Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy…

I would highly recommend Eric Metaxas’s Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.  Incredible account of a man discovering a loving and loyal God in the midst of such hideous trials and tribulations.  What I appreciate about this book the most is the author’s ability to allow the tension and transparency to speak for themselves.  A church, both in Germany and around the world, wrestled with the biblical and practical theology of their age.  They failed to be good news too many times to count.  But despite that, Christ refused to give up on the church – challenging her and changing her. 

The author suggests, “Bonhoeffer examined and dismissed a number of approaches to dealing with evil. ‘Reasonable people,’ he said, think that ‘with a little reason, they can pull back together a structure that has come apart at the joints.’ Then there are the ethical ‘fanatics’ who ‘believe that they can face the power of evil with the purity of their will and their principles.’ Men of ‘conscience’ become overwhelmed because the ‘countless respectable and seductive disguises and masks in which evil approaches them make their conscience anxious and unsure until they finally content themselves with an assuaged conscience instead of a good conscience.’ They must ‘deceive their own conscience in order not to despair.’ Finally there are some who retreat to a ‘private virtuousness. Such people neither steal, nor murder,nor commit adultery, but do good according to their abilities. but… they must close their eyes and ears to the injustice around them. Only at the cost of self-deception can they keep their private blamelessness clean from the stains of responsible action in the world. In all that they do, what they fail to do will not let them rest'”.  

That being considered, when do you suggest a Christ follower fight for what is right?  Speak up and out on what is evil?  Defend the defenseless?  And when should he or she choose to refuse the path of retaliation?  Lose their lives alongside those being oppressed?  

The church needs Spirit-empowered discernment.  

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy…

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