Dietrich Bonhoeffer - A Pacifist's Dilemma

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CADude
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Dietrich Bonhoeffer - A Pacifist's Dilemma

Postby CADude » Fri Nov 24, 2017 2:17 pm

I'm curious if any of you have ever read any of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's writings such as The Cost of Discipleship or Life Together, or the biography by Eric Metaxas published in 2011 titled Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy? I'm currently working my way through the latter. It's a bit daunting (for me) at 452 pages, but I'm finding it extremely interesting.

His grasp of the true faith seems undeniable, yet he was involved in a plot to kill Hitler (and was killed because of it). How does a pacifist reconcile this? I want to be clear here that I leave his judgment to God, even though this aforementioned question lingers in my mind.
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MaxPC
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Re: Dietrich Bonhoeffer - A Pacifist's Dilemma

Postby MaxPC » Fri Nov 24, 2017 2:26 pm

Sounds intriguing. When you finish the book is be interested in your thoughts about it.
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mike
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Re: Dietrich Bonhoeffer - A Pacifist's Dilemma

Postby mike » Fri Nov 24, 2017 2:35 pm

I read Cost of Discipleship some years ago and appreciated it very much. But like you I don't understand his actions in light of what he promoted in the book. The biggest problem is we just don't know because he was murdered by the Germans. I wrote an article in an old issue of the Remnant magazine once about these questions. His death was sad and puzzling in many ways. I'll PM the link to anyone interested rather than post it here, due to privacy concerns.
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Remember the prisoners, as though you were in prison with them, and the mistreated, as though you yourselves were suffering bodily. -Heb. 13:3

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Re: Dietrich Bonhoeffer - A Pacifist's Dilemma

Postby cmbl » Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:38 pm

I keep meaning to actually finish The Cost of Discipleship, which is a sad admission given my signature line. :oops:

I appreciate the first and third chapters of Discipleship a lot. At the same time, toward the end of the first chapter, after pointing out the bad fruit of Luther's theology, Bonhoeffer claims the fruit stems from misinterpretation. Unwilling to break with Luther, Bonhoeffer says that we just didn't understand him well enough. I disagree.
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Re: Dietrich Bonhoeffer - A Pacifist's Dilemma

Postby Heirbyadoption » Fri Nov 24, 2017 4:01 pm

cmbl wrote:I keep meaning to actually finish The Cost of Discipleship, which is a sad admission given my signature line. :oops:

I appreciate the first and third chapters of Discipleship a lot. At the same time, toward the end of the first chapter, after pointing out the bad fruit of Luther's theology, Bonhoeffer claims the fruit stems from misinterpretation. Unwilling to break with Luther, Bonhoeffer says that we just didn't understand him well enough. I disagree.
This might give you a hint as to why Bonhoeffer's final course of action was even a viable consideration for him. I think when he finally came to the end, he saw only two options: to step back from the assassination option in complete trust, or to engage where he could (feeling that he was available where others were not) and to join in the assassination attempt.

As you titled it so well, it is truly the great dilemma for any Biblical nonresistant. To have the ability and resources to potentially effect change in the here and now based upon our limited understanding of the broader picture, or to step back in complete submission and trust upon God to effect change as He sees fit. In the end, it really comes down to whether we actually recognize the true temporality of the injustices being wrought in the here and now and the eternality of souls that will go on regardless of the injustices here.

I do often wonder if there's any greater temptation to the flesh, when we come right to it, than to be able to be involved in the righting of injustice. And then I wonder, would I even recognize pride if it was (even part of) my motive in taking the availability to help right wrongs when it presents itself? I'm not condemning Bonhoeffer, but the man did make a choice seemingly in obvious opposition to the blatant teachings of Jesus Christ and the Scriptures for the saints - would I have done any different? Will I, if I find myself in a similar spot? The question is well worth asking ahead of time. Just thinking aloud here...
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