The “Young Reformation Movement’s” Spokesman
Loyal to Hitler, the “German Christians” campaigned for the church elections in July of 1933 on an anti-Semitic platform. Bonhoeffer on the other hand joined the “Young Reformation Movement”, which insisted on defending the Christian faith and opposed the adoption of the “Aryan Paragraph” within the church.
Pictured here is a report on an appearance of the young student chaplain at the university in Berlin on June 22, 1933 from the “Junge Kirche”, the “Young Reformation Movement’s” enterprising journal. The report reveals that Bonhoeffer felt a split (schism) of the Protestant church was possible on account of the “Aryan Paragraph” because a Christian could not be a member of a Reich Church that would adopt this law. A Protestant council would have to decide on a split however. Bonhoeffer also generally urged brotherliness with those weak in faith.
Despite constant harassment and numerous bans, he was soon counted among the leading theological thinkers and hardest working spokesmen of the “Gospel and Church!” list of Young Reformation candidates. The “German Christians’” overwhelming electoral victory owing to massive support by Nazi propaganda induced the “Young Reformers” to retreat from the “unsuccessful formation of an ecclesio-political front” however and thenceforth to concentrate on missionary work.
A “contemporary confession of faith” embracing all of the Protestant denominations was supposed to establish the basis for this. Bonhoeffer took a leave of absence in order to be able to collaborate on this text in Bethel.
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- © Photo: Tim Lorentzen