Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Saint of the Week -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (February 4, 1906-April 9, 1945) is best known for his resistence to the Nazi regime. He was a leader in the Confessing Church movement in Nazi Germany -- the Protestant resistance to the regime. He considered taking refuge in America, but in 1942, returned to Germany to continue the resistance.

In 1944, he took part in a conspiracy to assassinate Hitler and was executed for it in 1945. For someone who had preached non-violent resistance his whole career, it was a significant shift for him to consider a violent end to Hitler's life. But he believed that not to try to stop Hitler, even violently, was the greater evil.

His greatest work, The Cost of Discipleship teaches us how to take the Christian life and journey seriously, laying aside our attachment to worldly things and following Christ alone.

Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness and pride of power and with its plea for the weak. Christians are doing too little to make these points clear rather than too much. Christendom adjusts itself far too easily to the worship of power. Christians should give more offense, shock the world far more, than they are doing now. Christians should take a stronger stand in favor of the weak rather than considering first the possible right of the strong. -- Bonhoeffer, Sermon on II Cor. 12:9

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