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Eberhard Bethge writes in his book, Costly Grace: An Illustrated Introduction to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, that in the final weeks of World War II, Adolf Hitler went through a rampage of executing those involved in the conspiracy to overthrow him. However, certain prisoners like Dietrich Bonhoeffer were kept alive so that…
…the true extent of their conspiracy… could be discovered.
…At any rate Bonhoeffer was now counted important enough to be relocated to the group saved from execution for further interrogation. He was therefore given a place in a special convoy taking prominent prisoners to the concentration camp at Buchenwaid on 7 February 1945, after several daytime air raids had caused severe damage in Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse (130-131).
…to everyone who prayed for me during my D.Min. defense this past Saturday at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. I am grateful for you.
This morning (Saturday) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, I sat down with Dr. Haddon Robinson and Dr. Sid Buzzell to defend my thesis on the impact of Dietrich Bonhoeffer on twenty-first century preaching and preachers.
I am thankful to the Lord to pass it.
I am also thankful to everyone who offered feedback of some kind to the bonhoefferblog. Your contribution helped me to complete my thesis.
I plan to continue to add posts to this blog. It has become part of my life and routine.
I just finished re-reading my Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) Thesis about the impact of Dietrich Bonhoeffer on twenty-first century preaching and preachers. It me took a few hours to do. It was fun to remind myself why I picked such a topic. Bonhoeffer has much to say to us preachers. I was especially moved on his commitment to Jesus and his love for people in the worst of times.
He lived well and he died well because of the grace of God in his life. That grace was available because Bonhoeffer stayed close to Jesus through prayer, worship and scripture meditation.
Thank you to everyone who responded through feedback of some kind.
This blog site is part my thesis. My D.Min. is through Gordon-Conwell Thelogical Seminary in South Hamilton, MA.
As 1945 progressed, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was in a sense kept alive because the authorities knew that he was involved somehow in the conpiracy against Hitler, but they just didn’t know the extent. Thus, his life was extended as the interrogations continue
The Nazis allowed Bonhoeffer to live for a full twelve years. He faced death by hanging only after it was ascertained that he had been involved in the assassination attempt on Hitler’s life. As a well known Christian teacher and clergyman, Bonhoeffer spoke and wrote in opposition to Nazism without serious punishment; he was allowed to have the privilege of foreign travel, and was even caught facilitating the escape of Jews to Switzerland. Yes, for helping Jews he was indeed imprisoned — but not executed.
Could the Christian Cross have proven to be more powerful than the Sword of the State? If all of the German denominations of the Christian Church with their national as well as international power and influence, had followed Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s example, what would have been the result? What if all of the world’s Christian churches had united in such opposition?
I grabbed this from Darryl Dash’s blog. I did think of the way Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived his life. Every moment was for God’s glory.
Posted: 18 Mar 2009 07:27 PM PDT
Jack Miller to a young missionary couple:
The Imitation of Christ
In the second century A.D. the Christian martyr Polycarp stood before the Roman Proconsul. Recant Christ, the Proconsul demanded—or face death by fire. Polycarp’s response: “What are you waiting for? Bring on what you will.”
Polycarp demonstrated that nothing, not even his own life, meant more to him than his steadfast devotion to Christ. His death was a heroic one; by standing firm in his faith, he demonstrated that the perfect expression of heroism is a courageous imitation of Christ. This is a lesson we need to relearn because these days, strength of conviction alone is often confused with heroism.
Thus, even outlandish figures like Dennis Rodman are praised for their courage, even begrudgingly, by those who don’t like them. Why? Because they insist on being true to themselves. Well, that kind of personal courage may be laudable, I suppose, but is it heroic? No way!
Consider the man who prefers to die rather than give up his pocket money to a thief. He surrenders something that is truly precious for something ultimately insignificant. The soldier who fights for an unjust cause may have heroic-like convictions, but they are given in the service of what is ignoble, even wicked. That’s courage, not heroism.
THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS
The steadfast courage of the great saints of the Church gives us wonderful examples of what Dick Keyes identifies as genuine heroism. In his book True Heroism, Dick Keyes writes that, while courage is not itself heroism, it’s an indispensable ingredient of heroism.
This becomes especially clear when we consider Jesus Himself as a heroic example. Jesus resisted the temptation to go His own way. He persevered in His ministry knowing it would ultimately lead to a painful and humiliating death. He courageously bore the scorn and threats of His opponents. He endured a rigged trial and made no attempt to escape His fate.
As Jesus demonstrated, the true hero not only demonstrates courageous devotion, but also demonstrates devotion to what is true and praiseworthy.
As Christians, our faith may call us to be heroic in the truest sense. So we need to provide our kids with examples of people who exhibit true heroism. We need to tell them about people like the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was martyred by Hitler. When the war broke out, Bonhoeffer was safe in the U.S., but he chose to return to Germany to be with his people. He stood against a German Church that was appeasing the Nazis and he defied Hitler. In the end, Bonhoeffer’s heroism cost him his life.
In America it’s unlikely we’ll be numbered among the thousands of Christians worldwide who are losing their lives for their faith, even today. But even here, the Christian life is not without cost, and we, too, must be courageous. Persecution and suffering are not to be sought after, but, when they come, they provide us with an opportunity to experience God’s grace in even greater fullness.
We need to recall for our neighbors the great examples from our own church history of men and women living truly courageous lives in noble pursuits. In an age like ours when there are few heroes, why not read to your family about those Christian saints—ancient and modern—who teach us what true heroism really is.
Valkyrie’s Forgotten Man: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The new film Valkyrie claims to tell the story of the ‘July 20’ plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Prior to its release I spent some time watching trailers for the film on YouTube. Among the promotional clips was a featurette describing the conspirators in the plot.
One name was missing: Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
This piece aims to tell his role in the Valkyrie story.
Dietrich Bohhoeffer was born into an intellectual, aristocratic German family in 1906. His father was a noted professor of neurology and psychiatry; his mother also held a college degree. Never especially devout, the Bonhoeffer family was shocked when Dietrich decided to study theology. He enrolled in Tubingen University and soon proved to be a prodigy, earning his doctorate at the age of 21.
Too young to be ordained,in 1930 Bonhoeffer was awarded a teaching fellowship at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. During his stay, an African American classmate, Frank Fisher, introduced him to the Abyssinian Baptist Church. Bonhoeffer began attending services and teaching Sunday school there, drawn to the fervent Evangelical preaching:
“…here one can truly speak and hear about sin and grace and the love of God…the black Christ is preached with rapturous passion and vision.”
That passion and vision influenced Bonhoeffer’s own writing and preaching. Phrases coined by Adam Clayton Powell, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, can be found in his work. Bonhoeffer also collected recordings of Black Gospel music, which would remain a lifelong inspiration for him.
Perhaps most important, he witnessed the brutality of American segregation and racism.
Bonhoeffer set sail for Germany in 1931, armed with youth and faith and an array of new ideas.
Hitler’s rise to power had just begun.
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