Eberhard Bethge, his best friend, writes, “As a martyr he testifies to God’s ‘no’—Christ cannot endorse slave holders in brutal societies. And he testifies to God’s ‘yes’ to people who are victims of false imperial gods.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s actions and writings attest to his beliefs that true grace is costly and true Christianity brings a voice to the voiceless. You will learn the foundations of his Christocentric theology and encounter the many sacrifices he made for the cause of justice in this must-read issue of Christian History & Biography. By the time of his arrest, Bonhoeffer’s life had become an ever-twisting journey in which he had been moved to action by that “view from below.” His life took him from a comfortable teaching post at the university to the isolated leadership of a minority opposition within his church and against his government. He moved from the safety of a refuge abroad to the dangerous life of a conspirator. He descended from the privileges of clergy and the respect accorded a noble family to his harsh imprisonment and eventual death as a traitor to his country.
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“‘The entire day receives order and discipline when it acquires unity. This unity must be sought and found in morning prayer. It is confirmed in work. The morning prayer determines the day. Squandered time of which we are ashamed, temptations to which we succumb, weaknesses and lack of courage in work, disorganization and lack of discipline in our thoughts and in our conversation with other men all have their origin most often in the neglect of morning prayer.’” (source)
“In this dissertation Bonhoeffer declares in a ringing phrase that the church is ‘Christ existing as community.’ The church for him is neither an ideal society with no need of reform, nor a gathering of the gifted elite. Rather, it is as much a communion of sinners capable of being untrue to the gospel, as it is a communion of saints for whom serving one another should be a joy.” (source)
“‘First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.’” (source)
“The only fight which is lost is that which we give up.” (source)
“‘The time is fulfilled for the German people in Hitler. It is because of Hitler that Christ, God the helper and redeemer, has become effective among us. Therefore National Socialism is positive Christianity in action.… Hitler is the way of the Spirit and the will of God for the German people to enter the Church of Christ.’” (source)