Scholar-in-Residence series addresses how Christians reacted to rise of Hitler

Scholar in Residence
Scholar in Residence
Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School and professor of church history, speaks March 27 on ‘Giving Thanks in Hitler’s Reich: Paul Schneider as Pastor and Martyr’ in the Carl Grant Events Center. | Photo by Amanda Rohde

For the 16th annual Scholar-in-Residence lecture series, Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford, joined Union to speak on the topic “To the Winds Thy Fears: Christian Witness in Nazi Germany.”

The lectures took place March 20-27 in the Carl Grant Events Center.

“We chose the speaker we did because he is a scholar of national and international prominence who shares our same institutional values,” said Scott Huelin, director of the honors community and associate professor of English. “These are the two main criteria for selection each year.”

George is founding dean and professor of Divinity at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.

He has been a visiting professor at the International Baptist Theological Seminary and Ruschlikon, Switzerland.

He also has served as professor of church history and historical theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

George has written numerous books, articles and journals.

“Although I was not able to make it to all of them, I enjoyed George’s last lecture,” said Shelby Wall, freshman nursing major. “He was well-educated on his topic of discussion and a great speaker.”

The way the Christians reacted in Germany to the rise of Hitler and his Nazi party has always been a topic of interest to him, George said.

“Most went along with the Nazification of the churches, some tried to lay low and get by under the radar and a few brave souls resisted strongly, and many of them paid the price for doing so,” said George. “I believe that biography can tell us a lot about history.”

During the lectures, he discussed several important figures in this spiritual and public struggle, including Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Karl Barth, Martin Niemoller and Paul Schnedier.

During the last lecture, George talked about how the Nazis took Christian hymns and twisted the words to honor Hitler and the Germans rather than honoring Jesus, said Wall.

“I learned about how many of the Jews were murdered in the concentration camps and the daily torment they endured,” Wall said.

Over the course of eight days, George spoke four times.

On March 20, he spoke on “The Road to Barmen”; Mar 22, “Doing Theology as though Nothing has Happened: The Witness of Barth and Bonhoeffer”; Mar 25, “No one Left for me: The Lonely Courage of Martin Niemoller” and Mar 27, “Giving Thanks in Hitler’s Reich: Paul Schneider as Pastor and Martyr.”

All lectures were free and open to the public.

Image courtesy of Cardinal & Cream|Cardinal & Cream