A Bonhoeffer Moment

17  Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Christian Civics Training - Biblical Civics Biblical CivicsDietrich Bonhoeffer was born in 1906 into a highly educated Lutheran family.

Dietrich understood that ideas were never mere ideas but the foundations upon which one built one’s actions and ultimately one’s life. Ideas and beliefs must be tried and tested because one’s life might depend on them.”

While he applied this to his personal life, it was only after becoming a theologian that he had an epiphany that changed everything. During a visit to the United States, he attended the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. There, among the poor, black congregants, Bonhoeffer “witnessed something …more palpable and visceral than anything he had seen in a church before.” The pastor “exhorted his hearers not just to have a genuine relationship with Jesus, but also to translate that into action in their lives,” such as caring for the poor and working for civil rights. “For perhaps the first time in his life, Bonhoeffer seemed to link the idea of having deep faith in Jesus with taking political and social action.”

It was this idea that led Bonhoeffer to publicly criticize the growing oppression of the Jews when he returned to Germany. It was this idea that led Bonhoeffer to try to awaken Christians to the danger of the Nazified state “church” established by Adolf Hitler. It was this idea that led him to leave the safety of America in 1939 in order to go back to Germany to be with his people through the dangers of war

True courage is a virtue we admire, but it often comes with a cost. Loving the world enough to stand up to the social evils of the day, as Bonhoeffer did, demonstrates the courage we should exhibit in our own lives.

Today in the United States, we have reached a “Bonhoeffer Moment” where Christians and pastors need to find their voice for religious liberty or we will lose the opportunity for our children and grandchildren to live out and share their faith.

These videos speak to the critical, watershed moment we have arrived at in our country.   Religious Liberty hangs in the balance. What pastors and Christians choose to do now will determine whether religious liberty remains or is snuffed out.