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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter begins by describing some of the influences that shaped Bonhoeffer’s political views, narrowly construed, and the central role of Martin Luther’s thought in guiding the direction of those parts of his theology that connect with political life. The chapter continues by exploring how Bonhoeffer attempted to think with and through these sources about the duties and responsibilities of governments and citizens, of the Church, and of the individual Christian in response to the Church struggle and the policies of the Third Reich. What evolved was a reworking of the orders of creation and preservation, a subtle ecology of temporal and spiritual authority under God, and an understanding of reality understood through the incarnation of Christ. This theology funded a steadfast conviction that the Church can and must speak God’s Word to the world, even to the point of standing in the place of the victims of political oppression.

Keywords: political life, Martin Luther, Third Reich, Church struggle, political oppression

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