Could there be a more terrifying modern-day nemesis than the Gestapo? Who hasn’t seen a movie or read a book on Nazi Germany? The tension ratchets up every time you see the long trench coat on the guy spying nearby. When the main character notices, you can see the panic in his eyes. To fall into the hands of the Gestapo is to have your life in jeopardy. There will be no acceptable explanations, no concern for the truth, just the deadly consequences of preconceived guilt.
Carry that mental image, if you will, to some Christian circles today. Although you may find it in many places, I have seen it rear its ugly head among Independent Baptists on several occasions.
There are those who watch. They also report. Then they become the enforcers who will see that consequences come. They scrutinize Facebook newsfeeds and pictures, they listen in on conversations or internet reports, they keep those eyes open. Then, in back corners of churches, or around the table at a preacher’s fellowship, or in emails, they report.
Perhaps you think the Gestapo analogy a little strong, or that childish tattle telling is a better description. Still, ministries have been ruined, individuals slandered, and division prevailed.
Here is where the analogy is strongest:
1. The Gestapo was blindly supportive of one group.
What Hiltler did was never analyzed by the Gestapo. Whether it was right or wrong was of no consequence. Their mantra was only supreme loyalty to Hitler and his Nazism. They blew off moral dilemmas like a child blows petals off a flower. How many today blindly follow their clique, even if it takes them over the cliff!
2. The Gestapo employed strong-arm measures.
The ends justified the means and so the means became brutal. In our day character assassination, getting a missionary to have support dropped, or sabotaging someone getting a new ministry are all fair game.
3. The Gestapo scared good soldiers.
Many Germans were just soldiers serving their country in the trenches of war. They were just trying to do the job they had been given. These soldiers, the real fighters, were scared of the Gestapo too. The Gestapo never helped win a battle, but sure kept their eyes on those who did. They punished some of the soldiers and took them out of the fight too. I submit that some real soldiers in the cause of Christ have been so treated too.
4. Gestapo used those who would play both sides.
Some did not agree with the Gestapo but would cooperate and report for them. To save their own hide they would throw others to the wolves. Today some have some of their own issues that the Gestapo would not agree with, but they are so good at reporting others they are overlooked. The saddest part was that this saved no one, but only empowered the Gestapo more for their dastardly work. To report one person for some supposed infraction to cover one of your own is treachery. We will never be rid of the Gestapo with those tactics!
Here Is Where The Analogy Ends
Spiritual Gestapos do not have their power unless we give it to them. When we no longer fear their threats, or care what they say, their weapons will turn to smoke and waft away. When we ignore them, they become surprisingly small. It is time spiritual Gestapos have the tables turned on them, and you and I should take control away from them. Let’s just say the Allies have arrived!
Find all articles in the series here.