People like David French, Russell Moore et al continue to operate as mouthpieces for the state church. When I say state church, in this context, I am referring to the churches who have taken money from the state in order to remain open during the so-called pandemic, commonly known as: COVID. As a condition of taking this money, millions of dollars worth, in some instances, these churches must abide by every state and federal mandate handed down in regard to COVID recommendations and suggestions. They are now duty-bound to promote the state narrative, inclusive of mandatory vaccines. Both French and Moore, have recently, and over the last eighteen months, been pushing their evangelical audiences to get the still experimental gene therapies (which they call vaccines, per the state narrative), which are known to cause sudden death, slow death, adverse reactions, and a host of other unknown consequences given their lack of long term study and testing. French and Moore are promoting a culture, within mainstream evangelicalism, wherein people are denominated as either “vaxxed” or “unvaxxed”; the latter, being framed as unloving, selfish, and even murderous towards the mass population. In nuce, both French and Moore represent a broader cadre of state church proponents who have accepted the state narrative without any consideration of how that might or might not be funded by the Gospel reality itself. It is to this mode and attitude that Karl Barth’s own theological existence doth protest!
The following account comes from Christiane Tietz’s telling of Barth’s precarious and early situation as he faced off with Hitler and the state church of his time. His situation, equally, has to do with a narrative that segregates people, in this case, not on “vaccine status,” but, of course, on ethnic status, and the ostensible purity of the Aryan classification of people (as identified by the National Socialists, or Nazi regime of Hitler). The parallel between what Barth et al was standing against, and what we are currently standing against in people like French and Moore, as church leaders who are proponents of the state narrative, is rather uncanny (although I know that most people who are Barth people have themselves swallowed the state narrative in regard to COVID, and its ostensible “cure” in the so-called “vaccines”). Tietz writes at length (with reference to Barth):
Barth was pressed by different sides to comment on the situation. He wrote his opinion between June 14 and 25, titled Theological Existence Today!, as the situation intensified. His publisher Lempp insisted on going to press quickly, so that the text was already available on July 1, 1933. It met with an enormous echo. By July 1934, when the text was confiscated, 37,000 copies had been printed.
Barth began his essay by reporting that he had been urged to state his position on the current “church concerns and problems.” But: “the decisive thing that I am trying to say today about these concerns and problems” consisted
very non-currently and impalpably simply in this . . . that I am attempting to proceed here in Bonn with my students in lectures and exercises to do theology and only theology, just as before as if nothing had happened—perhaps in a slightly raised tone but without making a direct connection. Somewhat like the Benedictine chanting of the hours in the nearby [abbey of] Maria Laach is doubtlessly proceeding, even in the Third Reich, according to the rules without interruption and diversion. I am of the opinion that this too is a statement, in any case a church-political statement and indirectly even a political-statement!
Barth continued that rather than speaking “to the situation” it would be better as a theologian to address “the issue.” For the church it was essential that it meet the claim of the word of God “to be proclaimed and heard.” The danger of the current era was that
amidst the power of other claims we no longer understand the intensity and exclusivity of the claim of the divine word as such, and therefore suddenly we no longer understand this word at all . . . That under the stormy impression of certain “forces, principalities, and powers” we seek God elsewhere than in God’s word, and God’s word elsewhere than in Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ elsewhere than in the Holy Scripture of the Old and New Testaments, and are therefore those who do not seek God at all.
Each church reform, including external forms, must emerge from the “life . . . of the church itself . . . from obedience to God’s word, or it is not church reform.” With the appointment of a state church commissar however this had been taken out of the church’s hands. And with the establishment of a superior bishop’s office in the Protestant church, the state’s “Fuhrer principle, embodied in the figure of Adolf Hitler and his subordinates,” would introduced into the church.
Barth accused the “German Christians” of subordinating the church’s purpose to the German people. The church indeed believed that God installed the state to be the bearer of law and order, but it did not believe in a certain state or specific form of state. The church proclaimed the gospel “also in the Third Reich, but not under it and not in its spirit.” Correspondingly:
The community of those who belong to the church is not determined by blood or through race, but rather through the Holy Spirit and baptism. If the German Protestant Church were to exclude Christians of Jewish descent or treat them as second-class Christians, then it would have ceased to be a Christian church.
With that Barth took a clear position against the adoption of the “Aryan paragraph” from the Law for the Restoration of the Civil Service (April 7, 1933) for church law.
Barth concludes his text with a warning to German theology and the church:
For that reason the church and theology cannot hibernate, even in a totalitarian state, and cannot accept a moratorium or be conformed to the state. The church is the natural boundary for everything, including the totalitarian state. For the people live even in a totalitarian state from the word of God, the content of which is: “forgiveness of sins, resurrection of the flesh and eternal life.” Church and theology have to serve this word for the people. Therefore they are the boundary of the state. They are this for the salvation of the people, for the salvation that neither the state nor the church can create, but which the church is called to proclaim. The church must be allowed to remain true and must want to remain true to its characteristic objectivity. In the particular concern that has been assigned to the theologian he must remain awake, a lonely bird on the roof, that is on earth but also under the open, wide and absolutely open heaven. If only the German Protestant theologian would stay awake, or, if he happens to have fallen asleep, today, today would awaken once more!1
There are churches in America, currently who are only allowing the vaccinated to attend services; and this under strict protocols required by the state. There are countries like Australia, that are in absolute totalitarian lockdown; and it has multiples of church leaders complying with these lockdowns, and even in agreement with them. The same is true of states like Canada, France, and many others across the globe. These totalitarian states are operating under the same statist logic that people like French and Moore are operating from, and promoting for the American evangelical churches at large.
Indeed, the totalitarianism currently underway has greater technological sophistication associated with it, than did the Reich’s takeover. Nonetheless, when you reduce things to their logical conclusions it is the same operation; except this time its global, and the segregation is based on whether or not people will submit to taking a “vaccine” that has no long term study or testing associated with it. Beyond that, it is a vaccine that doesn’t protect people from the disease it says it does: people who are vaccinated (look at Israel) are more prone to receiving heavier loads of COVID than those who aren’t. And further, COVID itself, under even the manipulated numbers (i.e. COVID death counting), has a 99.97% survivability rate without any treatments (therapeutics or otherwise). And yet French and Moore forward the state counter-narrative, based in unwarranted fear, that people should take the jab in the name of love for the other. They follow the logic that leads to totalitarian states like Australia, not to mention the level of that we are seeing ourselves right here in America (i.e. mass firings, unemployment, vaccine caused deaths, and adverse reactions [see VAERS]). But they are not self-reflective enough to either see through the evil behind the state narrative (the same state who promotes the annihilation of babies in the womb), in regard to COVID; or they are, and are on the ‘take.’
Barth’s warning to those who subordinate the proclamation of the Gospel to a state narrative ought to be taken seriously by these types of state church leaders. When the message of the state becomes conflated with the Word of God, with the Gospel reality itself, the church ceases being the actual church, and becomes only one more tool for the state. When people like French, Moore (not to mention Ed Stetzer) and others are promoting the logic that supports a totalitarian state in the name of “health freedom” and responsibility for others, as this is based on the state narrative to begin with, these leaders need to be called out for what they are: false prophets!
If the parallel I’m drawing between Barth’s period in Germany, and ours in the globe today, doesn’t resonate with you, then maybe you ought to re-consider how you think of the status of humanity outwith Jesus Christ. The depravity of humanity is the same yesterday, today, and forever without the check of God’s life in Jesus Christ. Barth came to this realization, and so should you: state church leaders.
1 Christiane Tietz, Karl Barth: A Life in Conflict (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021), 211-13 kindle.