What will make a difference are daily ethical patterns like those that caused some in the past to say, “I did what had to be done.”
In spite of all the publicity, evangelicals know little about the history of the Holocaust and its ramifications for the Christian community. Too often they view it only as something that happened to the Jewish people. It is not their problem, but a Jewish problem or a Nazi German problem or a radical liberal problem or a European problem. It is anything but an evangelical problem.
And yet, as this country enters a period of economic instability and we hear more and more reports of racial tension and violence, there are some nagging questions that keep plaguing some of us. How could some Christian people in Germany sit quietly by and without protest allow the extermination of six million Jews? Even more, how could “good, decent citizens” become even indirectly accomplices of such an unspeakable offense against humanity? Could it happen again? Could it happen here?
But there is one overriding question that must be faced above all others: What made the difference between the few who helped the Jewish people during their awesome persecution and the multitude who turned their backs on them? Why did a few put themselves, their families, their possessions, and their careers on the line for a persecuted people while most did not? What is there in evangelical theology that should make evangelicals react differently than do other people in the face of prejudice, scapegoating, caricature, oppression, and outright physical violence to a race or religious group different from their own?
This is a difficult question because, as one studies the Holocaust, it seems that only a few evangelicals, a few Protestants, ...1
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