I'll Take My Chances
Army chaplain Henry Gerecke preached the gospel to high-ranking Nazi officials at the Nuremberg trials. Hermann Goring, Hitler’s appointed successor and head of the Luftwaffe heard the gospel on numerous occasions. Hermann Goring asked Henry about the Lord’s Supper. He told Goring that the Lord’s Supper was to be taken only by those who had repented of their sin and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. Goring said “My daughter believes in your Saviour but I’ll take my chances!” That same night Hermann Goring took his own life and passed out of time into eternity. We are all just a heartbeat away from eternity and must either receive or reject God’s beloved Son. High gloss gospel leaflet attractively designed for evangelical outreach.
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Wording of Tract:
THE SHADOW OF DEATH On 15th October 1946, US army Chaplain Henry Gerecke was conducting his final visit to the condemned high-ranking Nazi officials following the conclusion of the Nuremberg trials. Eleven of the men who had led Germany into war were waiting to die. None of them knew that shortly before midnight they would receive that fateful knock on their cell door informing them that their date with eternity had arrived. It was to these men Henry Gerecke had ministered during the course of the trial, seeking to point them to their need of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Some he believed had heeded the Bible’s message and were resting in the knowledge that, despite the enormity of their crimes, they had ‘peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’1
Hermann Goring, Hitler’s appointed successor and head of the Luftwaffe, was different. During his imprisonment he had attended every service the noble Chaplain had conducted; over seventy in all, his voice booming loudest of all as the hymns were sung. Now the once powerful bombastic and arrogant Goring, who had tried and failed to bomb Britain into surrender, was facing eternity.
THE SUPPER DENIED As Henry Gerecke paid his final visit at 8:30pm, Goring had a question for him, “Pastor, how do you celebrate the Lord’s Supper? I just thought I would ask in case there was anything in this Christianity of yours!” The Chaplain explained from the Bible that the Lord’s Supper was to be taken only by those who had genuinely repented of their sin and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. Goring angrily countered, “No German pastor would have dared to refuse me.”
Calmly Gerecke replied “Because you have denied the Christ that instituted the Supper and do not have faith in Him, neither have accepted Him as your Saviour, you have no right to partake of it.” Goring turning away concluded the exchange by saying “My daughter believes in your Saviour but I’ll take my chances!”
THE SORRY DEMISE At 10:45pm that same night Gerecke was summoned from the guardroom with the message, “Goring’s having a fit!” In a last tragic act the once proud and untouchable Hermann Goring had bitten into a vial of potassium cyanide and was in his death throws. As his life ebbed away the Chaplain whispered verses of Scripture into the dying man’s ears. Goring had cheated the hangman but he could not cheat his appointment with God, ‘the judge of all the earth.’2 He had indeed foolishly ‘taken his chance!’
THE SIMPLE DELIVERANCE We are all just a heartbeat away from eternity. What if death came calling on you today, are you ready? Is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God who died on the cross ‘for your sins, was buried and rose again,’3 your Saviour? Before we die each of us must face the most important question that was ever asked, ‘What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?’4
Those Nazi officials were wicked men. They had been convicted of the most serious of crimes: crimes against humanity. Few stoop to such depths of depravity, but the stark reality is that not one of us has lived a perfect life and even just one unforgiven sin will keep us out of Heaven.
Just like Hermann Goring we all have the vital decision to make with regards our soul’s salvation, whether to ‘believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved’5 or reject Him ‘and be damned’6 in Hell for ever. Will you like the once great Nazi leader just ‘take your chances,’ or will you express ‘repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ?’7 It’s a decision you cannot afford to get wrong because your eternal destiny depends on it!
Bible References: 1) Romans Ch5 v1. 2) Genesis Ch18 v25. 3) 1st Corinthians Ch15 v3 & 4. 4) Matthew Ch27 v22. 5) Acts Ch16 v31. 6) Mark Ch16 v16. 7) Acts Ch20 v21.
I'll Take My Chances - ITM - Robert Plant