“There were so many theological and political points of view in the opposition that they could never muster a single, focused plan of resistance. But they would try.” (Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxes; page161)
I was going over my notes and highlights from the above book yesterday. I’d been meaning to do this but never found the time. Yesterday I had lots to do but was pulled to do some work on it. I found out why later in the day.
I was looking through my Twitter feed and saw a post by one of my favorite bloggers, titled: “United in Hate of Christians and Judeo/Christian Traditions.” In it Maggie references another article and says:
“The following is an excerpt from an article by Jim O’Neill writing at Gulag Bound. He is calling for a dedicated and focused “united front” against those who are united in hate against Christians and Judeo/Christian traditions.”
The article can be found at Gulag Bound and is titled “United in Hate vs United We Stand” and it is written by Jim O’Neill. In it he states:
The forces arrayed against “we the people” include Communists, Fascists (neo-Nazis), Old World aristocracy, banking cabals, globalist corporations, and Islamists. As a historically Christian nation, founded on Christian principles, it is of paramount importance that American Christians get their ducks in a row—quickly. Christians are facing brutal, widespread persecution across the globe. It is time to “gird our loins.” Playtime is over.
The foes we fight are clever, vicious, dedicated, and nuts—a formidable combination. They have been ceaselessly undermining and subverting Christianity from both within and without. At present, American Christianity is diluted, confused, and divided. It includes such non-Christian “Christian” cults as the execrable Westboro group, and Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wright’s racist, envy ridden, rage filled “ministry. (emphasis mine)
The foe that Dietrich Bonhoeffer fought was Adolf Hitler and Naziism:
On January 30, 1933, at noon, Adolf Hitler became the democratically elected chancellor of Germany……Two days later, on Wednesday, February 1, a twenty-six-year-old theologian gave a radio address at the Potsdammerstrasse radio station. Bonhoeffer’s speech was titled “The Younger Generation’s Altered Concept of Leadership.” It dealt with the fundamental problems of leadership by a Fuhrer, explaining how such a leader inevitably becomes an idol and a ‘mis-leader.'” (page 139)
Metaxes goes on to point out that Bonhoeffer’s speech was not specifically about Hitler but about a popular concept called the “Fuhrer Principle” which arose out of the popular German Youth Movement of the early twentieth century. At this time, however, The Fuhrer and Adolf Hitler were not yet the same thing.
He (Bonhoeffer) began by explaining why Germany was looking for a Fuhrer. The First War and the subsequent depression and turmoil had brought about a crisis in which the younger generation, especially, had lost all confidence in the traditional authority of the kaiser and the church.…The difference between real leadership and the false leadership of the Leader was this: real leadership derived its authority from God, the source of all goodness. Thus parents have legitimate authority because they are submitted to the legitimate authority of a good God. But the authority of the Fuhrer was submitted to nothing. It was self-derived and autocratic, and therefore had a messianic aspect. (pg 141)
I would venture to say that our Founders knew the dangers of having a leader who was “submitted to nothing.” They had not experienced Adolf Hitler but they had experienced King Henry VII. So that is why they crafted a Constitutional Republic that would take all steps possible to prevent this from happening. As Bonhoeffer said:
He [the leader] must lead his following away from the authority of his person to the recognition of the real authority of orders and offices……He must let himself be controlled, ordered, restricted. (page 141)
Four weeks after Hitler’s election Bonhoeffer preached about what he saw:
The church has only one altar, the altar of the Almighty….before which all creatures must kneel….Whoever seeks something other than this must keep away; he cannot join us in the house of God…The church has only one pulpit, and from that pulpit, faith in God will be preached, and no other faith, and no other will than the will of God, however well-intentioned. (page 144; emphasis mine)
Fast forward to the “social justice” concept present in many of our churches today. Also consider the concept of “collective salvation” that our President is so fond of talking about. Jim O’Neill goes on in his article to say:
Not only has Christianity been under unremitting attack for decades (centuries, actually) but, in addition to atheism, the Far Left has been successfully promoting pagan-style belief systems such as Gaia (Mother Earth) worship, and other anti-Judeo/Christian beliefs and practices.
In Bonhoeffer’s Germany the German church was in turmoil. Development of a single, focused plan of resistance was almost impossible due to the many political and theological points of view. Then, in May 1933 came Gleischaltung.
This idea, which Goring referenced at the German Christians’ conference in Berlin…meant that everything in German society must fall in line with the Nazi worldview. This included the world of books and ideas. (page 161)
Worldview is important as I stated in an earlier post:
Whether you believe in a supreme being or not, truth does exist. A transcendent truth that is consistent with what we experience in the real world. To re-phrase something C.S. Lewis said: The theist, who believes in a transcendent source of truth and the materialist (Progressive for this discussion),who believes everything is relative, hold different beliefs about the universe. They cannot both be right. The one who is wrong will act in a way which simply doesn’t fit the real universe.
I would also refer you to my post “Collectivist World View vs Reality.”
I don’t think Dietrich Bonhoeffer, like Mr. O’Neill, said “playtime is over” but he came close. I do think Bonhoeffer would agree with what Mr. O’Neill says in his article:
America’s Christians need to present a united front against our enemies. Now is not the time for ontological nitpicking and epistemological debate. Now is the time for dedicated, focused action. Despite the numerous issues that have divided America’s Christians, there are certain core beliefs that mainstream Christians, as a whole, need to rededicate themselves to.
I believe history can teach us what is possible if there is no united front. I would go a step further than Mr. O’Neill and add that Christians need to unite AND to unite with people of other faiths who also believe that our leaders need to derive their authority from God, the source of all goodness.
Can I get an Amen to that?