Response to Mahler’s “The European Peoples and Christianity”

23 Feb

Sent to the author one year ago.

I am sure others could do better. His words are in italics below.

Given that this post is still online and I have heard of no retractions, should we not assume that this remains the author’s thinking — and that subsequent statements should be understood in light of these words?


“There is a reason that Christianity was able to convert the European Continent. It was not, as some would claim, simply a matter of the sword. Christianity was able to supplant the Old Faiths as it was their fulfillment, and it is the Truth. The European Peoples have always sought after truth, and it was this that they found in and it was for this reason that they were drawn to Christianity. Our old gods were our explanation for the world given what we had then seen of the Light. When the truth of Christ reached our shores, we embraced it as our desire for truth saw it for what it was: God finally revealing Himself to His true children…”

First of all, again, drop the “our”. The EU aside, these are distinct peoples now, different ethnic groups. I lived in Slovakia for two years and I can tell you, they do not see themselves as one or the same, even if blood connections in most families are certainly closer to their surrounding nations than others, quite obviously. Second, no one is denying that there is not light that has been given to the nations, but the light given in Psalm 19, unless it involves some “Gospel message” in the stars that can be translated and that we are no longer aware of, is saying nothing more than Romans 1, which leaves us condemned. Per Acts 17, men seek God but do not even seek Him rightly, with appropriate fear, love, and trust. They seek the power of God for motives that ultimately fall short of His glory. That they stumble upon Him as they find themselves in places where He dwells (particularly among His people) is ultimately no credit to them. As Walther said, there is no doubt that in this or that locale there was a rumor of salvation, a veiled intelligible message, that had been passed down (like the butchered flood accounts around the world), but men need the assurance, nay certainty, of the truth of the Gospel as revealed in Jesus Christ. Even Luther is very interesting here when he speaks of the Old Testament God and the somewhat veiled Gospel message they had (see LW 13 on Psalm 90, definitely worth the read). So when you say “Our old gods were our explanation for the world given what we had then seen of the Light” how is this actually not horrendous blasphemy and syncretism of the worst kind? And again, going along with this, as I said to you before, “To say that culture is downstream from genetics ultimately does not work because the highest aspect of culture is the cult, or worship. Our worship of the true God, which hence creates good culture and formation, does not derive from our biology…”

I believe… that God presented Himself to us in two revelations: the second, and arguably the lesser of the two revelations, is the Bible; the first, and arguably God’s greatest and most glorious work, is Nature…” 

Saying creation, by the way, is better. : ) Great for antagonizing your secular allies who need the Gospel more than our politics. And the greatest thing about the creation, of course, is the incarnation – because the Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world. And the creation doesn’t reveal Christ on its own, apart from the testimony of those created and called by God to proclaim the whole counsel of God and pass it on in the Holy Scriptures. 

“Only the Europeans, of all the peoples of this Earth, truly understood the first revelation. Without access to the second revelation, we interpreted the first as best we could. Intuitively grasping that we are made in the image of God, we created gods in our image. Our mythology is all to the glory of God. Our innate and inextricable reverence for the natural world is an expression of our unique intuition that it is the natural world, more than anything else, that reveals to us the face of God.” 

I’d submit that that mythology is not to the glory of God but is utter and damnable idolatry. And to say “Our innate and inextricable reverence for the natural world is an expression of our unique intuition that it is the natural world, more than anything else, that reveals to us the face of God” – what? In heaven there will be no tears, pain, suffering and death and right now in the natural world that is all around us. If Jesus Christ, as the God-Man, is seen as the “pinnacle of the  natural world” according to his human nature I’ll agree with you, but otherwise, how is this not a completely false statement? Again, it appears to me that you are operating as if there were some point in human history that God could have been understood, and, it seems, worshipped rightly (though not completely), without words from God, a message from God, to create faith. Again, Psalm 19 might give us the “words of the stars” but that is all law and no promise, and so right worship could never have taken place. Communication, explanation, revelation, was necessary (Chemnitz is all over this by the way). As it stands, you, in effect, appear to be intent on making the Europeans morally superior when the focus, insofar as we are Christians, should be this: all of us are in blind and groping darkness without a word from God revealing Christ breaking through… That is true salvation.  

“To gaze upon the vastness of the sea, to lose oneself in the depths of a forest, to stand in awe of the stars on the night of the winter solstice, or to stand before a tree that was ancient when Christ walked the Earth is to come closer to God than any scholar who locks himself away from the natural world to drown himself in words. God’s Word reveals to us His plan, but it is Nature that reveals to us His truth. Our ancestors were not misguided in their reverence for and even their worship of Nature, for the God of the Bible is Nature’s God and Nature is His first and greatest work.”

We need the Word, the Logos. Again, when you say that “Our ancestors were not misguided in their reverence for and even their worship of Nature, for the God of the Bible is Nature’s God and Nature is His first and greatest work….” how is to not embrace paganism? Yes, the natural world should promote worship of the Divine Mind responsible (in both senses, as originator and sustainer) of it all, and in whom we live and move and have our being… Man is created to worship and indeed will worship the creation because it is so impressive – at least after they look up from their smartphones. Nevertheless, this is ultimately what we call idolatry, per Romans 1. Man has turned away from God, turned away from the messages passed down from his ancestors, or distorted the messages (again the damaged flood accounts)… And, as the O.T. makes quite clear, there is darkness, “Europe” not excluded (nor prophesied about, I note)…

“When Christianity arrived upon European soil, it was only the second of God’s revelations, little more than words on a page and stories relayed by men.”

The power of God for salvation for all who believe. Comes in weakness to those who “are not”.

“It was European thought, European philosophy that gave flesh to the bones. Even as we raised great cathedrals into the sky, we also constructed the theological underpinnings of the faith.”

How is Scripture really not enough here? Neither Plato or Aristotle give it strength, though they might, in certain areas, track with it. Scripture is ultimately God’s Word, not man’s, and it is its own interpreter and, first and foremost, provides its own context as well…. We can certainly be thankful for the good, true, and beautiful things that we have in our Western heritage, coming from the very beginnings to the civilized ancient world to the Middle Ages until now, but we also aspire to keep it in its proper place… 

“Our greatest minds have taken the ancient roots of our Culture and our People and shown that they are not at odds with the God of the Bible, but rather that they were the groundwork necessary for our ancestors acceptance of the Faith when it finally found them.”

There are indeed good, true, and beautiful things in all cultures around the world, and we should recognize that there are certain things that have indeed been achieved in some places, among some peoples, and not others. There are good and bad habits in all cultures and they are not all equal, to be sure. There are certainly places I would prefer to live, as the Law of God is at least externally adhered to in some places better than others. 

Nevertheless, God levels all of them to humble us and to prepare the way of the Lord! For what do we have that we have not received? 

“Though born in Judea, Christianity did not truly have a home until it reached Europe. As Christians, we are God’s chosen people.”

You seem to almost make “Europeans” and “Christians” one in the same here. That only confirms liberal and leftist stereotypes that really are ultimately unhelpful, not only in a political sense for Christians, but as regards the proclamation of the Gospel. 

“We are faced today, as our ancestors were repeatedly in the past, with an invasion of our homelands by uncivilized, barbarian hordes.”

Clearly, those who would give no thought to limiting immigration are creating massive issues, whether to intentionally destroy Christianity or not. Immigration should always be limited, and assimilation and enculturation and integration are not evil but good things. 

“Our gods did not leave us, He simply revealed Himself.”

Those gods were indeed false and evil! Does not Yahweh puts up with glory for no one but Himself?! 

“Christianity is not a veneer laid over a pagan structure; rather, Christianity is the beating heart of our Culture and it is the soul of our Volk.”

No, it is not. But you are, at the very least, in danger of making this the case. And, of course, as much as Luther was a nationalist in a sense, he also often complained about the ongoing paganism and unbelief of his people. 

“We may no longer call Him Odin or seek intercession from Wotan, but our God is as He has ever been and we are, as we have ever been, His true People.”

Seriously, I stop here to learn, knowing full well the history of missionaries and their debates over these matters: What evidence would you put forth that Odin should be connected with Yahweh – and Jesus? 

“We do not honor our ancestors or serve the interests of our People when we deny truths we have known for centuries.”

Agree – maybe we can build on that. What am I clearly missing?  

“European thought forms the foundation of that Civilization, but it [also?] does so with Christianity.”

Again, a leveling must occur, even as that which is good, true, and beautiful can indeed be redeemed, I believe. Those customs, those traditions. 

“Just as a tree torn from its roots inevitably withers and dies, so, too, must the West perish without Christianity. Naturally, the reverse holds equally true: Without the West, Christianity will wither and die…”

I do not believe this. Luther’s rainstorm. I don’t want to lose it, but I do not believe this for a minute. 


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Posted by on February 23, 2023 in Uncategorized


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