A Good Friday Hero

Today is Good Friday, the day on which Jesus was tortured and horribly killed by the Romans on the cross. It is a perfect day on which to honor those who also were martyrs for God. One such is the man in the picture, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is, or should be, a hero to all who believe in God. Not just Christians; all. He was a Christ-figure in his stand against the perversion that was Nazi Germany. Although his work makes clear that he believed that to be a true Christian one must be nonviolent, he joined the plot to kill the beast, Hitler, that had led the enslavement of Germany.

More importantly, Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived a Christian life in accord with the gospels — and he was not shy about reminding his fellow Christians that those who would persecute the Jews were not really Christian. From the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Home Page:

Bonhoeffer’s theologically rooted opposition to National Socialism first made him a leader, along with Martin Niemueller and Karl Barth, in the Confessing Church (bekennende Kirche), and an advocate on behalf of the Jews. Indeed, his efforts to help a group of Jews escape to Switzerland were what first led to his arrest and imprisonment in the spring 1943. His leadership in the anti-Nazi Confessing Church and his participation in the Abwehr resistance circle (beginning in February 1938) make his works a unique source for understanding the interaction of religion, politics, and culture among those few Christians who actively opposed National Socialism, as is particularly evident in his drafts for a posthumously published Ethics.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s stand against evil is in stark contrast with other Christians of that time and place. It is also in stark contrast with those who would claim to be Christians today. Today, as in Bonhoeffer’s time, most remain silent in the face of evil.

What are today’s evils that pose threats to us? So-called radical Islam, for starters. Crimes perpetuated by the strong against the weak, which today include the genocide in Darfur and chattel slavery perpetrated by Arabs in Africa. And one constant that has not changed since Nazi Germany: demonic hatred of Jesus’ people, the Jews.

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