The Holocaust and the Bible
- Feb 11, 2011
"The Holocaust & the Bible" conference was well attended with approximately 250 participants from Canada, Maryland, Texas, California, Wyoming, Nebraska and Colorado. The presentations covered topics such as: the historical background of the Holocaust; the Church & the Holocaust; biblical Holocausts; the Righteous Gentiles; redemption for 2nd generation Holocaust survivors; theological perspectives on the Holocaust; a video presentation on Sir Nicholas Winton who saved 669 Czechoslovakian children; and the personal testimony of a child Holocaust survivor. The presenters came from Israel (Dr. Susanna Kokkonen), Chicago (Dr. Erwin Lutzer), Charlotte NC (Dr. Barry Leventhal), and Denver (Rabbi Chaim Urbach, Dr. Bill Klein and Mr. Tom Graumann). The conference was a tremendous success!
Below is audio of the presentations from the conference.
Audio/Resources of Presentations and Films:
Dr. Erwin Lutzer – “The Church and the Holocaust” - What was the role of the church in Hitler’s Germany? The church has often come under scathing criticism for either siding with the Holocaust, or being silent when confronted with the reality of Hitler’s purges. This message/seminar is intended to give a balanced picture of the churches’ involvement, both negative and positive with a view to addressing the larger question of what the role of the church should be in a an evil society, where following Christ exacts a heavy price. In the end we must ask whether we would have fared better under similar circumstances.
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Dr. Susanna Kokkonen – “The Road to the Holocaust: Taking the Steps from Hatred to Murder” - The Holocaust did not start where it ended. A whole process of dehumanization preceded the genocide starting from simple anti-Semitic attitudes and actions. A political process leading to a totalitarian system initially within the German context later involved much of Europe including governments but also regular citizens. In many cases, pre-existing anti-Semitism made the later developments of violence and genocide possible. The questions we need to address concern the developments that preceded the Holocaust; what reactions do we see in the society, as Nazi power grows and what do we learn from this. Finally, we need to consider how the study of this process is relevant today.
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Dr. Bill Klein - “ ‘Holocausts’ and Theodicy: Some Reflections from the Gospels” - This study considers five incidents of “holocausts” against Jews (and in one case includes non-Jews) recorded in the Gospel of Luke (with references to some parallels in other gospels). Starting with the “slaughter of the innocents,” this study seeks answers to such questions as: Is there any apparent cause for the holocaust? Did the victims ever “deserve” their suffering? Is there any discernible meaning or purpose in the suffering? What is God’s role, or does God’s will play any part, in the incident? The study finds that holocausts are not the last word; God interjects a strategy of hope and restoration for all of sin’s victims.
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Dr. Susanna Kokkonen - “The Righteous among the Nations: Moral Choices under Tyranny and Death” - The role of the onlookers at the time of the Holocaust was crucial. Within the triangle of perpetrators, victims and silent bystanders, only the silent bystanders could make a difference. This is if they chose to leave the silent position and become rescuers. Under the Nazi regime few courageous souls made the choice to take grave risks and change the course of history for one person or a group of people. Each of the Righteous acted in a different way and each story is unique. Through personal stories of several different rescuers acting in varied circumstances in different countries we learn how the choice was made; what motivated the rescuer and who were the people they chose to help. The stories clearly show that choice is always a possibility even under tyranny and death.
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Dr. Barry Leventhal – “God's Hidden Hand in the Midst of Hitler's Burning Ovens” - The theology of the Holocaust remains a painful subject for all serious thinking people: Where was God during the Holocaust? Is it possible to see His hidden hand (His providence) at work during the Holocaust? If so, how? Some of the best answers to this dilemma come from both the Bible and from the Holocaust survivors themselves.
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Rabbi Chaim Urbach – “Redemption for the Wounds of the Next Generation: Children of Holocaust Survivors”- My father, who passed away last year, was caught up in the horrific vortex of the Holocaust. I grew up with the Holocaust deeply embedded in my psyche. Why write a paper on the impact of the Holocaust on the 2nd generation, knowing that it would be gut wrenching, inducing me to dive deeply into national, family and personal pain? The need is infinitely greater than airing my personal story. There are many Messianic Jews who are children of survivors. Yet the Messianic Jewish Movement has been largely silent on the struggles involved in the lives of the 2nd and 3rd generations of survivors. Much work is being done in the Jewish community in this area. However, while the answers provided may be helpful, they do not go to the heart of the matter. That can only be done as our Redeemer is invited to enter into those dark and broken places and bring healing and restoration. The Holocaust is a potent and horrific model for other human catastrophes which cross ethnic boundaries. In our country, there are 1000’s of soldiers and their families who suffered and experienced PTSD because of various wars, most recently the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is my hope that this message of hope and redemption will ripple outward from us to others, Jews and Gentiles, who need to experience Yeshua’s redemption.
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Eagles over Auschwitz - http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/pressroom/pressreleases/pr_details.asp?cid=541
The Power of Good: Nicholas Winton - A gripping documentary about the courage and determination of a young English stockbroker who saved the lives of 669 children. Between March 13 and August 2, 1939, Nicholas Winton organized 8 transports to take children from Prague to new homes in Great Britain, and kept quiet about it until his wife discovered a scrapbook documenting his unique mission in 1988. Winton was a successful 29-year-old stockbroker in London who "had an intuition" about the fate of the Jews when he visited Prague in 1939. He quietly but decisively got down to the business of saving lives. We learn how only two countries, Sweden and Britain, answered his call to harbor the young refugees; how documents had to be forged and how once foster parents signed for the children on delivery, that was the last he saw of them.
Bios of Presenters:
Dr. Erwin Lutzer – Senior Pastor of the Moody Church in Chicago and esteemed theologian. Author of Hitler’s Cross (1998), When A Nation Forgets God: 7 Lessons We Must Learn From Nazi Germany (2010), One Minute After You Die, Is God on America’s Side?: The Surprising Answer and How It Affects our Future (2008), Oprah, Miracles and the New Earth: A Critique (2008), Who Are You To Judge? (2003), Getting to No: How To Break a Stubborn Habit (2007), Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible (2007), The Doctrines That Divide: A Fresh Look at the Historic Doctrines That Separate Christians (1998), The Doctrines That Divide: A Fresh Look at the Historic Doctrines That Separate Christians (1998), 10 Lies About God: And the Truths That Shatter Deception (2009), 10 Lies About God: And the Truths That Shatter Deception (2009), and many more.
Dr. Suzanna Kokkonen - Originaly from Finland, Suzanna Kokkonen has her Ph.D. in Holocaust studies from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She gives lecturers in Hebrew as well as English, and of course her native Finnish. She is an outspoken advocate who was involved in the Christian Caucus in Brussels at the European Union headquarters for some years before taking over the Christian desk at Yad vaShem. Her dissertation was about the Jewish refugees in Italy between 1945 - 1951 and her MA thesis dealt with British policy in Palestine during the Second World War with a special emphasis on illegal immigration.
Dr. Barry Leventhal – Th.M. (Christian Education) Dallas Theological Seminary, 1972 Master’s thesis project: “The Establishment of A Christian Family Life Center”, Ph.D. (Systematic Theology) Dallas Theological Seminary, 1982, Doctoral Dissertation: “Theological Perspectives on the Holocaust”. Has contributed to several books, including: “The Holocaust and Jewish Identity,” in Jewish Identity and Faith in Jesus, ed. Kai Kjaer-Hansen (Jerusalem: Caspari Center, 1996), 137-48, “The Masada Suicides: The Making and Breaking of a Cultural Icon,” in Suicide, A Christian Response: Critical Considerations for Choosing Life, ed. Timothy J. Demy and Gary P. Stewart (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1998), 269-83, and “Why I Believe Jesus Is the Promised Messiah,” in Why I Am a Christian, rev ed., ed. Norman L. Geisler and Paul K. Hoffman (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2001, 2006), 221-38.
Rabbi Chaim Urbach is currently the leader of Congregation Yeshuat Tsion, in Denver, Colorado. He received an MA in Biblical Studies with New Testament concentration from Denver Seminary in 1991. Rabbi Urbach was one of the founding elders of congregation Ro'eh Yisrael in Denver, CO. He has served as officer of several Messianic Jewish organizations and has taught extensively in Messianic and Evangelical congregational settings.
Dr. Bill Klein - Dr. William Klein joined the faculty of Denver Seminary in 1978. He is professor of New Testament and chairs the division of biblical studies. He also served as associate academic dean from 1994 until 2001. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society, Society of Biblical Literature, Institute for Biblical Research, and Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical Research. Dr. Klein earned a Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, an M.Div. from Denver Seminary, and a B.S. from Wheaton College. He served Calvary Baptist Church in California as associate pastor, was an elder in two local churches in Denver, and is now part of an urban church plant: Ecclesia-Denver. Dr. Klein has written articles for biblical dictionaries and encyclopedias, and has published chapters or essays in several books and Festschrifts. He has published articles in Decision, Small Group Letter, and MoodyMagazine. Other articles and reviews have appeared in such journals as New Testament Studies, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Westminster Theological Journal, Themelios, Trinity Journal, Ashland Theological Journal, Religious Studies Review, Scottish Journal of Theology, and Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin. He has written The New Chosen People: A Corporate View of Election and The Book of Ephesians: An Annotated Bibliography. He edited and was the major contributor to An Introduction to Biblical Interpretation and has consulted on several Bible versions, serving as chief exegetical consultant for the New Testament portion of The Message. He is the author of "Ephesians" in the revised edition of the Expositor's Bible Commentary; Become What You Are: Spiritual Formation According to the Sermon on the Mount; the notes on "Ephesians" and "Romans" in the Apologetics Study Bible; and the Handbook for Personal Bible Study.