Christians in Nazi Germany, Hitler and the Protestants, The “German Christians”, How good people allowed evil to spread, No excuse for mass approval of Nazism by German Protestants or other German groups
“Through God’s intercession, our beloved German Fatherland has experienced a mighty exaltation. In this turning point in history we hear, as faithful evangelical Christians, the call of God to a closing of ranks and a return, the call also for a single German Evangelical Church …. The Confessions are its unalterable basis …. A national bishop of the Lutheran confession stands at its head …. Christ comes again and brings an eternal completion in the majesty of His Kingdom.”…”Hitler and the Protestants”, SpindleWorks
“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”… Edmund Burke
“What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.”…Ecclesiastes 1:9
In ordnung is a German expression that means in order.
The Amish have their ordnung and if you listen closely, you will hear it often used in German World War II movies.
Ordnung is important to Germans and one of the reasons otherwise good “Christians” in Nazi Germany looked the other way.
How good people allowed evil to spread.
From Spindle Works.
“The Protestant churches in Nazi Germany”
“The rise of Hitler
Hitler and his Nazis had been agitating throughout the twenties, but they did not become influential until the stock market crash of 1929 had introduced the great depression. That depression hit Germany hard and caused many to look for a strong man to pull them out of the morass. Hitler grasped the opportunities offered by the depression and the general feeling of malaise. He not only promised jobs and renewed prosperity, but also all the other things the majority of Germans wanted: a restoraton of Germany’s greatness, revenge on the allies for the Versailles treaty, a war to the death on socialists and communists, law and order, strict discipline, and strict public morality. A revival of the old, conservative, paternalistic and imperial Germany was beckoning – and it would be a Christian Germany once more. At least, so Hitler promised.
In fact, Hitler hated Christianity and was convinced that it was incompatible with National Socialism. He was enough of an opportunist, however, to realize that the Christian tradition was still strong in Germany, and that he would be wise to begin by courting the churches’ favour. If they trusted him, they could be excellent supporters in his rise to power; if he alienated them, they could be formidable enemies. But although he courted them, he never intended to allow them any independent power in the totalitarian Nazi state: they were to be merely his tools, to be discarded when no longer needed.
In January 1933 Hitler became chancellor of Germany. In March of that year he addressed the churches as follows:
The national Government sees in the two Christian Confessions (Protestant and Roman Catholic) the most important factors for the preservation of our nationality. It will respect the agreements that have been drawn up between them and the provincial states.
. . . The national Government will provide and guarantee to the Christian Confessions the influence due them in the schools and education. It is concerned for genuine harmony between Church and State .
. . . The rights of the churches will not be curtailed; their position in relation to the State will not be changed.
Hitler dealt first with the Roman Catholics. After discussions with the archbishops, who conferred with the pope, a concordat or agreement was signed in June 1933. The concordat assured the church (on paper) of its privileges and was intended to guarantee either its neutrality or its support for the Nazi regime. The Roman Catholic Centre Party was disbanded.
Hitler and the Protestants
When Hitler turned his attention to the Protestants, he faced a different situation. How does one deal with at least twenty-eight different church federations? The national assembly of these churches had no real authority, and the Protestants had neither archbishop nor pope. Hitler therefore decided to create such a figure. He suggested that the Protestant churches elect or appoint a national bishop who would sit in the religious affairs department (the Ministry of Cults) of the national government.
The reaction of some German church leaders was ecstatic, witness this message:
Through God’s intercession, our beloved German Fatherland has experienced a mighty exaltation. In this turning point in history we hear, as faithful evangelical Christians, the call of God to a closing of ranks and a return, the call also for a single German Evangelical Church …. The Confessions are its unalterable basis …. A national bishop of the Lutheran confession stands at its head …. Christ comes again and brings an eternal completion in the majesty of His Kingdom. 
Although not all Protestants voiced these sentiments, a general feeling of elation grew in the Protestant churches. Miracles seemed to be happening. The Protestants were asked once again to play a role in the affairs of the nation. They were even offered a chance to form a national, unified church. Could all this simply be coincidence? It seemed to be the hand of God at work in Germany. He was calling the churches back to their old place and task in the midst of the nation.
The Fuehrer was popular. He was giving work to the millions of unemployed. The country was picking up rapidly. Nationalism was growing. Leftists were being suppressed, Surely the Lord was with such a man as Adolf Hitler! Provincial churches united and synod after synod voiced its approval of a national church under one bishop. Few, very few people realized that all was not well. Fewer still issued warnings.
The “German Christians”
There was no excuse for this mass approval of Nazism by the German Protestants or, for that matter, by any other German group. They could have been aware of Hitler’s ideology and aims: he had revealed much of them in his autobiography Mein Kampf, published in the twenties. They could also have an inkling of what was likely to happen to the German churches if the Nazis gained power. Long before January 1933, when Hitler became chancellor, groups had arisen in Germany which attempted to combine Christianity with the type of paganism that the Nazis also espoused or would espouse. In 1932, that is, before Hitler became chancellor, a number of these groups had united in what came to be known as the movement of the “German Christians” (Deutsche Christen).
This movement espoused the Nazi party’s “positive Christianity,” which is meant, among other things, that it denied sin and depravity, as well as humility, and that it stressed nationalism and the saving character of the state. The church, as part of the state, was to march along-side the people to bring it to its earthly paradise. As Karl Barth described it, “The state is eternal, equal to the Bible in expressing God’s will. The Fuehrer is equal to the commands of God, rather, he is above them.”  With Hegel, Nietzsche, Rosenberg, and Wagner as their prophets, the “German Christians” preached their perverted gospel.
Their movement consisted of various streams. There were conservative Lutherans, who merely wanted a political voice in the new state, were against war debts, democracy, and the exclusion of the churches under the Weimar regime. Another stream propagated the religion of the “Volk,” an old, nineteenth-century idea. According to this group, Christ came to help Germans fulfil their potential as a separate folk and nation, with its own law: that of struggle. Germans were born for struggle: they would fulfil their folkishness by that means. The call to arms and slogan for the Christian life was “struggle, cross, and sacrifice” over against “false and weak freedom.” Christian ethics, such as those of the Sermon on the Mount, belonged to the kingdom of heaven, not to the earthly German one. Weaklings and non-Aryans were not to be allowed. Euthanasia was good; it would help keep the folk pure and strong. War also was good: it would bring the highest religion of all (Christianity) to other peoples, and it would bring the greatest folk of all, the Germans, to full fruition as rulers of lesser peoples and churches and religions. The Germans were the super race, the Herrenvolk.
Needless to say, Marxism, socialism, pacifism, as well as Jews and blacks and other non-Aryans, were to be rejected. Church confessions were declared outdated, and race and people, blood and soil, became the standards. Hitler stood next to Christ as the leader of all Germany, the manifestation of the divine in history. Hitler as Fuehrer was infallible, and revealed God’s will to men better than any Bible or confession, History had given Germany its messiah.”