Doomed to Repetition – Part 2

TimeWatch Editorial
February 23, 2017

Before you read this Editorial, you should make sure that you read part 1, published February 22, 2017. In that editorial, we looked at the events that took place in Germany at the beginning of World War I. We saw the weakness of the leadership of the Seventh Day Adventist Church regarding the instructions they gave to our members. We saw that they issued a circular letter recommending enlisted Adventists to “fulfil our military duties wholeheartedly and with joy," to bear arms, and also to serve on the Sabbath. We saw the refusal by some in the church to comply with that circular letter. They were then unjustly accused of having “fallen” from the truth, and the leadership of the church, in individual cases went as far as having people pursued by the authorities.” Ultimately, the position of the leadership of the church was rescinded. Listen to the following:

“The circular letter of August 2, 1914, was criticized by the Adventist Church World Leadership based in the USA, and was later withdrawn with regret by the German Church Leadership in 1920, and again in 1923. This attempt at reconciliation failed however, as had previous attempts from both sides soon after the First World War ended. As a result, two Adventist camps existed during the time of the Weimar Republic: the traditional Seventh-day Adventists, and the Reformed Seventh-day Adventists, who subsequently divided into a number of further smaller groups due to internal conflicts. “Guilt and Failure,” Statement of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Germany, “Adventisten heute” December 5, 2014

But the problem didn’t end there. World War II provided the opportunity for the church to experience further controversy, politically, militarily and religiously. Mark A. Kellner, assistant director for news and information of the General Conference Communication Department, writing in the Review under the topic: “Church Leaders Say we’re Sorry,” says the following:

“Noting the sixtieth anniversary of the end of World War II, Seventh-day Adventist church leaders in Germany and Austria have released a declaration saying they "deeply regret" any participation in or support of Nazi activities during the war. The church bodies "honestly confess" a failure "in following our Lord" by not protecting Jews, and others, from that era's genocide, widely known as the Holocaust. Millions of people perished from war atrocities, including more than 6 million Jews who were exterminated in Nazi persecutions during the 12-year period of 1933 to 1945. The declaration was initially published in the May 2005 issue of Advent Echo, a monthly German-language church magazine, and also will appear in other German publications, said Günther Machel, president of the South German Union Conference and one of three signatories to the statement.” Mark A. Kellner, “Church Leaders Say we’re Sorry,” Adventist News

So not only was the church drawn into controversy regarding World War I, but now they are again being drawn into the conflicts of World War II. Thus time, they are not only involved with being or not being a combatant, but now they are involved in the Anti-Semite activity of the Nazi era. May 2005, a declaration was published in the issue of Advent Echo, a monthly German-language church magazine, which Saud the following:

"We deeply regret that the character of National Socialist dictatorship had not been realized in time and distinctly enough, and the ungodly nature of Nazi ideology had not clearly been identified," the statement, as translated from German, reads. The church says it also regrets "that in some of our publications . . . there were found articles glorifying Adolf Hitler and agreeing with the ideology of anti-Semitism in a way that is unbelievable from today's [perspective]." Church leaders also expressed regret that "our peoples became associated with racial fanaticism destroying the lives and freedom of 6 million Jews and representatives of minorities in all of Europe" and "that many Seventh-day Adventists did not share the need and suffering of their Jewish fellow-citizens." Mark A. Kellner, “Church Leaders Say we’re Sorry,” Adventist News

Will all this occur again? Will some of us again be drawn to a Neo-Nazi attitude for the sake of self preservation? The ease with which one is drawn aside in times of stress and trouble will certainly amaze you, if you are unprepared for it. The subtlety of the gradual weakening of the heart and spirit has been proven to be an effective tool in destroying the faith of those who should know better and even more effectively, persuading those who are younger in the faith to doubt and to abandon that which they once embraced. It is truly amazing how we treat each other in times of need.

“Under various racial decrees, some Adventist congregations expelled members of Jewish heritage. One, Max-Israel Munk, was placed in two concentration camps by the Nazis and survived and returned to his church after the war. He said he did not wish to act toward his congregation in the way in which he had been treated, according to Daniel Heinz, a church archivist at Friedensau Adventist University who has studied Adventist activities during the National Socialist era. Asked how a church that considers keeping the Sabbath as one of its core beliefs could forsake Jewish Sabbath-keepers during a time of persecution, Brugger suggested that it was political, not theological, considerations that may have led to the strategy.” Mark A. Kellner, “Church Leaders Say we’re Sorry,” Adventist News

So the question for us is this, as we look around us and observe the changing political environment, how prepared are we to deal with the suddenly rising pressures that will come? Let it be clearly understood that there is an enemy at work. Listen to this:

“Past history will be repeated. Men will reject the Holy Spirit's working, and open the door of the mind to satanic attributes that separate them from God. They will turn against the very messengers through whom God sends the messages of warning. Even now I fear that the very things I am seeking to make plain will be misapplied, misinterpreted, and falsified. Some have felt it a virtue to educate themselves in this line, and by their misapplication they make of no effect the messages God sends.”{Manuscript Release vol 19, page 122 paragraph 1} 

Let us be watchful!

Cameron A. Bowen

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