The rise and fall of the Berlin Wall

Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall, which divided the city–and by extension Germany and Europe itself–between Communism and freedom.  You have simply got to read this account by the Lutheran journalist Uwe Siemon-Netto, who not only saw the wall built and torn down, but was himself with his family personally caught up in the division between East and West.  Most notable in his account is the role Christianity and specifically Lutheranism played in the tearing down of the wall and the fall of Communism.  Alas, though, he says, the Christian revival under Communist persecution has faded, as the former East Germany, now that it is free, has become godless to the core.  But read what he has to say:  Uwe Siemon-Netto’s Blog: And the wall fell down flat.

HT:  Jordan J. Ballor

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Jonathan

    We cheered the fall of the Berlin Wall, but now want the same thing built along the US/Mexico border.

  • Jonathan

    We cheered the fall of the Berlin Wall, but now want the same thing built along the US/Mexico border.

  • DonS

    Um, Jonathan, building a fence to help ensure that we know who is entering our country, and that they are not doing so illegally, is quite a bit removed from building a wall and guarding it with soldiers having orders to kill on sight, in order to keep your people imprisoned within the borders of your country.

  • DonS

    Um, Jonathan, building a fence to help ensure that we know who is entering our country, and that they are not doing so illegally, is quite a bit removed from building a wall and guarding it with soldiers having orders to kill on sight, in order to keep your people imprisoned within the borders of your country.

  • Jonathan

    Not really.
    The border fence divides families, damages the region’s ecology and wildlife, makes cross border migration, travel, and commerce much more difficult and costly, and can only be maintained with force. By your reasoning, the US should build a similar wall along the US Canadian border.

  • Jonathan

    Not really.
    The border fence divides families, damages the region’s ecology and wildlife, makes cross border migration, travel, and commerce much more difficult and costly, and can only be maintained with force. By your reasoning, the US should build a similar wall along the US Canadian border.

  • DonS

    Jonathan @ 3: Not really what? What, exactly, was false about my statement? And how, exactly, does a border fence correlate with a wall, staffed with armed guards, which has a primary purpose of keeping people from leaving the country on penalty of death? Let’s stay on topic here for a second — you’re the one who brought up the Berlin Wall.

  • DonS

    Jonathan @ 3: Not really what? What, exactly, was false about my statement? And how, exactly, does a border fence correlate with a wall, staffed with armed guards, which has a primary purpose of keeping people from leaving the country on penalty of death? Let’s stay on topic here for a second — you’re the one who brought up the Berlin Wall.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jonathan, I believe the issue rests on the purpose of the wall. In the case of the Berlin Wall, it was designed to keep the country’s citizens in, preventing them from leaving. In the case of the wall on the Mexican border, it is designed to keep non-citizens, out, preventing them from entering.

    We did not build the Mexican wall because we are a failed state whose last hope is coercing our citizens to prop up our failed ideological policies. We built it because Mexico is in danger of being a failed state.

    None of this comment should be construed as reflecting on my ideas about whether this wall is a good idea or not.

    And it has nothing to do with the import of the Berlin Wall.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jonathan, I believe the issue rests on the purpose of the wall. In the case of the Berlin Wall, it was designed to keep the country’s citizens in, preventing them from leaving. In the case of the wall on the Mexican border, it is designed to keep non-citizens, out, preventing them from entering.

    We did not build the Mexican wall because we are a failed state whose last hope is coercing our citizens to prop up our failed ideological policies. We built it because Mexico is in danger of being a failed state.

    None of this comment should be construed as reflecting on my ideas about whether this wall is a good idea or not.

    And it has nothing to do with the import of the Berlin Wall.

  • http://analogreigns.blogspot.com Ralph W. Davis

    I recently did graduate work in just the parts of Germany Seimon-Netto talks about, in fact, I first met the Dr. in the Lutherhaus courtyard in Wittenberg. He hits the nail on the head about the heartbreaking hardness and atheism (re)taken hold there. Ironically, Wittenberg itself, other than the tourists….is as secular and more, as anywhere in Germany. We really must pray HARD that the Lord of the Harvest will send workers to Germany!!!

  • http://analogreigns.blogspot.com Ralph W. Davis

    I recently did graduate work in just the parts of Germany Seimon-Netto talks about, in fact, I first met the Dr. in the Lutherhaus courtyard in Wittenberg. He hits the nail on the head about the heartbreaking hardness and atheism (re)taken hold there. Ironically, Wittenberg itself, other than the tourists….is as secular and more, as anywhere in Germany. We really must pray HARD that the Lord of the Harvest will send workers to Germany!!!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “The border fence divides families”

    Hey, they can go home.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “The border fence divides families”

    Hey, they can go home.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “We really must pray HARD that the Lord of the Harvest will send workers to Germany!!!”

    Good luck with that. Folks feel the need to proselytize those who are materially poor. Proselytizing the spiritually poor? Not so much. As I have listened and watched over the years a prominent goal seems to be to reach poor folks and teach them the model 20th century American prosperity. They then get jobs, their kids get educated and become secular humanists. Mission accomplished. It reminds me of Jesus asking whether it is harder to forgive sins than it is to cure lameness. Anyway, unconsciously we often worship our prosperity and loathe poverty more than sin.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “We really must pray HARD that the Lord of the Harvest will send workers to Germany!!!”

    Good luck with that. Folks feel the need to proselytize those who are materially poor. Proselytizing the spiritually poor? Not so much. As I have listened and watched over the years a prominent goal seems to be to reach poor folks and teach them the model 20th century American prosperity. They then get jobs, their kids get educated and become secular humanists. Mission accomplished. It reminds me of Jesus asking whether it is harder to forgive sins than it is to cure lameness. Anyway, unconsciously we often worship our prosperity and loathe poverty more than sin.

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