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Time for an American Dietrich Bonhoeffer?

Buddy Spaulding:


My parents are in their late eighties. I treasure their wisdom and age, despite the difficulty they have in breaking away from the traditions of the evangelical world, Nevertheless, I love them dearly.


They have experienced a lot of change in their lives. Sadly, they are too young really to have captured the international wave of fascism in the early twentieth century.  As we move toward authoritarianism in the US, no one, with the exception of those who are living victims of the Holocaust, is old enough to have a realistic grasp on what was happening or how to confront it.


Are we in need of a new Dietrich Bonhoeffer?


Ten years ago, I read Eric Metaxas' biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Christian theologian who was executed by hanging at age 39 on April 9, 1945. I was uneasy as I read it. Although Metaxas recreated Bonhoeffer into an American evangelical image, he nevertheless did provoke an uneasiness of similarities between Bonhoeffer's time and ours. The silence of the Confessing Church in Germany on matters of Gospel truth and its failure to raise public alarm over the rising tide of hate were points well made.


Charlie Kirk, a well-connected and platformed college dropout, will likely be preaching soon at a megachurch near you. Word is that he's preaching a message of how evil Martin Luther King, Jr. was. Even conservatives have been appalled. I suspect, however, that few, if any leaders of the Big Evangelical Machine, will call him out due to fear of turning off their donors and losing their followers.


Silence over rising Christian Nationalism:


Falling into line with autocratic history, silence over rising nationalism within the Southern Baptist Convention and elsewhere is deafening! Thank God for the social media backlash that is building from a few emerging unknowns to anyone whose ears and eyes are slowly awakening. How unwilling we are to listen to thoughtful voices like Francis Collins! How quick we are to listen to untrained and undisciplined Christian CEOs and high-flying televangelists, emerging hucksters of the corrupt Church-Growth Movement!  


It is time for lament, repentance, and rethinking! It’s time for the Confessing Church in America to move away from trying to rescue America with its select moral codes and move toward claiming full citizenship in the present, dynamic, triumphant Kingdom of God. It’s time for voices of faith to rise in opposition to the religio/political swamp into which we are blindly wading. It’s time for Evangelical America to turn off the hate machine and test the limits of redemptive love outside the stranglehold of the political extreme.


The good news of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God forever stands on the cusp of rebirth and transforming power!! All we have to do is follow!


Be brave, fellow Christian! “Let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city that is to come!” (Heb 13:13).

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