Skip to comments.Bonhoeffer, the little-heralded hero
Posted on 04/09/2013 7:55:59 AM PDT by TurboZamboni
For the past several years toward the end of the Lenten season, I have been reminded of the sad yet heroic life and times of the brave German theologian and scholar, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Although rarely discussed in popular culture, it was on April 8, 1945, that Bonhoeffer, the young, patriot pastor, led his last worship service one week after Easter at a church associated with the Flossenburg concentration camp in the isolated Bavaria town near the Czechoslovakian border.
So who exactly was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and what did he do nearly 70 years ago that he continues to be remembered as an exemplary proponent of the Christian faith?
(Excerpt) Read more at courierpress.com ...
I learned about Dietrich Bonhoeffer from Glenn Beck and Eric Mataxas.
He taught that we should not try to make the Bible “relevant” because its relevance is inherent.
This is also a good time to remember the Scholls and the White Rose. Like Boenhoeffer they give today’s germany the knowldge that its soul did not die in the Gotterdammerung
This quote sums up Pastor Bonhoeffer:
In his book Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Eric Metaxas quotes the camp doctor, H. Fischer-Hullstrung, who had met Bonhoeffer only the day before.
I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer kneeling on the floor praying most fervently to his God. I was deeply moved by the way this most lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the steps to the gallows, brave and composed. In the almost fifty years I have worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.
Two weeks later, Allied troops entered Flossenburg.
...., in 1933 when Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist regime came to power amid a conservative majority cabinet...
This is how ignorant modern society is of the 1930's. Nazi's were not conservative, they were committed European Socialist, but wanted to keep and maintain national boarders. Mussolini, the father of national socialism, was a communist until he was kicked out of the party for not opposing WWI- he believed in nationalism.
However, the author's own sentence is a contradiction... how can a Socialist party come to power with a conservative majority?
There should is no implication in my post about the merits of any assassinations whatsoever, but I do think that Christians today should look to Bonheoffer as one example of a man who did not sit back and hide behind the guise of, “Well, God appoints all governments so we should abide by it and not do anything.”
No. Bonheoffer did not abide by the evil government he saw and he took direct actions against it to subvert it and to destroy it. There were many Christians who fought in the Revolutionary war who did not abide by the specious doctrine that because God allows the set up of government that we should simply submit to it like sheep.
Moses was another example of a person who did not sheepishly submit to his government.
“I learned about Dietrich Bonhoeffer from Glenn Beck and Eric Mataxas.”
Our Sunday school teacher taught him years ago. A brave, conservative man of God.
I think the word games about National Socialism being a left of center party because it had the word Socialism in the title is not a winning argument for our side.
Now certainly it is not easy to map the German political spectrum of 1933 onto a the US body politic, indeed to do so in any sense is ludicrous, but Hitler’s hatred of the Communists and Socialists in Germany was absolute, and he specifically chose the title National Socialists in order to be misleading about his political agenda with the lower classes in Germany who were favorably disposed to the Socialist ideas. If the Socialists and Communiste were “Left”, then the Nazis were decidedly Right, and bonded themselves tightly with corporate and military interests, as was classic to the political Right in that time and place.
Regarding the drastic action they engaged in; they did not come to their decision easily. If I remember correctly, it was a painful struggle.
Classifying Bonhoeffer in today's terms as a 'liberal' or a 'conservative' (politically) does not fit the man or honor the humanity of the man. He saw the humanity in all equally be they Jewish, or Black.
His time spent in NY, where he regularly attended church in Harlem, the fact he sought out Black Gospel records and took them with him back to Germany, shows that the man is not easily categorized. He honored the Bible, he honored God and in his short life, he honored humanity.
You do remember correctly. His family including his brother-in-law, Donyani (sp?), were well connected at the highest levels of Pre-Hitler German bureaucracy, and maintained those connections through the war. Because of this they were privy to a lot of very inside information.
Yes. Great book.....insights into “religionless Christianity” even when he came to America and saw the “pastors” JD Rockefeller, jr.’s money bought and plastered all over Time magazines (to control the “direction” of “Christianity-—(to the far left—”social justice”.) ( in 1931).
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Courage to state the truth is the answer. Get your kids out of the indoctrination centers and throw out the TV and bring back 1st source books.
Bring back Classical education and the Bible so children can understand human nature and be “Wise” and understand where ideas originate——they will be able to Reason.
They were National Socialists, the same way that the Communists were International Socialists. There was very little difference between the two. Hitler even used the Bolshevik symbol - the Swastika.
The only theoretical difference was that Hitler wanted to control the means of production: whereas the Communists wanted to own the means of production.
Both Fascism and Communism were totalitarian oligarchies - indistinguishable to the people trapped under their jackboots.
They were natural allies ( for instance: cooperating on the division of Poland) - right up to the moment Hitler was stymied in the West and needed to get his hands on some more 'means of production' - and launched Operation Barbarossa.
Fighting the Left doesn't make you Right-wing. In many cases it just means you're fighting over the spoils or getting rid of a rival.
Was Stalin right-wing because he had Trotsky killed?
Was Hitler right-wing because he had Röhm killed?
Were the Bolsheviks right-wing because they wiped out the Mensheviks?
Hope this is helpful.
Just finished the book by Eric Metaxas. I was telling my father it was great and that I would lend it to him when I was finished.
Correct. And he was in prison when the war was clearly lost, but Hitler put out a kill order on him and many others simply out of spite.
It's absolutely not just word games.
You're right that it's not easy to map German politics of the time onto ours, but why is it done then? It's because the left is trying its best to draw parallels between the European Right and classical American liberalism on the basis of some flimsy pretext of being "pro-business".
Which is as mendacious as it is asinine.
BOTH European left and right are virulently statist philosophies. Even the European "center" can be described as just moderate statism. What we call American "conservatism" or "classical liberalism" doesn't even fit into the European left-right framework....it is completely off that scale.
If we were smart we wouldn't adopt the enemy's idiotic language and call ourselves a "rightist" movement at all. And I think we absolutely need to point out that whether it's the left boot on your neck or the right one doesn't make a damn bit of difference in the end.
I met Hitler not in his headquarters, the Brown House in Munich, but in a private home - the dwelling of a former admiral of the German Navy. We discussed the fate of Germany over the teacups.So it's abundantly clear that while he loathed Communism, it was because that movement in his eyes corrupted the original, true socialism of the German race.
"Why," I asked Hitler, "do you call yourself a National Socialist, since your party programme is the very antithesis of that commonly accredited to socialism?"
"Socialism," he retorted, putting down his cup of tea, pugnaciously, "is the science of dealing with the common weal. Communism is not Socialism. Marxism is not Socialism. The Marxians have stolen the term and confused its meaning. I shall take Socialism away from the Socialists.
"Socialism is an ancient Aryan, Germanic institution. Our German ancestors held certain lands in common. They cultivated the idea of the common weal. Marxism has no right to disguise itself as socialism. Socialism, unlike Marxism, does not repudiate private property. Unlike Marxism, it involves no negation of personality, and unlike Marxism, it is patriotic.
"We might have called ourselves the Liberal Party. We chose to call ourselves the National Socialists. We are not internationalists. Our socialism is national. We demand the fulfilment of the just claims of the productive classes by the state on the basis of race solidarity. To us state and race are one."
National. Socialists. The name fits their politics precisely.
I recall a lengthy transcript of a speech by Goering in the Propaganda Archive of Calvin College, he ranted on and on “We are SOCIALISTS!!” painting National Socialism as the better, purer form of it. Yes they hated communists, but in the sense of being political and military rivals, it did not extend to a revulsion at basic principles. They thought they were better at it, and were implementing it the right way as compared to German communists or Russian Bolsheviks, with whom they were initially allied, let’s not forget. It’s one of those lethal internal squabbles, like Trotskyites and Leninists.
On a topical note: Thatcher was anti-State.
She spent her life trying to reduce the power of Government and the dependance of 1970’s Britain upon the State.
Which is the same as saying: she was an authentic Conservative.
For if Conservatism means anything at all, its meaning includes the reduction of Government and State power back to its proper levels. For Freedom and the rule of law absolutely rely on the constraint of Government.
In so far as the European right is (indeed) statist, it is not Conservative. But we don’t have to go to Europe to see so-called Right-wingers who are indistinguishable from the Left. In the US we call them RINOs.
Moral chameleons attach themselves to the right as easily as to the left, as Thatcher (and Reagan) knew only too well. That doesn’t make the definition of Conservatism different - it just means that we have to be very clear about what we believe in and how we label it.
Hope this was helpful.
Absolute subservience of the interests of the individual to the state and the masses (volk).
Individuals and especially children are the property of the state.
Contempt for democracy in any of its forms.
Workers and labor (Proletariat), through the National Socialist German Workers' Party, were in theory in charge of the means of production. In practice and for practical reasons private management of industry continued but strictly under the direction and with the consent of the Party and its Fuehrer (Leader). "Capital" meant "Jews". "Patriotic" and ethnically pure Aryan capitalists were allowed to exist and even thrived under Nazism but more as a convenience than because Hitler believed in a free market economy.
An armed citizenry? Ganz verboten!
Anyone who evidenced disagreement with this philosophy were silenced on pain of imprisonment and frequently death.
"Right" and "Left" are labels which are routinely and intentionally (or more often ignorantly) misused. Everything about Nazism reeks of anti-Capitalism, anti-Individual Liberty, anti-Christianity, pro-Statism, and pro violent revolution against the Western European and Enlightenment Judeo-Christian ethos. It therefore is also a fair mirror image of today's U.S. Democratic Party and its leadership and philosophy.
Thanks for the very useful abstract, much appreciated.
Both sets of Socialists had their eyes on your property. But Hitler felt the need to put a gloss on it.
The Communists took your property from you.
The Nazis took it from you if you were Jewish or some other form of hated untermenchsen - but if you were a company they just fined you a million marks unless you did what they wanted.
See Obama vs Gibson’s Guitars, or Obama vs the shareholders of GM for modern versions of Socialist theft. Which is Obama closer to - early Hitler or early Lenin/Stalin/Mao?
It’s an academic question, because there’s so little difference. They were all Left Wing, crushing the individual in the name of the people.
I forgot the shared Socialist love for a disarmed populace - well worth mentioning.
IIRC, the Bolsheviks only had to negotiate with the White Russians while the White Russians retained their weapons. Once they were laid down the ‘cleansing of counter-revolutionary elements’ could take place.
The Communists never forgot that.
The reason Bonhoeffer made a point to attend a Harlem Church service is because he was disgusted with midtowns liberal Rockefeller-backed Union Theological Seminary on Broadway at 121st Street.
Bonhoeffer was a conservative. It is a label but it fits him just like the label Christian. Both labels are imperfect and both describe many that are very different than Bonhoeffer but confined as we are to the bottleneck of the English language it is still proper and wise to use labels. It does not dishonor him.
If I knew nothing about Bonhoeffer other than his writings in THE COST OF DICIPLESHIP, I would still recognize him as a Conservative.
Both Fascism and Communism were totalitarian oligarchies - indistinguishable to the people trapped under their jackboots.
That part is correct.
Yes, the other side lies freely and without consequence, but I don’t really see why that obligates us to do so as well.
I agree with everything else you’ve written. The extreme conditions in intra-war Europe, in an age of absolutist Ideologies, meant that “Liberalism” (in the good, European sense of the word) practically disappeared from the landscape altogether.
There ARE some Liberal aspects to European policy thinking at the moment, but - totally unrecognized by the British and American press - they mostly emanate from Brussels. .. Believe It, Or Not!
On the contrary, I think our side MUST make the distinction.
The left in the US is constantly trying to paint us with the "right wing NAZI" brush.
It's essential to expose the truth that Hitler WAS socialist and leaned WAY left compared to what is considered conservatism here.
He was an authoritarian, statist dictator as far from conservatism as you can get.
I clearly stated:"He (Bonhoeffer) saw the humanity in all equally be they Jewish, or Black."
And then you ask me:
Dont Conservatives generally believe in the humanity of Jews and Blacks?
If you want to have a discussion, please read what I said.
But you seemed to be trying to show how Bonhoeffer was NOT conservative. Otherwise why did you give that example?
He was a man of God, not a man of politics.
I agree if you state it as he was “more a man of God than he was of politics”. But he was very deeply involved politically as a double agent, conspiracies, and close to some of those high in the July 20th plot.
you are correct, your phrasing is more accurate.
My point was though he was not one to be classified politically as a liberal or a conservative. He acted against Hitler because he saw Hitler as acting against God.