|Book review: Battling with Nazi Demons by Werner Oder|
|Monday, 25 June 2012 11:48|
Werner Oder has a unique story to tell in this part autobiography, part historical reflection. As the son of an Austrian Nazi, the experience of forgiveness that Oder - now a senior pastor of Tuckton Christian Centre - unpacks is an uplifting one, yet such is the wide ranging and disjointed flow of his narrative the reader struggles to take away any clear message for use in one's own journey.
The book begins with a documentation of the rise of Hitler's National Socialism in Austria. Within this national picture, Oder traces the path his father, Wilhelm Oder, took to becoming a chief instructor of the Sipo-SD school, Rabka, Poland from 1942-1943. Under his commands, several thousand Austrian Jews were murdered as anti-Semitism gripped the nation.
Having established this ancestral context, Oder recounts the story of his own life. The visitations of demons and dysfunctional family dynamics that plagued Oder's childhood result in the author describing his family as being under a Nazi curse, as he applies a literal interpretation of scripture concerning God's wrath towards those who would persecute His people.
Regardless of whether one agrees with Oder's theology, the power of his story telling is reminiscent of Nicki Cruz's Run Baby Run, and one is struck by the reality of Christ in Oder's life as he overcomes his demons.
The book concludes with Oder unpacking in brief the dangers of replacement theology and sharing his experience of Christ's blessings of forgiveness and love: "By His Spirit He changed my heart so I could have power to change my world. He broke the bondage of the past to give me a wonderful destiny."
Although containing some wonderful sequences, Oder's story lacks clarity of expression. The book's foreword by David Pawson implores the reader not to be "put off by the broad canvas" painted in the early chapters, yet having finished the short work in less than a week I struggle to recall any practical lessons to take away from Oder's story.
The way in which he uses his conversion experience as a lens by which to view the modern dangers of the Western church is thought provoking, but the breadth of his subject matter blunts the point Oder is trying to make. Battling with Nazi Demons is certainly worth reading if you have an interest in theological reactions to WWII, but it is ill equipped to help you overcome battles of your own.
|Last Updated on Monday, 25 June 2012 13:54|
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