Edited By Zachary Guiliano and Cameron Partridge
14. Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Theology, Politics and Preaching amidst Suffering.
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14. Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Theology, Politics, and Preaching amidst Suffering
JULY 1933 was a time of political and church crisis in Germany. The Nazi party and Adolph Hitler were quickly ascending to power. They sought to bring the Protestant churches under their full control. Historically the German Protestant churches were compliant with the state. However, they were also historically regional, not national, bodies. Further, the autonomy of the churches in the realm of church affairs (understood in terms of Luther’s “two kingdoms” division between church and civil spheres) was until then unquestioned. The theologian and ordained minister Dietrich Bonhoeffer was intensely and publicly involved in the church political issues of the time. In Germany and abroad he was a recognized leader in the German Protestant churches, both as an activist and a preacher. This paper will focus on a few documents that Bonhoeffer either wrote or contributed to in July 1933:
1. a set of theses written by Bonhoeffer’s circle of students and under his editorial eye, which was directed to the government, written on July 4th;
2. a similar declaration signed by over 100 Berlin Pastors including Bonhoeffer and sent to various Reich officials in early to mid-July;
3. a letter written by Bonhoeffer on July 17th to his friend and theological conversation partner, Erwin Sutz;
4. and a sermon Bonhoeffer preached at Trinity Church, Berlin on the day of the church elections,...
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