The pastor and his flock

     Evangelical pastor Olaf Latzel, born of Roman Catholic parents in 1967, was called to the ministry after his conversion and eventually became pastor of an Evangelical Church in Bremen, north Germany. His small congregation soon began to grow rapidly and has now reached over four hundred worshippers which is quite a record for this district far away from Germany’s traditional ‘Bible Belt’ in the Wuppertal-Siegen area. His flock puts this down to Pastor Latzel’s Bible exegesis and pastoral care and his teaching concerning the missionary responsibilities of all Christians. His members adore him and delight in his gospel preaching. Latzel thus emphasizes itinerant preaching, and organizes group Bible studies and he teaches classes based on the Helvetic and Heidelberg Confessions. He is a man Jewel, Tyndale, Bullinger, Calvin, Bunyan, Owen, Gill, Whitefield and Spurgeon would be proud of.

 

This Edenic church stormed by political terrorists

     This Christian ideal is now challenged by the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Linke (Left) Party alike who rule that their politics is the true religion and churches like Latzel’s should drop the Old Faith and let it be redefined according to their political manifestos. As a person born before the Hitler regime which strove to force the churches to adopt a pagan ‘Deutsche Christentum’ (German Christianity) as a totalitarian wing of the Fascist Party, and as one who celebrated the downfall of Hitler with the whole street when that evil war was over (see photo), I never thought that I would live to see a German secular body once more dictating to the Church what ‘gospel’ it should preach.

To preach Christ is allegedly to insult Islam

     Now the Left Wing is treading in the former Right Wing footsteps and striving to put the clocks back in Germany. They say that German religion must be ‘Bunt’, that is, mottled and spotted and mixed with all other religions. They add that because Olaf Latzel preaches that Jesus saves, he is insulting Islam which is politically incorrect. They thus believe that the new state religion of Germany should be ‘Multi-Culti’ which is their catchword for a religion of chaos and general intolerance. These political hotheads are now striving to force Latzel to hold ecumenical services with Christians and Muslims taking part in each other’s celebrations. This is insulting both Christianity and Islam. Part of their propaganda is to argue that Christian refugees should not be separated from Muslim opposition in the many hundred refugee quarters being built to cater for a million immigrants, as they need to come to terms with Islam and thus further religious unity. It is apparently not taken into account that much of the trouble in such quarters is because of the growing number of Muslim sects, each more radical than the other who have no tolerance for rival brands of Islam or for other religions. So, too, they appear to identify religion with national adherence and are intolerant of refugees from other nations.

     Christians cannot be too critical here as the same intolerance is often shown amongst so-called Christian communities. It must also be sadly admitted that bands of anti-Islamic brutes, mostly from the old Communist East, are burning one refugee hostel down after the other: all built and run on donations and tax-payers’ money. It is quite clear, however, that Islam is rapidly breaking up as a unified religion. This appears to be the fate, under God’s Providence, of all religions when they abuse God’s prerogatives.

Charges of political incorrectness

     Language expert Wolf Schneider pointed out in a recent Radio Bremen programme how those critics hiding behind the term ‘Political Correctness’ make all kinds of false judgements owing to ignorance and prejudice. This reminded me of my granddaughter’s teacher who told her not to use words like ‘Refugee’ as these were discriminatory. On the other hand, our politicians call refugees ‘migrants’, though they are immigrants, perhaps hoping they will go back home soon which is not quite ‘politically correct’.

     The result is that charges from ecclesiastical, political, educational and legal bodies have been laid for some time against Latzel claiming he is guilty of a long political incorrectness list including hate crimes. Yet hitherto no action has happily been taken against him. Many organisations on the periphery of society who have traditionally been ‘anti-Christian’, have suddenly professed that their aberrations of Christian living is ‘true Christianity’ and has joined these secular bodies in branding Latzel’s staunch Biblical testimony as ‘un-Christian’ and thus ‘un-German’. Their motto has become ‘The Church is us’ (Die Kirche sind wir) and they pride themselves on being suddently ‘political correct’ and condemn Latzel as a racist and homophobe though he has a message of mercy, tolerance and help for all those who accuse him. The fact that he wishes to witness to all sinners, no matter what colour, gender or creed they possess, angers these people.

The alert masses think differently

     Barbara Höfler in her article ‘Bitte nicht schütteln’1 in the Neue Züricher Zeitung of 13th September, 2015 shows that this ridiculous modern scary phenomenon of reviving old Nazi or 1984 thinking is now world-wide. However, the German nation since World War II has strongly rejected Hitler’s attempt to alter Christianity in this way and most of the media are treating the matter as one big joke. Indeed, Timur Verme’s best-selling book Er ist wieder da!2 has recently been filmed depicting a Hitler who wakes up after a seventy years’ sleep and gradually learns the communication techniques of the modern world and seeks to convert Germany back to Nazi thinking. The result is that he is taken for a gifted satirist and comedian and given a TV show so that Germany can laugh at his funny ideas.

     So too, and happily, there has been a growing return to Biblical Christianity in the German churches during the last dozen years, especially amongst the younger generation. Good, sound Bible-believing ministers are being trained in all the major denominations. There are some 37 united, evangelical, Reformed training centres in the German-speaking countries of which the college I represent (Martin Bucer Seminar) is one of the larger members. The hungry sheep are now looking up and being fed by numerous men such as Latzel. These missionary and preaching centres also run colleges in Turkey, South Africa and South America and provide missionaries world-wide. Several of our colleagues have been murdered recently in Islamic countries for the gospel’s sake.

     This is obviously one of the reasons under God for the tremendous support shown by Christians for Latzel’s gospel stand. The brethren are at last standing up to be counted. The churches, Public Prosecutors and more balanced politicians are now defying the Left-wingers by declaring that Latzel is perfectly within his rights whether legal, ecclesiastical or social. It appears that the media and even film-world are backing this honest thinking. Even Muslim communities are saying that Latzel is entirely within those German rights which they hold dear. Of course, they believe that if Christians are muzzled politically, the Muslims will be next. Latzel is thus seen by most as doing a legitimate and even most necessary job. The media quote previous pastors of Latzel’s church who were also most outspoken for the true gospel but were applauded by society in those days, pointing out that Latzel is walking in their footsteps. Latzel’s online sermons and Bible Studies are being read widely. Many critics have now made a total U-turn in their own understanding of the new threat to Christianity. The Germans, who abhor political terrorism whether from the Left of Right, are once again, refusing to leave sound Christian paths for the Christ-less state religion of Latzel’s misguided Thought-Police. We have happily left 1984 behind us.

  1. Please do not shake.
  2. He’s back!