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May 5, 2012
By Eric Metaxas
Crime against the State?
Yesterday I read an article about a street preacher arrested in a northern English village. His crime? When responding to a woman's question, he listed homosexual behavior among a list of things contrary to the Word of God. He wasn't combative or loud, but a nearby policeman -- who happened to be gay -- overheard him and the preacher, a Baptist in his early forties, was promptly arrested for causing "harassment, alarm or distress" contrary to Section 5 of the Public Order Act.
Adolf Hitler may have failed to bring fascism to England, but when reading about incidents like this, we have to wonder how much they needed his help. Incidentally, this event took place on April 20th, Hitler's birthday. This struck me as disturbingly apt and as I thought about it, I couldn't help wonder: "What would Dietrich Bonhoeffer do?"
I've been asking this question a lot lately. That's probably because I've written a biography of Bonhoeffer (Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy) and I can't get him out of my mind. But part of the reason I wrote the book in the first place was to get others to ask the same question.
Those who have gone before
To some Christians the idea of asking anything but "What would Jesus do?" is blasphemous. But God wants us to look at the lives of those who have gone before us -- whom the writer of the book of Hebrews called that "great cloud of witnesses" -- who have run the race of faith successfully. That's an important part of how we learn what it is to live the Christian life. We need to see other Christians in action, to see what the Christian faith looks like when it's lived out in difficult circumstances by others. And when we need to see how we should deal with persecution amidst encroaching fascism, Bonhoeffer is the best role model there is.
So what would Bonhoeffer do?
For one thing, Bonhoeffer would recognize that what happened in that English village was a serious attack on religious liberty: the state was encroaching on the realm of the church. He saw this in his own Germany up close and understood that Christians must fight against such things with all their might and main, before it was too late. Sadly he was often alone in understanding this. . .
Read the entire article here.