested in reality, and instead will go out of your way to deny it.
That’s fine, it’s your right, but it doesn’t make it real.
You say Jesus had an impact on the world, and yet he didn’t say anything new or even marginally useful. He didn’t mention bacteria, pasteurization, or the importance of dental hygiene. He didn’t explain lightning, the tides, the sun, our position in the solar system, the galaxy, gravity, the composition of the atmosphere, or dispense the formula for sun block. He didn’t point anyone in the direction of morphine, teach a soul about the nature of asthma, epilepsy, atoms, genetics, subatomic particles, the periodic table, volcanology, the causes of headaches, muscle cramps, prenatal care, plate tectonics, architecture, evolution, or tell a single living being about the science of corrective-optics. He didn’t mention anything about better, faster, safer forms of transportation, communication technology, math, the metric system, a new swimming technique, scuba diving, blast furnaces, magnetic compasses, quartz watches, wind turbines, the wonders of reinforced concrete, ball bearings, immunization, New Zealand, the physics of flight, thermal dynamics, podiatry, water purification, desalination, stainless steel, umbrellas, telescopes, microscopes, macroeconomics, paper, washing machines, tupperware, bicycles, bras, buttons, refrigeration, or even introduce a single new spice to spruce up otherwise bland Judean recipes. He didn’t even say that an average sized adult is a composite of some 7, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 flavoured atoms arranged on a 4.54 billion year old planet circling a middle-aged 4th or 5th generation star on its 23rd trip around the centre of a galaxy composed of about 200 billion stars in a 13.7 billion year old universe peppered with hundreds of billions of galaxies glued together in super clusters along expanding tendrils held in-place by the indirectly observed but otherwise still utterly mysterious dark matter.
I’m sorry, but the character Jesus said nothing new or useful. Even the so-named Golden Rule is not new. It’s plagiarised. The concept dates back to the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (c. 2040–1650 BCE) “Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do thus to you.” It also emerged in the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (1780 BCE), as well as in 6th century BCE Taoism, “Regard your neighbour’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbour’s loss as your own loss,” in 5th century BCE Confucianism, “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself,” in 4th century BCE Mohism, “For one would do for others as one would do for oneself,” and was articulated by the Greek, Pittacus (640–568 BCE), who said: “Do not do to your neighbour what you would take ill from him.”
Well, I would like to know how the world came out of the darkness of cannibalism, infanticide, blood sport, widow-burning, etc . . . in your worldview.
And while Jesus may not have said anything about the things you listed, His followers had a lot to say. Two of them come to mind quickly: gravity and pasteurization. I would venture to say many more things on that list were developed by Christians.
Not many blessings came from atheists, though. Sorry.
Oh, Diana, I really don’t whether to take you seriously or not. With some of the stuff you say I think you’re surely kidding, that no one could possibly think in such a way and exercise such wilful ignorance.
So you admit Jesus said absolutely nothing new or even marginally useful. Good for you!
In my article on how the gospel transformed the world, I explained two revolutionary teachings of Jesus . . . his views on slavery, and his views on children. These statements were radical. And his followers lived out his Words. The early church set slaves free, and Christians have been nearly the only group who have historically started orphanages and fought against infanticide and abortion.
I’m not ignorant, and I don’t appreciate being disparaged.
Apologies, i’d never seek to disparage you. Just some of your comments catch me off guard and I have trouble knowing if you’re being serious or not.
Now, what views on slavery?
matthew chapter 5:17-20
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
By that its clear Jesus is pro-slavery as detailed in Lev.25:44-6, Exod.21:2-8, Eph.6:5, Col.3:22, Exod.21:7-8, Luke.12:42-8, Exod.21:20-1, Deut.15:17. If he was anti-slavery he would have said “Forget the Torah!” He didn’t say that.
You talk about infanticide and abortion but there appears to be some confusion here. Nowhere in the bible does it outlaw abortion. In fact, if you actually read the bible you’d see that the Middle Eastern god Christians worship is quite definitively pro-abortion, personally and passionately performing many terminations and ordering countless more.
In Hosea 9:11-16, the son of Beeri prays for his god to intervene in earthly affairs and wreak havoc on the unborn of an entire population. “Give them, 0 Lord: what wilt thou give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts… Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb.” To paraphrase, Hosea pleads that the people of Ephraim can no longer have children, to which the Christian god dutifully obeys and makes all their unborn children miscarry. Now, terminating a pregnancy unnaturally is unmistakably what we today call an abortion.
In Hosea 13:16 the Christian god is utterly diabolical as he dashes to “pieces” the infants of Samaria and orders “their pregnant women [to be] ripped open by swords.” This, self-evidently, describes mass abortions of such barbarity that it’s hard to even fathom.
In Numbers 5:11-21 a bizarre and abusive ritual is described which is to be performed by a priest on any woman suspected of adultery; a ritual which results in an abortion. In the text a potion is mixed and the accused woman is brought before the priest who says, “If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband may the Lord cause you to become a curseamong your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell.” As clear as day this is a definitive description of an induced abortion; an act where poison is forcibly given to ruin the foetus and rid a woman of another man’s child.
In Numbers 31:17 Moses commands “Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every women that hath known man by lying with him.” In other words, kill all women that are or could be pregnant, which is plainly abortion for the foetus.
In 2 Kings 15:16 the Christian god again orders pregnant women to be “ripped open,” which is both abortionand homicide on a mass scale. “At that time Menahem destroyed the town of Tappuah and all the surrounding countryside as far as Tirzah, because its citizens refused to surrender. He killed the entire population and ripped open the pregnant women.”
In total there are in fact twenty-six separate instances where this Middle Eastern god performs abortions on demand, conducts infanticide (the intentional killing of newborns), and murders toddlers en masse; acts recounted from 1 Samuel 15:3 to Isaiah 13:15-18 where this god not only smashes babies to death but also orders the rape of their mothers. In a word the Christian god is a heinous baby-killing, foetus-destroying monster, and as it turns out his son is also no friend of the unborn. In the Gospel of the Egyptians Jesus not only demands total abstinence but preaches for the outright separation of the sexes, stating that “sorrow” and what he repeatedly calls “error” will remain with man for just “As long as women bear children.” The statement is quite explicit: don’t ever get pregnant, and if you do then abortion is better than birth.
I hope this helps.
All the best
Thank you for the apology, John. I appreciate that you are rational and humble.
This passage about Jesus fulfilling the law and the prophets is one of the main reasons I believe the Gospel message. The incredible ways that Jesus did this are beyond human ability to create. I don’t think any mystery writer could have weaved together the incredible ways Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets.
I know this post is long, so if you want to skip the parts between the dotted lines, I understand. I just wrote it for anyone who might be interested.
First of all, there are many ways Jesus fulfilled the law. In fact, believers are constantly astounded by how intricately Jesus fulfilled the law.
One way he fulfilled the law was by fulfilling the Sabbath. The Sabbath was the seventh day of rest that the Jews were commanded to obey. Jesus fulfilled the law of the Sabbath by becoming our rest for us. (Hebrews 4:9-11) He said his burden was light and his yoke was easy. Christians no longer practice the Sabbath. They worship on Sunday, rather than Saturday. They enter into his rest and no longer do religious works for salvation. (They are saved by grace through faith.)
Jesus fulfilled the law when he became the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. His death on the cross was similar to the Exodus story, which described the lamb, whose blood would be placed on the doorposts of the home, causing the death angel to pass over that home. (Hebrews 9)
Jesus fulfilled the law when he became the unleavened bread of the Exodus story. Leaven is a symbol of sin and false teaching (1 Cor. 5:6-8, Matt. 16:12). Jesus fulfilled this feast by being sinless and being the TRUTH.
Another way that Jesus fulfilled the law was by becoming a tithe (firstfruits) for us. (Leviticus 23:10) He fulfilled the tithe by becoming the firstfruits from the dead when he was resurrected. (1 Cor. 15:20) Christians are no longer bound by a tithe, instead we are told to be cheerful givers. We are also promised that there will be a resurrection for us because of what Christ did for us.
Jesus fulfilled the law when he became a light to the Gentiles. In the law of Moses, the people were commanded to leave behind the gleanings (or leftovers) of the harvest for the poor and aliens. (Lev. 23:22) This would be fulfilled at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down and the gospel was preached in all languages, offering salvation to all, not just the Jews. (Acts 10:34-35)
These fulfillments of the law were actually the first 4 feasts that would be celebrated every year by the Jews. They would be celebrated according to the seasons. The feasts celebrated during the early rains were the fulfilled at the time of the early church. Three more feasts are waiting to be fulfilled at the end of the age (or at the time of the latter rains). These three feasts are the feast of trumpets (representing the return of Jesus), the feast day of atonement (representing the salvation of the Jews), and the feast of tabernacles (representing the time when we will all be with the Lord).
There are so many other ways in which Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets. And none of it has to do with Jesus expecting or commanding Christians to obey the law to perfection. It has to do with how it’s impossible for anyone to keep the law. That is why Jesus came. How could any human conceive of a way to have even a made-up, fictional character fulfill all these things? And I’ve barely scratched the surface of the way Jesus accomplished these things.
The greatest concern I feel burdened about is how to convey the magnificence of what I’m trying to explain. He was the manna from heaven. He was the living water. He was the high priest in the order of Melchizedek. He is the “I AM.” He is the Word become flesh. He became a slave for us. (Philippians 2:7) He became a curse for us. He became sin for us, so we could become righteous before God. He offers us mercy because his blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat. All of this is explained in the scriptures.
I haven’t even begun to explain the way Jesus fulfilled the prophets.
The story of Jewish history and the giving of the law is actually a way to PROVE the reality of God’s plan for the salvation of humanity through Jesus Christ. One random fact doesn’t prove anything, but the cumulative effect of ALL the fulfillments makes the Bible a miraculous book. This is why some of the brightest and best minds in the history of the world have loved and received Jesus. It isn’t a decision based on emotion alone, but a decision based on knowledge. And the more I learn, the more I am in awe of what God did and how he accomplished it.
To say that the story of Jesus was just created by pasting together myths, fictional narratives, sayings, and borrowed phrases (as Ken Humphreys does) is a ridiculous claim because only a Christ could have conceived of a Christ. Who could have created the amazing Jesus portrayed in the Gospels and explained further by Paul?
I believe that only an anti-Semite could sympathize with wicked Hitler and his evil regime. Many evil men have done atrocious things to humanity in the name of God…but we know the difference between those who love the Lord and those who are anti-Christ’s like Hitler. Adolph Hitler just took the Bible and rewrote it to fit his purpose in trying to annihilate God’s chosen people, the entire race of Jews. Adolph Hitler was obviously a child of Satan and filled with the spirit of darkness. “Love thine enemies” was I’m sure a command by Jesus that HItler was never heard to quote!
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And “loving thy neighbour” was why the US dropped nuclear bombs on Japan?
Is it not loving to give people what they ask for? Think. The loving God sends people to Hell for eternity…because that’s what they ask for.
Hitler was a hybrid beast birthed out of a blend of pseudo-science, philosophy, and corrupted religion. There was no truth in him . . and look at the suffering that came about as a result. Hitler’s racial theory actually came from a portion of Hegelian philosophy known as “Herder’s Expressivism.” This was the belief that all nations/races contributed something special to humanity. Their contribution was one way God was able to “express” Himself on earth.
“Herder believed that all men belonged to a culture, and the highest expression of that culture could only be found in community. Each community had a ‘Volkgeist’ or national spirit which provided its people with their inspiration or creative impulse.
For example, the Athenian community produced the Parthenon, democracy, and great philosophers. The Egyptian community produced the pyramids, hieroglyphics, and mummification. Each society had a different way of expressing themselves, which Herder would say was that community’s expression of God in the physical realm. Herder believed no other community could replace the other’s contribution.”
(from “The Narrow Way”) p. 218
Jews were dispersed to all nations in AD 70 . . . so to Herder (and Hitler!) their presence in each country contributed to the corruption of the expression of God on earth. This crazy view, along with Luther’s anger at the Jews for not receiving Christ, even after the knowledge of grace was restored during the Reformation, led to the Antisemitism of the German people. Hitler was able to tap into this false ideology–and at the time he seemed to be intelligent –able to understand the great German philosopher George Hegel (who incorporated a blend of Kant and Herder into his philosophy). But because Hitler corrupted the truth of the Bible he was the worst kind of traitor to the Lord. His views on God were skewed. He actually believed he was serving God by preserving the Aryan expression of God on earth. Of course this wasn’t taught in the Bible, but was a human construct that had its source in philosophy. The Holocaust was committed in order to please God! This is how far we can go astray when we no longer trust that the Bible is the truth!
*Confirmation bias, sorry 😦
Hi John…it’s been a while…
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Hey Diana, indeed.
How’s everything with you and your family? Good, I hope.
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Yes…going well…the comment about America and Hiroshima is difficult to respond to. The atom bomb is so horrendous…it’s difficult to justify in any way.
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True. Not an easy subject.
In Washington I saw the detonation pins in the Smithonian. Just seeing them made me physically ill. I had to go outside. Powerful experience.
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They should make detonation pins for the aborted unborn in America alone. So many more of them. Makes me ill too.
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Yes…bloody carnage…and most of the burning (through saline abortions) and cutting and sucking that has been done to babies in the womb wasn’t done to save anybody (around 6/10 of 1 percent). Poor innocent ones. Where is our heart?
I want to thank Diana for her overview of some of the ways Jesus fulfilled the Law. It was wonderful! You are a great defender of the faith!
(My comment above was a “Reply” to John’s 1st post, but it looks like it’s a reply to Diana….oh well, just wanted to make that clear.)