Is This a Bonhoeffer Moment?
Once upon a time as the darkness began to descend over Europe, a Lutheran pastor and theologian chose to speak out, repeatedly against what he saw coming. He did so from the perspective of one leaving behind a religious faith that was compromised by being part of the authority, trading their prophetic role for secular power.
While we do not have an established church in America, we do have a large number of churches described variously as “Evangelical” and “Fundamentalist” that have connected themselves to the current administration in Washington in a very similar manner. For secular power, wealth & racial “purity” they have set themselves up as arbiters of a faith that would not be recognized by the incarnation of God that they claim to worship - or even more laughably - to follow.
The real question, then, is what lesson does Pastor Bonhoeffer and his confessing church have for us today? Are will willing to pay the cost of discipleship? The cover article in this months “Sojourners” magazine asks this question bluntly:
ARE WE IN a “Bonhoeffer moment” today?
It is common to wonder what we would have done if we lived in history’s most challenging times. Christians often find moral guidance in the laboratory of history—which is to say that we learn from historical figures and communities who came through periods of ethical challenge better than others. Christians who wish to discern faithfulness to Christ often look back to learn how others were able to determine faithful discipleship when their contemporaries could not.
With this in mind, Dietrich Bonhoeffer may help us out today.
Bonhoeffer was a German theologian and pastor who resisted his government when he recognized, very early and very clearly, the dangers of Hitler’s regime. His first warning about the dangers of a leader who makes an idol of himself came in a radio address delivered in February 1933, just two days after Hitler took office.
Despite an abiding Christ-centered peace ethic, a desire to study nonviolent political resistance with Gandhi, and extensive writing about loving one’s enemies, Bonhoeffer eventually became a member of a conspiracy that was responsible for a coup attempt against Hitler. Twelve years after he became one of the first voices in Germany to offer public opposition to the Nazis, Bonhoeffer was executed by them, as a traitor.
The rest of this essay is located here:
A little biographical information from Wiki:
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (German: [ˈdiːtʁɪç ˈboːnhœfɐ]; 4 February 1906 – 9 April 1945) was a German pastor, theologian, spy, anti-Nazi dissident, and key founding member of the Confessing Church. His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world have become widely influential, and his book The Cost of Discipleship has become a modern classic.
Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer was known for his staunch resistance to Nazi dictatorship, including vocal opposition to Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and imprisoned at Tegel prison for one and a half years. Later he was transferred to a Nazi concentration camp. After being accused of being associated with the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, he was quickly tried, along with other accused plotters, including former members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office), and then executed by hanging on 9 April 1945 as the Nazi regime was collapsing.