Together with theologians Karl Barth and Martin Niemöller, the German pastor Dietrich Bonhöffer was a founding member of the German Bekennende Kirche ( Confessing Church), a Protestant movement that opposed Nazi attempts to unify all Protestant churches into a single pro-Nazi Deutsche Evangelische Kirche (Protestant Reich Church)
Writing about Christianity’s role in the secular world, Bonhöffer was widely influential. His 1937 book Nachfolge (The Cost of Discipleship) is considered a modern religious classic.
Bonhöffer was also a staunch opponent of Nazi euthanasia and genocidal persecution of the Jews. Arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo, he was imprisoned for 1 1/2 years before transfer to a concentration camp. After being associated with the Operation Valkyrie plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, he was convicted and hung on April 9, 1945.
Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness, and pride of power, and with its plea for the weak. Christians are doing too little to make these points clear … Christendom adjusts itself far too easily to the worship of power. Christians should give more offense, shock the world far more, than they are doing now.
Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.
Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.
We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.
We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.
We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God…..We must not…..assume that our schedule is our own to manage, but allow it to be arranged by God.
The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.