Book: Christ or Hitler?

I may never have a bad day in the ministry again. At least, God willing that we have Constitution honoring governance in this country, I won’t have one. Not after reading Christ or Hitler? About Pastor Wilhelm Busch of Germany.
Pastor Busch was in the ministry in Germany from after the First World War until well after the Second World War. He was imprisoned by the Nazis, fought in the trenches, and lived to regret some of the silences and the words of his life. He tells his story in Christ or Hitler?
The subtitle, “Stories from my Life and Times, by Pastor Wilhelm Busch (1897-1966),” is accurate and informative. The compiler of Pastor Busch’s story, Christian Puritz, also translated it from the German. At first read, Christ or Hitler? felt like a knock-off book, as if the story was not well-told or the book less entrancing than the more polished biographies of others. After all, the stories of Niemoller and Bonhoeffer are well-known and well-presented, so Busch’s story should be the same.
Yet on a second read of this book, I realized something. Christ or Hitler? is properly not the biography (or autobiography) of a famous name. Instead, it is the story of an ordinary pastor and how the times of his life wrapped around him. He does not tell it in smooth English—in fact, he told it in German, and translation is never as perfect as we’d like to think it can be.
This is the story of a man who went through his life, found a personal relationship of surrender to Jesus as Lord, and spent his life in pursuit of that relationship. Pastor Busch wrestled with changing times and the temptation to compromise. He wrestled with the impacts on his family and friends.
He suffered, cried, and rejoiced through it all. He faced a government that insisted his house burn down so that he could meet with the Gestapo—losing his precious library and home in the process. Through it all, he ends his life as a man committed to walk with Jesus.
This book, though not as polished a publication, is more valuable than a leather-bound reference book. It is the story of a real pastor. Read it and learn from it.
I have this to say about Christ or Hitler? It is now on the list of “Required Books” that I will require when I start a seminary (probably never, but better to be ready). It should be given to every pastor living at ease here in America. The stories of the faithful Confessors of Christ should be known as well as the stories of Martyrs.
And you might find that you don’t have as many bad days again, either.


(EP Books provided a copy of this book, but I have purchased one to use as a gift to someone--so I both got one free and bought one. Do what you will with that, FTC!)

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