Greg returned last week from Europe where he was able to visit some Nazi death camps. In the following, he reflects on a story of a German teenager who actively resisted the Nazi agenda and what that might mean for us as Christians as we revolt against evil:
Sophie Scholl was born in 1920 and was raised in the small German town of Forchtenberg. She was an intelligent, creative and happy child. Like most other German girls her age, Sophie was required to join the Nazi-run “League of German Girls” in 1932. And, also like most other German children her age, Sophie was initially caught up in the remarkable excitement and idealism of the Nazi youth movement. She loved her country as much as anyone, and by all appearances– especially to an idealistic 12-year-old who had lived through Germany’s great depression — the Third Reich was very good for Germany.
Unlike most of her peers, however, Sophie’s enthusiasm was rather short lived. Though as a pure Aryan Sophie had everything to gain and nothing to lose by going along with the strong cultural and political current of her day, this young teenager somehow acquired the ability to see through the façade of the Nazi regime. Even as a young teenager Sophie sensed that something sinister had gripped her nation.
Even more remarkably, this young lady had the courage to do something about it.
In the summer of 1942 Sophie, along with her brother Hans and three friends, started an underground resistance movement called “The White Rose.” Knowing full well they could be executed for treason if caught, these five courageous young people printed and disseminated subversive leaflets informing their fellow Germans of the inhumanity of the Nazi regime while calling on citizens to non-violently revolt against it.
On February 18 1943, Sophie was caught disseminating leaflets on the campus of the University of Munich. Four days later, this 23-year-old heroine, along with her brother Hans and one of the remaining three friends, was tried, convicted of treason, and beheaded. Expressing her Christian confidence that light must eventually overcome darkness, Sophie’s last words were, “Die sonne scheint noch,” which means, “The sun still shines.”
The leaflet Sophie was caught disseminating quickly found its way into England. Several months later, Allied forces dropped millions of copies from the sky throughout Germany as part of its propaganda campaign.
The Leaflet was entitled, A Manifesto of the Students of Munich.
There is much in our world that glorifies God, but there is also much that nightmarishly glorifies evil. The good creation has been seized by an evil adversary and a rebel kingdom. Though most people aren’t aware of it, something sinister has happened to our race and to our planet. We have been taken over by a cosmic Nazi army and are ruled by a cosmic Hitler. This adversary holds the earth and the humans who were supposed to rule it in bondage. Jesus came to change all this. Jesus came to defeat the devil and end all his works (1 Jn 3:8; Heb 2:14). Through his life, ministry, death and resurrection he dealt a fatal blow to the powerful leader of the rebel regime and established a subversive revolution that he promised would ultimately end the enemy occupation and liberate the earth.
This is what Christianity is supposed to be. It’s not an orthodox club of people who think they believe all the right things. It’s not a holy club of people who think they do all the right things. And it certainly isn’t one of the worlds’ religions – as if the world needed another one of those!
What Jesus rather came to establish was a movement of people who individually and collectively manifest the domain in which God is King and who revolt against every aspect of the domain in which Satan is king. Jesus came to establish a community of people who live to advance the Kingdom of God against the kingdom of darkness. He came to establish a community of revolters.
He came to start a White Rose revolution against a cosmic Hitler.
The promise of God is that this revolution cannot ultimately fail. The entire world will someday once again be the domain of the Creator’s reign, with his loving will being done on earth as it is in heaven. And when that day comes, humans will once again enjoy the privilege and responsibility of being God’s viceroys, co-ruling with Christ upon the earth.
The redemption of the cosmos as a whole yet lies in the future. The call of disciples, however, is to help move the world towards this future by participating in the revolting Kingdom now.