Faithful Christians like Bonhoeffer tried desperately to free the German church from Nazi control but to no avail. Eventually, the moment no one wanted to see, arrived. On June 4th a group of Christians announced in the Barmen Delaration their separation from the Reichskirche.
On June 4— again, thanks to Bishop Bell and Bonhoeffer— the full text of the Barmen Declaration was published in the London Times. It was incendiary, announcing to the world that a group of Christians in Germany had officially and publicly declared their independence from the Nazified Reichskirche. When one read it, it was easy to understand why they had done so.
Metaxas, Eric (2010-04-20). Bonhoeffer: A Biography (p. 226). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
We must shake off our fear of this world— the cause of Christ is at stake, and are we to be found sleeping? . . . Christ is looking down at us and asking whether there is anyone left who confesses faith in him.
Metaxas, Eric (2010-04-20). Bonhoeffer: A Biography (p. 219). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Only a few weeks later, Hilter would enact his “Night of the Long Knives”–an action that must surely have trebled the mounting sense of desperation among Christian Germans.
By Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. The publishing world sees very few books reach blockbuster status, but William Paul Young’s The Shack has now exceeded even that. The book, originally self-published The publishing world sees very few books reach blockbuster status, but William Paul Young’s The Shack has now exceeded even that. The book, originally […]
God loved us before time so we could love Him in this present time.–Wil Owens
So much is going on in our world today–inviting us to worry. But there is another invitation. An invitation to become one of God’s people–not exempt from trouble but guaranteed to be carried through each day with tenderness and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Are you in this place of safety? Please join Teaching Pastor Wil Owens as he leads us through John 16 and teaches us about the promise of peace for those in Christ.
How wonderful it is to know that even though we do not see God face to face now, we are before Him always–and we have the opportunity to bless him daily with our prayers. Here in Revelation the incense rises before the actual throne of God! The days can be very long and just to know that my prayers rise front and center before the Lord of all is a comfort. And what an encouragement too. My daily walks and prayers are sweet gifts to Him. And that’s pretty amazing!
“And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.” Revelation 8: 3-4
“Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!” Psalm 141:2
Thoughts on Prayer by Matthew Henry:
All the saints are a praying people; none of the children of God are born dumb, a Spirit of grace is always a Spirit of adoption and supplication, teaching us to cry, Abba, Father.Ps. 32:6, For this shall every one that is godlypray unto thee.
2. Times of danger should be praying times, and so should times of great expectation; both our fears and our hopes should put us upon prayer, and, where the interest of the church of God is deeply concerned, the hearts of the people of God in prayer should be greatly enlarged.
3. The prayers of the saints themselves stand in need of the incense and intercession of Christ to make them acceptable and effectual, and there is provision made by Christ for that purpose; he has his incense, his censer, and his altar; he is all himself to his people.
4. The prayers of the saints come up before God in a cloud of incense; no prayer, thus recommended, was ever denied audience or acceptance.
5. These prayers that were thus accepted in heaven produced great changes upon earth in return to them; the same angel that in his censer offered up the prayers of the saints in the same censer took of the fire of the altar,and cast it into the earth, and this presently caused strange commotions, voices, andthunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake;these were the answers God gave to the prayers of the saints, and tokens of his anger against the world and that he would do great things to avenge himself and his people of their enemies; and now, all things being thus prepared, the angels discharge their duty.
In Chapter 14 of Bonhoeffer: A Biography, Dietrich heads to London to take on the pastorate of two German congregations. He desired to keep his hand in practical ministry. While there, many concerned British and German thinkers wondered how to fight the Nazi take-over of the German church with the appointment of Muller as it’s leader or Reichsbischof.
In the midst of their concerns and plans, Dietrich seemed to foresee a time when the only work in the fight against Nazism would be the work of suffering faithfully.
While Hildebrandt, Niemöller, and Jacobi were thinking about how to defeat Müller, Bonhoeffer was thinking about God’s highest call, about the call of discipleship and its cost. He was thinking about Jeremiah and about God’s call to partake in suffering, even unto death. Bonhoeffer was working it out in his head at the same time that he was thinking about what the next move should be with Heckel and the church struggle. He was thinking about the deep call of Christ, which was not about winning, but about submission to God, wherever that might lead. In the letter to Sutz, he said, Simply suffering— that is what will be needed then— not parries, blows or thrusts such as may still be possible or admissible in the preliminary fight; the real struggle that perhaps lies ahead must simply be to suffer faithfully. . . . [F] or sometime [the church struggle] hasn’t even been about what it appears to be about; the lines have been drawn somewhere else entirely. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that Bonhoeffer was somehow thinking prophetically, that somehow he could see what was ahead of him, that at some point he would be able to do nothing more than “suffer faithfully” in his cell, praising God as he did so, thanking him for the high privilege of being counted worthy to do so.
Metaxas, Eric (2010-04-20). Bonhoeffer: A Biography (p. 196). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
When has suffering been the chief work of your life?
Is there someone you know suffering right now?
How can we come alongside fellow Christians who are called to a time of suffering so that they can be faithful and comforted in their struggle?
The work of redemption is not on man alone–it won’t be incomplete or unfinished. God Himself will come to ensure and complete the work of redemption. –Wil Owens
Acts 1: On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Wil Owens, Teaching Pastor at Clovis Evangelical Free Church explains in this two-part sermon series how the Holy Spirit not only comforts believers inwardly in all their struggles but also empowers us in the work of sharing the gospel.