Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Some of My Favorites from Bonhoeffer

1. It must be made quite clear – terrifying though it is – that we are immediately faced with the decision: National Socialist or Christians …

Bonhoeffer died at the hands of the Nazis after fighting with the weapons of God for his faith (and country).

2. My calling is quite clear to me.  What God will make of it I do not know … I must follow the path.  Perhaps it will not be such a long one.  (Phil 1:23).  But it is a fine thing to have realized my calling… I believe its nobility will become plain to us only in coming times and events.  If only we can hold out.

3. There is no way to peace along the way of safety.  For peace must be dared, it is  itself the great venture and can never be safe.  Peace is the opposite of security.  To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself.  Peace means giving oneself completely to God’s commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes.  Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God.  They are won when the way leads to the Cross.-

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer


4. Ruth von Kleist-Retzow not only adopted Bonhoeffer’s spiritual disciplines; she decided at age seventy to learn New Testament Greek.  She was not about to waste opportunities available to her with Dietrich Bonhoeffer nearby.  She even cajoled him into considering overseeing the confirmation of four of her grandchildren…

Bonhoeffer “always had some distance around him, some reserve,” said Ruth-Alice.  But there was something compelling about him when he was preaching.  “When you saw him preaching,” she said, “you saw a young man who was entirely in God’s grasp.”  In some ways it was particularly difficult for the younger generations whose parents and grandparents were so adamantly opposed to the Nazis.  Bonhoeffer and Finkenwalde made it easier for them.  He was an encouragement.  “In those days,” Ruth-Alice recalled, “the Nazis were always marching and saying, ‘The future belongs to us!  We are the future!’  And we young ones who were against Hitler and the Nazis would hear this and we wondered, ‘Where is our future?’  But there in Finkenwalde, when I heard this man preaching, who had been captured by God, I thought: ‘Here.  Here is our future.’”

Page 277 of Eric Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy

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