Friendship with Bonhoeffer

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Bell met Bonhoeffer for the first time at the Work and Life Movement’s conference in Novi Sad, Serbia in September of 1933. In October of the same year, Bonhoeffer became a pastor to German congregations in England where he had close contact with Bishop Belll.

In his forward to the English edition of Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship”, Bell wrote, I knew him in London in the early days of the evil regime and from him, more than any other German, I learned the true character of the conflict, in an intimate friendship (Bonhoeffer, Cost, p. 7).

Bonhoeffer wanted Bell to persuade the ecumenical movement to distinguish between the two churches in Germany and to recognize the Confessing Church as the legitimate church. Bell’s influence, however, only sufficed to get the ecumenical movement to condemn events in Germany and to criticize the German Christians. The German Christians therefore viewed the friendship between Bell and Bonhoeffer with suspicion.

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  • © Reproduction: German Resistance Memorial Center

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