Hitler and Restoring Germany’s Christian Heritage: Learning the Right Lessons From Church History

I’m grateful to the folks at Patheos for publishing my essay, “Why Did German Protestants Support Hitler?” It’s a much fuller presentation of arguments I’ve made on this blog in the past, but it arises out of a course on the Holocaust for which I’ve been a Teaching Associate and lecturer at Emory University. In the fall I’ll be giving a paper at the American Academy of Religion on Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a two kingdoms theologian, showing how Bonhoeffer took two kingdoms theology in a quite different direction than did many of his contemporaries.

Here an excerpt from my piece at Patheos.

Leading two kingdoms theologians like Paul Althaus argued that it was the church’s obligation to support the state in its attempt to protect the German volk from corruption or defilement. When Hitler came to power in 1933, it was therefore not a passive two kingdoms doctrine that kept otherwise skeptical Christians from opposing him. After all, the two kingdoms doctrine had not stopped them from standing up against the Weimar Republic, which they had regarded as godless. On the contrary, because of their strong convictions about the complementary roles of church and state, as well as about authority and basic Christian morality, they actively supported Hitler. They believed his rhetoric that he would restore Germany to its national glory and Christian foundations.

You can read the whole essay here.


About Matthew J. Tuininga

Matthew J. Tuininga is the Assistant Professor of Moral Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Posted on April 17, 2013, in Two Kingdoms and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Hitler and Restoring Germany’s Christian Heritage: Learning the Right Lessons From Church History.

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