Dietrich BonhoefferImage via Wikipedia

Was Dietrich Bonhoeffer just in conspiring to assassinate Adolf Hitler? Despite all his evil, I think an assassination attempt exposes the blind spot in Bonhoeffer's theology. Who am I to extinguish a fellow image bearer of God? Execution is the result of the belief that God is unable to redeem one of his broken images. Hence, previously, I have written against the death penalty. This is also why I do not rejoice in the murder of George Tiller, Kansas abortionist.

He was executed at his church, someplace he might have heard the good news and repented. Perhaps he did consider himself a believer and a spiritual brother to someone like me. I don't know and it doesn't matter. If he did, he suffered like Bonhoeffer and myself and every other follower of Christ, a lacuna in our theology. Like Bonhoeffer, he thought executions would make the world a better place. Ironically, that was the same thinking of the Sanhedrin, Pilate and Herod towards Jesus Christ. Perhaps Tiller's accused killer also thought this way. Perhaps he was mentally ill.

I believe in protecting society, but not by execution. I believe in political persuasion. I believe that there is good news for everyone. I'd like everyone to have the opportunity to hear the good news of eternal life by the forgiveness of sins through the sacrifice of Christ. This is why I'm against the deliberate taking of human lives by execution, assassination, or abortion. May God have mercy on George Tiller's soul.
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Anonymous said…
Bonhoeffer was in a qualitatively different situation than you or me. Try reasoning with a nazi and see where it gets you. Bonhoeffer was on the outer fringe of the July 20th plot by the military commanders to assasinate HItler and bring the slaughter to a conclusion. He wasn't involved in the planning etc... Ghandi would not have stood a chance against Hitler or Stalin. Bonhoeffer was a committed pacifist but confronted with the demonic forces of Hitler he opted for a more limited pacifism. He decided to suffer with Germany rather than live in exile in safety. And he willingly gave up his life. Sadly we live in a world where our core beliefs cannot always be lived out the way we wish.

Peace, Dan
John Umland said…
All good points Dan. I'm not a pacifist. I don't support pre-meditated murder, but I do support killing force to protect others from someone using killing force, e.g. the New Life Church shooter in Colorado. I don't consider a reaction a murder. Conspiracy to kill does not seem God-like.
God is good
Anonymous said…
I agree. The killing of Dr. Tiller was just as bad as any abortion.

Peace, Dan

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