Troops are crowded onto a landing craft on D-Day, when Allied troops invaded France, Normandy, June 6, 1944. Location: near Normandy. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Friday, June 7, 2024

It’s Friday, June 7, 2024. 

I’m Albert Mohler, and this is The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.

Part I

June 6, 1944, One of the Most Morally Significant Days in World History: God’s Providence, D-Day, and the Eventual Fall of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich

Yesterday, June 6th, 2024 marked the 80th anniversary of D-Day and D-Day will go down in history as one of the most momentous events, not only in the history of warfare, but in the history of the defense of freedom, because that’s exactly what D-Day was. The numbers still are absolutely staggering. About 150,000 allied troops hit the beaches, most famously five beaches in Normandy. And this became the final assault from the West on Nazi Germany, and the Germans were very much in place. They were behind pill boxes. They were in all kinds of fortifications. They were a part of what Adolf Hitler and the Nazi high command considered the absolutely necessary line there separating the Nazi empire that they had created by subjugating nations. Most importantly, in this case, we’re talking about France, conquering much of Europe, and of course with ambitions to build the demonic Third Reich.

But as you look at this historic day, we understand that even as the 80th anniversary was observed yesterday, American political leaders, Allied European political leaders, even German political leaders, showed up for the occasion because everyone today still recognizes, particularly in North America and in Europe, but frankly throughout most of the world, recognizes that history sometimes turns on a hinge. And June 6th, 1944 was one of those hinges. Interestingly, we are talking about 80 years ago. So this becomes very poignant because even as the 80th anniversary of D-Day was observed, there were men there who had been among the fighting forces 80 years ago. And due to the circumstances and the passage of time, the average age of those surviving veterans is right at 100 years old. Now, even as the major media reported that this was likely the last gathering of D-Day veterans for such an occasion, I can document the fact that that has been said for the last three or four of these occasions with the big milestones coming every five years.

And that is because in this generation that included millions of men and many women as well in uniform, the reality is that many of them have lived very long lives, and some of them continue to live. Some were able to walk on their own, although the vast majority arrived by flight in wheelchairs. Joe Biden, the President of the United States was there. Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, was there. Other political leaders. And as I said, Germany itself was represented. So just imagine the historical moment because everyone there recognized the valor of that day and the absolute necessity in moral terms of the allied invasion and the success of that invasion. So as we look back and even through the myths of history are looking at 80 years ago, it is very clear that we were then looking at good and evil meeting in a great war and colliding in a great war.

And the allied effort was for the protection of liberty and the regaining of Europe. And it was also the allied effort to restrain and put to an end, as I said, the demonic ambitions of Nazi Germany. And that’s a strong word. It’s not too strong a word in this moral context. Now, even looking back eight decades, the logistics of D-Day continue to stagger the imagination. It required the development of a whole new category of landing craft. It required a way of transporting all of those troops and doing so in a way that did not alert the Nazis until the troops were virtually ready to invade, occupied France, to land on those beaches. And as you look at it, you realize the logistics included not only the logistics of men and materiel, but also the logistics of truth and strategy. What do I mean by the logistics of truth?

Well, D-Day was concealed behind a giant, and we now know successful effort at deceiving the Nazi high command. The Nazi high command was smart enough to know that there was going to be an invasion by the Allies somewhere in terms of that coast on the Mediterranean, likely in France, but the most likely place it was expected was the easiest place for the Allies to invade, something like the Port of Calais. That is not what the Allies planned. Under the Supreme Allied Commander there in the European Theater, Dwight David Eisenhower, the Americans and Allies, although the Americans were in the lead, were successful in arguing for the timing of D-Day, and also for the logistical strategy, and especially the idea of landing in Normandy.

Remember Normandy very highly defended, but the reason Normandy turned out to be so smart, even though the Cliffs, for example, were so daunting, and the fact that these allied personnel would be exposed for so long to Nazi gunfire, the genius of it is that once the Allies were able to gain a significant portion of that land, and then to gain momentum, and then to have reinforcements, they would be able to gather momentum as they pressed against the Nazi regime. And that’s exactly what did happen. More than 6,000 ships and landing craft were involved. And before the dawn on June 6th, 1944, more than 11,000 planes had flown as part of the effort, and that included bombers that were trying to break up the defenses.

But it also included fighters, many other airplanes. And again, we’re talking about 6,000 ships. Now, just think of the logistics, first of all, of having 6,000 ships of organizing 6,000 ships, keeping 6,000 ships from running into one another, not to mention under the cover of clouds and darkness, basically getting 6,000 ships all critical to this effort right up against Nazi-occupied Europe, with the opportunity for troops to land. Now, of course, there was massive loss of life. 9,000 men died in the early hours of D-Day. It was not even because of course the Nazi defenses were not evenly distributed, but it was also one of the most successful military invasions in all of human history. It was certainly the largest. Nothing like it had ever come before. Nothing like it has ever come since.

Furthermore, just about every amphibious landing that has been undertaken since D-Day looks back to D-Day, to June 6th, 1944, in order to learn the lessons of how this can be done and what mistakes must not be made. But the lessons about D-Day are not merely historical. They’re not just political, they’re not just military. They’re also deeply moral. We are reminded of the fact that in World War II, and it’s not just one empire at which the United States was eventually at war, it was two. Both of them had militaristic imperial ambitions, and both of them were guilty of genocide and absolute mass murder. But in this case, with D-Day, we’re talking about the European Theater and we’re talking about the enemy of the Axis powers, and in particular, Nazi Germany under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler.

Now, one of the most interesting questions from the American side is why we were in this war. We are a long way from Nazi, Germany. And history will record that there were two reasons that the United States became so deeply involved in World War II and eventually assumed leadership in both theaters for World War II. Number one, by the point of the 1930s and ’40s in the 20th century, it was clear that the United States could not avoid the struggle that came with being the great power in the world. The one power that could eventually determine what would happen in both of these military theaters.

The one power that one way or another was going to be dragged into this war. It was a reminder in this first reason that the United States went into this war because the United States also is part of a community of nations, and that community of nations is not the entire world. It’s not the entire globe. It was the nations that follow the United States in terms of models of constitutional government. It was most importantly Great Britain. The relationship between Great Britain and the United States, the relationship between Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister and Franklin Roosevelt, the American president. That was the glue that eventually held together the coalition that was triumphant, both in the Pacific and in the Atlantic, the European theaters.

So you look at that and you say, “Okay. That’s part of it.” The United States, however, did not enter the war solely because of the need to defend, and that meant the absolute need to defend, the outposts of liberty and freedom in Europe, most importantly, Great Britain. But also, the United States had to recognize as the American president did, and eventually a majority in both houses of Congress did, that there was no way that the war undertaken with the absolute aims of someone like Adolf Hitler that the damage of that war, the losses of that war could be confined to the nations that were the neighbors of Nazi Germany.

Now remember, the second reason the United States came into the war was what happened on December 7th, 1941, and you’re immediately saying, yes, but that was the surprise Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor. That wasn’t Germany, that was Japan. Yes. But very quickly, not only had Japan attacked the United States such that the United States was at war with Imperial Japan, but Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany declared war on the United States. So the United States found itself at war with Nazi Germany, whether or not it intended to be at that particular date or not.

The eventual engagement of war between the United States and Nazi Germany, that was going to be absolutely certain. The question was the timing. It was not the United States that chose that timing. It was Adolf Hitler hoping that America had been so significantly wounded by the Japanese effort at Pearl Harbor, and would be distracted by war against Imperial Japan, that he would be freed to more or less go after American interests. And that included shipping interests. It included commercial interests, it included land interests. It also included the safety of American citizens. Adolf Hitler thought that he was seizing an opportunity.

However, just remember that D-Day represents another significant strategic truth that shaped the 20th century, that has ramifications even today. And that was, that Franklin Roosevelt and the American government and the American military command came to the conclusion that priority in the fight against these two Imperial powers, both of which basically were now at war at the United States, the priority had to be given to winning the battle in Europe, even before winning the battle in the Pacific against Japan. The early allied efforts against Nazi Germany were in military terms generally quite disappointing. And the other thing we have to note is that the defeat of Nazi Germany involved not only the liberty-loving nations, which became the Allies in the West, but also the co-belligerency of the Soviet Union, a communist regime under the totalitarian rule of Joseph Stalin.

But the Soviets who had been attacked by Hitler, and invaded by Hitler pressed back, and they had massive manpower and there was a coordinated effort and the largest losses when it came to the losses of human lies proportionately and just in terms of raw numbers fell upon Russian troops, those Soviet troops. But at this crucial point, you had Joseph Stalin bringing massive pressure against the allied leadership, particularly the United States and Britain and wanting the US and Britain and other Allies to invade Nazi Germany hitting at the heart of the Nazi Empire there in the continent of Europe, across the English Channel as soon as possible.

And this is where the Allies did not move as quickly as Stalin and others had expected. As a matter of fact, the Americans did not move as quickly in this as the British had expected, and that is because one of the things that was learned by the Americans is you shouldn’t do this until it will work. There was the American understanding from the American military command that if there were to be such an invasion and it were to be stopped by the Nazis, this war could go on for many, many years with untold incalculable losses.

But looking back in terms of the historical perspective, it reminds us that in the providence of God as history unfolds, there are some days that stand out in terms of their importance as you look at the span of human history. And in that respect, D-Day is not the most important date in history, but it is one of the most important dates in the history of Western civilization and in the ordering of the world as we know it. And it reminds us of the morality of this situation, the moral scales. It reminds us of how the world would be different if Adolf Hitler had had his way. What would’ve happened if D-Day had been a disaster rather than a costly and courageous victory.

We are also reminded of the fact that it took some time as those, troops, and military leaders, and political leaders as they were watching the events unfold. And of course, in a day long before the information we know now, they were having to wait for reports. And you can imagine the terror in that weight on both sides of the Atlantic. The reality is that it took some days in order to determine whether or not this invasion was successful or not. But before leaving this issue, as we think about the providence of God working out in history, as we think about the moral issues at stake, I want to go to a statement that was made by the former President of the United States at that time, Dwight David Eisenhower, he was speaking in the year 1964, so he left office in January of 1961, and remember he was Supreme Allied Commander, but General Eisenhower who became President Eisenhower.

Well, after he left the White House, he returned to Normandy with Walter Cronkite of CBS News and the then former president and former Supreme Commander of Allied Forces, speaking of the troops there in 1964, you can do the math, was the 20th anniversary, President Eisenhower said, “These men came here, British and our other Allies, Americans, to storm these beaches for one purpose only not to gain anything for ourselves, not to fulfill any ambitions that America had for conquest, but just to preserve freedom.” And that is absolutely undeniably true. The United States and our Allies were invading France for the sake of France. The United States and our Allies did not conquer France in order to create an empire in our own name, but rather to defeat the evil imperial ambitions of Adolf Hitler.

There is no way that we can speak of, nor in this life even to know all the events of heroism that were involved on that day. But it is really important to note that as I was looking at the reports just in terms of this week, there was one man who was speaking of this event. He was young enough in terms of the survivors of D-Day, that he was able to walk himself rather than to arrive at the event in a wheelchair. He arrived on D-Day as a 15-year-old boy who had lied about his age, in order to enter the armed forces. Now, imagine being there under any circumstance. Imagine being there as a 15-year-old determined to fight for liberty. Imagine being there yesterday on the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

And as so many of those veterans said, even as they recognized some of them, at least some that they had known during their time there in D-Day and beyond, most of them were thinking about those who were there by the untold thousands on June 6th, 1944, but are no longer with us to be there 80 years later for the memorial services held yesterday. I spent a little longer on this than I had anticipated today simply because I think the moral weight, the worldview weight of an occasion like this 80th anniversary, does press itself upon us, especially when we recognize that it is increasingly true every time one of these observances is held, that those who were there in 1944 and are alive now, are a tiny fraction of those there back 80 years ago. And if indeed there are some who survive until five years hence, it’s going to be an even smaller number who are over 100 years old.

So on the one hand, we say we need to think in these terms as Christians because we need to understand the debt we owe. Very real human beings, most of whom are now dead, but at least some of whom are still alive. Some of them were there at Normandy yesterday. But we also need to recognize the moral reality of good and evil because the clash between good and evil didn’t end on June 6th, 1944, not even close. And we need to understand how we are to see with moral clarity today, the fights to which we are called. We also need to understand and be thankful for the providence of God in history because just imagine how the world would be different if indeed Nazi Germany had been triumphant rather than the Allies.

In human terms, as some have noted, so many of these events are, at least to our eyes, close-run things. This is one of those days for which we should all be particularly thankful. 

Part II

What is Your Perspective on Children in the Worship Service? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters from Listeners of The Briefing

Now, we’re going to turn to questions, not as much time today as I would like for questions, but we’ll get right to it and get to as many as we can. One question comes back pretty much in a cycle. It’s a recurring question.

A listener asks, what is your perspective on children in the church worship service? And my response can be really, really quick, and that is, I believe we need as many children in the worship services for as much time as possible, Lord’s day by Lord’s day. I think that is a part of children being raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And I think by the way, it’s just theologically, congregationally healthy, for everyone regardless of age. The older need to see joy and seeing all those young parents bringing in all of those children. And we need children growing up. As I get to see children growing up who know the hymns, even before they can understand the words, and who feel as much at home in Christian worship as they do in their own homes, I think that is a precious advantage for children. I think it’s a part of what God uses even as a means of grace in the lives of children.

And I think it’s also true that when you have children in the worship service like that, even if they’re children and you would think, “Well, they’re not receiving, they’re not absorbing, they’re not taking away as much as adults or even older children.” Well, that’s undoubtedly true, but you know what? You cannot see what they’re taking away from that service. And I think what may be invisible is likely a lot more powerful in spiritual terms than what is visible.

Part III

Is It Correct to Refer to the Southern Baptist Convention as a Denomination? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters from Listeners of The Briefing

Next, a listener writes in and with the Southern Baptist Convention as an annual meeting looming before us next week. Scott asks, is it correct to refer to the Southern Baptist Convention as a denomination? And he says, often the media refers to the SBC as the second-largest denomination, and he says, “I heard you refer to it this way as well, when the actual convention itself is only a two-day meeting. Would it not be better,” he asked, “to say something like churches who are affiliated with the SBC instead of referring to us as a denomination?”

Well, there’s a good question here, and I’m going to say, Scott, there are two ways you look at the question of denomination, and one of them is simply what the word means, which means to denominate. And in that sense, I think calling the Southern Baptist Convention a denomination is exactly right because it denominates Southern Baptist Churches, who are cooperating to such an extent, they send messengers to an annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. But you raise a very legitimate question. In traditional terms as you think of religious denominations, it is true the SBC is rather non-denominational. As a denomination, we do not have any central control. We do not have any hierarchy where there’s a national organization over the local church. So the local churches are just still absolutely independent in that sense and sovereign except for the decisions they’ve made to cooperate with other southern Baptist congregations and common endeavor.

But there’s another reason why I just have to use the term, and I’ll often refer to the SBC as a fellowship of churches. But when I’m speaking in public, the word denomination is the only, it’s the singular word that communicates to people. That’s why when the media says we’re the second-largest denomination in the United States. Well, it’s true by what they generally mean when they say that. There just is not the media opportunity to come back and say, “The Southern Baptist Convention is not best described as a denomination.” I’ll just speak from experience. I don’t think it’s wrong to use the word because it does denominate. I just want to make very clear that when we talk about the Southern Baptist Convention, we need to describe how we denominate in ways that are distinctive to our Baptist polity.

Part IV

Should a Christian Man Be Against Dating Women in His Church? — Dr. Mohler Responds to Letters from Listeners of The Briefing

As time is running out. I get some really interesting questions, and here’s one. Didn’t expect this one. A listener writes in to say, there’s a young man in my congregation who says he has a rule not to date any young women in our church. He’s afraid if the dating relationship ended poorly, he’d have to leave the church. He sticks to dating apps rather than considering any of the single women in our church. He’s a traditional conservative man. So I feel like the rule is in conflict with his general attitude. Is this a silly dating rule for a Christian man? Well, I just want to answer the last part first. Yes, it is a silly dating rule for a Christian man. I cannot believe that someone would think that somehow a dating app is superior to the experience of being a part of a faithful biblical congregation when it would come to something as important as a young man finding a wife.

Now, admittedly, I think at least a part of what’s going on here is the fact that our society has made it so difficult for many young men to take the initiative in this situation. Now, I’ll put some blame on the young men as well, but the reality is, the fact that a relationship doesn’t work out doesn’t have to be seen as catastrophic. So again, when the question is asked by a friend, is this a silly dating rule for a Christian man? I just want to say emphatically, yes. I’m not saying it with anger or an edge. I think I can understand a situation in which this can get confused. I would not just say to this young man and to his friend, but to other young Christian men in the local church, I’m not saying you just look at the local church and say, “Well, that’s my dating pool.”

I am saying that I think I would begin right there in this congregation where you’re a part of common life and in covenant with other faithful Christians, and see if the Lord would lead you in a young woman in that into the bonds of Christian marriage. I have to close, but I want to ask an interesting question. This press is on me as I think about this question. You have to wonder if some churches are sending the wrong signals when it comes to some of these issues. I think it’s a reality check for pastors and for churches.

Obviously, we don’t think of our churches first and foremost, as places where people find a mate in order to get married, but on the other hand, we should see it as the best place for that to happen. I think it’s really important that Christian churches, congregations, pastors, that all of us be really careful. We’re not sending a signal that scares our own members from marrying eventually another of our members. Once again, I’m thankful for the candor of someone out of genuine Christian concern asking this question.

Meanwhile, let me ask, are you driving to Indianapolis for next week’s meeting at the Southern Baptist Convention? I’d like to invite you, if you are to visit Southern Seminary in Boyce College here in Louisville Kentucky on your way, or as you travel home. Visit our world-class bookstore, you’re going to love it. Meet our faculty, see our newly renovated library, enjoy a drink in our coffee shop, and just come and enjoy being on this beautiful campus and being thankful for what the Lord has done here. We want to thank Southern Baptist for your generous support, for your prayers, and for your faithfulness to this institution.

For details, and we’ll also send you a free drink coupon, visit That’s simply I hope to see you here. 

Thanks for listening to The Briefing. 

For more information, go to my website at You can follow me on Twitter or X by going to For information on the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to For information on Boyce College, just go to

I’ll meet you again on Monday for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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