Dietrich Bonhoeffer was an incomparable man.  He was brave, courageous, brilliant, strong in his convictions and loved his God.  Dietrich Bonheoffer was the catalyst of the Confessing church of Germany during World War II when there were few who would stand up for Christ!  Religion was institutionalized by Hitler and basically became a venue for Hilter’s hatred toward Jews.  Dietrich Bonhoefer, however, went underground to lead the church in confessing Christ!  I love this quote by Bonhoeffer:

Bonhoeffer himself wrote to a friend about this time, “Christ is looking down at us and asking whether there is anyone who still confesses him.”

In an effort to combat Hilter’s control over the church, Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth drafted the Barmen Declaration.  The declaration basically asserted that the state had no business in “the business” of the church.  The declaration states that the church “is solely Christ’s property, and that it lives and wants to live solely from his comfort and from his direction in the expectation of his appearance.”

Bonhoeffer provided much needed leadership in the Confessing Church as there were few pastors who would take a stand.   Prior to World War II Bonhoeffer was a pacifist.   However, after seeing pictures of the injustice and carnage of the German concentration camps, Bonhoeffer realized that there are times when warring against injustice is biblically justified.  Bonhoeffer was also an active member of the resistance and participated in an plan to assisinate Hilter.  Unfortunately, the plot failed and Bonhoefer was arrested.  For the next two years Bonhoeffer was imprisoned.  During his time in prison, however, he ministered to the other prisoners who were awaiting execution.  This is what one prisoner said of Bonhoeffer:

Captain Payne Best, an Englishman, survived to bear tribute to the prison-camp pastor: “Bonhoeffer was different, just quite calm and normal, seemingly perfectly at his ease. . . . His soul really shone in the dark desperation of our prison. He was one of the very few men I have ever met to whom God was real and ever close to him.”

Next, Bonhoeffer was taken to Flossenburg, an extermination camp.  However,  just three weeks before American soldiers liberated the camp,  Deitrich Bonhoeffer was executed.  If you visit the place of his execution here is what you’ll find:

Today the tree from which he was hanged bears a plaque with only ten words inscribed on it: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a witness to Jesus Christ among his brethren.

I love the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  He was truly a man who lived for Christ.  And he knew that living meant dying.  He was educated in the Word.  He was a pastor and a theologian.  But he lived it out practically.  He in no way lived in an ivory tower.  He was real!  He was brave and he stood for the Lord!  He was victorious in his confession of Christ and I know that he wears a beautifully bejewled crown in Glory! 

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