Transcript: Episode 0040

This transcript:
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Welcome to the Stone Choir podcast.

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I am Corey J. Mahler, and I'm still woe.

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On today's episode of Stone Choir, we're going to be discussing the famous 20th century theologian

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It's interesting when you call Dietrich Bonhoeffer famous because he wasn't

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really famous as a theologian until the 21st century. That's something we'll get into a little bit,

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but it's just this is one of the episodes that we're doing because yet again, he is a sacred cow.

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He's really in fact a golden calf of 20th century global religion, and it is consistent with many

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of the themes that we've had in the past year. A couple brief notes up front before we get

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into this particular subject. One, this is a continuation of a number of previous episodes,

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so if you happen to be listening to Stone Choir for the very first time with this particular

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episode, we would actually recommend that you go back to a couple earlier ones. In particular,

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the Martin Luther King, our chair tech episode, part one of two about MLK is really part one of

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this episode as well. One of the points that we're going to be making in this episode is that MLK

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and Bonhoeffer effectively had the same spiritual fathers, they had the same teachers, the same

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readings, and they had the same message. The difference between them was really just about

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50 IQ points, so the things that MLK was too stupid not to say out loud Bonhoeffer was perfectly

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content to say them. The difference is that Bonhoeffer would say them a subtle way so that

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if you already think he's a decent Christian guy, you're going to be able to baptize what it is he

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says without too much trouble. Another episode that this ties into is one of the early ones on

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the clarity of Scripture and some of the World War II stuff. We're not really going to get into it

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beyond just a couple superficial details, but the context of it is in view of the three-part

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series that we recently concluded on the Jews. We're going to assume that you have listened

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to those as we're talking about this, all our episodes stand alone, but this one in particular,

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one of the things that's concerned Cory and myself as we've been looking to tackle this

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subject is that because Bonhoeffer was really smart and he was really subtle,

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it's tough to make the case that he was evil because you can superficially read some of the

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things that he says out of context and say, oh yeah, I can agree with that. I can believe that.

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In fact, it's interesting. There were a number of things that when I was reading, particularly in

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some of his letters from prison from 1943 and 44 after he was under arrest for treason, a number

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of the things that he said, the Bonhoeffer was saying at the end of his life, sounded very much

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like some of the things that Cory and I say on Stone Choir. There's some of the things that are

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really a big part of what we try to get across on this podcast series. The reason that's so fascinating

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is that the men, the pastors, who hate us the most love Bonhoeffer. As I just found it interesting,

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I was reading some of those quotes like, why wouldn't they hear his voice in the things that

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we're saying? The reason is we're coming from completely opposite directions as we talk about

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those things. We'll get into a few of those in a bit, but I find it very interesting that we

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have completely different spirits and yet in some cases have very similar specific words for things,

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specific concerns about things. We have very different solutions because we have very different

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origins for the concerns themselves. As we get into this, I want to

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tie back into the historical context of the man. As I said, he's considered to be a 20th century

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preeminent theologian that almost nobody knew about in the 20th century. I did a search on

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Google engrams as I often do and we've mentioned a number of times in the past. You can do a search

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for a word and see how frequently it pops up in literature and in magazines and other things.

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Bonhoeffer's name didn't appear really until the early 60s. Basically, you can plot the curve of

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Vatican II and the plot of Bonhoeffer. In the 60s, they take off on identical curves. I firmly

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believe that that was the birth of a new world religion. One of the striking things when you're

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reading about the history of Bonhoeffer introspection by other theologians is how widely he's viewed

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as a man for all denominations, a man that the liberals love and the conservatives love.

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That's really weird because that's not really how Christian theology usually works. When sound

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doctrine is paramount in the discussion in the church, usually you have people that are on a

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posing size because some of them just don't believe the Bible. The fact that the ultra-libs

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and people who think they're conservative both see this man as their saint

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is very interesting. Then the timing of Vatican II, it made me laugh. Of course, that would happen.

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Then it sort of died off the interest in Bonhoeffer until this century. It wasn't until the beginning

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of the 21st century that he really became very popular. Just to begin, I'm going to give a

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couple brief quotes. These are from Christian News, which was a publication from a Lutheran pastor

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who was around for decades. He was a man who long went after some of these subjects when the

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rest of the world was kind of ignoring them. This is a description that I'm going to read,

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and I'm going to read a brief description of an event that took place at one of our

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seminaries in 2006. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the authentic heroes of World War II,

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a German Protestant theologian who spoke out fiercely against Hitler and participated in an

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assassination plot against him. Bonhoeffer was hanged on Hitler's orders three weeks before

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the Nazi dictator committed suicide on the eve of Germany's surrender in April 1945. I think it's

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probably the bulk of what most people know about the man. He was a German pastor. He fought Hitler.

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He was hanged for attempting to kill him. Then he wrote some stuff. That's pretty much all people

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know. The reason I wanted to begin there is that it's the World War II thing. It's subtly. It's

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not mentioned here, but it's about the Jews. The third episode that we did in the series on the Jews

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is part of this. Again, I said that this episode is kind of a final quiz for a lot of what Stone

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Choir has done previously. I hope that we succeed today because, as I said, it's a hard case to

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make once you get into the really subtle things, he says. Just consider this the framing. This is

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the man who fought the Nazis and fought Hitler and he was murdered for it. In 2006, there was a

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Bonhoeffer conference at the Concordia St. Louis Seminary of the LCMS. It began July 19th through

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the 21st. Quote, Dietrich Bonhoeffer may well be the most widely admired and respected Christian

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theologian among Christian pastors and theologians in the USA. The scope of his appeal is exceptionally

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broad, spanning across virtually all Christian denominations and across perspectives ranging

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from the traditional to the liberal. His centennial offers a unique opportunity for activities that

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highlight the many remarkable aspects of his theology and life. This conference features

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nationally and internationally recognized experts on Bonhoeffer. These include Lutherans

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and members of other church bodies. There will be emphasis on confessional Lutheran aspects of

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Bonhoeffer's thought and at the same time presentations from other Christian perspectives.

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It's a unique opportunity for Lutherans to highlight perhaps the most important Lutheran

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theologian since Martin Luther and to converse about the contributions Bonhoeffer can make to the

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life of the 21st century church. Now that's remarkable because I said like in the 20th century

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he wasn't really disgusting. He was a footnote. He was one guy who didn't do anything that significant.

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He was notable because he was one of the few people in the church who committed treason against the

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German government and was executed for it. So the reason we're talking about him today, the

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reason that you've ever heard the name is because of that. Because he fought Hitler and because

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everybody loves him, whether they're libs or conservatives. In fact, the reason I mentioned

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Vatican II, the reason I searched for that was that even Roman Catholics really love Bonhoeffer

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in the 60s. That's crazy. If here's this Lutheran pastor, this Lutheran theologian from the liberal

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wing in German theology and Roman Catholics like, yeah, that's our guy, something's going on here.

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And then when you have the most conservative Lutheran saying the same thing,

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something really weird is happening. This is not what normally happens in the church.

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So we're going to begin looking at some of the things that he wrote in the past to see

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who was this man. If this is a great theologian, a great contributor to the Christian tradition,

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let's see what he had to say about the Christian faith.

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I guess before we move into some of the quotes properly and going over some of the things that

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he wrote, it really is almost amazing, really, that they would call him the most important

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Lutheran theologian since Martin Luther. That's really a true slight to Chemnitz.

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For those who don't know, Martin Chemnitz is often called the second Martin.

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And one of the sayings about him, I won't use the Latin because there's no reason,

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is essentially Luther, the first Martin would not have survived if not for Chemnitz,

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the second Martin. That's how important he was as a theologian to the church.

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And yet we're supposed to believe that Bonhoeffer is more important than Chemnitz who basically

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saved the Reformation and is the one who responded to the Council of Trent at length.

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Even in living memory, I think men like Kurt Marquardt, certainly in terms of their

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theological output, far outstrips Bonhoeffer's contributions, whether his theology was good

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or bad. It's just one of the points that I hope we can get across today is that

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we're being told that this man was so important, not because he was important,

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but because he is a martyr in the new religion. As I mentioned, the MLK arch heretic episode

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is part one of this as well, just as it was part one of MLK in theology and then MLK in politics.

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Same thing played out in Bonhoeffer's life a few decades prior. His theology was the same as MLK's.

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His politics were the same as MLK's and in a number of ways that are very important.

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Today, both of those men were killed at age 39. They're both considered today to be martyrs.

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They're absolutely martyrs in their religion. As I said at the beginning, that's the context

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through which I think it's necessary to view all takes on Bonhoeffer, whether it's favorable or

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unfavorable. The man is a martyr to his faith. I highlight his faith because that's the problem

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here. Is his faith the Christian faith? As we're told, that's what almost every pastor will say.

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Yes, he's a stalwart of the Christian faith. He went back to Germany to fight Hitler,

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to kill Hitler, to save the Jews, hero, and then he died for it. That's basically Jesus 2.0

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for a lot of these guys. It's a blasphemous thing to say. God forgive me for saying it,

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but that's really what's going on here. The reason that this narrative only emerged

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in the last few decades is that the narrative of the 20th century only emerged in the last few

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decades. One of the things that I didn't mention in the Holocaust episode, if you do the same

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engram search on Google for Holocaust, it also emerges in the 60s. There was no Holocaust described

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in the 40s or the 50s. Now, some of the things that are claimed to have happened then were reported

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at that time, but the narrative of the so-called Holocaust emerged in the 60s around the same

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time as Bonhoeffer, around the same time as Vatican II. They've all been on a trajectory

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upwards ever since then. It's not an artifact of the corpus that Google's searching. It's actually

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a function of how often those subjects are coming up. It's how often those subjects are

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in people's minds and in their mouths. If it's what people are talking about,

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it's going to show up more frequently. Those graphs sometimes are extremely telling.

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Bonhoeffer in particular, even over against MLK, is a vital martyr to the Holocaust faith.

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Full stop, he is important in the world religion of the 21st century because he died fighting

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Hitler. That's part of the reason that we did that three-part episode, and particularly the last

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episode on the history of the Jews in the 20th century. If everything that you've been told

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is true about those events, then obviously, regardless of some of Bonhoeffer's theological

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quibbles, the man was clearly a hero because he went and fought the ontological evil of the Nazis.

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If, on the other hand, what we have been told about 20th century German politics is not, in fact,

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true in that those stories that began to emerge in the story arc that appeared in the 1960s wasn't

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actually the case at the time, then you have to view the execution of men like Bonhoeffer

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and their acts that led up to the execution in a different light. One of the tough things about

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tackling these subjects is that in one of the reasons that we talk about timelines, which is

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tough to do on a podcast because you can't see them, I will put a couple of those screenshots

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in the show notes so you can visually look at them. We're talking in current year about events

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in the past, but it's crucial to consider them as they were occurring, to consider what they knew

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at the time and then what's happened since then to bring them to our attention because Bonhoeffer

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died 80 years ago and a whole bunch of stuff has happened since then and he wasn't very important

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and then he became important. We're here to tell you today that the reason he became important was

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that the new world religion requires new martyrs to uphold the tenets of the new faith and that's

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what he accomplished. And as we go through the material in this episode, and this was already

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mentioned but it is worth repeating this to emphasize it, it is important to recognize

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a simple but vitally important philosophical fact. There is a difference between the term used to

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reference a thing and the thing itself. So for instance, the thing that we in English call a dog

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is not called a dog in French or Latin or German, they're different words in those languages.

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The term refers to the thing, the thing is distinct from the term. The same thing can occur

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in philosophy or theology and that is what we have throughout Bonhoeffer's writings.

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He uses terms that sound Christian. If you're a Lutheran in particular, there are some things,

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you're going to read it and go, I recognize all of these words, this sounds vaguely Christian.

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But you have to understand the way in which he is using the terms and you have to have

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really a better overhead, a 30,000 foot view of what he is doing, how he believes these things,

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what he thinks they mean. And so he'll say resurrection and you'll think okay that's a

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Christian term, well he denies the resurrection. He'll say crucifixion, he'll say okay that's

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a Christian term, well he calls it a myth. And that happens with all of these terms so you

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may hear a term from him that makes you think yes that's a term a Christian would use but it's not

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but it's not a Christian term when he's using it. Satan can use these terms too and he does

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all the time. Don't forget that when Satan confronted and attempted to tempt Christ,

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he used scripture, he used God's own words. It is possible to twist the things of God

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and make them no longer reference what they're meant to reference, no longer reference the

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actual Christian faith. It is vitally important to bear that in mind as we go through. We will of

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course highlight how he's using these terms, misusing these terms really but keep that in

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mind just because you hear a word that you recognize as being related to the Christian faith

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does not mean that it is being used in this context in a Christian way.

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And if you've taken our advice and have recently listened to or re-listened to the MLK Archeric

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Take Episode, all that sounds incredibly familiar because that's precisely what King did. As I said,

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the difference between King's approach and Bonhoeffer's approach is that King was stupid. He

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wasn't intelligent but his handlers made him understand that there were things that he couldn't

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say in public. So although the things that Bonhoeffer wrote about publicly as a theologian

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are exactly the same things that King was saying decades later because they got them

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from the same teachers, King was instructed, don't say this in public, don't say this stuff in the

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pulpit because you're not going to be able to get away with it. Bonhoeffer was able to wrap it up in

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enough Jesus dust that he was able to get away with it because he was a much smarter, much slipperier

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man. But the basics of what they believed were identical. As Corey said, like write down the

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list of things in the creeds that every Christian confesses are the things that Bonhoeffer denies.

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And the reason that's important when you're talking about someone who's presenting Christian

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theology is that it's one thing for someone to have a bad take on a particular subject.

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It's another thing entirely if all of their takes, whether they're good or bad,

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are built on a foundation of over-denial of the tenets of the faith. And that's what we have

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with Bonhoeffer. We have a man who overly denied the foundations of the Christian faith. And then

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he said stuff after that, the sounded sort of Christian. That is the nightmare scenario for

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someone who's not smart enough to see through it. So just as a first example, a few of the quotes

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we're going to do earlier on are from a book called Christ the Center. This is described as

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Bonhoeffer's kind of Christological Magnemopus. The important thing to note with this is that

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he didn't write this himself. Christ the Center is effectively table talks from his teaching

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in around 1933. So the authors of that book compiled all the notes from as many of the

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students as they could get ahold of and re-synthesized his talks and presentations on things.

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Now in the beginning of the book, and obviously something that we as Lutherans will point to

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clearly, Tishraiden or table talks are notoriously unreliable sources of information. Because

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it's hearsay. Someone said something and then someone else wrote it down and then they're

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giving it to another person and say, yeah, he said this. It's potentially reliable or unreliable,

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you can't necessarily weigh it. The reason that I give full credence to the spirit of the words

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that are presented here, and you may disregard them. I'm disclosing this up front. They were

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dealing with something that he did not expressly pen by his own hand. The reason I believe it fully

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is that Bonhoeffer was a disciple of Karl Barth, B-A-R-T-H. I call him Barth like

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John Candy's character from Spaceballs because he makes me puke. So much evil is downstream from

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Barth that I'm just going to call him that. Everything in this trial just deal with it.

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Corey's going to call him Barth because he's good at other languages. I don't care. The dude's

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name is Barth. Bonhoeffer was an acolyte and a disciple of Barth. He literally learned at his

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feet. He studied from him. He discussed with him the things that he's about to say here in

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Christ the center in these table talks are exactly the things that Barth was saying,

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and incidentally, they're the very same things that MLK picked up a couple decades later.

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So this is a perfect description of the beliefs of that day coming from this part of

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the so-called Christian theological discourse. Now, to us, what MLK called this was the

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liberal tradition. What it is is a full-on assault on Christianity. So just to disclose,

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he did not write these by his own hand. These are accounts second hand by witnesses.

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They're entirely consistent with his teacher and consistent with the things he said later on.

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So I'm going to read this just to know that it's not necessarily exactly verbatim what he said,

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but personally, I have no reason to doubt that this is not faithful because it's entirely

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consistent with the man, with his teacher, with his time, and with his beliefs for the rest of his

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life. So Christ in the center writes, strictly speaking, we should not talk of the incarnation

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but of the incarnate one. The former interest arises out of the question how the question how,

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for example, underlies the hypothesis of the virgin birth. Both historically and dogmatically,

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it can be questioned. The biblical witness is ambiguous. If the biblical witness gave

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clear evidence of the fact, then the dogmatic obscurity might not have been so important.

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The doctrine of the virgin birth is meant to express the incarnation of God,

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not only the fact of the incarnate one. But does it not fail at the decisive point of the

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incarnation, namely that in it Jesus has not become man just like us? The question remains

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open as and because it is already open in the Bible. So this is consistent with what MLK said,

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the virgin birth is a myth. He'll go on in some of these later quotes to talk expressly about

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myths. That was something that he got from Boltman, another one of King's inspirations and teachers.

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Boltman was very big on mythologizing scripture. In the episode we did early on,

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I mentioned previously about the clarity of scripture. Is it true or is it factual? Is it

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real? People play these word games in order to tie you in knots so that you don't, well,

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is it the incarnate Jesus or is it the incarnation? What does that even mean? What he does when he

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says these things is he's flatly denying the virgin birth. He's saying it's not in the Bible,

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which is a lie. It is a demonstrable lie that the virgin birth is not in the Bible. But

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this is what they were doing already. They were just tearing down scripture. And then on top of it,

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they say, oh, it doesn't even matter if it's real because we have the incarnate one. Well,

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if you deny the virgin birth and then you have something left over that you call the incarnate

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one, that's not the Messiah. That's what we're dealing with through all these quotes. They will

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take something, they will strip away the actual truthfulness of what's in scripture,

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and then leave something that, as Corey said, still they're using some of the same names that

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we Christians use for things, but they use them for other purposes. And so that's why I said this

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is tricky and it's dangerously deceptive how these men speak because if you're not paying

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incredibly close critical attention, you'll just gloss right over and say, that's fine. Jesus

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the incarnate one, Jesus was the incarnation. Yeah, I believe that. That's in the creed somewhere.

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It's only when you're critically looking at this stuff, just assuming that it's false and then

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trying to prove yourself wrong that you realize you can't prove yourself wrong. It's false. He's

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denying scripture. He's denying the virgin birth. And that itself, all by itself, isn't denial of

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Christianity, full stop. So if this quote were true and it was the only thing,

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that would be the end of the story. The man is not Christian. Part of the reason we're beginning

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here is that this is one of the more crystal clear examples of Barthes' theology coming through in

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his mouth and then him continuing it on ultimately to treason and attempted murder. That's the

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trajectory of a man who incidentally at the end of his life as we'll get to it. He stopped reading

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the Bible. He was effectively apostate and he more or less acknowledged it. But it began here

25:59.620 --> 26:07.140
with these denials of the creed. You never go immediately from getting one fact of the

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Christian faith wrong to apostasy. There's always a trajectory. So today we're going to make the

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case for him having gone through that trajectory regardless of where he began. Because as we see

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here, he's beginning with denial of the faith. For the record, I do think that calling him Barthes

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is fair, particularly considering there's a sort of contagion to vomiting for certain people where

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one person will vomit and another one will. That's kind of how it works with that theology.

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There's another linguistic point to make here and I know it seems like we're going to make some

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hyper technical points in this episode, but it's important. The word myth is not univocal. The word

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myth does not have one meaning. The word myth can be used in a good or a bad way with regard to

26:56.580 --> 27:07.220
theology. You can call Christianity a mythos and still be an actual Christian. Now, most theologians,

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most philosophers who are sound Christians will not do that. That is a specific, specialized,

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technical sense of the term myth or mythos, whichever one you want to use. Those are interchangeable.

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That is not what Bonhoeffer is doing. Because he in other places in his writing explicitly

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contrasts myth and history. He does not identify them. He does not consider them as overlapping.

27:35.620 --> 27:42.820
He considers them distinct things and he considers myth to be unreliable, to be untrue,

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to be made up. One of the examples he uses is the partly former, partly still Japanese belief

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that the Tenno, otherwise known as the Emperor of Japan, was descended directly from a goddess.

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He uses that as an example of myth and contrasts that sort of eastern belief in the descent

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of their kings, their emperors from gods, as myth from western history. So when he says myth,

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he means it didn't happen. So the word myth in his mouth, coming from his pen,

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is calling whatever is a myth untrue, saying it is not historical fact, it is not empirical,

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and elsewhere in his writing he constantly makes claims about Christianity not being

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empirical truth. And this again from Bart, in large part, because he makes a distinction

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between the empirical and the religious, and says that the religious doesn't necessarily

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correspond to the empirical, and calls the Old Testament a series of religious truths,

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of religious claims, and in so claiming he says that they are not empirical.

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And this is one of the ways that we wind up with a rejection of apologetics from men like Bart and

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Bonhofer and others, because they don't believe that religious truth corresponds to empirical

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truth, and apologetics relies on that. But we also see here, just at the outset, the first

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real chunk of his writing with which we're dealing, not even a very big one, his rejection of dogma

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and doctrine, and this is throughout his writing, he basically says that Christianity is not a series

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of dogmas or doctrinal claims, which it is. Let's be clear here, Christianity makes truth claims.

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Christianity is a series of truth claims. If those claims are false, Christianity is false.

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He's saying that doesn't matter, doctrine doesn't matter, dogma doesn't matter.

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I have a quote here. Before we started recording, we're discussing potentially using

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a generated voice to read some of this, because to some degree, I don't even want these things in

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my own voice. And I'm sure woe feels the same way because of the evil of some of the things we're

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going to read in this episode. But I guess in an age of AI, it hardly matters. There's enough of my

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voice out there that someone could synthesize it if he were so inclined. But on the topic of

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dogma or doctrine, this is a quote from this one is from an outline for a book that he sent in one

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of his letters. Jesus's being for others is the experience of transcendence. Only through this

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liberation from self, through this being for others unto death, do omnipotence, omniscience,

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and omnipresence come into being. Faith is participating in this being of Jesus,

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becoming human cross resurrection. Our relationship to God is no religious relationship

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to some highest, most powerful, and best being imaginable. That is no genuine transcendence.

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Instead, our relationship to God is a new life in being there for others, through participation in

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the being of Jesus. The transcendent is not the infinite unattainable task, but the neighbor within

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reach in any given situation. What do we really believe? I mean believe in such a way that our

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lives depend on it. The problem of the Apostles Creed written as a question, what must I believe,

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wrong question. Outdated controversies, especially the inter-confessional ones,

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the differences between Lutheran and Reformed, and to some extent Roman Catholic,

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are no longer real. Of course they can be revived with passion at any time,

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but they are no longer convincing. There is no proof for this. One must simply be bold enough

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to start from this. The only thing we can prove is that the Christian biblical faith does not

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live or depend on such differences. Conclusions, the Church is Church only when it is there for

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others. As a first step, it must give away all its property to those in need. There is such a

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collection of problems with this, and I didn't even read the whole passage because it's a couple

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full pages. It's difficult even to go through or summarize them in a quick fashion, but

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note how he starts off. It's almost Buddhist. Liberation from self. That's not what Christianity is.

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God created you to be the person you are. Yes, you are currently in a fallen state, and as a

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Christian you will be perfected in the resurrection, but that is becoming more yourself. It is not

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becoming less yourself. God did not make you wrong. You are what God wants you to be. Again,

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yes, fallen state, imperfect currently. Christianity is not a giving up of self. It is not in the

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Buddhist Eastern sense a denial of self. It is a denial of self in the sense of take up your cross

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and follow me, but that's not what he's speaking about here. This is liberation from self. This is

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Eastern philosophy being imported into Christianity, and we see this constantly

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in men from this era who are of the liberal school because there was an infatuation with

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Eastern philosophy, and he was very familiar with philosophy. We see that throughout his writing,

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mostly continental, but also Eastern. But the next part I actually find more interesting

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when he says that it's only through this being for others that omnipotence, omniscience, and

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omnipresence come into being. This is a blunt denial of the nature of God, which is, as we have

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highlighted in previous episodes, a denial of the nature of God, a denial of the attributes of God

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is a denial of God because God is his nature, his attributes are his nature. These are interchangeable.

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We speak of them as if they were parts because we're human and it's one of our limitations.

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He's denying God here. He is simply outright rejecting the reality of God. A Christian cannot

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write this, at least not and remain Christian, which isn't surprising because, as was mentioned,

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his trajectory was downward, was hellward at the end of his life. He stopped reading Scripture.

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He stopped believing in some of the bits of Christianity in which he believed at some point

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in the past. He became more and more apostate as he went on. And you see that where he calls

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the Apostles Creed a problem. Literally, words that is a question mark, the problem of the Apostles

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Creed. Christians don't view the creeds as a problem. Christians view the creeds as a summary

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statement of our faith. And as someone who claimed to be Lutheran, he was bound to believe that every

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word of the creeds is true. It's part of our confession. Not that the confession, of course,

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meant anything to this man. And then it's in that same paragraph where we see this denial, outright,

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blunt denial of the importance of dogma and doctrine, of the importance of truth.

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Because that is what is actually at stake. When you deny that doctrine is important,

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if you say that the differences between the Lutherans and the Reformed don't matter,

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or between the Reformed and the Romanus, or the East, and Lutherans, whatever groups you

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happen to pick, if you say that those differences don't matter, you're saying truth doesn't matter.

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Because there are only three options. If Lutherans claim A, the Reformed claim B,

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then if A is right, B is wrong. If B is right, A is wrong. And of course, the third option is,

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both are wrong, and there's a third option, C. But you cannot have these differences not matter,

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because these are about eternal things. This is about truth. And the truth matters, because the

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truth is one of the attributes of God. It is part of his nature. But of course, elsewhere,

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in many places, Bonhoeffer denies that truth matters. The truth is even a transcendent thing.

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And he full well knew what he was saying, because he was familiar with the philosophy

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that deals with the transcendentals. He repeatedly, in his writing, denies God.

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That is not something that a Christian can do. It is not something that a man who claims to be

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Christian can do and remain Christian. This was one of those passages that I found interesting,

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because small pieces of it echo, as I said, things that you and I say on Stone Choir. And I

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think this is where the origins of those beliefs come from diametrically opposed places. When MLK

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and Bonhoeffer are saying, forget this doctrinal stuff, we just need to focus on neighbor and focus

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on the liberation theology version of best life now. It's basically a manifestation of Tick and

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Alarm, which we talked about, I think, in the second episode of the Three Parts on Jews.

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When Corey and I specifically talk about care for neighbor, love of neighbor, love of family,

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respect and love and preservation of nation that is race, it is not self-referential. It's

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obedience to God. It is looking up and looking at Scripture. It's looking to see what God has

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revealed to us, what he's telling us to do as our Creator, and then following through,

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because we acknowledge that we are creatures. The distinction between the approach that we

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take, which is a Christian approach of living a Christian life in view of heaven, of God's promises,

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and of God's commands, versus the Barth and MLK and Bonhoeffer view, is that they basically

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say, God is going to be whatever we feel He is. We have this feeling that God is this good stuff.

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Let's make the good stuff happen now. As we're going to get to in some of the quotes here in a

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little bit, he eventually gets to the point that he's like, we don't need God anymore in theology

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in order to have Christianity. We don't need to call Christianity. Marcus Christ is gone,

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but we still have all the stuff that God wanted for us. That's exact opposite of what Cori and I

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believe. That's exact opposite of what Christianity teaches. That's not Stonequire theology versus

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Bonhoeffer theology. It's literally Christianity versus the satanic destruction of things that were

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good for the sake of creating a world where nothing good can ever again exist. It struck me

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that again, this is one of those things that it sounds a little bit like us if you're not paying

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attention to the sources, but it's very clear that we're on exactly opposite sides of these questions.

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There's another quote here that's also from Christ in the Center from 1933 where he flat

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out denies that Jesus was perfect. He says, here it is necessary to understand what the

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likeness of flesh can mean. What is meant in the real image of human flesh? His flesh is our

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flesh. It is of the very nature of our flesh that we are tempted to sin and self-will. Christ

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has taken upon himself all that flesh is there to, but to what extent does he differ from us?

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First, not at all. He is man as we are. He is tempted in all points like we are. Yet much

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more dangerously than we are. Also in his flesh was the law which is contrary to God's will.

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He was not the perfect good. At all times he stood in conflict. He did things which at least

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from outside looked like sin. He became angry. He was harsh to his mother. He escaped from his

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enemies. He broke the law of his people. He stirred up revolt against the rulers and religious men

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of his country. He must have appeared a sinner in the eyes of men. Beyond recognition, he stepped

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into man's sinful way of existence. Simply stating the sinlessness of Jesus fails if it is based upon

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the observable acts of Jesus. His acts take place in the likeness of flesh. They are not sinless,

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but ambiguous. One can and should see both good and failure in them. When a person wishes to be

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incognito, one wrongs him by saying, I have both seen you and seen through your Kierkegaard. We

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should not therefore deduce the sinlessness of Jesus out of his deeds. The assertion of the

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sinlessness of Jesus in his deeds is not an evident moral judgment, but an assertion of faith

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that it is he who performs these ambiguous actions, he it is who is eternally without sin.

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Faith confesses that the one who is tempted is the victor, the one who struggles is perfected,

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the one unrighteous, one is righteous, the one who is rejected is the holy one. Even the sinlessness

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of Jesus is incognito. Blessed is he who is not offended in me. This is a tremendously dangerous

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quote because he is accusing Jesus of personal sin, which is something that we find in modern

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scholars today, saying that Jesus actually sinned, but then just sort of brushing away and saying,

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well, because he was God, he wasn't really sinned and we can't understand. He gives a list of Jesus

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sins in his life and says, well, yeah, I'm sure he had to do that because he became sin for us,

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which is a quote from Scripture. The problem is that, again, this goes back to one of the

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rank heresies that we find even among Lutheran theologians today, which is that when Jesus

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was tempted to sin, that was an internal temptation that he really wanted to sin,

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but because he didn't actually do it, he didn't sin. That's blasphemy. When Jesus was tempted,

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it was external. We've talked about this before. When I want to do something bad that is a part of

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my nature, the temptation is internal because my evil self, the unregenerate self, desires to do

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that, which is contrary to my regenerate nature. I see something. I want to do it. I'm tempted to do

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it. My regenerate nature gives me the power to resist that temptation and not to follow through

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with the sin, but the point to be made is that the desire to sin is itself sin. That is internal

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temptation. There are also external temptations. There are some things where a fleeting thought

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pops into my head and I'm like, where did that come from? Attempting me to do something, it's

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the exact opposite of anything that's in my interest. We all have these fleeting thoughts

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where something just pops in your head and you're like, why would I think that? That's horrible.

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That is external temptation. That is the devil messing with us. It doesn't happen constantly.

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It shouldn't. If it is happening to you constantly, you need to pray for help and for protection from

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the Lord and for forgiveness from a life that is putting you in a position where there are constant

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external temptations, but the internal temptation is according to our sinful nature. The external

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temptation is Jesus faced with Satan in the wilderness where he's saying, eat, jump, worship.

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Those were external temptations. Jesus was tempted because Satan tempted him. Jesus was not tempted

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to do what Satan wanted. There was never any possibility that Jesus was going to bow down

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before Satan. It wasn't like he considered it for a fleeting moment and then decided better of it.

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That would be the internal temptation that you or I might face. Even with resolute faith,

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if Satan appeared to one of us and said, I'll give you the whole world, all you have to do is bow down

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before me, we would have to consider it. No matter how fleetingly, there would still be a

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consideration in our minds because that would be not only Satan tempting us, but us being tempted by

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it internally. That sounds like a pretty good deal. I would like the whole world. That's something

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that appeals to our vanity, appeals to our covetousness. Satan could not do that to Jesus

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because Jesus did not have personal sin. He did not have original sin. When he took our sins on,

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on the cross, it was something external that he took into himself. It's not the same as him

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struggling with sin, which is exactly what Bonhoeffer is accusing him of here. This is

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blasphemy. This is denying that God is God. This is saying that Jesus could sin, that Jesus did sin.

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If Bonhoeffer's Jesus sinned, then Bonhoeffer's Jesus isn't God.

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In Lutheran theology and probably also in some others, this is the distinction between the old

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Adam, which is inherited sin, original sin, you can use either term, and the new man in Christ.

45:34.500 --> 45:41.380
Now, just so we have something read in this episode that is actually sound and good, instead of what

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we'll be reading for most of the episode, I'd like to read just the end of Romans 7, which

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highlights exactly this point. This is the point we're making.

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Now, if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law that it is good,

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so now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me, for I know that nothing good

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dwells in me that is in my flesh, for I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability

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to carry it out, for I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.

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Now, if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me,

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so I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand,

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for I delight in the law of God in my inner being, but I see in my members another law

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waging war against the law of my mind, and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my

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members, wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death, thanks be to God

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through Jesus Christ our Lord, so then I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my

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flesh I serve the law of sin. This is summarized in Reformation Theology as the simile. We are

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simultaneously saint and sinner, sanctified and sinful. Because as long as we live in this world,

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we will continue to be beset by original sin, which leads to those internal temptations,

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not just external. Christ again, had only the external temptation, only Satan standing there,

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tempting him. No internal temptation, that is something we have because we are fallen.

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And so that is why Paul here speaking, yes, regenerate Paul speaking says that he continues to

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struggle with original sin, because he was still a fallen human being living in this world.

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That's not something that you eventually reach a point in this life

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where original sin just disappears, you no longer have it. Yes, through the process of

48:08.420 --> 48:13.540
sanctification, some of these temptations will be put to death, which is good.

48:13.620 --> 48:19.220
Daily dying, as it were, and coming alive again in your baptism as a Christian.

48:20.740 --> 48:25.140
But it will not all disappear in this life. That is, for the next life, that is something

48:25.140 --> 48:30.820
that happens in the resurrection. The last quotation I want to read from those table

48:30.820 --> 48:40.100
talks is a rejection of the resurrection. Bonhoeffer says, between humiliation and exaltation

48:40.100 --> 48:46.980
lies oppressively the stark historical fact of the empty tomb. What is the meaning of the news

48:46.980 --> 48:52.580
of the empty tomb before the news of the resurrection? Is it the deciding fact of Christology?

48:52.580 --> 48:59.460
Was it really empty? Is it the visible evidence penetrating the incognito of the sonship of Jesus

48:59.460 --> 49:06.100
opened everyone and therefore making faith superfluous? If it was not empty, it is then Christ

49:06.100 --> 49:13.860
not risen in our faith futile. If it was not empty, it is then Christ not risen in our faith futile.

49:13.860 --> 49:18.900
It looks as though our faith in the resurrection were bound up with the news of the empty tomb.

49:18.900 --> 49:24.020
Is our faith then ultimately only faith in the empty tomb? This is and remains a final

49:24.020 --> 49:29.940
stumbling block which the believer in Christ must learn to live with in one way or another.

49:29.940 --> 49:35.540
Empty or not empty, it remains a stumbling block. We cannot be sure of its historicity.

49:35.620 --> 49:40.660
The Bible itself shows this stumbling block when it makes clear how hard it was to prove

49:40.660 --> 49:46.580
that the disciples had not stolen the body. Even here we cannot escape the realm of ambiguity.

49:46.580 --> 49:52.740
We cannot find a way around it. Even in the testimony of Scripture, Jesus enters in a form

49:52.740 --> 49:58.820
which is a stumbling block. Even as the risen one, he does not lift his incognito. He will lift it

49:58.820 --> 50:04.740
only when he returns in glory. Then the incarnate one will no longer be the humiliated one. Then

50:04.740 --> 50:10.980
the decision over faith or unbelief is already taken. Then the humanity of God is really and now

50:10.980 --> 50:19.220
only the glorifying of God. Again, he's playing these word games that we've warned against.

50:19.220 --> 50:26.180
This big brained garbage where these guys will come along and they'll just vomit word salad at you.

50:27.860 --> 50:33.940
You're not sure what happened, but your faith is undermined as a result of it. The uncertainty

50:33.940 --> 50:38.820
in the ambiguity, which is a word he directly uses, he says, it's ambiguous. Did Jesus rise from

50:38.820 --> 50:45.140
the grave? There's no, we can't be sure of its historicity. Another direct denial of the creeds.

50:45.140 --> 50:50.260
Another direct denial of Scripture. I don't know if Jesus rose from the dead. Who knows where his

50:50.260 --> 50:56.020
body went? That's not the important part. And this is why Bonhoeffer is able to talk about

50:56.020 --> 51:00.660
these things when King had to avoid them. Because King wasn't smart enough to say,

51:00.660 --> 51:04.660
well, it doesn't really matter. The virgin birth doesn't really matter. The resurrection of the

51:04.660 --> 51:09.700
dead doesn't really matter. He denied them in his papers because that's what he had gotten from Barf

51:09.700 --> 51:16.340
and Boltman and these other demons. But he didn't know how to provide the end then. So when he went

51:16.340 --> 51:21.860
to his audience in preaching, so-called, he just left this stuff out because he didn't have the

51:21.860 --> 51:27.940
chops. Bonhoeffer is dangerous because he basically says, did Jesus rise from the grave? I don't know.

51:27.940 --> 51:33.300
It doesn't matter. He's coming back on the last day anyway. So why worry about the historicity

51:33.300 --> 51:42.500
of this Bible stuff? That's the whole shooting match. If you can get someone to deny the creed

51:42.500 --> 51:47.780
and say, oh, but it doesn't matter, Jesus is coming back anyway. That last part is true. Jesus

51:47.780 --> 51:53.380
is coming back anyway. And when he returns to judge the quick and the dead, he will find you guilty

51:53.380 --> 51:59.140
of all of your sins because you've rejected the God who sacrificed on the cross to forgive them in

51:59.140 --> 52:05.700
the first place. The reconciliation provided on the cross to all men is not given to those then

52:05.700 --> 52:10.900
who deny it. The price was paid, but if you say, I don't want that credit, I'm going to do it myself,

52:11.460 --> 52:16.740
when Jesus comes back, he's like, okay, here's the bill and you're going to spend a turn and he

52:16.740 --> 52:26.020
paying it in hell. So this tricky stuff where it sounds kind of confusing, like we said, he's a smart

52:26.020 --> 52:32.740
guy. He's writing this stuff in a manner and speaking in a manner that will confuse most people.

52:32.740 --> 52:38.260
As Corey was saying earlier, as we've warned, when it's a reason that we've been using the

52:38.260 --> 52:43.780
phrase all along, Jesus dust and Jesus butter, these guys will slather on the things that sound

52:43.860 --> 52:48.020
Christian to you and then say, oh, but we can't be sure the historicity of the resurrection.

52:49.620 --> 52:54.980
Because you swallowed their bait and went down the path with them, that they're actually talking

52:54.980 --> 52:59.860
about the one true God, by the time they get to the point to say, I don't know if the tomb was empty

52:59.860 --> 53:04.580
or not, I don't know where the body went, but don't worry, it doesn't matter. Your brain is just going

53:04.580 --> 53:11.220
to skip over the tomb was an empty or they stole the body and hit it and just say, well, he's talking

53:11.220 --> 53:16.020
about Jesus and he says Jesus coming back on the last day. So the rest must be Christian and I'm just

53:16.020 --> 53:20.740
not going to worry too much about it because I'm not really sure what the guy said. That is a trap

53:20.740 --> 53:26.500
for your soul. And that's why these guys are so deadly. And that's why some of the worst men in

53:26.500 --> 53:35.620
religion today love Bonhoeffer because he provides an excuse for them to deny anything they want.

53:36.500 --> 53:43.300
It's not that Bonhoeffer's theology is providing a script for a separate religion. He's acting as

53:43.300 --> 53:50.980
a solvent against the very foundations of the Christian faith and then leaving this goo behind

53:50.980 --> 53:56.100
that can be reshaped by whoever comes along to form whatever new religion they want. And the thing

53:56.100 --> 54:00.740
that they're going to have in common is it's going to be loving and it's going to be neighborly and

54:00.740 --> 54:05.540
there will only be nice noises and there will only be clean words and no one will ever be unhappy.

54:06.340 --> 54:10.340
Because they've achieved perfection in this life because that's what God would have wanted.

54:12.260 --> 54:17.220
That's what always happens with all these guys. And whenever they talk about Jesus incidentally,

54:18.100 --> 54:24.020
no longer can be the Jesus of the creeds and confessions because that Jesus has very particular

54:25.140 --> 54:32.420
facts in history. God was born a man. God died a man. God was resurrected a man. God ascended

54:32.420 --> 54:38.900
into heaven a man. All of those are true. And if you doubt or deny any of them, you no longer

54:38.900 --> 54:45.860
have the true God and anything else you do from that point on is meaningless noise. So these

54:45.860 --> 54:51.060
quotes are tricky and they're subtle. It's worth going back and listening to them or not. I mean,

54:51.060 --> 54:57.460
you know, I've spent a couple weeks now reading through this crap and it's vile and it's partly

54:57.460 --> 55:04.900
vile because you have to have your guard up to such an extensive degree to see the trick that's

55:04.900 --> 55:10.180
being played. And it's not that we're being unfair. It's that when we look at the rest of the things

55:10.180 --> 55:15.060
that men like this guy say, in the context of these confessions, denying the virgin birth,

55:15.060 --> 55:20.580
denying that Jesus was sinless and therefore God, denying that he was bodily resurrected.

55:20.580 --> 55:24.900
When you strip away all those things, you're left with a false religion. But it still looks and

55:24.980 --> 55:29.620
sounds in some places like the one that we claim to hold. And that's where the destruction of our

55:29.620 --> 55:34.900
faith is coming into play. I have to say, Jesus' butter really sounds like something I should be

55:34.900 --> 55:41.620
able to go into a restaurant here in the South in order. And I'm a little disappointed that I have

55:41.620 --> 55:46.020
never seen another menu. But at the same time, I feel I could be a little sacrilegious. Maybe we

55:46.020 --> 55:53.460
shouldn't do that. But Bonhoeffer, in that quote that you read, really admits perhaps a little

55:53.460 --> 55:59.780
more than he intends, or perhaps he was intentionally letting the mask slip for the attentive reader.

56:00.980 --> 56:05.300
Because when you hear what he said there, you should think of several verses in Scripture,

56:06.100 --> 56:12.660
one of which is a verse from 1 Corinthians. For Jews demand signs, and Greeks seek wisdom.

56:12.660 --> 56:19.700
But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews, and folly to Greeks. But to those who

56:19.700 --> 56:25.140
are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

56:27.860 --> 56:36.740
If he is saying that Christ, as he appears in Scripture, is a stumbling block for him,

56:37.540 --> 56:42.500
which is what he's saying. He's saying that Christ is a stumbling block for the kind of

56:42.980 --> 56:48.100
Christian that he is. Well, he's saying he's not a Christian.

56:49.620 --> 56:54.420
Because Scripture speaks of Christ being a stumbling block for the unbeliever.

56:55.620 --> 56:57.780
Christ is not a stumbling block for the believer.

57:00.580 --> 57:06.260
Christ is your Lord and Savior. He's not a stumbling block. He doesn't cause you to trip and fall.

57:06.340 --> 57:15.060
That is how he is described for those who refuse to believe, and that's why he is a stumbling block

57:15.060 --> 57:22.260
to the Jews. So he's admitting here, again, as he does frequently, he is not a Christian.

57:23.460 --> 57:30.500
He is something else entirely. We'll close this particular section of this episode with

57:30.500 --> 57:35.460
a short quote from him, which almost doesn't need explanation because it's so egregious.

57:36.420 --> 57:42.740
But here it is at its entirety. The New Testament contains no ethical precept,

57:42.740 --> 57:46.260
which we may or even can adopt literally.

57:48.500 --> 57:53.860
This appears many times in his writing, in his writings, in various forms,

57:54.660 --> 58:01.940
where he outright denies that there are actual principles or ethical rules in Scripture. And

58:01.940 --> 58:07.540
in other places he says that God is arbitrary, because he says that the ethical principles

58:07.540 --> 58:13.700
that we see in Scripture aren't universal, aren't eternal, they are simply tools in God's hands,

58:13.700 --> 58:20.660
His words, that He will use and then abandon when He is done with them. Which, again, is a denial of

58:20.660 --> 58:26.580
the nature of God. It's saying that God is changing, that God is mutable, it's saying that God isn't

58:26.580 --> 58:30.980
truth. You cannot be a Christian and say these sorts of things.

58:32.180 --> 58:37.780
And Scripture is, for the record, full of ethical precepts that you can, in fact,

58:37.780 --> 58:44.340
adopt literally. Scripture is very clear about what they are, and that they are eternal.

58:44.340 --> 58:49.140
We've gone over this before, the different kinds of law in Scripture. There's the moral law,

58:49.140 --> 58:57.540
which is binding for all men at all places, all times. There is the civil law, which was

58:58.100 --> 59:04.740
binding on Old Testament Israel and is at least persuasive for us today, because it is God saying,

59:04.740 --> 59:10.500
this is permissible to do in reaction to this other thing. And so that is the

59:11.220 --> 59:16.180
scope of what is permissible given by God in the civil law. And then there's the ceremonial law,

59:16.180 --> 59:21.780
which does not apply to modern Christians. That was for Old Testament Israel to set them apart

59:21.780 --> 59:27.300
from their neighbors. And so, yes, you're allowed to eat shellfish or wear clothing with multiple

59:27.300 --> 59:35.300
kinds of cloth, etc. Those things, those gotchas that Internet atheists so love are complete nonsense

59:35.300 --> 59:42.980
if you actually understand the nature of what is uppercase law, uppercase L law, or lowercase

59:42.980 --> 59:49.380
L law in the Old Testament. So go ahead and wrap your shrimp in bacon. Go wild, have fun.

59:51.620 --> 59:54.580
Just don't wear polyester underwear because that kills your T levels.

59:55.140 --> 59:59.700
That's actually the one we should keep. We should just have a sort of a modern version

59:59.700 --> 01:00:04.340
for Christians of the multiple types of cloth one. It's don't wear synthetics because they're

01:00:04.340 --> 01:00:08.900
horrible for you. At least don't wear them around sensitive parts of the body that absorb them.

01:00:09.700 --> 01:00:13.700
Yeah, no seed oils. We need a new set of Levitical laws.

01:00:15.860 --> 01:00:20.180
So the next set of quotes that we want to get into, most of them are going to come from

01:00:21.140 --> 01:00:27.700
Bonn Offer's letters from prison. He had been in prison at this point as part of a plot to murder

01:00:27.700 --> 01:00:35.220
the Chancellor of Germany. We should note, though, before we mention that he, at this point, well,

01:00:35.220 --> 01:00:42.180
it depends on which point in the letters because initially he was in prison because

01:00:43.300 --> 01:00:48.500
he was well, he wasn't really suspected it was known that he was engaging in corruption with

01:00:48.500 --> 01:00:54.340
regard to his military office, which that is worth noting. He was working in the military

01:00:54.340 --> 01:01:00.260
intelligence of National Socialist Germany. He got into that by another gentleman. I don't

01:01:00.260 --> 01:01:04.180
think I'll bother with his name because he's not really relevant to this episode.

01:01:05.860 --> 01:01:11.700
Also not a good man, but he was part of the resistance movement, and he got Bonn Offer to

01:01:11.700 --> 01:01:18.900
be involved in that. And so he wound up basically running messages, helping with communication,

01:01:18.900 --> 01:01:28.900
including across enemy lines to the Allies later on. And so he was using his government office

01:01:29.460 --> 01:01:36.260
to directly oppose the government, perhaps not quite rising to the level of treason until

01:01:36.260 --> 01:01:42.180
he started communicating with belligerence, of course, then it was treason. And then he compounded

01:01:42.180 --> 01:01:50.660
it by becoming involved in an assassination plot. So initially he was only held in basically a

01:01:50.660 --> 01:01:57.380
standard prison in Tegel in Berlin. I believe, yes, in Berlin. I've actually seen one of the

01:01:57.380 --> 01:02:03.540
locations, but he was then later on moved to one of the concentration camps when it became

01:02:03.540 --> 01:02:08.980
clear that he was involved in the assassination plot. And so many of the letters we see initially,

01:02:08.980 --> 01:02:13.860
because he was just allowed to write freely while he was in the normal prison, he could receive

01:02:13.860 --> 01:02:20.100
visitors, his fiance came and met with him, his parents came and met with him, he received packages,

01:02:20.100 --> 01:02:26.500
he was given obviously plenty of ink and paper. And so you have to bear in mind just a little

01:02:26.580 --> 01:02:33.700
bit of the timeline and that background information that he was actually involved in the military

01:02:33.700 --> 01:02:41.060
intelligence at the time. And so he was effectively acting as a spy and became a traitor.

01:02:44.900 --> 01:02:51.460
And that's why the intro that we did relating this episode to the prior episodes in the history

01:02:51.460 --> 01:02:58.420
of World War II, if you believe the current historic narrative, then sure, I mean, every

01:02:58.420 --> 01:03:05.860
Christian obviously would betray Germany because betraying Germany was service to God. That's

01:03:05.860 --> 01:03:11.460
literally what we're told today. The only good Germans were the ones who betrayed the government

01:03:11.460 --> 01:03:19.060
because the government was evil. So that's the dividing line. That's the moral line that exists.

01:03:19.060 --> 01:03:22.820
And it's a lens through which everything that we read about in these periods

01:03:23.380 --> 01:03:28.580
must be read, must be viewed. You cannot understand anything without looking

01:03:29.620 --> 01:03:36.260
in one direction or the other through that lens. Either the German government in 1943 was evil,

01:03:36.260 --> 01:03:41.780
or it was rightful. And if it was evil, then there's one set of rules. And if it was the

01:03:41.780 --> 01:03:46.100
rightful government, then there's another set of rules. So we're not going to revisit what we

01:03:46.100 --> 01:03:53.140
said a few weeks ago about the Holocaust, but the reason that he is held up as a hero today

01:03:53.140 --> 01:04:00.420
is because we are told to believe that the Germans were evil. So you got to pick one of those

01:04:00.420 --> 01:04:05.780
before you can have an opinion about a man being locked up in prison for spying on his government.

01:04:07.380 --> 01:04:10.260
Here's one of the things that he had to say while he was sitting there in prison.

01:04:10.260 --> 01:04:12.020
Bonhoeffer writes,

01:04:40.260 --> 01:04:45.220
Honestly, described themselves as religious aren't really practicing at all. They're presumably

01:04:45.220 --> 01:04:50.580
means something quite different by quote unquote religious. But our entire 1900 years of Christian

01:04:50.580 --> 01:04:58.020
preaching and theology are built on the religious priority in human beings. Quote unquote, Christianity

01:04:58.020 --> 01:05:05.220
has always been a form perhaps, sorry to laugh in the middle of this, but I'm just staggered by

01:05:05.220 --> 01:05:11.540
how evil this is. Quote unquote, Christianity has always been a form parentheses, perhaps the true

01:05:11.540 --> 01:05:17.940
form of quote unquote, religion. Yet if it becomes the obvious one day that this is a priority does

01:05:17.940 --> 01:05:24.180
not exist, then it has been historically conditioned in transitory form of human expression. Then

01:05:24.180 --> 01:05:28.900
people really will become radically religionless. And I believe that is already more or less the

01:05:28.900 --> 01:05:34.420
case. Why, for example, doesn't this war provoke a religious reaction like all the previous ones?

01:05:34.420 --> 01:05:39.060
What does that then mean for quote unquote Christianity? The foundations are being pulled

01:05:39.060 --> 01:05:44.500
out from under all that quote unquote Christianity has previously been for us. And the only people

01:05:44.500 --> 01:05:48.980
among whom we might end up in terms of quote unquote religion are the last of the nights,

01:05:48.980 --> 01:05:53.780
or a few intellectually dishonest people. Are these supposed to be the chosen few?

01:05:53.780 --> 01:05:59.380
Are we supposed to fall all over preciously this dubious lot of people in our zeal or our

01:05:59.380 --> 01:06:06.260
disappointment? Or woe and try to peddle our wares to them? Or should we jump on a few

01:06:06.260 --> 01:06:11.780
unfortunates in their hour of weakness and commit, so to speak, religious rape? If we are unwilling

01:06:11.780 --> 01:06:17.060
to do any of that, then we eventually must judge that even the Western form of Christianity

01:06:17.060 --> 01:06:22.500
to be only a preliminary stage of a complete absence of religion. What kind of situation

01:06:22.500 --> 01:06:28.100
emerges for us for the church? How can Christ become Lord of the religionless as well? Is there

01:06:28.100 --> 01:06:33.300
such a thing as a religionless Christian? If religion is only the garb in which Christianity

01:06:33.300 --> 01:06:38.100
is clothed, and this garb has looked very different in different ages, what then is

01:06:38.100 --> 01:06:43.620
religionless Christianity? Barth, who is the one to have begun thinking along these lines,

01:06:43.620 --> 01:06:47.940
nevertheless did not pursue these thoughts all the way, did not think them through but ended

01:06:47.940 --> 01:06:53.460
up with a positive vision of revelation, which in the end essentially remained a restoration.

01:06:53.540 --> 01:06:56.580
For the working person, or any person who is without religion,

01:06:56.580 --> 01:07:00.740
nothing decisive has been gained here. The questions to be answered would be,

01:07:00.740 --> 01:07:04.820
what does a church or congregation, a sermon, a liturgy, a Christian life

01:07:04.820 --> 01:07:09.540
mean in a religionless world? How do we talk about God without religion, that is,

01:07:09.540 --> 01:07:14.580
without the temporarily conditioned presuppositions of metaphysics, the inner life, and so on?

01:07:14.580 --> 01:07:18.500
How do we speak, or perhaps how can we no longer speak the way we used to,

01:07:18.500 --> 01:07:25.540
in a worldly way, about quote-unquote God? This again is consistent with something that

01:07:25.540 --> 01:07:30.020
King had talked about as well, and frankly it's also consistent with something that

01:07:30.020 --> 01:07:36.740
Cory and I talk about today, but again in completely opposite directions. When we on

01:07:36.740 --> 01:07:42.660
Stone Choir talk about the world today being a religionless one, one in which God is not

01:07:42.660 --> 01:07:49.220
visible in life in a godly fashion. We certainly see God's actions and everything every day.

01:07:50.180 --> 01:07:56.020
We do not see the will of God typically being acted out by people in the world.

01:07:56.020 --> 01:08:00.820
That's one of our chief complaints on this podcast. The difference in our response to

01:08:00.820 --> 01:08:06.660
Barth's response and to Bonhoeffer's response is that they say, okay, well I guess God's dead,

01:08:06.660 --> 01:08:11.220
so what do we do now? If there's no religion, if there's no thought of any religion at all,

01:08:11.220 --> 01:08:14.100
and again when he's putting religion in quotes and Christianity in quotes,

01:08:14.900 --> 01:08:19.860
that goes back to something we've talked about in another previous episode where we have this

01:08:19.860 --> 01:08:25.860
notion that religion itself is a manifestation of human will, that all religions are man-made.

01:08:25.860 --> 01:08:30.900
Remember that was in some of King's papers. That was one of King's very clear predicates,

01:08:30.900 --> 01:08:36.260
that all religions are man-made, and that the various forms of quote-unquote religion are

01:08:36.260 --> 01:08:43.060
downstream from some inherent wellspring of the human nature. Sometimes you have a religion

01:08:43.060 --> 01:08:47.140
that's better, sometimes you have a religion that's worse, but they're all fundamentally humanist at

01:08:47.140 --> 01:08:52.900
their heart. That's antithetical to Christianity. Christianity comes from God. Christianity is

01:08:52.900 --> 01:08:57.220
found in Scripture. It's delivered to us through the Church by faithful teachers in Scripture.

01:08:57.780 --> 01:09:00.980
When he tears all those things away and says, well, we have this godless world now,

01:09:00.980 --> 01:09:04.340
so how do we talk about doing good things without talking about God?

01:09:05.300 --> 01:09:08.180
I guess back to what we were saying earlier. He doesn't want

01:09:09.460 --> 01:09:14.980
to talk about Christ anymore. He wants to still do the good things, to solve whatever wisdom,

01:09:14.980 --> 01:09:21.540
whatever love, without actually having it rooted in obedience to God, an immediate

01:09:21.540 --> 01:09:26.660
obedience, which is what we talk about all the time. When I talk about obeying God,

01:09:26.660 --> 01:09:32.660
there's an immediacy to my knowledge that what I am trying to do is from Scripture. It's what

01:09:32.660 --> 01:09:37.940
God's telling me. I'm doing it because God told me to do it, or I'm failing to do it in spite

01:09:37.940 --> 01:09:43.780
of what God told me to do. That's the law. The gospel is that I'm forgiven even for having failed

01:09:43.780 --> 01:09:49.860
because God has revealed that in spite of our failings, he loves us and give us a physical

01:09:49.860 --> 01:09:56.420
Christ in history 2000 years ago who died and was raised from the dead and walked out of the tomb

01:09:56.420 --> 01:10:00.100
so that our sins would be forgiven and we would know that it was true.

01:10:00.740 --> 01:10:06.740
These men, one religion where none of that is necessary, they want to just strip out the

01:10:06.740 --> 01:10:11.860
religion and strip out the metaphysics and strip out all the spiritual stuff and say,

01:10:11.860 --> 01:10:17.140
you know what, let's just have the humanist thing because after 1900 years of the church,

01:10:17.140 --> 01:10:22.820
we're now to the point where we've sort of perfected it. We can strip away those mythologies and

01:10:22.820 --> 01:10:28.020
that embarrassing, antiquated stuff and just have the raw humanist form of this thing.

01:10:28.980 --> 01:10:33.220
That's what plays out in all these things and it's the undercurrent of all of his comments.

01:10:33.220 --> 01:10:37.060
And so near the end of his life, just two years before he's going to be executed,

01:10:37.620 --> 01:10:44.260
he's basically saying that, same thing Nietzsche said, he's saying, God is dead, what now? And

01:10:46.100 --> 01:10:50.340
there's a positive way you could read some of this. As I said, these are some of our concerns

01:10:50.340 --> 01:10:57.060
and bits and pieces too, but his ultimate concern is without God, we still need to cope going with

01:10:57.060 --> 01:11:01.140
some sort of religious project. So what's the new religious project and look like?

01:11:02.020 --> 01:11:03.940
That's the exact opposite of Christianity.

01:11:06.260 --> 01:11:10.900
The next quote we have is also from his letters while he was in prison,

01:11:11.540 --> 01:11:18.500
written to Aberhard Betka. He wrote many of the particularly wicked things he wrote to this

01:11:19.220 --> 01:11:26.020
younger gentleman. A few more words about religionlessness. You probably remember

01:11:26.020 --> 01:11:32.180
Boltman's essay on demythologizing the New Testament. My opinion of it today would be that

01:11:32.180 --> 01:11:39.700
he went not too far, as most people thought, but rather not far enough. It's not only mythological

01:11:39.700 --> 01:11:45.300
concepts like miracles, ascension, and so on, which in principle can't be separated from concepts

01:11:45.300 --> 01:11:52.100
of God, faith, etc., exclamation point, that are problematic, but religious concepts as such.

01:11:52.900 --> 01:11:58.580
You can't separate God from the miracles as Boltman thinks. Instead, you must be able to

01:11:58.580 --> 01:12:05.540
interpret and proclaim them both non-religiously. Boltman's approach is still basically liberal,

01:12:05.540 --> 01:12:10.580
that is, it cuts the Gospel short. Whereas I'm trying to think theologically,

01:12:11.380 --> 01:12:18.420
what then does it mean to interpret religiously? It means, in my opinion, to speak metaphysically,

01:12:18.420 --> 01:12:24.260
on the one hand, and on the other hand, individualistically. Neither way is appropriate,

01:12:24.260 --> 01:12:29.380
either for the biblical message or for people today. Hasn't the individualistic question

01:12:29.380 --> 01:12:35.300
of saving our personal souls almost faded away for most of us? Isn't it our impression

01:12:35.300 --> 01:12:40.260
that there are really more important things than this question? Perhaps not more important than this

01:12:40.260 --> 01:12:45.140
matter, but certainly more important than the question, exclamation point, question mark,

01:12:45.140 --> 01:12:50.420
question mark. I know it sounds outrageous to say that, but after all, isn't it fundamentally

01:12:50.420 --> 01:12:54.900
biblical? Does the question of saving one's soul even come up in the Old Testament?

01:12:55.540 --> 01:13:00.980
Isn't God's righteousness in kingdom on earth the center of everything? And isn't Romans 3,

01:13:00.980 --> 01:13:06.260
verse 24 and following, the culmination of the view that God alone is righteous, rather than

01:13:06.260 --> 01:13:12.020
an individualistic doctrine of salvation? What matters is not the beyond, but this world,

01:13:12.020 --> 01:13:18.580
how it is created and preserved, is given laws, reconciled and renewed. What is beyond this world

01:13:18.580 --> 01:13:25.060
is meant in the Gospel to be there for this world, not in the anthropocentric sense of liberal,

01:13:25.060 --> 01:13:31.460
mystical, pietistic, ethical theology, but in the biblical sense of the creation and the incarnation

01:13:31.460 --> 01:13:37.620
crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Bart was the first theologian, to his great and

01:13:37.620 --> 01:13:43.940
lasting credit, to begin the critique of religion. But he then put in its place a positivist doctrine

01:13:43.940 --> 01:13:49.460
of revelation that says, in effect, like it or lump it. Whether it's the virgin birth, the

01:13:49.460 --> 01:13:54.580
trinity or anything else, all are equally significant in necessary parts of the whole,

01:13:54.580 --> 01:14:00.660
which must be swallowed whole or not at all. That's not biblical. There are degrees of cognition

01:14:00.660 --> 01:14:06.820
and degrees of significance. That means an arcane discipline must be re-established

01:14:06.820 --> 01:14:11.060
through which the mysteries of the Christian faith are sheltered against profanation.

01:14:11.700 --> 01:14:17.940
The positivism of revelation is too easygoing. Since in the end, it sets up a law of faith

01:14:17.940 --> 01:14:23.140
and tears up what is, through Christ becoming flesh, exclamation point, a gift for us.

01:14:23.860 --> 01:14:29.540
Now the church stands in the place of religion, that, in itself is biblical, but the world is

01:14:29.540 --> 01:14:35.220
left to its own devices, as it were to rely on itself. That is the error. At the moment I am

01:14:35.220 --> 01:14:40.260
thinking about how the concepts of repentance, faith, justification, rebirth, and sanctification

01:14:40.260 --> 01:14:45.860
should be reinterpreted in a worldly way, in the Old Testament sense, and in the sense of

01:14:45.860 --> 01:14:56.500
John 1.14. I'll write you more about it. This is really just a doubling down on things that we

01:14:56.500 --> 01:15:06.180
have seen in some of the previous quotes from Bonhoeffer. He rejects the Christian religion

01:15:06.180 --> 01:15:18.580
piece by piece in this quote. He is constructing an alternate religion. He is not dealing with

01:15:18.580 --> 01:15:23.380
Christianity. He is not dealing with theology in the proper sense of dealing with God,

01:15:23.380 --> 01:15:29.220
because theology properly references the one true God. Because he doesn't believe it.

01:15:30.340 --> 01:15:34.980
He thinks that these things are pure myth. They are mythology. It doesn't matter if they're true

01:15:34.980 --> 01:15:40.580
or false. He doesn't care at all. He's not dealing with the empirical. Christianity makes

01:15:40.580 --> 01:15:47.220
empirical claims. Christianity says that God became incarnate. Christianity says that God

01:15:47.220 --> 01:15:53.540
died on the cross. Christianity says that God rose again on the third day. Those are empirical

01:15:53.540 --> 01:16:02.420
claims. If those are false, Christianity is false. He is saying here that those don't matter.

01:16:03.540 --> 01:16:07.460
These things don't matter. That's not what Christianity is. That's not what his Christianity

01:16:07.460 --> 01:16:15.380
is. His Christianity is something totally alien to Scripture, something totally alien

01:16:15.380 --> 01:16:21.300
to the Christian faith. And he attributes it to the very man we've mentioned previously.

01:16:23.700 --> 01:16:28.580
These men are all of one mind, because they all have one animating intelligence,

01:16:28.580 --> 01:16:34.580
as we have pointed out many times before. This stuff comes from the pit of hell.

01:16:36.020 --> 01:16:42.500
And as mentioned at the beginning, the problem here is that I rattled off many words that

01:16:42.500 --> 01:16:48.340
undoubtedly sounded Christian to you, because they are words that are used in Christianity.

01:16:48.340 --> 01:16:53.540
They are words that relate to the Christian faith, but they are not Christian when they are coming

01:16:53.540 --> 01:17:00.340
from this man's pen, because they are not Christian in this man's mind, because he's not a Christian.

01:17:01.540 --> 01:17:09.060
And so just because someone tells you crucified, crucifixion, resurrection, salvation, justification,

01:17:09.060 --> 01:17:14.420
just because someone uses these words does not mean that he is a Christian, because again,

01:17:15.220 --> 01:17:16.980
Satan can quote Scripture.

01:17:19.140 --> 01:17:25.380
Satan quoting Scripture doesn't mean that he believes it. Now, of course, he believes it in,

01:17:26.500 --> 01:17:32.900
quite frankly, a more real sense than Bonhoeffer did. Does, well, perhaps he believes it now.

01:17:33.220 --> 01:17:41.060
Now, but Satan knows it's true. Satan doesn't trust it. It's the difference between

01:17:42.500 --> 01:17:47.860
noticia, a census, and fiducia, as we've gone over at least once before in the previous episode.

01:17:49.300 --> 01:17:54.660
These are the levels of knowledge, because again, Christian doctrine, Christianity,

01:17:54.660 --> 01:18:00.100
is a matter of truth claims. I want to reread just a small bit of this,

01:18:00.100 --> 01:18:04.820
because I think it's really the heart of how evil this letter is.

01:18:06.740 --> 01:18:12.340
Bonhoeffer writes, hasn't the individualistic question of saving our personal souls almost

01:18:12.340 --> 01:18:17.060
faded away for most of us? Isn't our impression that there are really more important things than

01:18:17.060 --> 01:18:20.980
this question, perhaps not more important than this matter, but certainly more important than

01:18:20.980 --> 01:18:27.220
this question? I know it sounds a bit outrageous to say that, but after all, isn't it fundamentally

01:18:27.300 --> 01:18:32.980
biblical? Does the question of saving one's soul even come up in the Old Testament?

01:18:35.220 --> 01:18:39.540
One of the books that Cory and I point to quite often, I think, has the perfect response to this

01:18:39.540 --> 01:18:48.100
whole paragraph. Job 19, 25 through 27, Job says, For I know that my Redeemer lives,

01:18:48.100 --> 01:18:53.940
and that at last he will stand upon the earth, and after my skin has thus been destroyed,

01:18:53.940 --> 01:19:00.180
yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold,

01:19:00.180 --> 01:19:06.500
and not another, my heart faints within me. So this is Job in what is almost certainly the

01:19:06.500 --> 01:19:13.380
oldest book in the Old Testament, saying quite clearly, he knows that his Redeemer lives,

01:19:13.380 --> 01:19:19.700
he knows that his flesh, which will die, will be resurrected, and that is his joy.

01:19:19.780 --> 01:19:25.540
Bonhoeffer knew this. Christians know this. One of the most beautiful hymns that we have,

01:19:25.540 --> 01:19:31.460
I know that my Redeemer lives. It is the confession of the Christian faith,

01:19:31.460 --> 01:19:35.860
and it's a direct repudiation of a man who says, Is that even in the Old Testament?

01:19:35.860 --> 01:19:40.900
That was the sincere question of all of this. And so at the end, when he gets again to denying

01:19:40.900 --> 01:19:45.700
the Trinity and the virgin birth and all these other things, I think the question of

01:19:46.340 --> 01:19:53.140
particular knowledge of specific doctrinal facts, as Cory just highlighted, is important.

01:19:54.020 --> 01:19:59.380
When I was on the myth of the 20th century, I was discussing forgiveness with Adam,

01:19:59.380 --> 01:20:04.020
the thief on the cross came up, and I pointed out, and Adam was asking about forgiveness.

01:20:04.020 --> 01:20:08.100
Can someone on death row really receive forgiveness? I said, Well, good news,

01:20:08.820 --> 01:20:15.620
Bible actually has a passage about Jesus in that precise situation to highlight

01:20:15.620 --> 01:20:19.220
that there are certain principles at play that come into salvation, as Cory said,

01:20:19.940 --> 01:20:26.660
and as frankly to be clear, as Bonhoeffer also says, it is not intellectual ascent that saves us.

01:20:27.380 --> 01:20:33.380
However, the thief on the cross, although he could not have explained the Trinity,

01:20:33.380 --> 01:20:37.460
had Jesus explained the Trinity to him in whatever manner he saw fit,

01:20:38.420 --> 01:20:42.260
the thief on the cross would have said, Yes, that is my God. You are my God.

01:20:42.820 --> 01:20:46.260
The thief on the cross would not have heard the Apostle's Creed and say, This is crap.

01:20:46.260 --> 01:20:52.740
I don't believe any of this. This isn't my God. That is the difference between us as Christians

01:20:52.740 --> 01:20:58.500
and Bonhoeffer. When Bonhoeffer sees the virgin birth and the resurrection of the dead in hope

01:20:58.500 --> 01:21:03.780
and salvation, he's like, That's not my God. That's not my religion. That is his true confession.

01:21:04.580 --> 01:21:10.260
In all these passages, the truth of what he believes will creep through, and these questions

01:21:10.260 --> 01:21:15.700
that are merely decides, does it really say in the Old Testament that individual salvation

01:21:15.700 --> 01:21:23.780
matters? Is it even in there? Yes, it's throughout all of it. This is why this stuff is subversive.

01:21:24.020 --> 01:21:29.780
That was a long passage, and he says some things that you can potentially agree with.

01:21:29.780 --> 01:21:34.260
A Christian can come along and baptize some of his words, reincorporating them in a way that

01:21:34.820 --> 01:21:40.180
is actually Christian, just as you could do a Bible study where you did nothing but quote Satan

01:21:40.180 --> 01:21:44.980
from Scripture and teach a good Bible study. You would have to disagree with what Satan was trying

01:21:44.980 --> 01:21:52.820
to achieve, but Satan was quoting God in Scripture. As Corey said, when Satan comes at us, when he

01:21:52.820 --> 01:21:58.420
comes at Christians and believers, he's going to use God's word to do it. Sometimes he'll come

01:21:58.420 --> 01:22:03.460
with other temptations completely outside. There's something that'll get anyone, because we're weak

01:22:03.460 --> 01:22:09.220
in the flesh and we each have our own personal vulnerabilities. There's a tailor-made path to

01:22:09.220 --> 01:22:14.260
damnation for every one of us, and Satan puts all his cards down every day to try to get us there.

01:22:14.820 --> 01:22:23.780
God gives us faith. He gives us forgiveness of sins. He promises us salvation. All we have to do

01:22:24.340 --> 01:22:30.500
is not reject it. The gift of not rejecting it is itself a gift. God gives us everything that we

01:22:30.500 --> 01:22:36.660
need for salvation, is never us doing it. That is our ultimate comfort. It's the reason for the

01:22:36.660 --> 01:22:42.340
Lutheran focus on sacramental theology. It's the stuff that we can point to God doing in our lives

01:22:42.340 --> 01:22:49.300
and say, God did this. I trust his promises. Even the trust in those promises is God giving me something.

01:22:51.700 --> 01:22:56.900
The doubt that's sown by men like Bonhoeffer undermining the tenets of the faith and then

01:22:56.900 --> 01:23:01.620
saying, oh, but really, there's some sort of Jesus and there's some sort of incarnation

01:23:01.620 --> 01:23:09.060
and there's some sort of last day. It's going to be great if you're not scrupulously dissecting

01:23:09.060 --> 01:23:12.660
where this stuff is coming from. If you're not looking at the genealogy of the ideas,

01:23:13.460 --> 01:23:18.980
you're going to potentially give it a pass. That's why Barf is so deadly. Barf and Baltman,

01:23:18.980 --> 01:23:24.340
and Tillich, and there's this string of men throughout the 20th century that were destroying

01:23:24.340 --> 01:23:30.820
the Christian faith piece by piece. Guys love them because it lets midwits sound intelligent as

01:23:30.820 --> 01:23:35.380
they're talking to you and giving you things that are a corruption of the faith. They're like, oh,

01:23:35.380 --> 01:23:40.020
well, that's interesting. I've never heard that before. We want to make sure that when we're

01:23:40.020 --> 01:23:44.020
talking about this stuff on So Enquirer, if you've never heard it before, we can just point you to

01:23:44.020 --> 01:23:49.780
Scripture. Like, here it is. You know, Bonhoeffer's, I don't know, is there anything in there about

01:23:49.780 --> 01:23:56.980
the individual having his soul saved? Job says yes. Many places say yes. We don't need to doubt

01:23:56.980 --> 01:24:02.900
these things because if we trust in Scripture, we have the answers. Again, I point you at the

01:24:02.900 --> 01:24:07.780
beginning to the perspicuity of Scripture, the clarity of Scripture episode we did. Specifically,

01:24:07.780 --> 01:24:10.900
we front-loaded that. It's one of the first, I think, like, five or eight episodes we did,

01:24:11.540 --> 01:24:17.700
in large part because the attacks that come on the faith from all these other directions,

01:24:17.700 --> 01:24:24.420
whether it's making up new sins or it's casting doubt on old creeds, they're all predicated on you,

01:24:24.420 --> 01:24:29.700
ceasing to believe what God has told us all. God hasn't told me anything different than

01:24:29.700 --> 01:24:34.500
He's telling you. It's in Scripture, and if someone comes along and preaches you a word

01:24:34.500 --> 01:24:39.620
different than that which is given from Scripture, God promises that all the curses will be poured

01:24:39.620 --> 01:24:44.740
out on that man, and they're being poured out on Bonhoeffer today, and they're going to be poured

01:24:44.740 --> 01:24:50.740
out on his acolytes because the men who hate some of the most important things in the world today

01:24:50.740 --> 01:24:56.260
are men who love Bonhoeffer. They love MLK. These guys are saints in the New World religion.

01:24:57.060 --> 01:25:03.220
We're doing this episode as a warning that when you see this man being held up in whatever good

01:25:03.220 --> 01:25:07.460
things you read, you know, like I said, there's stuff in here that some of it sounds a little bit

01:25:07.460 --> 01:25:14.340
like us, and the reason for it is that we're going on opposite directions on the same street,

01:25:14.340 --> 01:25:18.980
so we're covering some of the same ground, but he's trying to undo the very things that we're

01:25:18.980 --> 01:25:25.460
trying to do, and so when we cross paths and we sound similar, it's not shared givens,

01:25:25.460 --> 01:25:30.340
is that we're operating in the sphere of Christianity. The difference is that we're trying

01:25:30.340 --> 01:25:36.340
to uphold it and be faithful to it, and men like Bonhoeffer and his acolytes today are trying to tear

01:25:36.340 --> 01:25:41.700
it down. Now, there are men who like Bonhoeffer who are Christian. They're fools. I use that in

01:25:41.700 --> 01:25:47.460
the scriptural sense. It is foolishness to like this man. If you're lapping up the things that

01:25:47.460 --> 01:25:53.140
this guy is teaching, you're endangering your soul and the souls of others because as we've laid out

01:25:53.220 --> 01:25:58.020
just briefly here today, in 33, when he was saying stuff about denying the virgin birth

01:25:58.020 --> 01:26:03.620
and her resurrection of the dead, he had not yet despaired. He just had some sort of conversion

01:26:03.620 --> 01:26:09.220
experience. He would never describe anyone in 31, and so in this period, he was really into reading

01:26:09.220 --> 01:26:14.660
the Bible, and then by the end in 43, 44, 45, he says in some of these other letters, he doesn't

01:26:14.660 --> 01:26:22.420
read the Bible anymore. Whatever faith he had, if he ever did, by the time he started denying

01:26:22.420 --> 01:26:28.820
the tenets of the faith, the foundations, the creeds, later on he had nothing left but despair,

01:26:28.820 --> 01:26:33.460
and so as he's talking about this religionless world and he's lamenting what else do we do,

01:26:33.460 --> 01:26:40.100
he doesn't realize that it's his very teachings that created the world that he is now despairing in,

01:26:40.100 --> 01:26:44.900
and his despair was in part of his own creation. We don't want that for anyone.

01:26:45.860 --> 01:26:50.740
There's a real thread that runs throughout all of his writings,

01:26:52.580 --> 01:26:56.980
that really comes to a head in some of the later letters while he was in prison,

01:26:58.260 --> 01:27:05.540
and that is there is an immense hypocrisy underlying so much of what Bonhoeffer wrote.

01:27:06.340 --> 01:27:10.660
Now for some hypocrisy is not going to matter, and for others it should matter a great deal.

01:27:10.660 --> 01:27:19.460
In politics, hypocrisy is one thing. In religion, in Christianity particularly,

01:27:19.460 --> 01:27:24.340
hypocrisy is something else entirely. You as a Christian must not be a hypocrite

01:27:25.780 --> 01:27:34.020
with regard to your faith. Now that doesn't mean that you can't be a Christian and a hypocrite

01:27:34.100 --> 01:27:40.180
in the fullest sense of cannot, because of course you are going to say you should not do

01:27:40.820 --> 01:27:45.060
X when speaking to someone else, and then later on you may very well do that very thing.

01:27:46.500 --> 01:27:50.980
Does that make you a hypocrite to some degree, of course? Does it make you wrong for saying

01:27:50.980 --> 01:27:55.620
you should not do X? No, so long as you are repeating a truth about the Christian faith.

01:27:55.860 --> 01:28:02.740
If any man says you should not lust after a woman who is not your wife,

01:28:04.020 --> 01:28:07.860
odds are pretty good that at some point in his life he is going to have done that,

01:28:07.860 --> 01:28:12.100
and will probably do it again. That is just one of the realities of the fallen flesh.

01:28:14.500 --> 01:28:21.540
But we see in the writings of Bonhoeffer something different with regard to hypocrisy,

01:28:22.260 --> 01:28:29.300
because he writes about this deep sense of caring for others that you are supposed to have as a

01:28:29.300 --> 01:28:37.620
Christian, and then in so many of his interactions he does not show it, and then he becomes a

01:28:37.620 --> 01:28:45.460
traitor to his own people. He abandons in the process his fiancee, notably. He was set to be

01:28:46.260 --> 01:28:54.740
married shortly after he was arrested. I think it was either three months after he got engaged,

01:28:54.740 --> 01:28:59.940
or three months until the wedding. I don't remember which one it was. But this is his

01:28:59.940 --> 01:29:06.260
fiancee who had just lost her military commander father and her brother on the eastern front.

01:29:06.260 --> 01:29:14.660
He mentions that in one of his letters. He is just an immense and unsettling hypocrite in so

01:29:14.740 --> 01:29:20.260
many ways, but there's also another thread that runs throughout his writings where he is very

01:29:20.260 --> 01:29:26.980
clearly seeking to justify himself. And there are places where he speaks explicitly

01:29:26.980 --> 01:29:31.780
of self-justification. We didn't get to those, and we won't deal with those in this episode,

01:29:31.780 --> 01:29:36.420
because we don't want to run for four hours dealing with this man and his bad theology.

01:29:37.780 --> 01:29:41.700
But there is one more quote that I want to read that's related to this issue.

01:29:41.780 --> 01:29:49.860
There is clearly no historically significant action that does not trespass ever again against

01:29:49.860 --> 01:29:56.260
the limits set by those laws, he's speaking here of the moral law. But it makes a decisive difference

01:29:56.820 --> 01:30:02.740
whether such trespasses against the established limit are viewed as their abolishment in principle

01:30:02.740 --> 01:30:09.540
and hence presented as a law of its own kind, or whether one is conscious that such trespassing is

01:30:09.540 --> 01:30:16.260
perhaps an unavoidable guilty that has its justification only in that law and limit being

01:30:16.260 --> 01:30:21.220
reinstated and honored as quickly as possible. Obviously there's one word there that was

01:30:21.220 --> 01:30:25.300
translated a little awkwardly, but the point nevertheless comes through.

01:30:27.380 --> 01:30:31.940
And for those of us with the advantage of hindsight, we can look at this and see

01:30:32.180 --> 01:30:41.700
what he did, what he was doing, his involvement in a plot to assassinate

01:30:42.580 --> 01:30:44.900
the rightfully elected leader of his people.

01:30:47.540 --> 01:30:51.460
Now that is not something that a Christian can do certainly, but it is

01:30:52.820 --> 01:30:57.700
very certainly and much more so something in which clergy should not be involved.

01:30:58.260 --> 01:31:05.380
There are limits to what clergy can and cannot do, and there are some other quotes of his that are

01:31:06.500 --> 01:31:12.580
just rank clericalism, we didn't get to those either, but at one point he says that scriptures

01:31:12.580 --> 01:31:18.900
belong to the clergy and not to the congregation, which is directly opposed to everything written

01:31:19.540 --> 01:31:25.060
in Reformation theology, particularly by Lutherans who focus on the priesthood of all the

01:31:25.060 --> 01:31:31.700
levers and very strongly encourage the reading of scripture. This is one of the major points of

01:31:31.700 --> 01:31:39.860
contention between Protestants and the pre-Reformation sects, which is to say both Rome and the East.

01:31:41.380 --> 01:31:48.660
But in this quote and elsewhere, he's justifying his wicked transgression of the law by saying,

01:31:48.660 --> 01:31:55.540
well it's fine, as long as it's transitory. That's not Christian, that's sub-Christian in thought.

01:31:56.420 --> 01:32:01.700
You do not get to justify yourself, particularly when it comes to violating the Fifth Commandment,

01:32:01.700 --> 01:32:08.980
because that is what he did. He was engaged in attempted murder, and people did die as a result,

01:32:08.980 --> 01:32:14.660
so actually murder, he's guilty of murder. Of course you're guilty of murder if you attempt

01:32:14.660 --> 01:32:19.140
to murder, but that's an issue for philosophy and theology for another time.

01:32:22.340 --> 01:32:29.620
The real takeaway from this episode, what we want you to get out of this, is not just that this

01:32:29.620 --> 01:32:35.300
particular man was a wicked man and he has been held up as a martyr in a new religion,

01:32:35.300 --> 01:32:41.780
that's true, that's an important takeaway. But more than that, we want you to understand that

01:32:41.780 --> 01:32:50.820
you need to be careful when engaging with materials, particularly materials from men like this,

01:32:51.940 --> 01:32:58.660
or an unknown quantity, because it may be that the materials will use terms that sound Christian

01:32:58.660 --> 01:33:03.220
to you, that sound good, that sound like something that a Christian can affirm.

01:33:04.180 --> 01:33:09.940
But that may not be the case, because as we have said repeatedly,

01:33:09.940 --> 01:33:17.620
Satan too can quote Scripture. There is a difference between the Christian knowledge

01:33:18.260 --> 01:33:24.500
that is saving knowledge that we call faith, which is fiducia in the three levels of knowledge,

01:33:25.540 --> 01:33:29.620
because the first is you take notice of the thing, you recognize the thing as a thing,

01:33:29.620 --> 01:33:34.340
the second is you assent to the truth of the thing, and the third is that you trust in it,

01:33:35.540 --> 01:33:43.300
and it is that trust that we call faith. That is what saves. Satan has noticia and ascensus.

01:33:44.180 --> 01:33:50.660
Satan knows that Scripture is true. Satan assents to the fact that Scripture is true.

01:33:50.660 --> 01:33:58.500
Satan cannot trust in it. Satan has no faith. Neither do his acolytes. Men like this

01:33:59.380 --> 01:34:04.820
will sometimes at least pay lip service to Scripture. Sometimes they'll even

01:34:05.860 --> 01:34:11.860
assent to the truth of Scripture. But then they go off the rails. In the case of Bonhoeffer and

01:34:11.860 --> 01:34:16.580
some of the others, some of the more egregious examples, they simply outright deny Scripture.

01:34:17.460 --> 01:34:20.980
They reject the fundamentals of the Christian faith, because he rejected

01:34:21.140 --> 01:34:29.460
time and again the inspiration of Scripture. He didn't even go as far as some of the others and

01:34:29.460 --> 01:34:34.180
say, well, Scripture contains the Word of God, which you have to be careful for that. If someone

01:34:34.180 --> 01:34:40.180
says, contains the Word of God, that is meant to deny that it is the Word of God. Very different

01:34:40.180 --> 01:34:44.340
things. The Christian position is that the Scriptures are the Word of God.

01:34:44.580 --> 01:34:53.380
Bonhoeffer just denied that the Scriptures really contain anything. Religion is some other human

01:34:53.380 --> 01:34:58.580
constructed thing, which he compares at one point to Buddhism as another potential path to God,

01:34:58.580 --> 01:35:05.220
another human constructed path to God. Different, but not so fundamentally different that it's not

01:35:05.220 --> 01:35:13.940
a path to God. When you engage with materials, particularly those that the world is telling

01:35:13.940 --> 01:35:22.660
you are great or important or this person is a giant of the Church, engage your critical faculties,

01:35:24.500 --> 01:35:32.660
compare them to Scripture, do these men say the things of God in the same words as God used,

01:35:32.660 --> 01:35:38.260
because that's another important matter. One thing you will see in these men, just to throw

01:35:38.260 --> 01:35:42.820
in a point here right at the end, one thing you will see in these men is that they will speak

01:35:42.820 --> 01:35:48.020
of Christ as an example, the example of Christ. We have to follow the example of Christ.

01:35:50.180 --> 01:35:55.620
What does Scripture actually say? It's a subtle difference, but it matters. It's not always

01:35:56.580 --> 01:36:03.620
a definitive conclusion that if the person says example of Christ, he's a false teacher,

01:36:03.620 --> 01:36:09.620
but the false teachers tend to use example of Christ or Christ as example or some wording like that,

01:36:09.620 --> 01:36:19.140
instead of what Paul says, become imitators of Christ. So someone feels a need to change the

01:36:19.140 --> 01:36:26.420
words of Scripture. There's probably a reason. So compare what these men say to what God says in

01:36:26.420 --> 01:36:35.940
his word. If they do not match up, get rid of the former. We spent a fair amount of time slogging

01:36:36.020 --> 01:36:43.540
through this material, reading these books, essays, letters, etc. Because we had a very

01:36:43.540 --> 01:36:49.140
specific purpose in mind, we had a reason to do it. We are not recommending that anyone read these

01:36:49.140 --> 01:36:59.780
materials. Life is short. If you are going to read theology, read good theology. Don't read these

01:37:00.340 --> 01:37:05.540
wicked men. That's not because we're saying, oh, well, you can't read and understand this and

01:37:05.540 --> 01:37:11.380
no, it's not that. It's don't waste your time. Read Scripture, read good theology.

01:37:12.100 --> 01:37:15.620
Don't spend your time reading men who are now in hell.

01:37:18.180 --> 01:37:20.660
Because if you read the materials by those who are now in hell,

01:37:22.740 --> 01:37:28.260
you're not decreasing the odds, certainly, of joining them, most likely. Now, again,

01:37:28.260 --> 01:37:30.740
if you're doing it for a critical reason, perhaps that's fine.

01:37:30.980 --> 01:37:34.740
But these materials are dangerous.

01:37:37.780 --> 01:37:44.820
Wicked writings, evil materials are themselves, in themselves, dangerous. Look at what happened

01:37:44.820 --> 01:37:51.860
in Scripture. When those who had previously practiced the dark arts had practiced magic,

01:37:52.420 --> 01:38:00.260
converted to Christianity, they burned their evil materials, worth enormous sums of money,

01:38:00.740 --> 01:38:07.380
today, and certainly, of course, then. Because that is the Christian response. Sometimes,

01:38:08.020 --> 01:38:14.500
the Christian response is a book burning. And I know that doesn't sound very winsome,

01:38:14.500 --> 01:38:18.340
as it were, to modern ears, because we're supposed to believe in

01:38:18.340 --> 01:38:22.420
some sort of absolute freedom of speech in the press, but that is not the Christian position.

01:38:23.460 --> 01:38:28.820
Some things are evil in and of themselves, and it is best for the Christian to avoid them.

01:38:31.060 --> 01:38:37.060
So the best advice we can give you is, for men like Bonhoeffer, or Bart, or any of a number of

01:38:37.060 --> 01:38:45.060
others, just avoid their writings. There is no reason to read this material. It's good to have

01:38:46.980 --> 01:38:52.580
the sort of cursory information provided in this episode, because now you have a response

01:38:52.580 --> 01:38:55.940
when someone comes up to you, and unfortunately, may very well be your pastor.

01:38:56.900 --> 01:39:03.780
But when someone comes up to you and says, this man was a great Christian, a great theologian,

01:39:03.780 --> 01:39:08.820
he stood up for the church, he opposed those evil Nazis, whatever it is he says,

01:39:08.820 --> 01:39:13.700
it'll most likely be something along those lines. Now you have some sort of response.

01:39:13.700 --> 01:39:20.500
You can ask some questions. You can say, is it good for a Christian to deny the virgin birth?

01:39:21.460 --> 01:39:25.380
Like a pastor or whomever will say no. Well, Bonhoeffer did it.

01:39:26.340 --> 01:39:32.020
Is it good to deny the plenary verbal inspiration of Scripture? Well, no. Bonhoeffer did.

01:39:33.380 --> 01:39:41.460
A dozen other things. The Christian response, when other Christians, brothers in error, bring up

01:39:41.460 --> 01:39:47.700
evil men like this and say they were greats, is to rebuke them. Because if you believe that this

01:39:47.700 --> 01:39:53.620
man was a great of the church, you are endangering your own soul, and you are endangering every

01:39:53.620 --> 01:40:00.660
soul entrusted to your care. And unfortunately today, many of those who believe this wicked man

01:40:00.660 --> 01:40:06.660
was a great man of the church, are in charge of many souls, because they are pastors, they are

01:40:06.660 --> 01:40:13.540
shepherds of flocks. And that's why we did this episode. Because Bonhoeffer was an evil man,

01:40:13.540 --> 01:40:19.780
and he is burning in hell. I want to conclude just briefly by reiterating the quote that I used

01:40:19.780 --> 01:40:27.300
from the very beginning from the LCMS Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in 2006. Because it's

01:40:27.300 --> 01:40:34.740
probably the most true quote that we have read to you today. Dietrich Bonhoeffer may well be

01:40:34.740 --> 01:40:40.180
the most widely admired and respected Christian theologian among Christian pastors and theologians

01:40:40.180 --> 01:40:46.580
in the USA. The scope of his appeal is exceptionally broad, spanning across virtually all Christian

01:40:46.580 --> 01:40:51.380
denominations and across perspectives ranging from the traditional to the liberal.

01:40:53.300 --> 01:40:59.380
That's absolutely true. And as Corey just said, that is deadly. That is the state of our church

01:40:59.380 --> 01:41:07.700
today, a state of freefall apostasy, where a man who literally denies the creeds as a predicate for

01:41:07.700 --> 01:41:14.100
all of his other teachings is upheld as a great theologian of the 20th century. Why?

01:41:14.660 --> 01:41:22.980
Because he didn't like Nazis. That's the religion. The religion of this age, the new world religion,

01:41:22.980 --> 01:41:29.300
is one where Nazis bad. I'm sorry to have to keep bringing that crap up because it's boring

01:41:29.300 --> 01:41:36.740
and it's tedious, but it is the religion. Men are damned for being Nazis, not for being sinners.

01:41:37.220 --> 01:41:44.180
That is the sin. And so when Concordia St. Louis says he is most widely admired and respected

01:41:44.180 --> 01:41:50.100
Christian theologian among so-called Christian pastors, yeah, that's probably true. And that's

01:41:50.100 --> 01:41:55.700
exactly the problem that we're hoping we can make some small contribution to solving. Because

01:41:55.700 --> 01:42:01.780
Christianity will not survive an environment where men like King and Bonhoeffer are seen as Christian

01:42:01.780 --> 01:42:07.540
martyrs. These men were destroyers of souls and they're paying the eternal price for it.

01:42:07.540 --> 01:42:13.060
We don't want anyone to join them. And the surest path to joining them is to agree with them,

01:42:13.060 --> 01:42:18.100
to uphold them, to believe what they say, and then to evangelize those beliefs to others.

01:42:19.220 --> 01:42:24.820
That is the world religion. It's the popular religion. You will fit in if you love Bonhoeffer.

01:42:24.820 --> 01:42:27.860
And the more you talk about them, the more friends you're going to have.

01:42:28.660 --> 01:42:36.660
Scripture has a lot to say about the popularity of Scripture. True doctrine is usually not popular,

01:42:36.660 --> 01:42:42.660
at least not for very long. Unpopularity doesn't mean it's right, but popularity certainly doesn't

01:42:42.660 --> 01:42:51.300
mean it's wrong. This man, like King, like Barth, these men were destroyers of the Christian faith.

01:42:51.860 --> 01:42:57.380
And today we have so many men and pulpits and in positions of authority and power

01:42:57.380 --> 01:43:02.340
that literally can't tell the difference. This is a crisis for the entire church.

01:43:02.980 --> 01:43:07.700
This is a crisis for every Christian. Because even if you don't have the aptitude

01:43:07.700 --> 01:43:12.580
to delve into these matters, most of you probably don't. And it's not men as an insult.

01:43:12.580 --> 01:43:18.420
God dispenses his gifts unequally. There are men who are capable of seeing through these lies.

01:43:18.820 --> 01:43:24.740
Those men should have your support and your protection because they're outnumbered. And the

01:43:24.740 --> 01:43:31.700
men who are seeking to leave the world where there's no gospel left, where there's no promise

01:43:31.700 --> 01:43:38.660
of Job 19, where he knows that his Redeemer lives, and he knows that he will see him with his own

01:43:38.660 --> 01:43:44.420
eyes on the last day. We know that too. That is the Christian promise. It is not the promise of

01:43:44.500 --> 01:43:50.420
the faith of these men. Those who deny the resurrection, who deny the true Christ,

01:43:50.980 --> 01:43:56.180
will meet him in the worst possible way. We want for every listener and for all of your

01:43:56.180 --> 01:44:02.180
families and all of your communities to meet Christ on the last day, covered in the white robes,

01:44:03.460 --> 01:44:10.260
white in the blood of the Lamb. The forgiveness of sins is the purpose of Scripture. It's why

01:44:10.340 --> 01:44:15.220
it's given to us. Everything that we ever do wrong in our lives, everything that Bonhoff

01:44:15.220 --> 01:44:18.980
ever did wrong in his life, everything your pastor's ever done wrong in his life,

01:44:18.980 --> 01:44:25.380
getting some of this stuff wrong, Jesus paid the price for that. When we deny that that price was

01:44:25.380 --> 01:44:31.140
paid, when we deny that these things are sins, that these things are lies, we take it back on

01:44:31.140 --> 01:44:35.860
ourself. And on the last day, God will say, okay, if you say that's your sin, I believe you.

01:44:36.500 --> 01:44:43.940
That is not what we wish for anyone, because the eternal punishment is infinite. Just as the eternal

01:44:43.940 --> 01:44:51.380
reward is infinite for all the wonderful things that God has prepared for us, it's literally either

01:44:51.380 --> 01:44:58.020
war. And it's not our doing. But when we tolerate evil teaching, when we all tolerate evil teachers,

01:44:58.020 --> 01:45:03.860
we ensure that there's no room left in the world for Christian teaching. The last thing that we

01:45:03.860 --> 01:45:11.300
want is to see Christian teaching die out. I long for a day when stone choir is no longer necessary.

01:45:11.300 --> 01:45:17.380
Doing these episodes is unpleasant. We put this off for a while because it stinks so much to read

01:45:17.380 --> 01:45:23.460
this crap. It's painful. But the fact that it's harming people is one of the reasons we did. We

01:45:23.460 --> 01:45:29.620
had a lot of requests for this episode. If in some small way anything that we do or you do

01:45:29.700 --> 01:45:35.300
can help to turn the tide against these evil teachings, we would like to see the entire church

01:45:35.300 --> 01:45:41.700
get back to the point that our pulpits and our seminaries and wherever men are faithfully raised

01:45:41.700 --> 01:45:47.300
up to spread the word of God, they all see these things that are contrary to Scripture and say,

01:45:47.300 --> 01:45:56.980
yeah, I'm of a different spirit.