Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his like-minded brethren are facing that the church in Germany has been strong-armed by the political powers that be and is now fully under the control and patronage of Nazi sympathizers. To make matters worse, those who disagree with the new anti-semitic church laws can’t agree on how to disagree. It seemed that nothing could be done to fix things from the inside.
The result? Bonhoeffer and his friends decided to write a position, the Bethel Confession, outlining where they stood on anti-semitic rulings and what they believed should be the stance of true Christians. Out of the gate, 6,000 pastors from across Germany aligned themselves with the Bethel Confession and the seed of what would become the Confessing Church was sown.
Throughout history, Christians have been faced with the problem that occurs when culture diverges in behavior from God’s standards. That’s when we become salt and light. And not very popular. It will always be so. At times the issues are different but what is required of us is the same. We must hold to truth, share it, and take the consequences. Whether it’s slavery, embryonic stem-cell research, jihadism, human trafficking, pornography, extortion, organized crime, Naziism, the KKK, we have to say “I will not go there. I love you, but you’re wrong. You have the power to do as you will, but ‘as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.'” It has gotten us crucified, beheaded, impoverished, burned, ridiculed, slandered, and more…but we cannot be made to abandon what God has taught us.
For the rest of this book, Dietrich’s persecution for holding to Christian doctrine intensifies. Bonhoeffer and, indeed, most of the world, will find how heavy the price of resisting evil will be.
Questions for discussion:
Do you think you are brave enough to kindly and respectfully share you’re religious beliefs with others?
Can you give them the right to disagree without being rude?
Practice sharing your thoughts kindly and respectfully this week.