Christ or Hitler?
EP Books , 336 pages, £10.99
Star Rating : 5
Have you ever wondered how you would respond if you were called to go through persecution; what your priorities would be; whether you would rely on the Lord or follow others in compromise? Wilhelm Busch was faced with all these possibilities and more when he pastored a church through the years of Hitler’s regime.
Wilhelm, a pastor’s son, was a child of wise and godly parents. Descriptions of his father’s firm but gentle parenting would make good reading for present-day parents. During WW1, surrounded by death in the trenches, he was faced with eternity.
He sought help from the chaplain, but did not find answers. He spent many months reading the Bible which was given to him when he left home. Finally, after months of anxious seeking, he came to a personal faith in Christ. He later became a pastor working with young people.
Post-war years in Germany were hard and became harder for believers when Hitler came to power. We know about persecution of Jews, Poles and gypsies at this time, but hear less about the treatment of those Christians who did not compromise when each church was required to register and have a member of the Nazi party on their governing board.
Along with others in what became known as the ‘Confessing Church’, Wilhelm Busch defied the authorities and on occasions used his wit and humour to get around the regulations.
He was imprisoned twice during WW2 and, after earnestly praying for an opportunity, preached the gospel to a group of SS prison guards when such a thing was normally impossible. He lost his earthly goods and his family suffered considerable deprivation, but he led many to Christ.
There is little here of Nazi atrocities, but much about the wisdom given to pastors and others who, in Luther’s words, could say, ‘My conscience is captive to God’s Word’.
Highly readable, the book is a series of autobiographical anecdotes from the life and ministry of Wilhelm Busch, detailing his experiences of God’s provision, enabling and strength during perilous times. There is humour and humility, honesty about failures, thankfulness and praise for God’s goodness, and above all a love and passion for the lost and the purity of the gospel.
Read this book and be challenged, instructed and encouraged. I cannot recommend it highly enough.