Day 11: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) was a Lutheran theologian, writer, poet, musician and educator. Raised in Germany, he was safe in London at the outbreak of WWII. Instead of staying there, he returned to Germany to join the resistance movements and to advocate on behalf of the Jews, including being involved in Operation 7, a rescue mission that helped a small group of Jews escape to Switzerland. His leadership in the anti-Nazi Confessing Church and his work in resistance make his works a unique source for understanding the interaction of religion, politics and culture among those few Christians who actively opposed National Socialism.


He was ultimately hanged in 1945 in the Flossenberg concentration camp as a result of his participation in a failed plot to kill Hitler. With that in mind, take a minute to reflect on his own words regarding this:

“If I see a madman driving a car into a group of innocent bystanders, then I can’t, as a Christian, simply wait for the catastrophe and then comfort the wounded and bury the dead. I must try to wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver.”

To what extent can an abhorrence of violence lead you to maybe be an innocent bystander to an impending catastrophe?


One thought on “Day 11: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  1. Whatever Bonhoeffer’s role in the plot against Hitler, I focus on this question: How did God use and bless Dietrich?” It wasn’t to kill Hitler (God’s is still Sovereign and pulls down and lifts up). It was in his humble ministry to prisoners and in his clear teaching. A favorite quote which I used as the epigraph for a book on Christian pacifism: “To believe the promise of Jesus that his followers shall possess the earth, and at the same time to face our enemies unarmed and defenseless, preferring to incur injustice rather than do wrong ourselves, is indeed a narrow way.”

    Liked by 1 person

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