Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived in a world of nearly
unimaginable cruelty, deceit and violence. Its very name—Nazi
Germany—often functions as a synonym for evil. What more unlikely
context can we imagine for the flourishing and deepening of Christian
discipleship? Indeed, for many Christian people and communities in
1930s Germany, the Nazi regime did prove toxic to discipleship as
bishops, pastors, theologians and entire congregations fell under Adolf
Hitler’s charismatic sway.
Isn’t Germany a Christian nation? And so mustn’t God want whatever is good for Germany? And isn’t Hitler good for Germany, bringing hope and purpose to the beleaguered people? So went the logic for those who chose not to look hard beneath the surface of Hitler’s leadership.
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