La Casa de Cristo Lutheran Church November 4, 2012 Family Academic training Time in Barcelona, New York Confessing Church Time in London Finkenwalde Seminary Return to U.S. Agent of Abwehr Arrest, imprisonment, execution Legacy Father, Karl – professor of neurology and psychiatry, University of Berlin; director of psychiatric clinic, Charite Hospital Mother, Paula von Hase – daughter of Clare von Hase, pupil of Liszt; granddaughter of Karl von Hase, distinguished church historian, preacher to Kaiser Wilhelm II Paula home-schooled each child until age 6 or 7 A family saying: Germans had their backs broken twice in the course of their lives: first at school, then during military service Eight Bonhoeffer children ◦ Karl Friedrich (1899-1957), chemist, worked with Einstein and Max Planck on splitting the atom ◦ Walter (1899-1918), killed in action, WWI ◦ Klaus (1901-45), lawyer, general counsel for Lufthansa; hospital orderly, WWI; executed 4/23/45 ◦ Ursula (1902-83), married lawyer Rüdiger Schleicher, who was executed 4/23/45 Eight Bonhoeffer children ◦ Christel (1903-65), married to Hans von Dohnanyi, who was executed 4/9/45 (?) ◦ Dietrich (1906-45), executed 4/9/45 – 23 days before German surrender ◦ Sabine (1906-99), Dietrich’s twin, married to Jewish lawyer/professor Gerhard Leibholz ◦ Susanne (1909-91), married to theologian Walter Dress Announcement at 14: Want to be theologian Family thought he would follow in father’s footsteps Brother Klaus: Church is “poor, feeble, boring, petty, bourgeois” Dietrich:“In that case, I shall have to reform it” First year at Tübingen University, took trip to Rome 1924, enters University of Berlin ◦ Center of liberal theology – Schleiermacher, Adolf von Harnack ◦ Bonhoeffer more aligned with Karl Barth, neoorthodox Swiss theologian Harnack: “Unscientific” to speculate on who God is; just study texts and their history Barth: The God on the other side of the fence revealed himself through the texts; the only reason for the texts was to know him ◦ The ONLY way to know anything about God was to rely on revelation FROM God Completed doctorate at age 21 Sanctorum Communio: A Dogmatic Inquiry into the Sociology of the Church Question that occupied Bonhoeffer his whole life: What is the church? ◦ His answer: It is Christ, existing as churchcommunity Too young to be a pastor; vicarage in Barcelona, 1928 Post-graduate study at Union, 1930-31 Studied under Reinhold Niebuhr Critical of theological liberalism at Union; found real preaching and faith in Harlem; Adam Clayton Powell Sr. “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; man’s capacity for injustice makes democracy necessary” Friends with a student from France, Jean Lasserre Saw All Quiet on the Western Front together Lasserre said the Sermon on the Mount had influenced his theology Back in Berlin, writing Act and Being, a continuation of his dissertation Completing it would make him eligible to be a university lecturer Submitted, accepted in 1931 after he returned from America Bonhoeffer opposed Nazism from the start – 1/30/33 Radio address two days later warning against the idea of Der Führer 4/33 – Told his fellow churchmen that the church must resist Hitler, speak up for Jews, who have no voice 7/33 – Hitler imposes new church elections; rigged, and most positions went to Nazi sympathizers ◦ Lutheran churches of Bavaria, Hanover, Württemberg remain “intact,” not corrupted 8/33 – Opposition church leaders ask Bonhoeffer to write Bethel Confession; after revisions, he refuses to sign – too watered down 9/33 – Bonhoeffer helps organize the Pfarrernotbund, forerunner to Confessing Church 9/33 – National church accepts the Aryan Paragraph – prohibits non-Aryans from parish post 9/33 – Bonhoeffer refuses parish post in Berlin in protest 5/34 – Confessing Church founded at Barmen in opposition to Nazi Party; Karl Barth writes the Barmen Declaration ◦ Christ, not Hitler, is the head of the church Not a large movement, but a substantial source of opposition to Nazis Disheartened, Bonhoeffer takes a two-year appointment in London in autumn 1933 Becomes pastor to two German-speaking churches Barth accused Bonhoeffer of running away Bonhoeffer used time to generate contacts, support in the ecumenical movement; very important for later activities Bonhoeffer starts underground seminary in 1935 Seminarians led communal life Had to meditate on Scripture each day – and sing! Nazis closed in September 1937; arrested 27 pastors and students by November “Seminary on the run” taking place as he traveled from village to village Cost of Discipleship published in 1937 2/38 – Bonhoeffer makes initial contact with German Resistance; introduced by Dohnanyi Learned that war was imminent; could not swear an oath to Hitler, was concerned about being drafted Went to the U.S. in 6/39; friends arranged to help protect him Returned quickly to Germany; felt called by God to be with his people Back in Germany, harassed by Nazis Joined the Abwehr, a branch of military intelligence AND a center of resistance Dohnanyi brought him in; claimed Bonhoeffer’s wide ecumenical contacts would be good for Germany Gave him cover to travel, seek support from other nations for the German resistance Bonhoeffer knew he was supporting and engaging in a movement to assassinate Hitler ◦ Had to report regularly to police ◦ Forbidden to publish in 1941 Arrested April 6, 1943 He, Dohnanyi helped 14 Jews (Abwehr agents) get to Switzerland; sent large sums of money to them; were charged with corruption Charges ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Subverting Nazi policy toward Jews Evading military call-up Using Abwehr to circumvent ban on public speaking Using Abwehr to further Confessing Church activities In a military prison at Tegel for a year and a half July 20, 1944 – one of several plots to kill Hitler fails ◦ Supportive of fellow inmates ◦ Respected by guards; one offered to help him escape ◦ 9/44 – Abwehr documents found, tie Bonhoeffer to assassination plot ◦ Transferred to Reich security prison, then Buchenwald in 2/45, then Flossenbürg ◦ Diary of Abwehr head found 4/4/45; Hitler goes into rage ◦ Bonhoeffer hangs on 4/9/45, two weeks before Flossenbürg is liberated Christocentric approach appeals to conservative, confession-minded Protestants Social justice, “religionless Christianity” appeal to liberal Protestants The Incarnation – combining body and spirit, affirming flesh – makes it unacceptable to speak of God and the world in terms of two spheres Christians should not retreat from the world but act within it Christians must be a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves What is truth? ◦ God’s standard is more than merely not lying ◦ To be true to God meant having a relationship with him, not living legalistically by rules and principles Be willing to act in response to God ◦ He felt moved beyond the easy legalism of truth-telling ◦ Believed that responsible includes readiness to accept both guilt and freedom ◦ To live in fear of incurring guilt is itself sinful ◦ God wants us to operate out of freedom and joy to do what is right and good, not out of fear of making a mistake ◦ Impossible to avoid incurring guilt, but if you wish to live responsibly and fully, you will be willing to do so Read through page 56 – foreword, memoir, introduction, first chapter Bring your favorite Psalm!