When we hear the testimonies of former drug addicts, thieves or adulterers who have come to faith, we’re encouraged. And we should be. But how would we react if a former terrorist or mass murdering dictator professed faith in Christ? How about a serial killer, a sex offender or a sociopath?
This is from a Focus on the Family article about a Lutheran pastor from Missouri who was asked to serve as chaplain after WWII to the 15 Nazis on trial who said they were Protestant, chiefly because he spoke German. He began with trepidation and some revulsion, since he’d been to Dachau, and two of his sons had been severely wounded in the war. But through his ministry Hitler’s foreign minister came to faith, before his hanging; among others.
You can read the whole article, about how well documented Henry Gerecke’s ministry is, and how he didn’t just accept any confession of faith. Here’s one more quote I’ve picked out:
As Chad Bird wrote in his blog about Gerecke at Nuremberg, “The scandal of Christianity is not that these men went to heaven; it is that God loved them so much that He was willing to die to get them there. Had it been a human decision, many would have thrown these men, guilty of such atrocities, into the flames of hell.”
The degree to which we feel uncomfortable about meeting men like Ribbentrop in heaven is the degree to which we have yet to fully grasp the depth of our own sin as well as the power and beauty of the Cross of Christ.