Letter to the American Church

The movie "Letter to the American Church" is a ringing call to Christian pastors and bishops to speak up before the window closes, as it did in Germany in the 1930s.

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There was a thin window of opportunity in 1930s Germany to oppose the Nazi regime before it acquired absolute power—and opposition became a death sentence. If Christian pastors had stood as a body united in the Gospel, and countered the Nazi propaganda in time, how many millions of lives might have been preserved? 

We have the same narrow window today, before the sash hits the sill. We have already seen pastors and pro-lifers jailed for their resistance to the regime, so we know that the day is far advanced. How much more time do we have? 

Based on a 2022 book by Eric Metaxas, the one-hour movie Letter to the American Church is a ringing call to Christian pastors and bishops to speak up before it’s too late. The movie is already being boosted by influencers like Bishop Strickland and Jack Posobiec (who have a combined following of over 2.5 million on Twitter/X alone). 

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In the early 1930s, German clergy still had a choice; they were not yet at the point that dissent would end in transport to a concentration camp or outright execution. There was a window of opportunity to speak up strongly and stuff the genie back into the bottle before it marched iron-boot-shod over all.

The window closed extremely quickly. Just days after Hitler was installed as Chancellor of Germany, Dietrich Bonhoeffer broadcasted an argument against Christians regarding the Führer as messiah, a movement strongly afoot in 1933. The radio signal was cut in midstream. 

A month after Bonhoeffer was switched off, a fire was set in the Reichstag, blamed on dissidents and used to suspend civil liberties. It was conveniently timed to rid Hitler of pesky opponents. The parallel with our own country is obvious. When those who lust after power need a reason to throw their opponents under the steamroller, they are not above instigating one. 

A month after that, the Enabling Act was passed, consolidating power in one man: Adolf Hitler.

That same month, Dachau, the infamous concentration camp north of Munich, was built. It was already filled with 27,000 dissidents before the year 1933 ended. As soon as Hitler had absolute power, he also had the means to silence critics. That’s how fast the window closed in Germany; it was a matter of months. 

Even so, the Barmen Declaration was circulated in 1934, attempting to assert the independence of the church from the state. Around one-third of German Protestant pastors had signed the document, then about half deserted the cause under persecution. So, 80 percent of the entire Protestant leadership in Germany remained silent in the face of one of the most egregious evils in world history. 

Into that depressing silence came the Reich Church, the creation of the National Socialists to absorb the thousands of German Protestant churches and supplant Christian preaching with approved Nazi philosophy. A few courageous pastors like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemöller didn’t have nearly the influence to stop the steal. It is Metaxas’ contention that only a united Christian church could have stalled the Nazi machine. 

And the church failed.

It doesn’t look likely that our government, as bad as it is, will take legal control of our churches as Germany did (knock on wood), especially considering the proliferation of independent Protestant sects. But the rise of cultural Marxism, which has all but swept Christianity off the field of play, has established virtual control nearly as complete.

Marxism tramples over the prone bodies of family, religion, and property. Footage from the BLM riots, homosexual parades, men in women’s sports, and drag queen story hours shows how far advanced the program is. And the church is silent.

When Roe v. Wade was finally overturned, one of the greatest events of this century so far, there was silence from the clergy. There was an equally blank reaction to the experimental, gene-altering brew that was subtly force-injected into two-thirds of the American population. Inexplicable, complicit silence. When Roe v. Wade was finally overturned, one of the greatest events of this century so far, there was silence from the clergy.Tweet This

According to the film, pastors have a fiduciary duty toward their flock. Like a trustee, a pastor owes duties of care, loyalty, good faith, confidentiality, prudence, and disclosure. Can anyone reasonably argue that pastors, as a whole, are mindful of these duties, even though a millstone hangs backstage?

Metaxas states that only one-third of Christian pastors in the U.S. hold a biblical worldview. If the criterion is wholehearted allegiance to Jesus Christ and His Gospel, I’d have to agree; I would even conclude that he’s being a bit optimistic. Do you need more than one hand to count the homilies you’ve heard about carrying your cross, sacrifice, chastity, the virtues, Christian marriage, sin, or judgment? And how many total homilies have you heard in your lifetime? The resulting fraction is infinitesimal.

We need a united front of Christian pastors if we are to have any hope of reversing our losses. It’s not enough for one Bonhoeffer or one Strickland to speak up. The striking parallels with Germany of the 1930s warn us that the dominos can fall lightning fast. This is the hour of the American church, and the hour will not drag on for long. 

This movie may wake up and hearten those pastors with at least a residue of good will—and unite Christians behind them. We still have a sliver of time.

The trailer is here. The movie can be rented by nonsubscribers for $9.99 by creating a free account and then clicking on the rental button. Subscribers can log in and pay $4.99.

Parishes can also bring the movie in-house by requesting a screening here

For the specifically Catholic response to Hitler and the National Socialists, see The Pope’s Cabinet, The Lion of Münster, and The Prison Meditations of Father Delp, among many others.


  • Sheryl Collmer

    Sheryl Collmer is an independent consultant for several non-profit organizations. She holds a Master’s in Theological Studies from the University of Dallas, as well as an MBA. From her home in the diocese of Tyler, Texas, she studies homesteading, history, and the currents in the Church.

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