inexpressible and filled with glory


Bonhoeffer’s Execution
20 January 2010, 11:21 am
Filed under: Books | Tags: , , ,

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor theologian, was arrested on 6 April 1943 for his role in the resistance movement against the Nazis in plotting the assassination of Adolf Hitler. He was imprisoned for a year and a half before being sentenced to execution. On 9 April 1945 he was executed by a particularly brutal hanging. Bonhoeffer was stripped of his clothing and led naked into the execution yard, where he was hanged with thin wire for strangulation. This is the recollection of the camp doctor who witnessed Bonhoeffer’s execution:

I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer … kneeling on the floor praying fervently to God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the few steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.

I thought this was incredible an incredible testimony of a man trusting God to the very end, even though that end was not pleasant.

Bonhoeffer’s books are much-loved by many who follow Jesus. I am hoping to read his most popular books, The Cost of Discipleship and Life Together, in 2010.

Have you read anything by Bonhoeffer? If so, what did you think? What impact did it have on your thinking, or on your life?

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