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The only thing that interested the dictator, and even fascinated him, about the Church was that the Catholic Church as an institution had survived for 19 centuries; only in this sense did it serve as a model for his “Thousand-Year Reich.”
by Alex Rankin
Landon Middle School, Topeka, Kansas
Junior Division Historical Paper, National History Day 2006 Competition
“Daring to do what is right, not what fancy may tell you,
|DIETRICH BONHOEFFER penned this poem during his last days, knowing that his death at the hands of the German SS was imminent. He awoke early on the morning of April 9, 1945, inside the walls of Flossenbürg concentration camp, well aware of the fate which awaited him. Guards marched to his cell and ordered him to remove his prison garb in one final attempt at humiliation.As SS officers mocked him on his walk to the gallows, Bonhoeffer remained committed to the convictions for which he was about to die. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hanged as a traitor to his country, but loyal to the beliefs he held sacred. An SS doctor who witnessed Bonhoeffer’s execution wrote, “I was most deeply moved by the way this loveable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer…. He climbed to the steps of the gallows, brave and composed…I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.”Bonhoeffer took a courageous stand against the madness of the German government, and paid the ultimate price for doing so—death.
What a sharp contrast in theologies!
The National Synod, which included all the German provincial churches, met at Wittenberg on 27 September and elected Ludwig Muller Reich Bishop by acclamation. Over Luther’s tomb in the castle church, the German Christian leader (Joachim) Hossenfelder extolled him: “I greet thee, my Reich Bishop!” (Franz) Hildebrand whispered to Bonhoeffer that now Luther “really would turn over in his grave.”
Friday's Child by Wystan Hugh Auden (1907-73) (In memory of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, martyred at Flossenburg, April 9th, 1945) He told us we were free to choose But, children as we were, we thought--- "Paternal Love will only use Force in the last resort On those too bumptious to repent." Accustomed to religious dread, It never crossed our minds He meant Exactly what He said. Perhaps He frowns, perhaps He grieves, But it seems idle to discuss If anger or compassion leaves The bigger bangs to us. What reverence is rightly paid To a Divinity so odd He lets the Adam whom He made Perform the Acts of God? It might be jolly if we felt Awe at this Universal Man (When kings were local, people knelt); Some try to, but who can? The self-observed observing Mind We meet when we observe at all Is not alarming or unkind But utterly banal. Though instruments at Its command Make wish and counterwish come true, It clearly cannot understand What It can clearly do. Since the analogies are rot Our senses based belief upon, We have no means of learning what Is really going on, And must put up with having learned All proofs or disproofs that we tender Of His existence are returned Unopened to the sender. Now, did He really break the seal And rise again? We dare not say; But conscious unbelievers feel Quite sure of Judgement Day. Meanwhile, a silence on the cross, As dead as we shall ever be, Speaks of some total gain or loss, And you and I are free To guess from the insulted face Just what Appearances He saves By suffering in a public place A death reserved for slaves.
Lutheran dogmatists Paul Althaus and Werner Elert from Erlangen…declared that the volkisch diversity of external church organization’ expressed ‘a necessary consequence of the the divisions of the peoples which are to be affirmed in terms of destiny as well as ethics’ and thus had to be taken into account ‘in admission to the ministry of the church’.
For the Church’s new task ‘of being a Volkskirche of the Germans’, in the present situation, ‘the occupation of its ministry by persons of Jewish origin generally would be a severe burden and a hindrance’. Therefore the Church must ‘require the withholding of its Jewish Christians from office’.
That with these words the two professors were, retrospectively, calling for Jesus, the Apostles and New Testament authors to be ‘withheld’ from the German Evangelical Church, does not seem to have entered their minds!
…the Confessing Church was built from the beginning on cooperation among many pastors and members of local churches. The members of the Emergency League were, first of all, to commit themselves anew to the Scriptures and Confessions; secondly, resist any violation of these; third, to give financial help to those affected by Nazi laws or by violence; and fourth, to reject the Aryan paragraph. In a very short time as many as 2000 pastors signed up to the commitments of the Emergency League. By the end of the year (1933) their number had grown to 6000, and was still to grow by a further thousand.
We are children of the light. Abortion is a work of darkness. The apostle Paul said, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).
Our aim, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus Christ, through the authority of his word, is to glorify God by making much of his image in the unborn, and his mercy in forgiving sinners.
We would like to give you a free eBook based on three sermons I preached on abortion. We hope it helps you speak out. Please feel free to download it, print it, copy it, and share it with as many people as you like.
Here’s a sample sentence:
God is calling passive, inactive Christians today to engage our minds and hearts and hands in exposing the barren works of darkness. To be the conscience of our culture. To be the light of the world. To live in the great reality of being loved by God and adopted by God and forgiven by Christ (yes—for all the abortions that dozens of you have had), and be made children of the light. I call you to walk as children of light.
Thanks for caring,