SermonIndex Audio Sermons
Image Map
See Opportunities to Serve with SermonIndex
Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Book Study Thread: Bonhoeffer

Print Thread (PDF)

Goto page ( Previous Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 Next Page )

Joined: 2011/9/30
Posts: 1211


Thank you for those resources, Frank.


 2012/7/15 23:00Profile

 Re: The end justifies the means, in Bonhoeffer's mind.

If it were ever proven that Bonhoeffer helped in the conspircy to kill Hitler, I would find myself in disagreement with him on that issue and if he were still alive he would have to rip up his major work, because being involved in the killing of Hitler would be the opposite of what he wrote.........bro Frank

Operation Valkyrie and the July Plot to Assassinate Hitler
(July 20, 1944)


At the end of 1943 the Schutz Staffeinel (SS) and the Gestapo managed to arrest several Germans involved in plotting to overthrow Adolf Hitler. This included Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Klaus Bonhoeffer, Josef Mueller and Hans Dohnanyi. Others under suspicion like Wilhelm Canaris and Hans Oster were dismissed from office in January, 1944.

It is etimated that 4,980 Germans were executed after the July Plot. Hitler decided that the leaders should have a slow death. They were hung with piano wire from meat-hooks. [ as was Bonhoeffer] Their executions were filmed and later shown to senior members of both the NSDAP and the armed forces.

The Nazis implicated thousands of people in the assassination plot, including Bonhoeffer and three members of his immediate family (his brother Klaus and two brothers-in-law). Incriminating documents, hidden by his sister's husband Hans von Dohnanyi, had been found by the Gestapo. Although he did not yet realize the secret papers were in the hands of his enemies, Bonhoeffer was a condemned man.

As the war continued, and Nazi atrocities worsened, Bonhoeffer joined others to plot against Hitler. But Operation Valkyrie failed to kill the German ruler (on July 20, 1944), and his revenge against those immediately responsible was swift, and fatal. Claus von Stauffenberg, who’d left a briefcase bomb in Hitler’s planning room at Wolf’s Lair, was executed the day after the bomb exploded.
Bonheoffer:" Who am I"..outlining Valkerie:
Bonhoeffer: Is assassination legal?
..........ETHICAL ASSASSINATION..........

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the legendary German theologian, was one of the central figures in two separate and complex plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler – Operation 7 and Operation Valkyrie.

This hero paid the ultimate price in fighting against Nazism, fascism and against Hitler’s so-called “German Christian,” movement leading inevitably to his martyrdom at Flossenbürg concentration camp exactly two weeks before it was liberated by the U.S. Army 90th and 97th Infantry Divisions and three weeks before Hitler committed suicide inside his underground secret bunker in Berlin.

After preaching his last sermon, Bonhoeffer was hanged with piano wire and his body unceremoniously burned on April 9, 1945.

In his magnum opus, “Ethics,” Bonhoeffer wrote these immortal lines


“In a world where success is the measure and justification of all things, the figure of Him who was sentenced and crucified remains a stranger and is at best the object of pity. The world will allow itself to be subdued only by success."

The end is what justifies the means."

!! "It is not ideas or opinions which decide, but deeds."!!
[His substitution that social activism is the only real faith ]

!!!!!" Success alone justifies wrongs done."!!!!!!

[This is the cry of the Revolutionary.]

… "With a frankness and off-handedness which no other earthly power could permit itself, history appeals in its own cause to the dictum that the end justifies the means."

… "The figure of the Crucified invalidates all thought which takes success for its standard!"

 2012/7/16 6:27

 Re: The ethics of murder.

"If it were ever proven that Bonhoeffer helped in the conspiracy to kill Hitler, I would find myself in disagreement with him on that issue and if he were still alive he would have to rip up his major work, because being involved in the killing of Hitler would be the opposite of what he wrote.........bro Frank

BT writes: "Well Frank, that is exactly what Bonhoeffer did; he ripped up everything he wrote and believed about non-violence pacifism. He knew he was breaking God's law in participating in the plots to assassinate Hitler, but justified it anyway; He was also a former Gandhi disciple, the champion of non-violent, political pacifism.

DB was an ETHICAL Christian, who believed that only in society, the real world is sorrow and sin dealt with, and the true christian is the one who acts; there-by a social activist; [ As I previously noted, I compare with the martyr John Brown who gave his life to free the Black slaves circa 1860 in America.

There is no where that I could find where DB speaks of being born again, not one. He lived an ideological, political, theological life, where ideas become the force of your faith, rather than the Spirit, and true faith in your ideas became your authentic walk with God, only as you acted them out in society.

This is why he "naturalized" the Sermon on the Mount, and other scriptures, bending them into his ideas about Christian Social activism, and proved all of through his death, as he was part of two plots to murder Hitler, and therby executed.

The ethics of murder.
"Another Think" address and source below.

"His position seems at first glance to be a tortured ethical contradiction. What drove Bonhoeffer to discard his pacifism in this instance was the realization that in a world broken by sin and suffused by evil, certain horrors simply could not be tolerated, and could only be stopped through violence.

Bonhoeffer saw himself obeying the call of Christ to lay down his life for others. He in effect sacrificed his own moral convictions in the hope of saving Jews from the death camps.

[ This is at the core of Bonhoeffer's "end justifying the means" ethic.]

After years spent openly opposing Adolf Hitler and encouraging Germans to turn against his regime, Dietrich Bonhoeffer — a Christian minister, theologian, pacifist and German citizen — made a deliberate turn from civil disobedience to secret participation in a cabal whose aim was to assassinate the Fuhrer.

Bonhoeffer laid aside his Christian pacifism when he woke up to the fact that Hitler was engaging in genocide. This outraged Bonhoeffer, who held the deep religious conviction that the Jews were a people precious to God and deserving of protection, whatever the personal cost.

As a pacifist, Bonhoeffer had quietly refused to join the military. With his new found commitment to Hitler's murder he changed direction and joined the German Abwehr, the wartime intelligence agency headed by Admiral Wilheim Canaris.

Canaris was secretly opposed to Hitler and was using Abwehr to launch a variety of plots against the Reich, including assassination attempts. Bonhoeffer never participated directly in such plots — they had to be carried out by the military, because officers were the only ones who could get close enough to the Fuhrer to kill him.

Nevertheless, Bonhoeffer aided and encouraged these plots from his post inside the Abwehr. Pretending to be a loyal servant of Hitler's Reich, Bonhoeffer was in fact a double agent working towards Hitler's forcible overthrow.

Bonhoeffer never claimed that God was "on his side" in this effort. On the contrary, he wrote that his decision to work for Hitler's assassination would make him guilty of breaking God's law.

His conviction was that he had to follow the dictates of his conscience, even though he felt certain that he would be judged guilty by God should he cause Hitler's death. His only moral hope, he believed, was that he might find grace to cover his sin through his faith in Christ."

more here:

To me, I think DB tragic. He was a Dr. of theology at 21, Magna Summa Cum Laud; but never in his life got out of the Jesus in his mind. His ideas and moral choices then became his faith, to his last breath. It appears to me that he was never born again from above, which is the most tragic of all, but believed that his social religious activism, even if they may be sin, were right, for the end in God's eyes, justified the means. This is great deception.

This was the sin of the first king of Israel, Saul...who was fiercely rebuked by Samuel.

 2012/7/16 7:31

Joined: 2011/9/30
Posts: 1211


And thank you BrotherTom for these resources. Very, very interesting.

I have spoken with many Believers who would take up arms (after all the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment give them the freedom to "bear arms"), to not only defend this nation but also to overthrow a despot. The angry rhetoric is increasing over this current President.

This is not what Matthew 5, 6, Luke 6, is about.

"My Kingdom is not of this world. If it was, then my servants would fight."

BrotherTom, when I read the Cost of Discipleship, I will be keeping in mind that many of these links say that DB turned Matthew 5 into a "social activism" gospel.


 2012/7/16 8:23Profile

Joined: 2006/7/31
Posts: 3057

 Re: Book Study Thread: Bonhoeffer

To IssacharSon and pilgrim

I think I am going to withdraw from taking part in this book study not because of what BT shared but because it seems that instead of reading this book to learn and glean what the LORD would have for us, there is every possibility that instead the words of another man who is no longer living will be picked apart to such a degree that all that will come from this is debates and more debates. I don't want to debate, I want to learn what the LORD would have me and walk in that. So respectfully I will read on my own.

I wish you both well in your study though and that you would find the insights and glean the seeds that the LORD would have for you...

God Bless

 2012/7/16 8:30Profile


Tom posted: "He in effect sacrificed his own moral convictions
in the hope of saving Jews from the death camps."

And, if a Jew was reading this - who's "moral convictions" would impress and open their hearts to what a Christian is - the one who's feverishly posting these things or the one this is posted about?

In the absolute horror and madness of those days - can we not forgive this man for being 'tempted beyond his gentle mind'?
He wasn't the one that left the bomb - he's only accused of being with those that wanted Hitler Stopped.

I've read The Cost of Discipleship.
I'd read it again if I still had my copy but I'm still going to enjoy reading this thread when it gets started.

 2012/7/16 11:54

Joined: 2011/9/30
Posts: 1211


We have to be careful with this type of philosophy, "The End justifies the Means". That kind of thinking is not rooted in Christ.

JiG, I don't think it is an issue of forgiveness. Who are we not to forgive. It may be an issue of "should we imitate him and take his actions as Christian teaching".

Paul said, "Follow me as I follow Christ". So, only as Paul followed Christ, did he want others to imitate or follow his example.


 2012/7/16 12:20Profile


Pilgrim, I am "Christian Non-Resistant" and miss our Brother Pastorfrin that gave all of his 'spare' time to posting on that topic while here with us.

This, of Bonhoeffer, is a lesson to us that may face the/an antiChrist as he did - that no one is above temptation and must by all means use this as 'a lesson' - that if a man with the heart of Bonhoeffer can be "maddened" enough to side with those that wanted the slaughter to stop by whatever means - then we need to use this example to strengthen our own Resolve, Now - before any such temptation should hit our own shores.

 2012/7/16 12:28


Really, this is so sad. We have a brother who joins the forum. He comes forth with an excellent idea for a book club. He picks an excellent book. One of the classics of the Christian faith. And the author is trashed before the book is even read.

So Tom since Cost of Discipleship is not to your liking. Why not suggest a book that you like. I think the idea is good. But for sure it will be killed if you turn this thread into a debate thread. The purpose should be to edify. Not tear down.

So Tom what book would you suggest?


 2012/7/16 13:01

 I hope I will show myself meek and trusting in that day...but I fear.

"This, of Bonhoeffer, is a lesson to us that may face the/an antiChrist as he did - that no one is above temptation and must by all means use this as 'a lesson' - that if a man with the heart of Bonhoeffer can be "maddened" enough to side with those that wanted the slaughter to stop by whatever means - then we need to use this example to strengthen our own Resolve, Now - before any such temptation should hit our own shores." JiG

Thank-you for this admonishment JiG. I struggle with this everyday of my life; whether or not to take up the sword for justice.; This is the issue.

"If anyone has an ear, let him hear. He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints."

By doing so, picking up the sword, you lose either way, no matter the outcome. We must trust Jesus, as did all the martyrs.

You cannot overcome temptation by means of your own noble and Ethical devotion. You will always fail, because, the ONLY way we overcome is:

"Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."

Salvation, Power to overcome, and God's Kingdom exploits are given one way. The blood, our Testimony by it and through it, and not loving our own way, HOWEVER ETHICAL AND MORAL we may deem it.

As I said earlier, I have failed to see Bonhoeffer's testimony about being saved; being born from above, and cleansed from his sin, nor his daily testimony about these things.

I do not believe he possessed the power to overcome these temptations that came to him, and naturally succumbed to his high and moral convictions, that included that the end, justified the means.

I sincerely hope I am wrong about that, but in light of the mass of written testimony and ideas that he prolifically produced, I think not. To me, DB is a tragic, but noble and well meaning man, who felt he had a mission.

 2012/7/16 13:14

Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
Affiliate Disclosure | Privacy Policy