Volume. XXII, No. 29
Sunday, 13 January 2008

From the Pastors Heart: Christian Heroes During Wars

Times of troubles are times of opportunities.  Spiritually speaking, when we are facing troubles, we are turning to God.  Troubles offer opportunities for spiritual renewal.  When we think of troubles both physically and spiritually, wars may come on to the top of our list.  In any given war situation, life and death are nonfictions any more.  There are lots of innocent civilians’ lives lost.  Families are broken up and suffer the loss of their loved ones.  Cruelty and bitterness of human soul are fuming out from its sinfulness.  At the same time, there are incredible stories about bravery and courage.  Today, I’d like to give a few stories about heroic people who have demonstrated their faith during wars.  The stories of these men are written by Don Stephens in his book, War and Grace (Evangel Press, 2005).


How many of you recognize “Q”?  It is a code name for the clever maker of ingenious tricks and devices for agent number “007.”  A series of action films were based on novels written by Ian Fleming between 1945 and 1964.  Fleming was a Personal Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence during World War II.  He had access to a man who was working for the Ministry of Supply.  This particular man who had developed all kinds of gadgets in the “007” series in the films was based on real person, Charles Fraser-Smith.  Nothing was known about him till 1977 when he was quizzed about his wartime activities.  When he told a publisher about his stories, they were printed in the book, The Secret War of Charles Fraser-Smith in 1981.  Its subtitle is The ‘Q’ Gadget Wizard of World War II.  His unique and creative work has saved lots of lives from battlefields, prison camps, and spying activities during the WWII.  He abhorred wars.  He said, “only fools and barbarians glorify war.”  He was not only a man who had plunged himself into the murky world of tricks and deception but also a man of faith in God.  Every small decision was the result of prayer.  His personal relationship with God governed all his actions.  He was baptized at Cholmeley Hall, an Open Brethren church in Highgate when he was seventeen.  He even taught regularly in young people’s Bible classes.  He did his missionary work passionately in Morocco.  He supported himself by farming and trading.  Here is a quote from the book: “In Paris, he met Admiral Dalencourt, who influenced him in several ways.  One thing Charles never forgot was being given the admiral’s motto: ‘Sans Dieu – rien’ (‘Without God – nothing,’ or ‘Without God all is nothing’).  This was explained in part of a long manuscript Charles sent to the writer of this book: ‘There is no true meaning in life without God.  The universe is incomprehensible and man a purposeless accident without a Creator.  We must seek to be made God-centred.  I soon added to the motto “Sans Bible – rien.’  The Bible is the only authoritative guide in life . . . .  My second addition to the Admiral’s motto is ‘Sans Christ – rien.’”  He died in November 1992, when he was 88 years old.  At his funeral, a few words he had written before were read out: “I always think of death not as a sunset, an ending, but as a sunrise, a beginning . . . death for the true follower of Christ, is entrance to real life.  This starts at the ‘death of the cross’ . . .  it is the greatest event in life, the climax beginning of true and perfect living.  We can say with Paul, ‘For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain.’” 


Our next hero is Bastian Johan Ader whose nickname was “Dominie.”  He was an evangelical minister of the Dutch Reformed Church.  He was also a key figure in the Dutch resistance movement to the Nazi occupation.  One of the Jewish escapees from Nazi concentration camps by his help was Johanna-Ruth Dobschiner who lost her family by the cruel hands of Nazis but found the Lord Jesus during the war time, especially while she was hidden by Pastor Bastian Johan Ader and his family.  He was betrayed by someone for money, and he was arrested in Haarlem, taken to a Gestapo prison in Amsterdam, tortured, and shot to death.  He did not betray a single name despite tortures.  Later Johanna-Ruth Dobschiner said, “He died to secure my life in this world.  Christ died to secure it in the next.  Life here and life eternal by the shedding of blood.”  The gravestone for him just gives his name and two dates: 20-12-09 and 20-11-44.  We ought to thank the Lord for such people who are brave enough to risk their lives in order to deliver innocent lives from their miseries.  At the same time, it must be a good reminder that we may need to look after the families whose fathers and mothers have given their lives for the love of Christ. 


Paul Schnieder was a German soldier during the First World War and recipient of the Iron Cross.  Then, he was only eighteen years old.  By the end when the war was ended, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant.  When Germany was defeated in 1918, Paul Schneider wanted to become a pastor like his father, Gustav-Adolph, who was a pastor in the German Evangelishe Reformierte Kirche, a church that is Presbyterian in organization and belief.  German theologies in his days were swept over by the presence of liberalism.  The seminarians were taught that the Bible has lots of errors and is not trustworthy.  However, by the grace and mercies of God, despite his seminary trainings, he rejected the positive view of human nature.  He came to conclude that the reformers like Luther and Calvin were right.  Man is a sinner in need of redemption.  He believed that the Bible is the Word of God.  Gretel, the young lady who was to become his wife, recorded: “Eternal life entered his soul and he was filled with great joy.”  He was ordained in 1925 and became a pastor of his father’s church.  His first sermon was based on 21 Timothy 3:14-17.  He was Reformed in his faith and his ministry was Bible-based.  On 30 January 1933 Hitler come to power, and life in Germany began to change.  From an early stage of Nazi rule, Paul Schneider spoke out against wrong policies and actions.  He would never use the greeting, “Heil Hitler,” quite reasonably considering it a form of idolatry.  He put some criticisms of Nazism on his church bulletin board, and his church leaders did not support his stand.  He had to find a new pastorate. 


During the winter of 1935-36, the Nazis rebuked Paul Schneider on twelve occasions.  He resisted the pressure that was put on Christian youth movements to integrate into the Hitler Youth.  He loathed the hate propaganda against the Jews.  His church had an organization that was a mission to German Jews.  The Nazis hated him.  His church school teachers joined the Nazi party and used their positions to indoctrinate the children.  As a pastor and father he intervened, and Nazi police searched his house and took all his messages.  On 31 May 1937, when the Gestapo agents arrested him, he fought against the law of the Gestapo that demanded him to be banished to a different place.  Returning to his pulpit and church meant death.  His wife Gretel reminded him of the danger of returning to his pulpit.  Paul quoted from Judges 5:18, “Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field.”  Gretel said in despair, “‘Paul, don’t you think about the children and me?  Paul, don’t you love us?’  Paul’s eyes filled with tears.  With powerful arms he hugged Gretel to chest.  ‘My darling,’ he sobbed, ‘I have never loved you or the children more than on that night of decision.  I wept for you.’”  He returned to his home church and preached on Psalm 145:15-21.  It became his last pulpit message on earth.  He was arrested and held for some time in the Koblenz prison.  Gretel visited and asked him what had done all day.  He said, “I am a pupil in the school of God’s Word.”  Paul Schneider and Martin Niemoller (a leader of the Confessing Church in Germany) were put into a prison.  They were Hitler’s personal prisoners, meaning that he had personally signed the order to silence them.  On 25 November 1937, Paul Schneider was taken to Buchenwald Concentration Camp near Weimar.  Gretel and his children said a final farewell.  If he had signed a document relinquishing care of his churches and accepting banishment, he could go.  He worked sixteen-hour shifts but maintained his Christian testimony.  He fasted every Friday and gave his meager food ration to others.  On 20 April was Hitler’s forty-ninth birthday.  The prisoners had to honour him and venerate the Nazi swastika flag.  He refused.  He was beaten and taken into a solitary confinement.  When he saw other prisoners lined up for roll calls, he preached to them through the bars of his cell.  In January 1939, two prisoners were caught after they failed to escape.  They were hanged before the assembled inmates.  He called out through his cell window: “In the name of Jesus Christ, I witness against the murder of these prisoners.”  He got another beating.  “A guard said to him, ‘If we released you, what would you do?’ . . . Paul replied, ‘I would go to Weimer and the first kerbstone would become a pulpit from which I would denounce the brutal crimes committed here.”  Of course, he got more beatings.  Every time he preached from his bunker, his tortures increased, but his faith in the Lord grew.  Finally, on 18 July 1939, the camp doctor injected a massive overdose of strophanthin into his starved and bleeding body.  And He died.  He was only 35 years old.  2 Corinthians 5:20, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

Lovingly, Your Pastor






More Lively Hope




Sixth Cambodian Missions 2008 commences on Wednesday 15 Jan. There are 45 members in the team.

Choir practice starts next Lord’s Day.

Please note: No Fellowship Lunch after Worship Service on 27 Jan. Only coffee, tea & cookies.



Family Bible Camp at Victor Harbor: 24-26 April 2008. Speaker: Bro David Weng.




Journey mercies: Bro Raymond Ang (S’pore), Sisters Marion Chan & Dr Ann-Gie Ho (KL), Mrs Maggie Wong (S’pore), Sisters Shu Jun Liew (S’pore), Charlotte Lin, Iris Surman (Adl) & Mary Ting (Sabah); & all others who arrived safely.

Church activities: BSAG Pot-Bless Dinner; , Joy & Maranatha; Senior Citizens, Wed, & YAF.



Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Chua, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Edward Paauwe, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam; Grandpa Ki; Sisters Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Sylvia White & Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Auntie Oei & others in affliction.

Cambodia Missions - God’s guidance & protection for all team members & a fruitful ministry; Rev S Choi (Phnom Penh) & Rev D Koo (Sihanoukville).

Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam & family.

India/Pakistan Missions - Pastors & Believers.

Kuching Missions - Teo family - encouragement.

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim (KL).

Journey Mercies - Pastor Ki, Elder Michael D Lee, Brothers Joshua & David Chung, Daniel Ki, Jonathan Liao & Richard Tee; Sisters Joyce Gong & Michelle Lee (Cambodia); Dn Tony & Sis Sally Law (Adl); & others travelling to Cambodia.

Jobs - Bro Daniel Volvricht; Sis Juanita Tong.

The Lord’s provision for a new church van and floor coverings for our Sunday School rooms.

Sister B-P Churches in Australia.

Persecution: Believers suffering in Islamic   countries.



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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041