A Lutheran pastor seeks to reclaim the role of pastor as theologian. Excerpts and reflections meant to generate discussion and devotion are posted.
Brian,Here's a question for you. We're hearing a lot in the news about Islamic martyrs, which made me think about Christian martyrs, which led me to this : Why is Bonhoeffer considered a martyr? I am not seeing how he died a martyr death and I think I may not know the whole story. From what I know, he was involved in an assasination attempt on Hitler's life, which as we all know failed. The Nazi's killed Bonhoeffer because of his involvement in this assasination plot, not because he was a Christian. Is that correct? Also, and this is what I struggle with the most, isn't it a sin to murder another person? Are we allowed to murder those we think or know are evil? Isn't it contradictory to murder in the name of Christ? I hope you don't mind me posting this questions to your blog, I just thought you would be a good source to answer this question.BethPS: how is Jesus of Java going? I would love to come back sometime but my son has youth group that night. Maybe this summer...
I personally agree with you. I do not think that Bonhoeffer was a martyr, for precisely the reason your listed. I commemorate Bonhoeffer as a teacher of the church, not as a martyr. His participation in that plot is driven more out of despair than anything else. I have colleagues who try to argue otherwise, but they fail to convince me. Martyrdom is a passive act. Christians "witness"(what the Greek word 'martyro' means literally) to their Lord by giving up their life. Muslim martyrs often are very active in their martyrdom. I think we have to realize that murder is murder, and is sinful... after all the commandment reads, "You shall not murder." That does not mean necessarily that all killing is murder. Defending someone weaker... self-defense... Just war... all have their place I believe and are not properly considered to be murder.
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