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According to someone somewhere, it is theoretically impossible to be a leftist and a Christian. In fact, to move leftwards from evangelicalism is equivalent to moving towards a sort of deconversion. Here’s a choice morsel:

Well, it’s almost hilarious because when you look at the fact, the reason I said, I got writing this book not knowing what I would find, because I heard these things about Bonhoeffer. People had presented it that sort of toward the end of his life, he kind of makes a weird left-hand turn and becomes a post-Christian humanist, whatever that means. I don’t know… But somehow drifts away from biblical faith in Jesus Christ. That’s not true. I didn’t know until I did the research on the book and what I discovered actually stunned me because the opposite is true. His faith is stronger and stronger. Eighteen hours before he is sent to his death in Buchenwald concentration camp, he has a service for his fellow prisoners. He preaches a sermon. I mean, this guy went to the gallows with his faith in Jesus intact. And so, none of that is true and his legacy has effectively been hijacked by the hard left, really by agnostics and atheists.

And regarding Bonhoeffer’s notion of a religionless Christianity, there is no need to actually read the letters to Bethge, Bonhoeffer’s conservatism is summarily obvious.

And he uses a phrase in one of these letters, he says, what we need in Germany, what we needed is a religion-less Christianity. In other words, not just go you through the motion, show up at church, and do this and do that, but completely sold out to serve God and obey God and stand up for those, Jews, who can’t stand up for themselves. We need a religion-less Christianity. Now, we have to keep in mind, Bonhoeffer’s idea of religion, that term “religion,” was a negative idea. It means… It’s a state religion… It’s not the – it’s not a personal relationship with God. It’s just going through the motions.

So, to summarize, Bonhoeffer’s religionless Christianity was very much in favor of “a personal relationship with God.” So what did Bonhoeffer say on May 5, 1944 while in prison regarding religion and individualistic salvation?

What does it mean to “interpret in a religious sense”? I think it means to speak on the one hand metaphysically, and on the other hand individualistically. Neither of these is relevant to the biblical message or to the man of today… Hasn’t the individualistic question about personal salvation almost completely left us all? Aren’t we really under the impression that there are more important things than that question? I know it sounds pretty monstrous to say that. But, fundamentally, isn’t this in fact biblical?

Is it really that difficult to picture a scenario where a person moves theologically leftwards, away from pietistic notions of individual salvation, and towards an emphasis on social justice and secularity and yet still considers themselves a committed Christian (let alone a biblical one)?

(h/t to DW for the transcript and Richard Beck for some of the thoughts on Bonhoeffer)

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