Continuing my reading of The Fervent Embrace: Liberal Protestants, Evangelicals, and Israel by Caitlin Carenen:
During World War II, the mainstream American Protestants came around to the idea of helping the Jews being massacred in Europe, but the fundamentalists looked at the extermination of the Jews as part of God’s plan.
During the years of Hitler’s campaign against the European Jews, the fundamentalist periodicals, such as Our Hope, the Weekly Evangel, the Sunday School Times, the Moody Monthly, and others, approached the persecution quite differently from their mainline counterparts. The periodicals consistently and accurately reported the statistics and details of the persecution.But unlike pro-Zionist mainline Protestants, fundamentalists saw the persecution of the Jews in a prophetic light and, for the most part, eschewed human efforts to intervene. They condemned Hitler’s campaign against the Jews, even while acknowledging that the persecutions helped to fulfill biblical prophecy-namely, pushing more Jews toward Palestine. One fundamentalist noted ironically in a Moody Monthly article that “by driving the preserved people back into the Promised Land. Hitler, who does not believe the Bible and who sneers at the Word of God, is helping to fulfill its most outstanding prophecy.”” Furthermore, most dispensationalists, though quick to point out that those who persecuted the Jews would be punished by God, nonetheless insisted that such persecutions were a necessary part of God’s plan for the Jews.
In Our Hope, Gaebelein noted that of the estimated ten million Jews living in Europe, more than half were the subject of increasing antisemitism, and noted particularly the plight of Jews in Germany and Poland. It was proof, he insisted, that “their own God-inspired Scriptures are being fulfilled.” This persecution could not be solved with human endeavors, and, perhaps in a reference to the efforts of the [Christian Zionist] ACPC, he argued, “nor can a united front with Gentile nominal Christians bring about change. The change will come when “they shall look upon Him whom they pierced’ and acknowledge Christ as their Saviour-King.”
Many fundamentalists viewed the persecution of the Jews in Europe as an opportunity to witness. As the Moody Monthly pointed out in April 1943, “The terrific persecutions in Europe, the troubles in Palestine, and the ever increasing antisemitism throughout the world have softened their hearts and make them long for security and rest of soul.” Even though the conservative press offered far more details of Jewish destruction than their liberal counterparts, they nonetheless interpreted these statistics through a uniquely prophetic perspective which emphasized that the divine purpose of Nazi persecution lay in Jewish conversion to Christianity.” For example, the Moody Monthly argued that the persecution of the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto had resulted in mass conversions of Jewish children. “Perhaps that is the reason the Devil saw to it that Warsaw was wrecked and the Jews scattered,” one contributor suggested.” Nonetheless, nations who wreaked such destruction on God’s chosen people would surely face divine judgment, “the wrath of
Sure hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed and deported from the Warsaw Ghetto – but so many of their orphaned children were becoming Christian!
All it takes is a little perspective to see that the Nazi persecutions weren’t all bad.
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