IN THIS POST, on the good and thoughtful Faith and Theology blog, contributor Kim Fabricus writes of the ten most influential moments in his life that pushed him on toward pacifism. There's no reason to summarize it; go on, read it.
First, let's give the dictionary definition of pacifism: "Opposition to war or violence as a means of solving disputes." Now, the government's policing efforts will not be brought into question in this post. Such is not the focus here, if for no other reason than what Saint Paul writes about it in Romans 13:4:
What I'm interested in is a small, yet misguided statement by Kim (and perpetuated by a few responders) encapsulated in the following:
In popular history, this perversion became the widespread explanation for the rise of Hitler and the failure of German Christianity to recognize and resist the evils of Nazism (coveniently ignoring the fact that those in the Lutheran underground church were arguably more patriotic than the Lutheran state church). But in actuality it was Fredrick the Great (1712–1786), not Luther, who paved the way toward Nazism (it, of course, must be recognized that in his late life, Luther was no friend of the Jews; yet we are speaking here of the two kingdoms model and whether or not it's dualistic — that is, whether or not the state is to be governed by a completely different ethic than the church. We're starting to nudge up against natural law here, but that's a discussion for another day).
Frederick eventually left his Lutheran roots and became Reformed (of the theology-of-glory stripe); he also found himself increasingly enthralled with the Enlightenment. The culmination of his (and others') subsequent ecumenicity was manifested in the Prussian Union of 1817 (decreed by King Frederick William III on the 300th anniversary of the Reformation), which unionized the Lutheran and Reformed churches, essentially decimating confessional Lutheranism and along with that, the two kingdoms model (N.B. this is when major Lutheran emigrations to the U.S. started, and the LCMS finds its origins here). Herman Sasse, a faithful confessional Lutheran, who played a leading role in the German Church Struggle against Nazi coercion within the church contends:
And now, Luther's own words: