Author archives: Benjamin Scott

Dare to Risk: Take the Dinner Conversations Public

by Benjamin Scott

July 28, 2009

In Ronald Reagans 1989 farewell speech he inspired the youth in America to dream of change and pursue active leadership for the good of America. All great change in America begins at the dinner table, Reagan told America. And he was right.

Yet as a college student, I am aware of how many of my contemporaries across this nation see little reason to devout themselves in the world of politics. Millions of college students around the country would rather stay in their comfortable safe havens of youthful apathy then dare to engage the complex political world surrounding them.

Many young American intellectuals are scared. Scared to engage in a fearless way in the world of politics, for the sake of the future of our country. A temptation for college students is to keep the dinner conversations, merely dinner conversations. To keep the transformative ideas and dreams of what America could become, only in term papers and research assignments. College students are tempted to keep the questions they raise in classrooms about their stake in Americas future only to themselves, their peers, and their professors.

Yet if the transformative fortieth president, The Great Communicator Ronald Reagan was still with us today, he would demand of us to take our dreams for Americas future and to cast ourselves into the world of politics. Reagan himself lived this out when he dared to take the conversations he had around his dinner table concerning ending the evil empire of the Soviet Union, and pursued the presidency fighting for the freedom of those in political bondage.

Aspiring conservatives ought to learn from current President Barack Obama who wisely saw former president Reagan as one of the greatest transformative presidents of modern time. Reagan still matters. His message still matters. His legacy still matters. And most importantly his optimistic spirit, his grand yet specific dreams for his country still matter. Leading conservatives have urged Republicans nation wide to forget the dreams Ronald Reagan spoke of and move on into the future with a spirit of fear and compromise. This is unwise and will lead to political death.

Aspiring leaders of our country can only change America in a more responsible way when they understand that America needs their ideas to be expressed not only in the safe comfortable world surrounding the kitchen table, but in the scary, complex world of local, state, and national politics.

If young leaders with a vision for the future of America would take the risk to express their ideas publicly and throw themselves into the world of politics, America would once again be lead into her future as Winthrops city on a hill.

Paul Schneider: Martyr of Buchenwald

by Benjamin Scott

July 21, 2009

Seventy years ago on this month Paul Schneider, Germanys first Christian martyr under Nazi rule, died heroically in the concentration camp of Buchenwald. Seventy years ago from this month, Schneiders fight against the evils and wickedness of his age ended in glorious victory as he proclaimed the message of the gospel to those killing him. It is appropriate to remember such a brave man, and to be inspired by his bold stand against Nazi Germany.

Paul Schneider was born in a little town of Pherdsfeld, in northern Bavaria. His father was a Christian pastor and a loyal German citizen. Paul had great respect for his father and as a youth knew he wanted to go into the pastorate.

Paul fought for Kaiser Wilhelm II in World War I and, due to the battle wounds he received, earned the famous Iron Cross award from the military.

After the war, he attended seminary in answering the call to go into the ministry. As a young pastor, his life and the life of his country changed dramatically in 1933. That year, Adolph Hitler became the dictator of Germany.

From the beginning of the Nazi regime, Hitler targeted the German churches as a means of spreading his message and his own gospel. Unlike his fellow pastors, however, Paul Schneider refused to pollute the Gospel of Christ with the doctrines of the Nazi Party.

Schneider asked this question in a sermon to his congregation in 1934:

Where are those Christian consciences who judge righteously, who take the standard for their politics neither from National Socialism nor from socialism, but rather from the Gospel?

Despite immense pressure to stay quiet and not stand up for the truth of the gospel, Schneider became the lone vocal advocate of the Gospel and truths of Jesus Christ in his community.

He allowed only true Christians to partake of the Lords Supper and fought against incorporating the Nazi political agenda in his church.

After continuing Nazi persecution, Paul Schneider was arrested and sent to the Nazi concentration camp in Buchenwald, Germany.

Despite torture, beatings, humiliation, hunger, and terrible suffering, Schneiders message did not change.

He preached the Gospel from his confinement cell, and warned the Nazi guards and officers of Gods coming judgment on sin.

I must call the evil - of which I am a witness-as it really is and to make clear to the SS that they are not escaping the judgment of God, Schneider said of his protest against the Nazi guards. I am God’s messenger in this prison.

Finally Paul Schneider met his martyrdom on July 18, 1939. Schneider fell into the grip of Ding Schuler, a Nazi doctor, known as the experimental doctor. Schneider was murdered by lethal injection and his faithful wife Margarete brought his body back home for burial.

In the presence of Nazi guards, this prayer was prayed over Paul Schneiders grave:

May God grant that the witness of your Shepherd our brother remain with you and continue to impact on future generations and that it remain vital and bear fruit in the entire Christian Church.

May the life and death of Paul Schneider inspire followers of Christ here and in Europe to stand up for the timeless truths of Jesus, living out their callings in modern society.

Benjamin Scott is a summer intern at Family Research Council. He is a student at Covenant College. Benjamin Scott and his missionary family lived in Germany for eight years.