Feb. 4th marks what would be the 108th birthday of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. An outspoken pastor, theologian, underground seminary professor, and spy against the Third Reich, Bonhoeffer’s young life was sadly cut short at the hands of Nazi interrogators.
Throughout his dynamic ministry, Bonhoeffer challenged both the Church and State to recognize and assume their providentially assigned roles. He implored the Church to be a faithful witness in a rapidly deteriorating society. And he spoke out against the grave abuses of governmental power.
While many of his contemporaries were either silent or conflicted in the face of quickly disintegrating freedoms, Bonhoeffer was a strong and steady voice of moral precision.
His story serves as a reminder of the necessity to be an active participant in the public square, particularly as it relates to preserving a just society.
Consider Bonhoeffer’s words to a generation faltering under the grinding pressures of a corrupt regime:
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed in the prime of his life – only 39, and recently engaged. Yet even though he was young, Bonhoeffer had a profound influence on his generation and those that came after him.
As we honor the memory of Bonhoeffer, it’s crucial to remember that we also have the privilege and responsibility to engage in the public square. Though we are young, our voices matter and can have lasting and meaningful impact, not just in our time, but for future generations as well.