When Should You Fight Evil with Evil?

When Should You Fight Evil with Evil?

One of my Christian heroes is Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I even asked my wife if we could name our son Dietrich. For some reason she didn’t like that idea. Go figure.

Bonhoeffer is a fascinating figure for all sorts of reasons, but one of those is that his ministry took place during the rise of Nazism in Germany. Born into an upper-middle class family in Germany and studying at some of finest schools, he ended up rejecting the German national church, which was controlled by the Nazi party. Instead he threw his energy behind the Confession Church, a church that resisted the Nazi party.

Ultimately Dietrich Bonhoeffer would do more than theologically resist the Nazi party; he would actively participate in helping Jews escape and would ultimately be party to an assassination plot against Adolf Hitler.[i]

Although, for obvious reasons, Bonhoeffer never discussed the plot nor his reasons for the decision, it is clear in his letters that he expended a lot of energy working through what his ethical responsibilities were throughout the war. Those who believe he participated in the assassination conspiracy point to his words in Ethics where he says, “the structure of responsible action includes both readiness to accept guilt and freedom.”[ii] Is Bonhoeffer saying that there are times where following Christ means that we might actually be called into guilt (and therefore to sin)?

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.       Discriminating Against Those With Downs Syndrome: Alan Shlemon reports on this increasingly disturbing reality, "Richard Dawkins once responded to a woman who wrote the following tweet: “I honestly don't know what I would do if I were pregnant with a kid with Down Syndrome. Real ethical dilemma.” Dawkins took no more than 60 seconds to read, deliberate, and post the following advice: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.” Did you catch that? Not only should you have the option to kill a “kid with Down syndrome,” but it would be immoral not to abort."

2.       What if Tomorrow is Even Harder Than Today: Benjamin Vrbicek helps us re-frame how we tend to think about life, "Left to ourselves, we are always, only, ever a house of cards. Yet beneath our flimsy hope of self-sufficiency rests the rock-solid promise of a good and gracious God, always strong and sovereign. This promise sustained my friends as they waited in the ICU for their daughter to recover. It sustains me when life is hard. And it can sustain you when you fear what’s ahead. "

3.       God Strengthens Those of Weak Faith: Adrian Warnack on our faith and the object of our faith, "There is a brand of muscular faith that is promoted by some today. According to this school of thought you will be healed or blessed by God if you can only believe strongly enough... and basically be positive enough... When we struggle or become weak, Jesus prays for us too that we will not fail. Sometimes the candle might seem like it is almost out and only smouldering, but instead of snuffing us out he breathes his Spirit on us to strengthen us so we too, like Peter, can strengthen others."

4.       Jesse's Story: The Heavyweight podcast tells the story of Jesse. Four years ago, Jesse was hit by a car and nearly died. Now he wants to find the driver. And thank him. I don't think it's possible to not get misty in the final minutes of this moving podcast.

5.       Powerful Words from a Man with Downs Syndrome: Frank Stephens testifies on Capital Hill about his life experience and calls congress to action.