Printer Friendly

Bonhoeffer's dilemma.


Imagine a world where every member of a certain religious group is being systematically hunted down and murdered in unimaginable ways: they are being crucified, tied inside of an animal carcass and killed by dogs, and lit on fire to illuminate the night sky. (1) Now imagine that this entire persecution is being carried out because of the commands of a single man. How should one respond? What should one do? For Christians in the early Church, the answer was unanimous: they did not try to kill their persecutors. In fact, the persecutors gave the Christians a way to put an end to the suffering: all the Christians had to do was to "swear by the emperor and curse Christ [and they] would be free to go." (2) Even in the face of death, many of these Christians refused to deny Christ. At his trial, Bishop Polycarp, after being told he would be spared if he rejected Christ, bravely said, '"For eighty-six years I have served him, and he has done me no evil. How could I curse my king, who saved me?'" (3) Polycarp, like many other Christians, refused to reject Christ or fight against the tyrannous government and became martyred.

This paper uses the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer to help explore the larger issue of what a Christian should do in the face of tyranny. Part I explores Bonhoeffer's life and theology, the latter of which changed over time. Part II discusses the teachings of Jesus, Peter, and Paul. Part III discusses the teachings of the early church fathers. Part IV addresses the later teachings of the Catholic Church, exemplified by Thomas Aquinas, and the thoughts of the early German Reformation, exemplified by Martin Luther. Part V presents some tentative conclusions about Bonhoeffer's dilemma in light of the teachings discussed in this paper. This paper shows that although Christ taught his followers to love their enemies and to pray for those who persecuted them, a Christian's duty will sometimes require him to act violently for the sake of others.


A. Bonhoeffer the Pacifist

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor of the Confessing Church during the 1930s and 40s who was faced with a dilemma somewhat like that faced by Christians in the early Church. Bonhoeffer became known for his emphasis on peace during the late 1930s with his sermons and his book, The Cost of Discipleship, (4) Bonhoeffer's pre-war The Cost of Discipleship; his writings during World War II, namely Ethics; and his essay, After Ten Years, serve as a great foundation for the overarching theological debate as to a Christian's duty in the face of tyranny and violence.

In The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer maintains a completely pacifist theology. One of the foundational points of this theology comes from Jesus' teachings of The Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. Bonhoeffer analyzes each Beatitude in critical detail.

Bonhoeffer writes, quoting Jesus, '"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.'" (5) He then explains who the meek are: "This community of strangers possesses no inherent right of its own to protect its members in the world, nor do they claim such rights, for they are meek." (6) Bonhoeffer believes the meek must act peacefully when treated violently and must not "go to law" to defend their legal rights. (7) Instead, "[t]hey are determined to leave their rights to God alone." (8) This seems to go hand-in-hand with the Christian martyrs of the early Church, who refused to use violence to prevent their own persecution and death.

Bonhoeffer next quotes another Beatitude of Jesus: '"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God.'" (9) Bonhoeffer acknowledges that this is an active calling, not a passive one, but he did not believe that peace should be made by using violence to stop the suffering. (10) Instead, Bonhoeffer believed that Christ's disciples should "keep the peace by choosing to endure suffering themselves rather than inflict it on others. They ... quietly suffer in the face of hatred and wrong. In so doing they overcome evil with good, and establish the peace of God in the midst of a world of war and hate." (11) Bonhoeffer's pacifist theology is clear here: he believes Christians should not be peacemakers of a sort that violently or aggressively stop attackers. Instead, Christians are to be peacemakers by enduring suffering.

Bonhoeffer's pacifist theology is made explicit when he discusses the subject of revenge:
   The only way to overcome evil is to let it run itself
   to a standstill because it does not find the resistance
   it is looking for. Resistance merely creates further
   evil and adds fuel to the flames. But when evil
   meets no opposition and encounters no obstacle but
   only patient endurance, its sting is drawn, and at last
   it meets an opponent which is more than its match. (12)

Bonhoeffer does not place conditions on when or for how long a Christian must patiently endure evil. Patient endurance of evil must continue for a Christian's entire life and in every circumstance: "There is no deed on earth so outrageous as to justify a different attitude." (13) He strongly condemns anyone who takes vengeance into his own hands, saying, "Christ died for me and for my enemies both. If I seek revenge, then I despise the other's salvation." (14)

Bonhoeffer assaults the theology of those he refers to as the "Reformers," although it seems to be quite clear he is aiming his assault at Luther. (15) He accuses the Reformers of creating a dividing line between one's Christian life and their temporal life, saying that this division "is wholly alien to the teaching of Jesus." (16) Bonhoeffer ponders:
   [T]he precept of non-violence applies equally to
   private life and official duty. [Jesus] is the Lord of
   all life, and demands undivided allegiance. Furthermore,
   when it comes to practice, this distinction
   raises insoluble difficulties. Am I ever acting only
   as a private person or only in an official capacity?
   If I am attacked am I not at once the father of my
   children, the pastor of my flock, and e.g. a government
   official? Am 1 not bound for that very reason
   to defend myself against every attack, for reason of
   responsibility to my office? And am I not also always
   an individual, face to face with Jesus, even in
   the performance of my official duties? Am I not
   therefore obliged to resist every attack just because
   of my responsibility for my office? Is it right to
   forget that the follower of Jesus is always utterly
   alone, always the individual, who in the last resort
   can only decide and act for himself? ... Is then the
   demand of Jesus nothing but an impractical ideal? (17)

Bonhoeffer thus believed that a Christian must act like Christ in every aspect of life, both in private, with family, and in an official capacity. Bonhoeffer accuses the Reformers, who believed Christians were only called to act like Christ in private but succumb to the necessities of the "real" world when acting for others, of walking along a dangerous slippery slope: could a person ever act only as a private person? Officials are still officials when they are alone; fathers are still fathers when they are alone. Thus, according to Bonhoeffer, to require Christians to act a certain way, but only "in private," would necessarily lead Christians to think of Jesus' teachings as nothing but impractical ideals, rather than actual commands to be carried out daily.

Finally, Bonhoeffer discusses how Christians should respond to their enemies. Again, advocating a theology of nonresistance, Bonhoeffer cites Christ as the ultimate example of nonviolence. Bonhoeffer states that in Matthew 5:43-48, Christians are called to love their enemies in uncompromising terms. (18) Bonhoeffer reminds his readers that the disciples themselves were reminded that they were Christ's enemies when they faced the cross, for he bore the cross for their sins. (19) Not only were the disciples once enemies of Christ, but every Christian was once God's enemy. (20) Christians are called to love every single person, including their enemies, just as God loved them when they were His enemy. "Or," Bonhoeffer asks, "are we of the opinion that God loves us more than God loves our enemies: Would we believe that we are God's favorite children? ... Is God's love any less for our enemies, for whom God just as much came, suffered, and died, as God did for us?" (21)

B. Bonhoeffer the Conspirator

Bonhoeffer's theology of peace was challenged after Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany. In 1929, before World War II began, Hitler began planning the first of his many schemes to make Germany great again, the first scheme being to "remove" the "weakest" Germans. (22) This plan, known as the T-4 euthanasia program, was carried out in 1939. (23) During that year, the German government began requiring all children born with genetic birth defects to be registered with the state. (24) After the war began, five thousand of these "incurable" children would be murdered. (25)

Although Bonhoeffer pushed for political resistance at the start of the war, he soon began to believe he had to do more. (26) Bonhoeffer's friend, Eberhard Bethge, explained the paradox Bonhoeffer faced:
   Bonhoeffer introduced us in 1935 to the problem of
   what we today call political resistance. The levels
   of confession and of resistance could no longer be
   kept neatly apart. The escalating persecution of the
   Jews generated an increasingly intolerable situation,
   especially for Bonhoeffer himself. We now realized
   that mere confession, no matter how courageous,
   inescapably meant complicity with the murderers,
   even though there would always be new acts of refusing
   to be co-opted and even though we would
   preach "Christ alone" Sunday after Sunday. During
   the whole time the Nazi state never considered it
   necessary to prohibit such preaching. Why should

   Thus we were approaching the borderline between
   confession and resistance; and if we did not cross
   this border, our confession was going to be no better
   than cooperation with the criminals. (27)

Bonhoeffer began his real work to help bring down the Nazi regime by joining the Abwehr. (28) The Abwehr was the Nazi equivalent to the CIA. The Gestapo, which was undividedly loyal to Hitler, was the Nazi equivalent to the FBI. (29) Many members of the Abwehr leadership were involved in the conspiracy to bring down Hitler. (30) Bonhoeffer was able to use his position in the Abwehr to move freely within the country. Eric Metaxas explains Bonhoeffer's complicated position:
   Bonhoeffer was pretending to be a pastor--but was
   only pretending to be pretending, since he really
   was being a pastor. And he was pretending to be a
   member of Military Intelligence working for Hitler,
   but--like Dohnanyi, Oster, Canaris, and Gisevius--he
   was in reality working against Hitler.
   Bonhoeffer was not telling little white lies. In Luther's
   famous phrase, he was "sinning boldly." (31)

Importantly, Bonhoeffer and the conspirators knew that the act of taking Hitler's life was not enough: the Nazi regime had to fall. This was evidenced during a conversation Bonhoeffer had with Werner von Haeften, a staff lieutenant of the Army High Command where Hitler often worked. (32) During this conversation, von Haeften told Bonhoeffer that he believed he could smuggle a revolver into the High Command and assassinate Hitler. (33) However, Bonhoeffer did not let him, saying killing him alone would not be enough--there must be a change of circumstances, of leadership, to go along with it--"the 'thereafter' must be carefully planned." (34) Thus, Bonhoeffer's ultimate intent was not to kill Hitler, for Hitler's death alone would not necessarily remove the Nazis from power. The conspirators, at least initially, considered Hitler's death to be simply necessary in order to achieve the end result: toppling the Nazi regime. And although the conspirators initially worked to bring the regime down to "get better peace terms from the Allies, ... as the war raged, and ... as the innocent deaths of Jews and others" were tolled, it became "simply about doing the right thing." (35)

There were several failed attempts by Bonhoeffer's group to kill Hitler. One attempt was called Operation Flash, where a conspirator planted a bornb on Hitler's private plane, but it failed to explode. (36) Another attempt involved a would-be suicide bomber wearing a bomb underneath his overcoat. (37) This, too, failed, because the fuse was set for ten minutes, and Hitler decided to depart early. (38) Other attempts on Hitler's life would ultimately fail as well. Fifteen days after the overcoat bomb attempt, the conspirators, including Bonhoeffer, began to be arrested. (39)

Before his arrest, however, Bonhoeffer wrote an essay entitled After Ten Years, which explained why he participated in the conspiracy. (40) Christian life, Bonhoeffer believed, was supposed to be active, not passive. (41) Christian life "had nothing to do with avoiding sin or with merely talking or teaching or believing theological notions or principles or rules or tenets. It had everything to do with living one's whole life in obedience to God's call through action." (42) Thus, "one must be more zealous to please God than to avoid sin." (43) Bonhoeffer reaffirmed his conviction that by doing nothing, he himself was complicit in the murders and evils of the Nazi regime. He wrote:
   If we want to be Christians, we must have some
   share in Christ's large-heartedness by acting with
   responsibility and in freedom when the hour of danger
   comes, and by showing a real sympathy that
   springs, not from fear, but from the liberating and
   redeeming love of Christ for all who suffer. Mere
   waiting and looking on is not Christian behaviour.
   The Christian is called to sympathy and action, not
   in the first place by his own sufferings, but by the
   sufferings of his brethren, for whose sake Christ
   suffered. (44)

To be Christian, then, is not simply a calling to make oneself ready for "when the hour of danger comes." (45) To be Christian is to act and to suffer on behalf of others when that time comes.

Bonhoeffer also wrote on the issue of a Christian's duty to act in Ethics. He argued that to be Christian is not to simply try to be morally good. Instead, to be Christian requires us to ask the question, "What is the will of God?" (46) He wrote accusingly to members of the German church who acted with "private virtuousness," but refused to take a stand against Hitler, saying:
   Such people neither steal, nor murder, nor commit
   adultery, but do good according to their abilities.
   But ... they must close their eyes and ears to the injustice
   around them. Only at the cost of self-deception
   can they keep their private blamelessness
   clean from the stains of responsible action in the
   world. (47)

Thus, some of Bonhoeffer's harshest words were for Germans who arguably did nothing wrong, but who absolutely refused to suffer for anyone but themselves. In contrast, Bonhoeffer was likely seen in the eyes of these "virtuous" Germans as having acted without any regard for morality whatsoever when he involved himself in an assassination plot against Hitler. Seemingly, Bonhoeffer's belief that pleasing God was more important than avoiding sin altogether implies that, even if his attempt to kill Hitler could be regarded as a sin, or a violation of some religious tenet, he still may have been acting more Christ-like than the "virtuous" non-sinners, for he was following the will of God. (48) Interestingly, the privately "virtuous" Christians that are the subject of Bonhoeffer's attacks seem to conform to Bonhoeffer's earlier teachings that Christians should simply "patiently endure" evil and to let evil run its course.

The atrocities of World War II had a great impact on Bonhoeffer's theology. His early sermons and his book, The Cost of Discipleship, espoused a theology of pacifism. Bonhoeffer strongly believed that this was how Christians were called to act, as this is what Jesus often taught throughout the Gospels. However, after the atrocities of the war accumulated, Bonhoeffer came to the conclusion that God willed him to action: to be a peacemaker now meant more than mere "patient endurance;" it meant taking an active stand against the tyranny of the Nazi regime.


A. Jesus

The analysis of what a Christian should do in the face of a tyrant begins with the founder of the faith, Jesus. Jesus had a deep understanding of what it meant to be persecuted by a domineering tyrant: from the very beginning of his human life until his death on the cross, Jesus faced the tyranny of human kings and religious leaders.

Jesus was born of a virgin by the work of the Holy Spirit, and was worshipped as a king by many when he was just a baby. (49) This is evidenced by the fact that, according to Scripture, a great heavenly host of angels came down from Heaven and sang "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." (50) Shepherds, too, worshipped Jesus as a king. (51)

Although Jesus came into this world much celebrated, there were some who did not like the idea of a Jewish king being born. When Jesus was born, the land in which Jesus lived, Judea, was ruled over by King Herod the Great. (52) But Herod was not born a king, nor was he born into a lineage of kings. (53) Instead, Herod was made king by marrying into the ruling Maccabean dynasty and being officially given the title "King of Judea" by the Roman Senate. (54)

Herod was a terrible man and an evil king who through violence and tyranny rose to the throne and kept his throne. A few years before Jesus' birth, Herod, afraid of being overthrown by a usurper, executed many of his close family members, including his wife, Mariamne, and his sons by her. (55) Perhaps his fears were heightened because Herod himself was a usurper. (56)

More evidence of Herod's tyranny is demonstrated closer to his death. Five days before Herod's death, Herod had another one of his sons, Antipater, killed. (57) And finally, "[f]earing that his own death would cause joy in the land," Herod, on his deathbed, gave a command to have the oldest child in each home put to the death, "hoping to make the nation weep instead of rejoice." (58)

Thus, it comes as no surprise that when Herod heard that a baby was "born King of the Jews," (59) he instinctively felt threatened and tried to have Jesus killed. Herod "gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under ..." (60) That Herod would kill a mere potential usurper is evidence showing that Herod was a tyrant. But Herod did not order his soldiers to kill only Jesus; instead, he ordered his soldiers to have all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity killed. Herod "made his net wider than necessary, caring nothing for the number slain, as long as he reached his intended victim." (61) Jesus' parents escaped Bethlehem and Judea before Herod's purge began. (62)

After Herod's death, Jesus returned to Judea and would later begin his ministry. (63) During this time, Herod's sons and grandsons reigned over the area. They included Archelaus, who was subsequently deposed because he was so cruel and tyrannical, (64) and Antipas, who put John the Baptist to death (65) and before whom Jesus stood trial (66) before he was crucified and killed. (67)

Soon after Jesus began his ministry he delivered one of his most famous teachings, what is known as The Sermon on the Mount:
   Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a
   mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to
   him, and he began to teach them, saying: Blessed
   are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of
   heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will
   be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will
   inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and
   thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
   Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown
   mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will
   see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will
   be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are
   persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the
   kingdom of heaven. (68)

Although all of these verses apply to life as a Christian, two of these verses stand out in helping discern what Jesus taught Christians to do in the face of evil. First, Jesus called his disciples to be meek. (69) Jesus did not call his disciples to be "weak or cowardly," but to be willing to lose everything for the kingdom of God. (70) Second, Jesus called his disciples to be peacemakers. (71) Dr. Frank Stagg has pointed out that "Peacemaking is positive and active, not passive. Jesus plunged into the midst of human life to bring order out of chaos, reconciliation out of estrangement, love in the place of hate." (72) Towards the end of his life, Bonhoeffer also believed a Christian's duty was to take an active peacemaking role against evil, reversing his prior teachings to simply "patiently endure" evil.

Jesus next gave several commands that, on their face, seem to contradict Bonhoeffer's actions. First, Jesus reaffirmed the Hebrew commandment to not murder. (73) Second, Jesus taught that Christians should not take "an eye for an eye," but instead that Christians should "not resist an evil person," and should, when struck on the right cheek, turn their left cheek to the striker as well. (74) Finally, Jesus commanded his disciples to "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven." (75) Jesus' unqualified command to be merciful in the Beatitudes referenced above is relevant here, as a Christian's enemies do not deserve a Christian's love or prayers, but nonetheless, Jesus commands all Christians to love and pray for their enemies. Jesus explains that if Christians only love those who love them, they will be like the rest of humankind, for even tax collectors love those who love them. (76) Taken together, these three commands seemingly fly in the face of Bonhoeffer's actions. Was he not involved in a plot to murder Hitler? Did he and his coconspirators pray for Hitler's health or for his death?

Still, Jesus did not teach that military service in itself was a sin. Instead, the Gospels tell us that while Jesus was in the city of Capernaum, Jesus encountered a centurion whose faith was greater than anyone Jesus had yet met, and so Jesus healed the centurion's servant instantly. (77) Out of all of the individuals Jesus had met in his travels, Jesus believed that a soldier, a man of war, had the strongest faith. Jesus praised this soldier's faith; Jesus did not reprimand the centurion for his position as a soldier. (78)

The last example that is particularly relevant to the question posed takes place at the time of Jesus' arrest. When Jesus was seized by a group of armed guards, Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of one of the servants of the high priest. (79)
   Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him,
   "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.
   Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will
   at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions
   of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be
   fulfilled that say it must happen this way? (80)

Dr. Stagg explains that Jesus "rejected the world's weapons. He would conquer with a cross, not a sword. He would conquer by giving life, not taking it. This was his way, and it is to be ours." (81) It is noteworthy that Jesus could have easily escaped crucifixion by calling down twelve legions of angels. His reason for not resisting arrest and execution is not because self-defense is wrong, but because he had to fulfill Scripture. One question to consider is why Peter was reprimanded for drawing a sword in his Lord's defense, but the centurion, who owned a sword and drew it many times over, was not reprimanded by Jesus, but instead praised for his great faith.

Jesus came to this earth sinless, but not naive. He lived in a time of tyrants, not of peace, and endured real persecution. No one can accuse Jesus of not understanding the "real" situations Christians face today. However, his teachings are sometimes hard to reconcile. On the one hand, Jesus praised a centurion for his great faith; on the other hand, Jesus reprimanded Peter for drawing a sword in his Lord's defense, and told his disciples to turn the other cheek and pray for their enemies. Still, it would be difficult to use the legal maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius (82) to argue that because Jesus reprimanded Peter for drawing the sword, Christians as a whole cannot draw the sword. This is not what Jesus said. Jesus made it clear that he could call down 72,000 warrior angels to defend him against a small crowd of men, (83) but that he had a reason for not doing so--he had to fulfill the Scripture by dying on the cross.

B. Peter

The next thinker from the New Testament that can give us insight into the validity of Bonhoeffer's actions from a Christian point of view is the Apostle Peter. Peter was one of Christ's disciples. Like Jesus and John the Baptist, Peter suffered through the tyrannical reign of Herod the Great's kin, Herod Agrippa. (84) Although he was freed from Herod after being imprisoned by him, Peter was unfortunately not saved from the Neronian persecution, during which time he was crucified. (85) However, prior to his execution, Peter wrote the letter 1 Peter, where he gives insight into how Christians should act in relation to human authority.

First, Peter tells Christians to:
   Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority
   instituted among men: whether to the king,
   as the supreme authority, or the governors, who are
   sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to
   commend those who do right. For it is God's will
   that by doing good you should silence the ignorant
   talk of foolish men. (86)

This passage seems very easy to follow when a Christian is not being persecuted, but these verses were written during the reign of Nero. (87)

Dr. Ray Summers believes that the above-referenced verses should be read to mean that Christians should obey the Roman civic law, but only to the extent that it did not contradict God's law. (88) He also argues that the passages assume the state government to be beneficial to Christians, not hostile. (89) A Christian's duty to obey the laws and pray for the government ends when situations like those mentioned in the book of Revelation arise: there, "the state was assuming the place of God and the Christians were urged to resist it even unto death." (90) But in First Peter, "civil authority stands for the same thing for which Christianity stands, i.e., the highest good for all men." (91)

Peter next tells his Christian readers they will be persecuted and beaten simply for being Christians, but they must endure it. He says, "For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God." (92)

And Christians were persecuted. During Nero's reign, a fire began in Rome that burned a large portion of the city. (93) Many rumors spread against Nero, blaming him for starting it. Of the fourteen sections of the city, ten burned; the two areas of the city that were densely populated with Jews and Christians did not bum. (94) In an effort to stop the rumors against himself, Nero blamed the Christians, who were already hated for rejecting Roman culture, theater, and the games. (95) The Roman historian Tacitus recorded grim details of the persecution of the Christians after being blamed for the fires of Rome:
   Before killing the Christians, Nero used them to
   amuse people. Some were dressed in furs, to be
   killed by dogs. Others were crucified. Still others
   were set on fire early in the night, so that they might
   illumine it. Nero opened his own gardens for these
   shows, and in the circus he himself became a spectacle,
   for he mingled with the people dressed as a
   charioteer, or he rode around in his chariot. All of
   this aroused the mercy of the people, even against
   these culprits who deserved an exemplary punishment,
   for it was clear that they were not being destroyed
   for the common good, but rather to satisfy
   the cruelty of one person. (96)

But the Christians endured the killings and the torture, and Christianity spread. Foxe tells us:
   The charred ruins of the noble Circus, the bleeding
   bodies of the slaughtered Christians, the desolated
   city, when contrasted with the meek, inoffensive
   lives of those who suffered such tortures, and to
   whose account the tyrant dared to lay the destruction
   of that city, exercised an influence amongst the
   people in favour of Christianity. (97)

It is interesting to note that Christianity as a religion grew despite a large number of its members being killed in horrible ways. One can only speculate how the religion would have been affected had its members not practiced non-violence, but instead fought against the Roman authorities. Perhaps instead of exponential growth, the religion would have been wiped out as the Jewish Zealots were.

Although scholars generally agree that First Peter was written during the reign of Nero, (98) there is some disagreement as to whether it was written before or during the Neronian persecution. (99) It could not have occurred afterwards since Peter was killed during the persecution. (100)

The disagreement as to the date of the writing of First Peter is rather important, for if Peter wrote, "show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the emperor," (101) before the Neronian persecution began, then one could argue that a Christian's duty to honor the king ended when the persecution began. (102)

But Peter never qualifies his command to honor the king. He does not say to fear God and honor the king only in times of peace. Instead, he calls all Christians to suffer as Christ suffered, by stating, "Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps. 'He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.' When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." (103) If Peter did indeed write First Peter prior to the Neronian persecution, it is thus unclear whether he would have said the same thing had he written it after that persecution began. While one can only speculate about how Peter would have responded to such a change, the evidence is clearer with regard to Bonhoeffer. Clearly, Bonhoeffer was a devout pacifist prior to the war, but after his pacifist views were tested with hellfire after the war began, his theology on issues of violence were molded and changed.

C. Paul

The last principal writer of the New Testament that will be discussed here is Paul. Peter's words in First Peter cannot be understood without reference to those of the Apostle Paul in Romans and Peter in Acts. Peter's words instructing Christians to submit themselves to every human authority are clarified by those of Peter in Acts and Paul in Romans. In Romans, Paul tells Christians to submit to rulers because their authority comes from the ultimate source of authority--God. (104) In Acts, Luke writes that when the high priest of the Sanhedrin accused Peter and John of disobedience for their failure to stop preaching the news of Christ, "Peter and the other apostles replied: 'We must obey God rather than men!'" (105) Thus, Christians must obey every human authority only to the extent that doing so does not conflict with God's law.

Paul was persecuted during his entire ministry, even until death. The book of Acts tells how Paul and Silas were imprisoned for healing a servant girl who could tell fortunes. (106) While in jail, Paul and Silas did not call upon an angel to rescue them, but instead prayed and sang hymns. (107) During this time, an earthquake shook the jail and threw open all of the jail's cell doors. (108) Upon discovering this, the jailer believed his prisoners to have escaped, and drew his sword to kill himself. (109) Instead of escaping the tyranny of the state, Paul and Silas used this opportunity to witness to the jailer, and the jailer and his whole family were saved. (110)

Paul's ministry on this earth was cut short during the Neronian persecution. After Paul had preached in Greece, Rome, France, and Spain, he was captured on his way back to Rome, and was there beheaded by the order of Nero. (111)

Several conclusions can be drawn from an analysis of Peter and Paul. First, God's law stands above all other laws, and human law must be disobeyed to the extent that it is not compatible with God's law. Second, all authority on earth is ultimately from God. Third, so as to prevent needless persecution, Christians are to obey human laws to the extent they do not directly conflict with God's law. Conflict arises as to how Christians should react in the face of persecution. Paul and Silas sang hymns while jailed, and this led to the salvation of an entire family. Some commentators, however, believe Peter's command to "honor the king" must be read in the context of the pre-Neronian persecution, as they do not believe Peter would have written such during the Neronian persecution itself. Still, Peter's words in First Peter were prophetic, for the Christians during the reign of Nero endured unjust suffering and persecution, and the vast expansion of the Christian faith can be attributed to their willingness to lay down their lives for Christ. (112) And still, no Christian before, during, or after these persecutions tried to assassinate an evil ruler, or was encouraged to do so.


Christians continued to be persecuted after the reign of Nero ended. In the second century, Christianity was outlawed, and, officially, the punishment was death. (113) Pliny the Younger, governor of Bithynia, had a method of dealing with people accused of being Christian that was common among the governing authorities of the day: the accused were brought before the governor, required to "pray to the gods [of Rome], bum incense before the image of the emperor, and curse Christ, something that he had heard true Christians would never do." (114) If the accused were willing to do this, they were set free. (115) There were some cases where the accused declared that they were no longer of the faith--that they had abandoned it. (116) However, there are also many accounts of Christians persevering in their faith until the end. In Justin Martyr's Apology, for example, he states that during the trial of someone who had been accused of being a Christian, two other Christians came to his defense, and all three died as martyrs, refusing to reject the faith. (117) Christians were thus being put to the death not because they had committed a serious crime, but because of a name. (118)

A. Justin Martyr

The first theologian to be discussed during the second century is Justin Martyr. He lived in Rome and founded a school to teach Christianity, what he often called "the true philosophy." (119) Justin died a martyr in Rome, but before this he wrote extensively with arguments for the Christian faith. Justin died trying to stop the persecution of Christians not with violence, but by appealing to the emperor's sense of reason and justice. Justin also sought to show that Christians make the best citizens, and that they were good people to have inside the empire.

In Justin's First Apology, he appeals to Emperor Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Pius to stop punishing and executing Christians simply because they are "Christian," and to instead investigate the allegations against them to see if they have merit. (120) Justin was even willing to bet his life that Christians would be proven innocent of any crime if the government would simply investigate the allegations, and he did not write anonymously; instead, he identified himself by name: "Justin, son of Priscus and grandson of Bacchius, from Flavia Neapolis in Syria-Palestine." (121) In his appeal to the emperor's reason, Justin says, "if nobody can prove anything against us, true reason forbids you because of an evil rumour to wrong innocent people, and indeed rather to wrong yourselves, who think fit to instigate action not by judgment but by passion." (122)

Justin next appeals to the emperor's sense of justice. He does this by saying that just as it would be wrong to acquit someone of a crime because of their association with a group, so too is it wrong to convict someone of a crime because of their mere association with a group. (123) Justin points out that in the Roman justice system, Roman citizens are never put to death without being convicted of a crime, and they are certainly not put to death after only a simple unsubstantiated accusation against them. But here, instead of individual Christians being accused of an individual crime and then being individually convicted, the Christian religion has been found "guilty" of some unnamed crimes, and thus one only had to be accused of being Christian to share in the guilt. This happened without any court of law actually convicting the Christian faith or individual Christians of actual crimes. (124) "For we are accused of being Christians," Justin says, "and to hate what is favourable is unjust." (125)

Justin argues that Christians are good for the Roman Empire, and that the Roman Empire should desire more of its citizens to be Christian. (126) Justin explains that most people follow human laws so they will not get into trouble by the human authorities, but Christians have a restraint "which human laws could not bring about," for they have to answer to an ever-watchful divine power. (127)

In conclusion, Justin believes in appealing to the Roman leadership's reason and sense of justice; he also argues that ending the persecution of Christians would be good for Rome. Justin, like the New Testament thinkers and the other second century Christian theologians, does not advocate for violence whatsoever.

B. Ignatius of Antioch

Two of the great Christian thinkers of the second century were from Antioch. The first one to be discussed is Ignatius of Antioch. In about A.D. 107, Ignatius, a Christian (and thus in violation of the law), was ordered to be captured and brought to Rome to be killed as part of a Roman celebration of a military victory. (128) On the way to Rome, Ignatius learned that Christians in Rome were planning to use force to free him from his imprisonment and pending execution. (129) In a rather grim acknowledgement of the horrible death he would be facing in Rome, Ignatius wrote to his would-be saviors asking not for his freedom, but for their prayers, so that he may have strength:
   [Pray] so that I may not only be called a Christian
   but behave as such.... My love is crucified.... I
   no longer savor corruptible food ... but wish to
   taste the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus
   Christ ... and his blood I wish to drink, which is an
   immortal drink.... When I suffer, I shall be free in
   Jesus Christ, and with him shall rise again in freedom....
   I am God's wheat, to be ground by the
   teeth of beasts, so that I may be offered as pure
   bread of Christ. (130)

Ignatius rejected the use of violence to end his own sufferings. He bravely accepted that he was going to die in a gruesome manner, likening his death at the hands of wild beasts to that of the taking of the sacrament. Pre-war-Bonhoeffer would likely argue that this meant Ignatius was also a pacifist. However, conspirator-Bonhoeffer may have argued differently. Conspirator-Bonhoeffer may have argued that Ignatius rejected the use of violence because the violence would have only ended his suffering. Conspirator-Bonhoeffer said that to be Christian is to act and suffer for others, not to act to save the sufferings of one's self. Perhaps Ignatius believed that many young Christian men were going to risk their lives to save his life, and he felt it was his Christian duty to suffer to save their lives.

C. Theophilus of Antioch

One of the reasons Christians were being persecuted was for their refusal to worship the Emperor as a god. (131) The Bishop of Antioch, Theophilus, responded to the persecution of Christians and to the demands that they worship the emperor by remaining adamant in his refusal to worship the emperor or to reject Christ. He insisted on honoring the emperor not by worshipping him, but "by praying for him." (132)

Thus, both Ignatius and Theophilus counseled not for violent resistance to being persecuted, but for prayer, and both gave their lives for what they believed in.

D. Saint Augustine of Hippo

Bishop Augustine of Hippo was among the first of the fathers of the Christian faith to live and write in a Roman Empire that legally tolerated Christianity. (133) Christianity became legally permitted in the Roman Empire in A.D. 313; some eighty years later it became the official state religion; and Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in A.D. 410. (134) Some blamed Rome's fall on Christianity's rise, for all of the Christian thinkers and theologians previously discussed actively argued that Christians should be nonviolent and meek. (135) Another Christian theological giant from the time period, Tertullian, arguably believed Christians could not serve in the military altogether. (136) Augustine was among the first Christian writers to oppose this line of thinking. He argued that Christians could defend themselves and others that Christians could serve in the military at the commands of their sovereign and that war could be fought justly.

Augustine argues in On Free Choice of Will that Christians may do lesser evils in order that greater evils may be avoided. Augustine makes his argument through a dialogue between himself and a fictional character named Evodius. Evodius argues that a Christian ought not take another's life, even in self-defense, for in doing so, the Christian necessarily values his own life more than the attacker's. (137) Since this is a "selfish" act, it is therefore sinful, and so the Christian ought not do it. (138) However, through a Socratic line of questioning, Augustine convinces Evodius of two important things: (1) a law that permits someone to do a lesser evil so as to avoid a greater evil is not unjust; and (2) it is better that a man who attempts to kill another be killed than the man who acts to prevent life from being taken. (139)

Later, in a letter to a public official, Macedonius, Augustine argues that killing human beings is not necessarily evil per se; rather, it is the man's subjective intention when killing the other that determines the goodness or badness of the act. (140) For example, a murderer kills another out of a sheer intent to harm the deceased, but a father may kill with intent to protect his daughter, and a soldier may kill with intent to obey his sovereign. (141)

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Augustine discusses war and gives three main arguments for why war can be just. It is noteworthy that Augustine is the first major Christian thinker to make the case for just war.

Augustine first examines war from the viewpoint of the soldier and reflects on how soldiers were treated by Jesus and John the Baptist. When Jesus was asked to heal a centurion's servant, Jesus praised the faith of the centurion. (142) Tellingly, Jesus did not admonish the centurion for being a soldier, nor did he command the centurion to throw down his arms. (143) Likewise, when John the Baptist was asked by soldiers what they should do, Augustine emphasizes what John did not say, '"Throw away your arms; give up the service; never strike, or wound, or disable anyone.'" (144) Rather, as Augustine reminds his readers, John said, '"Do violence to no man, accuse no man falsely, and be content with your wages' (Luke 3:14)." (145) Thus, Augustine believes that if being a soldier was against the will of God, then Jesus or John the Baptist would have said so. Augustine then presents King David as his "Exhibit A" and argues that not only is being a soldier and going to war permissible, but that, at times, it even pleases God. (146) Therefore, one can be both a Christian and a soldier.

Second, Augustine believes that war itself can be just if undertaken for the peace of mankind. (147) He asks, "What is the moral evil in war? Is it the death of some who will soon die in any case, that others may be subdued to a peaceful state in which life may flourish?" (148) Augustine answers his question in a letter addressed to a Count Boniface, saying:

Peace should be the object of your desire; war should be waged only as a necessity, and waged only that God may by it deliver men from the necessity and preserve them in peace. For peace is not sought in order to kindle war, but war is waged in order that peace may be obtained. Therefore, even in waging war cherish the spirit of the peacemaker, that by conquering those whom you attack you may lead them back to the advantages of peace; for our Lord says: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God" (Matt. 5:9). (149)

Augustine's belief that Christians can follow Christ's teachings to be "peacemakers" by waging war goes directly against Bonhoeffer's definition of that same term in The Cost of Discipleship. There, Bonhoeffer argued that a Christian's duty to be a "peacemaker" required the Christian to make peace by patiently enduring evil and renouncing all violence and tumult. (150) Ultimately, however, Bonhoeffer and his co-conspirators adopted Augustine's interpretation of this Beatitude, and they actively sought out ways to end World War II, even if it meant using violence.

To summarize, the dominant Christian viewpoint on violence seems to have shifted between the second and fourth centuries. None of the Christian writers of the second century condoned any act of violence by Christians, whether it was to stop the violent persecutions against Christians generally or to save their very own lives. Justin welcomed open debate, and he actively argued how wise it would be for the Roman government to endorse Christianity. Ignatius was given an opportunity to escape a death involving wild beasts, yet he rejected this opportunity and instead prayed for strength. Theophilus, too, elected prayer instead of freedom. He chose to remain adamant in his resolve to refuse to pray to the emperor, believing that it was his Christian duty to only pray for the emperor. Augustine, however, marks the turning point in the rejection of all violence by Christian theologians. He believed that both self-defense and war could be justified under certain circumstances.


A. Saint Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas was a great Christian theologian from Naples who lived from 1225 to 1274. (151) Aquinas believed that truth could be discovered if one sought it using rational principles grounded in what one knew, as opposed to blind faith. (152) Using this line of reasoning, Aquinas sought to use reason to explain the known, and from the known he explained the unknown. (153) Aquinas takes a very pragmatic approach to the issues Bonhoeffer faced. On the one hand, he argues that killing another can be justified as long as the actor's intention is good and the use of force is proportionate to what is necessary. (154) On the other hand, Aquinas is extremely wary of allowing private parties to depose tyrants, even if the tyranny is in excess. (155)

Aquinas believes that killing another person can be lawful. Aquinas first explains that "moral acts take their species according to what is intended, and not according to what is beside the intention." (156) Any particular action a man takes may have multiple effects. (157) Self-defense, Aquinas says, "may have two effects, one is the saving of one's life, the other is the slaying of the aggressor. Therefore this act, since one's intention is to save one's [own] life, is not unlawful." (158) However, Aquinas is wary of issuing some sort of James Bond-esque "license to kill" by allowing all violence to be trivialized as merely "incidental" to one's intentional acts. Rather, he believes that the use of violence may be rendered unlawful if the amount of force used to repel the aggressor is out of proportion to the aggressor's force. (159) Aquinas explains:
   Wherefore if a man, in self-defense, uses more than
   necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if
   he repel force with moderation his defense will be
   lawful, because according to the jurists, it is lawful
   to repel force by force, provided one does not exceed
   the limits of a blameless defense. (160)

Thus, a Christian may not use deadly force to repel an assailant unless the Christian justifiably believes that his life is in danger.

If taken together, Aquinas's "proportionality of force" argument and his emphasis in the intent behind an action rather than its incidental effects seem to indicate that Aquinas would argue in favor of killing Hitler when confronted with Bonhoeffer's dilemma. Hitler was not merely using harsh words or throwing punches, but committing mass genocide. Bonhoeffer was acting out of defense for an entire nation of people. Thus, Bonhoeffer's actions had both good intentions and were proportionate to the aggressor's use of force.

Although Aquinas believes that killing can be lawful when the person's intentions are good and when the force used is appropriate, Aquinas would probably not condone the attempted murder of a tyrannical leader like Hitler. Aquinas divides tyranny into two main groups: minor tyranny and excessive tyranny. (161) With regard to cases of minor tyranny, Aquinas is clear: Christians should not act against the tyrant. He gives several reasons for this.

First, "it may happen that those who act against the tyrant are unable to prevail and the tyrant then will rage the more." (162) Bonhoeffer and his co-conspirators failed in their attempt to assassinate Hitler. And their failings resulted in most of the conspirators being captured and executed. If Nazi Germany had won the war, it is possible that Hitler could have responded to the attempts on his life by unleashing a series of terrible reprisals to destroy all dissent against him.

Second, Aquinas worries that, should the minor tyrant be successfully deposed, the population will be dissolved into factions and that an even worse tyrant would take the first's place. Aquinas said the new leader, "fearing to suffer from another what he did to his predecessor, ... oppresses his subjects with an even more grievous slavery." (163) Aquinas then tells a story to make his point:
   Whence in Syracuse, at a time when everyone desired
   the death of Dionysius, a certain old woman
   kept constantly praying that he might be unharmed
   and that he might survive her. When the tyrant
   learned this he asked why she did it. The she said:
   "When I was a girl we had a harsh tyrant and I
   wished for his death; when he was killed, there succeeded
   him one who was a little harsher. I was very
   eager to see the end of his dominion also, and we
   began to have a third ruler still more harsh--that
   was you. So if you should be taken away, a worse
   would succeed in your place. (164)

Aquinas takes a different stance when it comes to excessive tyranny. He cites to John of Salisbury and Ehud from the Old Testament as examples of those who believe that "it would be an act of virtue for strong men to slay the tyrant and to expose themselves to the danger of death in order to set the multitude free. (165) However, Aquinas believes that this viewpoint went against what was taught by the Apostles of the New Testament. Referencing 1 Peter 2:18, Aquinas says "For Peter admonishes us to be reverently subject to our masters, not only to the good and gentle but also the froward." (166) Aquinas also draws from the authority of the early church to show tyrants should not be slain by private men:
   [W]hen many emperors of the Romans tyrannically
   persecuted the faith of Christ, a great number both
   of the nobility and the common people were converted
   to the faith and were praised for patiently
   bearing death for Christ. They did not resist although
   they were armed, and this is plainly manifested
   in the case of the holy Theban legion. (167)

Thus, Aquinas does not believe that excessive tyrants should be deposed or killed by the "private presumption of the few." (168)

However, Aquinas does not say that excessive tyrants should not be removed. Instead of these leaders being removed by small groups of private individuals, excessive tyrants should be removed "by public authority." (169) Aquinas gives many historical examples of tyrants being deposed by the public authority: Tarquin, king of Rome, was removed from the kingship because of his tyranny; Domitian, the emperor of Rome who exiled the Apostle John, was killed by the Roman senate for excessive tyranny; Archelaus, son of King Herod of Judea, "was imitating his father's wickedness," and had his kingship removed and his kingdom divided in half. (170)

Finally, Aquinas concedes that sometimes there will be no public authority in place to remove a tyrant. But Aquinas does not concede that this is a situation where private action is justified. Instead, he believes that this is a situation where only God can provide relief: "recourse must be had to God, King of all.... For it lies in his power to turn the cruel heart of the tyrant to mildness." (171) And since "tyrants rule by divine permission, as a punishment for the sins of the subjects," God will help the people once they "desist from sin." (172)

Aquinas' theology is difficult to reconcile with the dilemma faced by Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer had good intentions when he acted to try to bring down the Third Reich: he and his coconspirators wanted to end the persecution and murder of the Jews and bring the war's atrocities to an end. Thus, although the conspirators plotted to kill Hitler, their intentions were good; any evil arising from the act of killing Hitler was merely incidental to the ultimate goal of stopping the Nazis. This is strongly evidenced by the fact that a member of Bonhoeffer's group possessed the ability to sneak a revolver into Hitler's chambers and kill him, but Bonhoeffer stopped him because the ultimate goal of overthrowing the Nazi party would not have succeeded. However, Bonhoeffer's group failed in their attempt to "slay the tyrant" Hitler, which is exactly what Aquinas feared. Bonhoeffer's group was therefore lucky that Hitler did not respond as Aquinas predicted and "rage the more." Aquinas believes that both the apostolic teachings of the New Testament combined with the actions of the members of the early church during great persecution of Christians in Rome lead to only one conclusion: the assassination of a leader, no matter how tyrannical, is in contradiction to Christianity. Instead, Christians must work to use the public authority to remove the tyrant, or, if that does not work, look to God. All authority is ultimately from God, (173) so it is ultimately God's decision to either remove the tyrant, change the tyrant's heart, (174) or wait for the people to desist from sin before acting. (175)

B. Martin Luther

Martin Luther was a German Christian born in 1483 who became a leader of the Reformation. (176) Luther would have completely supported the conspirators' plot to kill Hitler. Interestingly, however, Luther was the principal Reformer whom Bonhoeffer strongly attacked in The Cost of Discipleship. In effect, Bonhoeffer accused Luther of teaching a slippery-slope Christianity whereby Jesus' teachings would be reduced to nothing more than ideals that Christians were never actually required to follow. The Cost of Discipleship still stands as good theology to those Christians who take a pacifist stance, even though the writer's participation in the conspiracy ultimately contradicted it and reaffirmed what Luther taught. Luther believed that each Christian individual is composed of two persons: "a Christ-person subject only to Christ's commands and a Weltperson caught up in a network of social obligations." (177) This dualism is how Bonhoeffer's actions are justified: as a Christian, Bonhoeffer should love his enemy; but as a citizen, a pastor, and a neighbor to the Jews, he has a temporal duty to stop Hitler's tyranny. In his Temporal Authority: To What Extent It Should be Obeyed, Luther systematically laid out an argument for how Christians can interact with the temporal world, and how the civil law and the sword can be used by Christians.

First, Luther shows that every person is subject to a governing authority, and all governing authority is ordained by God. (178) Luther then cites the Bible's commands in Genesis 9:6 that murderers are to be killed. But, Luther says, murderers are not to be automatically killed by some "plague or punishment of God," but by governments using the sword to do justice. (179) Thus, since God has commanded that murderers be killed, and governments are ordained by God, then governments are ordained by God to use the sword to kill murderers.

Luther concedes that several passages in the New Testament seem to teach the contrary: (1) "Do not resist evil; but if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also"; (180) (2) "Beloved, defend not yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine; I will repay'"; (181) (3) "Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you"; (182) and (4) "Do not return evil for evil." (183)

Luther divides "the children of Adam" into two groups: those "belonging to the kingdom of God" and those belonging to the "kingdom of the world. (184) Luther says that Christians, who are citizens of the kingdom of God, "need no temporal law or sword. (185) Furthermore, "[i]f all the world were composed of real Christians, that is, true believers, there would be no need for nor benefits from prince, king, lord, sword, or law." (186) A world filled with Christians would not need the sword or the law because "[t]he law [is not] laid down [for the just but] for the.... lawless." (187) Just as a tree bears fruit according to its very nature, so too does a Christian act according to his Christian nature. Just as it would be absolutely useless for someone to write a series of laws or instructions so that the tree could produce fruit better, it would also be absolutely useless to write laws for instructing Christians on how to act according to their nature better. (188)

Luther then asks why so many commandments and laws are created if Christians do not need laws to know how to act. (189) He answers: it is because "[a]ll who are not Christians belong to the kingdom of the world and are under the law." (190) Further, "no one is by nature Christian or righteous, but altogether sinful and wicked," (191) and "[t]here are few true believers, and still fewer who live a Christian life." (192) If Christians tried to rule the world according to above-cited Gospel, doing away with the sword and the temporal law, the world would be in complete chaos. (193) Thus, Christians must "first fill the world with real Christians before [they] attempt to rule it in a Christian ... manner." (194)

Luther admits that Christ taught that Christians, among themselves, should not live by the sword, lest they die by the sword; however, Luther says that this teaching alone does not mean Christians may never bear the sword. (195) Christians may bear the sword, not for themselves, for in accordance with Christ's words in Matthew 5:39, Christians would gladly turn the other cheek rather, Christians may bear the sword "for the good of your neighbor and for the maintenance and safety of others." (196) Likewise, Christians must act in accordance with Christ's teachings with regard to their own selves; but according to a Christian's body, property, family, and station in life, a Christian must do what the secular life requires:
   If [a Christian] has a house or a wife and children or
   servants and refuses to support them or, if need be,
   to protect them, he does wrong. It will not do for
   him to declare that he is a Christian and therefore
   has to forsake or relinquish everything.... Here
   [his] name is not 'Christian,' but 'father.' (197)

In the same way, a mother would be deemed "crazy" if she refused to defend her child from wild dogs because "a Christian must not defend himself." Luther says he would admonish the woman and say, "[D]o your duty as a mother, as you are charged to do it. Christ did not abrogate this." (199) Thus, Christians must act Christ-like in their own persons, but with regard to their secular obligations, they must act as required of them in this temporal world. (200)

Luther then takes up a final objection: that neither Christ nor any of his disciples used the sword to achieve their ends. Luther answers by arguing in effect against the maxim inclusio unius est exclusio alterius. (201) Luther reasons that just because Christ acted one way this does not mean he rejected other ways to act: "Christ pursued his own office and vocation, but he did not thereby reject any other." (202) Luther continues, "You tell me, why did Christ not take a wife, or become a cobbler or tailor?" (203) Just because Christ and the apostles refused to use the sword to achieve their ends does not mean Christians cannot.

In summary, Christ taught his disciples and followers to live one way. But if a Christian ruler governed in direct accordance with Christ's teachings, the world would become chaos. Christians cannot rule using Christian laws until the entire world is Christian, and that will never happen. The world needs secular laws and the "temporal sword" in order to maintain peace. Just as the world needs secular laws, Christians must also act in accordance with the secular demands of this world. A mother cannot simply turn the other cheek as her daughter is attacked by wild dogs: although a Christian, the mother must acknowledge that she is not in a Christian world, but a secular one, and use force to repel the attackers.

By applying Luther's teachings to Bonhoeffer's dilemma, an obvious result is reached. If Hitler was only persecuting Bonhoeffer, then Bonhoeffer would need to "turn the other cheek," he would need to not resist evil, and he would need to pray for his persecutor. However, Bonhoeffer was not the only one persecuted. Millions of Jews and others died in the concentration camps under the Third Reich's reign, and countless other atrocities happened during the war that Hitler started. Applying Luther's logic, if Bonhoeffer was aware of these atrocities and did nothing because of some teaching of Christ, he would be like the crazy mother who refused to act to defend her child from wild dogs. Bonhoeffer was under a duty to act, under a duty to do everything in his power to bring down Hitler, and he would thus have been "crazy" to not do so.


The dilemma Bonhoeffer faced helps facilitate a larger debate on the use of violence to stop violence and tyranny. The tension creating this debate dates back to the time of Jesus: on the one hand, Jesus admonished Peter when Peter drew a sword in Jesus's defense; conversely, Jesus praised a centurion for his faith. How can these two teachings be reconciled with one another?

Bonhoeffer found himself on both sides of the debate at different times in his life. He was on the pacifist side before the war, but found his conscience pulling him towards the other after learning of Hitler's atrocities. There has been speculation among Bible scholars as to whether Peter, too, would have "flip-flopped" on the issue; that is, not all scholars are convinced that Peter would have written the same words in First Peter had he been writing after the Neronian persecutions began instead of before. (204)

Jesus and his disciples preached a message of love, peace, and forgiveness. The early church fathers of the second century believed that it was every Christian's duty to imitate the actions of Christ to the greatest extent possible, with Ignatius going so far as to compare his pending death to the taking of the sacrament. Luther would disagree with this, saying that Christ was called to fulfill the Scriptures, and he could truly live purely as a "Christ-person," since he did not have any temporal obligations. Further, Luther would agree with conspirator-Bonhoeffer, and say that whatever Jesus did was what Jesus, and Jesus alone, was "called" to do. Each Christian is not called to imitate Christ's life in every detail.

Conspirator-Bonhoeffer would disagree with any scholar who advocated a per se rule against violence. He would argue that regardless of ancient religious tenets and man-made rules, a Christian's primary obligation is to obey the will of God, which can change depending on the circumstances. Jesus, the disciples, and the early church fathers were called to spread the infant Christian faith. But by the time Augustine was alive, the church was established and protected--the circumstances had changed. Thus, the will of God changed for Augustine, which explains why God willed him to allow Christians to defend themselves and fight for the peace of mankind: the established church needed to be protected in a way that martyrdom could never achieve. The established church could not survive if it laid down its sword each time it encountered a group of Visigoths. Likewise, Bonhoeffer's calling changed after the war began. This would also explain any existing hypotheses that Peter would not have written the exact text if he had written First Peter after the Neronian persecution began. Just as Bonhoeffer's calling changed, Jesus' calling will also ultimately change, as seen by his depiction in the New Testament: Jesus came as the Lamb in the Gospels, and according to Revelation, he will come in the future as a warrior. (205)

Pre-war Bonhoeffer wholeheartedly agrees with the writers of the New Testament and the second century church fathers. This Bonhoeffer, like Justin, would have welcomed debate. Bonhoeffer established his Confessing Church, and Justin established his school to teach the "true philosophy." This Bonhoeffer would have followed in the footsteps of Ignatius in refusing to allow others to risk their lives to save him from capture and death. He would have done this without question if it involved the use of violence. However, Luther would strongly disagree with this approach. He would argue that if bandits captured one's daughter, it would be un-Christian to not try and save her, even if violence was required. Just because Jesus chose not to save himself from the cross does not preclude Christians today from acting in such a manner. Jesus was called to fulfill Scripture. Luther would likely also cite the centurion of great faith and say that the centurion would have without a doubt rescued the girl.

Luther, Augustine, Aquinas, and conspirator-Bonhoeffer all seem to agree that one can commit acts of violence and still please--or at least not offend--God. Augustine seems to argue that one can do lesser evils to avoid greater or worse evils. Aquinas believes that when one does an evil action that is incidental to a good action, the evil is not an evil act at all, since it was not the intention. Luther goes much farther, arguing that one must only act like Christ--i.e., be sinless--in one's private life, but when one is involved with the temporal world, one can act as reasonably necessary. Conspirator-Bonhoeffer seems to imply a somewhat circular argument: that one can commit any "sin" as long as it is the will of God, and that if it is the will of God, the action is not a sin. The issue of how grievous a sin one can commit, then, is irrelevant, because any act condoned by God is not a sin. Thus, in Bonhoeffer's case, if killing Hitler is the will of God, it cannot be a sin. Augustine would agree that a Christian should kill Hitler, but he would argue that it is simply a lesser evil in order obtain the greater good. Aquinas would argue that the act of killing Hitler is not evil--if done with good intentions; however, if done with bad intentions--it would be evil.

Several of the authors discussed above faced crises on a large scale. Peter, Paul, Ignatius, Theophilus, and Polycarp endured a persecution that threatened the very existence of the church. Augustine faced a military force in the Visigoths, who threatened the very existence of Rome, the protector of the church. Bonhoeffer faced a tyrant that threatened the very existence of a nation of people. Peter, Paul, Ignatius, and Theophilus remained steadfast in their counseling of peace. They became martyrs for Christ and the church unquestionably grew. (206) Augustine changed decades of Christian thinking on the subject of violence, taking a somewhat utilitarian approach in his "just war" argument. However, taking up the sword against the Visigoths did not help the Romans prevail against the Visigoths. Most interesting of all is that even though the Visigoths won the ultimate military fight against Rome, the church "survived." The Visigoths ultimately became Christian, just like the Roman persecutors before them. The counselors of peace in the first and second centuries did not physically survive the existential threat they faced, but the church did; those counseled to go to war against the Visigoths did not survive the existential threat they faced, but the church did. (207) Ultimately, the Jewish nation survived Hitler's genocide, even though Bonhoeffer's group failed to remove the threat.

One conclusion that can be drawn from this discussion is the possibility that the Christian church's belief system has changed. The first and second century writers were the closest in time to the actual teachings of Jesus. Perhaps Augustine was wrong to reverse the pacifist teachings that had come before him. Perhaps his writings on just war were not inherently Christian, but merely utilitarian. After all, the church found a way to survive even when Roman Empire could not.

There are glaring similarities to the situations of the German church in Bonhoeffer's time and the church in the first and second centuries. Both groups witnessed the murder of innocent people on a massive level, and neither group tried nor encouraged their followers to remove the murderous tyrant from power or kill him. The persecuted Christians of the first and second centuries have been praised as martyrs for their nonresistance in the face of persecution; yet, Bonhoeffer reserved some of his harshest words for the German church, saying that their inaction amounted to complicity in the murders. (208) Does this mean that Bonhoeffer regarded the early church fathers' nonresistance as mere complicity?

Perhaps Bonhoeffer gives us an answer in his The Cost of Discipleship when he quotes Jesus, stating, "For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's shall save it." (209) The early church fathers like Ignatius were persecuted for their belief in the Gospel, and only had to reject it to be saved. Thus, they lost their lives for the sake of Jesus and the gospel. The German church chose to save the lives of their clergy and congregants by not resisting Hitler. The German church went out of its way to avoid being persecuted. Thus, Bonhoeffer's attacks against it were justified. Bonhoeffer's decision to join the conspiracy was, like Ignatius's decision to not reject Christ, the ultimate self-denial. Bonhoeffer believed the ultimate form of self-denial was the grace of martyrdom. (210) Bonhoeffer said, "When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die." (211) Bonhoeffer believed that Christians, as followers of Christ, suffer because their master suffered, and that if Christians lose their lives in Christ's service, they shall find their lives again "in the fellowship of the cross with Christ." (212)


Bonhoeffer's involvement in the attempt to kill Hitler was justified. The attempt to kill Hitler had both good intentions and advanced the greater good, even if it involved a lesser "sin." Bonhoeffer could not ignore the temporal realities of the world. Although these realities existed at the time of the early church, the early church was in its infancy and was not called to address the problems in the same manner as Bonhoeffer was called to address them. Finally, just as the early church's martyrdom helped spread Christianity, so too did Bonhoeffer's martyrdom, as witnessed by our study and struggle to understand his theology--a theology that morphed and deepened when confronted with the reality of evil in our world today.

Caleb M. Hindman, I would like to express my appreciation to Professor Andy Olree for his invaluable input and guidance throughout the writing of this paper. I would also like to thank my father, Mark Hindman, and my grandfather, William "Bill" Hindman, Ph.D., for reading numerous drafts of this paper and offering their much-needed wealth of experience on the Bible and church history.

(1) See 1 Justo L. Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation 35 (1984).

(2) Id. at 44.

(3) Id.

(4) Dietrich Bonhoeffer, A Testament to Freedom: The Essential Writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer 13 (Geffrey B. Kelly & F. Burton Nelson eds., 1995).

(5) Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship 109 (R.H. Fuller trans., Simon & Schuster 1995) (1937).

(6) Id.

(7) Id.

(8) id.

(9) Bonhoeffer, supra note 5, at 112.

(10) Id. at 113.

(11) Id.

(12) Id. at 141.

(13) Id at 142.

(14) Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Christ's Love and Our Enemies, a sermon on the Third Sunday after Epiphany, at the secret seminary, Gross-Schlonwitz (Jan. 23, 1938), in A Testament to Freedom, supra note 4, at 287.

(15) See Bonhoeffer, supra note 5, at 143.

(16) Id

(17) Id.

(18) Id. at 146 (citing Matthew 5:43-48).

(19) Bonhoeffer, supra note 5, at 150.

(20) Bonhoeffer, supra note 14, at 285.

(21) Id.

(22) Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy 354 (Thomas Nelson 2010).

(23) Id.

(24) id.

(25) id.

(26) Id. at 360.

(27) Metaxas, supra note 22, at 360-71.

(28) Id. at 369.

(29) Id.

(30) Id. at 370.

(31) Id. at 370.

(32) Metaxas, supra note 22, at 425.

(33) Id.

(34) Id.

(35) Id. at 426.

(36) See id. at 426-29.

(37) See Metaxas, supra note 22, at 429-31.

(38) Id.

(39) Id. at 433.

(40) See Metaxas, supra note 22, at 445.

(41) Id. at 446.

(42) Id at 446.

(43) Id.

(44) Id. at 447.

(45) Id.

(46) Id. at 468.

(47) Id. at 472.

(48) See, e.g., Genesis 22:1-18 (New Int'l Version). God was pleased when Abraham showed a willingness to obey God's command, even if that command would constitute "sin" under ordinary circumstances. Id.

(49) Luke 1:34; Matthew 2:18 (New Int'l Version).

(50) Luke 2:13-14 (New Int'l Version).

(51) Luke 2:20 (New Int'l Version).

(52) Matthew 2:3 (New Int'l Version).

(53) 8 Frank Stagg, The Broadman Bible Commentary 86 (Clifton J. Allen et al. eds., 1969).

(54) Id.

(55) Id. at 86-89.

(56) Id. at 86.

(57) Id at 89.

(58) Id. This deathbed command was, interestingly enough, not carried out. Id.

(59) Matthew 2:2 (New Int'l Version).

(60) Matthew 2:16 (New Int'l Version).

(61) Stagg, supra note 53, at 89.

(62) Matthew 2:14-15 (New Int'l Version).

(63) See Matthew 2:19 (New Int'l Version).

(64) In his will, Herod the Great designated Archelaus to succeed him as king when he died. However, the Roman Emperor Augustus denied Archelaus this title, giving him the title "ethnarch" instead, and later banished him altogether for being unusually cruel and tyrannical. Stagg, supra note 53, at 90.

(65) Matthew 14:1-12 (New Int'l Version).

(66) Luke 23:7-12 (New Int'l Version).

(67) Matthew 27:50 (New Int'l Version).

(68) Matthew 5:1-10 (New Int'l Version).

(69) See Matthew 5:5 (New Int'l Version).

(70) Stagg, supra note 53, at 105.

(71) Matthew 5:9 (New Int'l Version).

(72) Stagg, supra note 53, at 106.

(73) Matthew 5:21-26 (New Int'l Version).

(74) Matthew 5:38-39 (New Int'l Version).

(75) Matthew 5:43-45 (New Int'l Version).

(76) Matthew 5:46 (New Int'l Version).

(77) Matthew 8:1- 13 (New Int'l Version).

(78) See Stagg, supra note 53, at 125.

(79) Matthew 26:47-51 (New Int'l Version).

(80) Matthew 26:52-54; see also John 18:10 (indicating that it was Peter who cut the ear from the servant); Mark 14:49 ("... But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.") (New Int'l Version).

(81) Stagg, supra note 53, at 125.

(82) The express mention of one thing is to the exclusion of all others.

(83) Donald F. O'Reilly, The Theban Legion of St. Maurice, 32 Vigiliae Christianae 195, 197 (1978) (noting that legions typically had between 5,000 and 6,000 soldiers).

(84) Luke gives further evidence of Herod Agrippa's tyranny in Acts, saying that it was Herod who killed James, the brother of John, and also seized Peter in order to kill him too. See Acts 12:2. However, an angel of the Lord freed Peter, prompting Herod to order that all of Peter's guards be executed. See also Acts 12:19.

(85) 12 Ray Summers, The Broadman Bible Commentary 144 (Clifton J. Allen et al. eds., 1972).

(86) 1 Peter 2:13-15 (New Int'l Version).

(87) Summers, supra note 85, at 157.

(88) Id.

(89) Id.

(90) Id.

(91) Id.

(92) 1 Peter 2:19-20 (New Int'l Version).

(93) Gonzalez, supra note 1, at 33.

(94) Id

(95) Id at 33-35.

(96) Id. at 35; see A New Eusebius 2 (F. Stevenson ed., 1974).

(97) John Foxe, Foxe's Book of Martyrs 14 (Marie Gentert King ed., 1981) (1563).

(98) See Summers, supra note 85.

(99) Summers, supra note 85, at 143.

(100) Foxe, supra note 97, at 12.

(101) See 1 Peter 2:17 (New Int'l Version) (emphasis added).

(102) See Summers, supra note 85, at 145 (explaining how scholars like Donald Guthrie and W. C. Van Unnik "cannot imagine Peter's urging honor to the Emperor (2:17) after the bloodbath under Nero in A.D. 64."). See generally Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction: Hebrews to Revelation (Chicago: Inter-Varsity Press 1964); W. C. Van Unnik, Peter, First Letter of, in The Interpreter's Bible Dictionary (Nashville: Abingdon Press 1962).

(103) 1 Peter 2:21-23 (New Int'l Version).

(104) Romans 13:1 (New Int'l Version).

(105) Acts 5:27-29 (New Int'l Version).

(106) See generally Acts 16:16-38 (New Int'l Version).

(107) Acts 16:25 (New Int'l Version).

(108) 16:26 (New Int'l Version).

(109) Acts 16:27 (New Int'l Version).

(110) Acts 16:31-34 (New Int'l Version).

(111) Gonzalez, supra note 1, at 27; see also Foxe, supra note 97, at 12-13.

(112) See id. at 14.

(113) Gonzalez, supra note 1, at 40.

(114) Id.

(115) Id.

(116) Id.

(117) Id. at 45.

(118) Id. at 40.

(119) Gonzalez, supra note 1, at 46.

(120) Justin, First Apology (A.D. 155), reprinted in From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought 9, 10 (Oliver O'Donovan & Joan Lockwood O'Donovan, eds., 1999).

(121) Id. at 10-11.

(122) Id. at 10.

(123) Id.

(124) Id. at 10-11.

(125) Justin, supra note 120, at 11.

(126) Id.

(127) Id. at 12.

(128) Gonzalez, supra note 1, at 41. 129

(129) Id. at 42-43.

(130) Id. at 43; see also Ignatius, To The Romans, Ignatius' final letter to the church of Rome, in 1 Early Christian Fathers, at 102-104 (Cyril C. Richardson ed. and trans., 1956).

(131) Oliver O'Donovan & Joan Lockwood O'Donovan, From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought 8 (Eerdmans, 1st ed., 1999).

(132) Theophilus of Antioch's To Autolycus, Book 1, reprinted in From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought 14 (Oliver O'Donovan & Joan Lockwood O'Donovan eds., Robert M. Grant trans., 1999).

(133) Alan Ebenstein & William Ebenstein, Introduction to Political Thinkers 99 (Wadsworth Publ'g, 2d ed., 2002).

(134) Id.

(135) Id. at 99-100.

(136) See generally Tertullian, The Military Chaplet, reprinted in From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought, supra note 131, at 27.

(137) Augustine, On Free Choice of the Will, Book 1, reprinted in From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought, at 113 (Oliver O'Donovan & Joan Lockwood O'Donovan eds., Anna S. Benjamin and L. H. Hackstaff trans., 1999) (n.d.).

(138) Id.

(139) Id.

(140) Augustine, Letter 153, a letter to Macedonius, reprinted in From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought, at 119, 126 (Oliver O'Donovan & Joan Lockwood O'Donovan eds., Sister W. Parsons trans., 1999).

(141) See id.

(142) Augustine, Against Faustos, Book 22, reprinted in From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought , at 117 (Oliver O'Donovan & Joan Lockwood O'Donovan eds., R. Stothert & A. Newman trans., 1999).

(143) Id.

(144) Id.

(145) Id.

(146) Augustine, Letter 189, A Letter to Count Boniface (A.D. 417), reprinted in From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought, at 133, 134 (Oliver O'Donovan & Joan Lockwood O'Donovan eds., J. G. Cunningham trans., 1999).

(147) Augustine, supra note 142, at 118.

(148) Id. at 117.

(149) Augustine, supra note 146, at 135.

(150) Bonhoeffer, supra note 5, at 112-13.

(151) Gonzalez, supra note 1, at 317.

(152) Id. at 316-18.

(153) See id. at 318.

(154) See 3 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Q. 64 Art. 7, at 1465 (Fathers of the English Dominican Province trans., Christian Classics 1948) (1273).

(155) Thomas Aquinas, on kingship, bk. 1, in From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook of Christian Political Thought, at 330, 333 (Oliver O'Donovan and Joan Lockwood O'Donovan eds., G. B. Phelan and I. T. Eschmann trans., 1999) (1267).

(156) Aquinas, supra note 154.

(157) Id.

(158) Id.

(159) See id.

(160) Id. (quoting Cap. Significasti, De Homicid, volunt. Vel casuai)

(161) Ebenstein, supra note 133, at 125.

(162) Aquinas, supra note 155, at 333.

(163) Id.

(164) Id.

(165) Id.

(166) Id. (biting Valerius Maximus, Memorabilia, 6.2.2).

(167) Aquinas, supra note 155, at 334. The historical accuracy of the legend of the holy Theban legion on which Aquinas relies is considered by some to be suspect. See O'Reilly, supra note 82, at 195. The traditional story is that the holy Theban legion was a Roman legion of Christian soldiers from Thebaid, Egypt, in the year A.D. 286. Id. The general of the army ordered the army to sacrifice captured Christians to pagan gods. Foxe, supra note 96, at 25. The members of the legion refused, and the general ordered that every tenth man be killed. Id. None in the legion resisted, but stood fast in their refusal to participate. Id. A "second decimation" was ordered, and still none in the legion resisted. Id. The legion members claimed that they could not forsake their God. Id. Finally, the rest were martyred, all without resistance. Id. However, newer and more historically reliable scholarship has indicated that major parts of this story are likely to be true. O'Reilly, supra note 82, at 195-96. O'Reilly argues that the Theban legion's members were pacifists who, although armed, refused to defend themselves. Id. at 195.

(168) Id. at 334.

(169) Id.

(170) Id.

(171) Id. at 334-35.

(172) Ebenstein, supra note 133, at 125.

(173) Thomas Aquinas Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, bk. 2, in From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought 328, 328 (Oliver O'Donovan and Joan Lockwood O'Donovan eds., J. G. Dawson trans., 1999) (1252-1256); see also Ebenstein, Introduction to Political Thinkers, supra note 133, at 125.

(174) Aquinas, supra note 155, at 335.

(175) Ebenstein, supra note 133, at 125.

(176) Justo L. Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity 15 (1985).

(177) O'Donovan, supra note 131, at 583.

(178) Martin Luther, temporal authority: To what Extent it should be obeyed, in From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought 585, 585 (Oliver O'Donovan and Joan Lockwood O'Donovan eds., J. J. Schindel and W. I. Brandt trans., 1999) (1523).

(179) Id.

(180) Id. (citing Matthew 5:38-41 (New Int'l Version)).

(181) Id. (citing Paul in Romans 12:19 (New Int'l Version)).

(182) Id. (citing Matthew 5:44 (New Int'l Version)).

(183) Id. (citing 1 Peter 3:9 (New Int'l Version)).

(184) Luther, supra note 178, at 586 (New Int'l Version).

(185) Id.

(186) Id.

(187) Luther, supra note 178, at 586 (citing 1 Timothy 1:9 (New Int'l Version)).

(188) Id. (citing Matthew 7:17-18 (New Int'l Version)).

(189) Luther, supra note 178, at 586. (New lnt'1 Version).

(190) Id. at 587.

(191) Id. at 586.

(192) Id. at 587.

(193) See id.

(194) Id.

(195) Luther, supra note 178, at 587.

(196) Id. at 589.

(197) Martin Luther, The Sermon on the Mount, in From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook of Christian Political Thought 595, 599 (Oliver O'Donovan and Joan Lockwood O'Donovan eds., Jaroslav Pelikan trans., 1999).

(198) See id.

(199) Id.

(200) Id.

(201) The express inclusion of one is to the exclusion of others.

(202) Luther, supra note 178, at 589. 203

(203) Id.

(204) See supra text accompanying note 102.

(205) See Revelations 19:13 (describing Jesus' return to Earth as a warrior wearing a robe dipped in the blood of his enemies); see also Revelations 19:5 (explaining how Jesus will strike down his enemies with a sword out of his mouth). But see Ephesisan 6:17 (explaining how the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, not an actual sword) (New Int'l Version).

(206) See Gonzalez, supra note 1, at 21-25 (explaining how the expansion of Christianity was largely attributable to the Christians who fled from the persecution of Herod Agrippa in Jerusalem).

(207) See Matthew 16:18 (where Jesus explained to St. Peter how not even the very gates of Hell will withstand the church Jesus had built) (New lnt'l Version).

(208) See supra note 46 and accompanying text.

(209) See Bonhoeffer, supra note 5, at 86.

(210) Id. at 89.

(211) Id.

(212) Id. at 91.
COPYRIGHT 2016 Thomas Goode Jones School of Law
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2016 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:analyzing Dietrich Bonhoeffer's life and his theology of Christian duty when faced with tyranny
Author:Hindman, Caleb M.
Publication:Faulkner Law Review
Date:Mar 22, 2016
Previous Article:Products liability for financial products: judicial insurance for the insured.
Next Article:Monarchist and democratic Christian perspectives preceding and subsequent to the reformation: a survey of selected authors.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |