Dietrick Bonhoeffer’s death has been a contemporary confirmation of Tertullian’s dictum, “The Blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Bonhoeffer was executed by the Gestapo near the end of World War II because of his unwillingness to stand by and remain silent against Hitler’s crimes.
Bonhoeffer obviously met Jesus Christ and accepted the ultimate consequences of that encounter in the world.
My thought is: With the coming persecution of the Church is my faith deep enough for me to be willing to lay down my life as a martyr? Religion or cognitive understanding of doctrine without experiencing a deeper intimacy with the Father will not motivate us to take that kind of stand for Jesus.
Henry Blackaby commented at a recent conference I attended that the church is full of individuals who understand right doctirne without any dept of experience or intimacy with God. It’s what I call religion!
Jesus’ call to be His followers is very radical and much different from what we are calling church members to these days: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found hiks life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:34-39).
For Bonhoeffer Christianity could never be merely intellectual theory, doctrine divorced from life, or mystical emotion, but always it must be responsible, obedient action, the discipleship of Christ in every situation of concrete everyday life, personal and public.
“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer.